Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Gathering of Champions

All real sports fans are well aware that I was captain of the 7th grade intramural flag football champions.  After that I eventually became an undrafted NFL free agent.  But enough about me.  Yesterday my wife, Miss Sugar, and I met the wife of Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner, who won heavyweight wrestling at the 2000 Olympics.  The championship match is comparable to the U.S. Hockey team’s “miracle on ice.”

Rulon defeated a Russian who had been undefeated for years, including winning prior Olympic gold medals.  He was much favored.  Rulon, an underdog from the University of Nebraska, courageously turned the tide and shocked the experts by defeating the Russian.  You can look it up.

Miss Sugar proudly shared that I have been to the national championships for the Senior Olympics and the Senior World Games as a swimmer.  Somehow my accomplishments paled in comparison.  I am going to wait awhile before pulling out my Superbowl ring.

 

Beau and Cujo Go Camping

Some loyal readers have asked how Beau, our Yellow Labrador Retriever, is doing. I have some news to report.
Beau, who has extraordinary self-esteem, and consequently expects that everyone, all creatures great and small, will like him, discovered, sadly, that is not true. It was not true when he met a Mastiff at a campground last week.
As Miss Sugar told the story to me, the Mastiff, apparently irritated by Beau’s exuberant attitude, barked at him. Beau, delighted to have his presence acknowledged by another dog, pulled on the cable to which he was tied so hard that it broke. Beau happily ran to the campsite across the road, dragging the cable, expecting to play.

When Beau arrived, the Mastiff, whom we shall call Cujo, knocked Beau onto his back and went for Beau’s jugular.
Miss Sugar and Cujo’s owner watched in horror. Beau realized that Cujo was not playing nicely and managed to bite Cujo’s face. That move allowed Beau to get up and try to leave the adversarial situation. Unfortunately, Cujo was not finished. He bit Beau’s left hind leg. He bit all the way through the leg.
Miss Sugar called for Beau to retreat. He did.  It is rare for Beau to come when called.
Cujo’s owner owner was embarrassed. She stated the obvious, “He does not get along with other animals. That is why we take him out for walks at 4:00 a.m.” It seems the dog has a history. Beau was not Cujo’s first victim.
She kindly offered to help with Beau’s anticipated vet bills. Then she added. “Our dog’s face is bleeding.”
Sugar did not offer any sympathy.

Sugar did take Beau to a vet she found in the area.  (I was not there to help.  I was at work, scheduled to join the family later.)  The vet treated the puncture wounds from the bite and prescribed antibiotics.  She said Beau might need a shunt to drain infection if that sets in.  He had to wear a cone to keep him from licking his leg.

When I arrived at the campsite, Beau was not the happy camper I am used to seeing.  He was depressed.  He was in pain.  He did not want to walk on his swollen limb.  He hated wearing the cone.  We were sad to see Beau so very sad.  I think part of his depression came from the realization that  Cujo did not like him.  That fact did not Beau’s worldview that everyone likes him.  He seemed to be suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

But don’t worry, Beau fans, he has bounced back.  He did not need a shunt.  He no longer limps.  The cone is off.  He has re-captured his gift of enthusiasm.  Beaurunning

Me, Colin, and the Constitution

Colin Kaepernick and I have never met, although we have some things in common.  He is an NFL quarterback  and I am an NFL unsigned free agent.  We share many of the same physical attributes.  (See post entitled Quarterback Material).  If I meet him at an NFL activity, such as a game or NFL Player Association meeting or party, I would probably like him.

Watching him sit during the national anthem, I don’t like him so much.  It seems disrespectful.  Actually, he himself says it is intended to be disrespectful.  He says:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

He has the right to say whatever he wants, of course.  The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees freedom of speech.

We Americans have other amendments in our Constitution too.  The Fourteenth Amendment says:

“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

I, like most of you, am opposed to oppression and racial prejudice, and unfairness of any kind.  It appears that the authors of the Constitution and Bill of Rights were opposed to the same things to which Colin is opposed.  Not all the same things, of course.  As far as I know, they were not ashamed of our flag.  We probably did not have a national anthem yet.

I, like Colin, and all of you other Americans, have the right to freedom of speech.  That includes the right for me to say I don’t agree with Colin’s symbolic  speech by him sitting during the national anthem.  I don’t agree with disrespecting our flag.

I think his sitting does not make his message clear.  Many football fans who see him refusing to honor the flag have not read his words of explanation.  I have read those words and still do not understand.  He himself does not seem too oppressed.  He could do more to improve our nation by positive example than simply pointing out the obvious that racism still exists, despite such progress as the election of a mixed race President, who has appointed two black Attorneys General.  There is racism even in Denver, where we have a black mayor and a black chief of police.  My point is that, despite progress in fighting institutional racism by changing laws to ban discrimination, there are people who are still prejudiced.  Ironically, Colin is one of them, apparently, because he has judged from afar whether cases in which he did not participate are being handled under due process of law.  Colorblind law.

Colin seems to be saying that Black people have been killed by police who, in his opinion, should not get paid leave during an investigation because he already knows somehow that the police were not justified in using deadly force.  Maybe he doesn’t want the police to get due process of law per the 14th amendment.  Maybe he wants to be the one to decide from afar, without participating in the legal process.

Colin’s example of sitting has nevertheless influenced me to emulate him.  My wife has requested that I mow the lawn.  I mean no disrespect towards her, but it does not seem right for me to blissfully mow the grass when there is crime in our nation.  Sure, we have  passed laws against crime, but people still commit crimes.  Until there is no crime, I refuse to mow.  Oh, and until there is world peace too.  I will make the world a better place by sitting.  It would be selfish on my part to mow during these troubled times.

Would someone please explain my constitutional rights to my wife?

 

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

 

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