Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Learning From Horses

scampaction

Babe, Misty, Tony, Flicka, Domino, Gypsy, Duke, Lightning, Star, Mitzy, Honey, Ben, Smokey, Sweet Pea, Basko, Dillon, Dusty, Cody, Sasi, Velvet, Holly, Scamp, Woody and many others

Are all teachers of mine.

They taught me patience and assertiveness,

They taught me communication and psychology.

They taught me the joy of partnership.

And the thrill of horse and rider doing what neither could do alone.

cowdogondrive

woodyandAL

Equine Companionship

Walked out in the pasture

To clear my mind

To enjoy God’s outdoors

Walking alone through the grass

When I heard the hoof beats.

Two geldings ran up to me

Inquiring about my presence

And whether I needed friends.

I did need their acceptance

And their comfort.

They each sniffed my hands

And my hair, letting me pet them

Even hugging their necks.

It feels good to know they care.

One can have a relationship

With horses as well as dogs.

Miss Sugar Goes to Court

tomei

As a prerequisite to reading this post, one is required to view the movie, My Cousin Vinny, so as to understand my comparison of Miss Sugar to the role played by Marisa Tormei in that film.  I think she won an Academy Award.

So, today Sugar went to Small Claims Court as a plaintiff in a landlord-tenant dispute.  The judge did not allow me to act as her attorney.

As her own advocate, Sugar was very cute.  I sat in awe at the force of her personality.  From the witness chair she ordered the defendant to stop rolling his eyes as she spoke.  She impeached the credibility of his testimony by playing a voice message he left, proving his denial on the stand was indeed untruthful.  .You would not want to be him going against her.  As Muhammad   Ali once said about an opponent, “I pity the fool.”

At one point in her testimony, she wept — sincerely and appropriately.  That is a tactic I have never tried.

To paraphrase Jim Croce:  “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape.  You don’t spit into the wind.  You don’t pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger.  And you don’t mess around with Miss Sugar.

olddays

Cowboy Gathering

Folks from across the West

From Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas

From Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arizona, Utah

From South Dakota, Montana, Nevada

And even from California.

Open microphone on the stage in the park

Later taking turns singing around the campfire

Or saying poems or telling tales

My kind of crowd

Gathered at Encampment, Wyoming

For three days

The fourteenth annual cowboy gathering

Of which I have been to five

Attending with Miss Texas

UsSantaFe

Town Tour

Small Wyoming town with no sidewalks nor stoplights

A three story mansion across the street from a mobile home

Propane tanks rather than gas lines from public utilities

A horse and two mules in one backyard

With a view of the tavern

One paved street

300 people

200 dogs

No zoning

Plenty of free parking

 

 

Another Bat Bites the Dust

antlers

Warning:  If you are a lover of bats, the following post contains disturbing material.

An erratic flight pattern by something crosses the TV screen in the dark room.  We know what it is.  We have had this experience many times before.

I turn on the lights in the room and we try to spot where the creature has landed.

My wife, Sugar, is my spotter.  She tells me to look at the third log from the top, right of the smoke detector.  I grab my trusty Red Ryder BB gun and take aim.  POW!

The winged creature drops to the floor.  The wings close around the body of the deceased.  It is a goner.  Another one bites the dust.

Not everyone shoots BB guns inside one’s home.  But I ain’t everyone.  I am a special marksman living in a log home with high ceilings.

We like bats flying around outside, presumably eating bugs.  But inside?  That’s where I draw the line.

Beau’s Hot Tub Etiquette

bunkhouse

We have a log bunkhouse on our ranch.  It was the original homestead cabin, but has been refurbished except for the logs themselves.  The roof, electrical, plumbing, and storm windows are all new.  It has a bathroom.  It has a sauna.  We advertise it on Air B&B.  Our guests seem to like it.  My wife, Sugar, goes overboard in the hospitality department.  She is a wonderful cook.  It is more than “bed and breakfast.”

This past weekend we had guests from another state.  They were recently married.  Both husband and wife are engineers.  Smart couple.  Supposedly.

For engineers, they failed to foresee obvious dangers.  They failed to account for our dog, Beau.  Big mistake!

Beau is, as loyal readers recall, a Yellow Labrador Retriever.  He retrieves items whether or not he has been requested to do so.  Hence the problem.

The young couple took advantage of the opportunity to relax in our hot tub located in the courtyard.  Beau took advantage of them.

They wore robes and sandals.  They carried towels.  Beau watched.

He watched more carefully than they did.  They placed their towels and robes over the cantina bar next to the hot tub.  They put their sandals on the step up into the hot tub.

Beau waited from them to get into the tub.  He waited for them to relax.  He waited for an opportune moment.  He caught them unaware.

Then he grabbed a robe and ran.  When the husband got out to fetch it from Beau, holding a towel around his waist, Beau circled back and grabbed the remaining towel, having left the robe 50 feet from the tub.  Faster than the man, Beau got a sandal before he got back.

Sugar looked out a window, observed the chaos, and intervened.  She retrieved the items for the couple.  They decided that they had relaxed enough and returned to the bunkhouse.

Beau had a wonderful time.  He hopes they come back to visit.  Fat chance.

Beaurunning

 

History of Violence

I met a young man who shared with me that he suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of “being involved in a murder trial.”  (I did not meet him as a law client or potential client, but in another manner).

I asked if he had been a witness or juror or defendant.  Defendant was the answer.

He explained further that when he was only 17, he entered into a plea bargain to avoid the risk of a murder conviction as an accomplice to assault and accomplice to murder.    It seems that his father had beaten a man to death and he, the son, was accused of being involved.  He had gone to prison as a result of the plea deal.  He told me that a book was written about his father’s case and trial.

I commented to the young man that I had gone to school with a guy with the same last name, but in another state.  I told him that the kid I knew was named Butch.

“That is my Dad’s name,” he said.  I told him where I grew up.  It was a match.  He told me the year his father was born.  It was two years before my birth.

Same guy.  What a coincidence.  I did not tell the young man the nature of my relationship with his father.

My wife researched the old news story about the murder trial.  Part of it described the father’s criminal history.  Butch was known in his town as a bully it said.  He had many arrests for assault and, well, various violent crimes. Tough man. Had pulled a straight edge razor on the victim in a bar during an argument about high school wrestling.  He wanted his 17 year old son to fight the 28 year old who had criticized his wrestling.  The 28 year old, 6’1″, 245 lbs, was invited by Butch to their home to finish the conflict resolution.  The result was a dead 28 year old.

Decades earlier, when I was 12 and Butch was 14, we went to the same junior high.  Butch was in 9th grade.  I was in 7th.  Butch was a bully, supposedly, by reputation, very tough and mean.  I had a foolishly exaggerated sense of self esteem.  I had watched too many cowboy movies.

So, since my peers were afraid of Butch, I thought it would be hilarious to mock Butch.  Remember the song about not tugging on Superman’s cape and not pulling the mask off the Lone Ranger by Jim Croce?  Well, the song had not come out yet when I was in 7th grade.

It would make a better story if I had saved someone from the school bully.  Rather, I teased him to show I was not afraid.  As he ran by on the way home from school, I ran after him.  It was unthinkable to the other 7th graders.  They were smart.

So Butch noticed the laughter and turned around and saw me imitating him.  He came over to me and knocked the books out from under my arm.  In those days, we did not carry books in backpacks nor, heaven forbid, brief cases.

The onlookers watched, fascinated, as I faced a beating.  To their surprise, and probably mine, I retaliated and knocked Butch’s books out from under his arm, to the ground.  Then he shoved me.  I shoved him back.  A crowd gathered in a circle.

Then a miracle happened.  Butch picked up his books and left.  I like to think that he wondered why I was not afraid.  I wonder too.  It has worked for me on other occasions.   My wife, Sugar, has witnessed the same phenomenon.  (See “A Cry for Help on a Downtown Street ” https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/?s=+cry+for+help+).

Butch was either scared of me or he was just in a hurry to beat up some other kid.  I ain’t saying I could whip Butch.  I am just saying that he did not beat me to death like he did that other poor feller.

Winning for the Gipper

This is a sequel to “Accidental Coach” reblogged yesterday.

Shootin' the Breeze

There are times when athletes draw inspiration from friends and family to motivate them to try even harder.  To try their best.  To better their best.  To win as a tribute to a loved one.

There are many examples.  Knute Rockne’s half-time speech urging Notre Dame’s football team to win one for the Gipper (George Gipp, a teammate who had died) is famous.  There was another movie about John Cappelletti, who won the Heisman Trophy in 1973, being inspired by his younger brother, Joey, who was dying of leukemia.  If I recall correctly, it was called “Something for Joey.”  People are more familiar with “Brian’s Song” about Brian Piccolo’s friendship with Gale Sayers and his fight with cancer.

I myself have written in this blog about swimming in the Senior Olympics and thinking about my father and his “do your best” attitude when I felt like slowing down.  See https://cowboylawyer.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/something-for-dad/…

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Accidental Coach

Shootin' the Breeze

Olympian 020

When I first started training to swim in the Senior Olympics, and was going to the pool a lot, a man in the lane next to me one day was waiting for me to complete a lap.  When I stopped to rest, he gave me a tip about how to improve my butterfly stroke, which was his specialty.

His advice to me, though unsolicited, was not unwanted.  I truly wanted to get better.  I wanted to qualify for the national championship.  So I thanked the man, who introduced himself as Slava.  He is from Russia.  He used to be a swimming coach there.

As we saw each other at the pool on other days, Slava continued to critique my swimming.  He complimented my breaststroke, which had been strongest event as a competitive swimmer in my younger years.  He helped me tweek my freestyle.  He gave me training tips on conditioning. …

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