Shootin' the Breeze

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Tough Dad, Champion Son

He was a celebrity in our town — a former football star at Colorado State who went on to play in the N.F.L. for a couple teams, including the Broncos.

I met him when he coached the Junior Olympics track team during the summer in Fort Collins.  Some of his N.F.L. friends from other states sent their kids to be coached by him, especially in hurdles and sprints.  Consequently, the Fort Collins summer track program was very good.  One of my offspring, who had just finished 8th grade, was on the team.  So was his youngest son, Jeremy.  I don’t want to say the last name in respect for Jeremy’s privacy.   Hereinafter, Jeremy’s father shall be known as Dad.

So the next spring, at the state high school championship track meet, Jeremy’s Dad and I were sitting together, watching the various events.  Because my daughter was a freshman then, I had not attended the state meet the prior year.  Jeremy was a senior at the same high school, doing very well, so I assumed Jeremy did well the year before.

I asked his Dad, “How did Jeremy do last year?”  It was not a surprising question, but the answer was.

“Jeremy did not run last year.  He did not turn in a school project in photography, so he did not compete in the state track meet.”

“What? Jeremy was academically ineligible just for one elective project?  It doesn’t seem like that would affect his overall grade point that much,” I commented.

Dad explained, “No, it was not the teacher who prevented Jeremy from competing at state.  It was me.  Jeremy needs to learn to be responsible.”

As I recall, Jeremy won three individual events his senior year, as well as running on a relay team that also won.  He was thus a champion in four events.  At least a couple of the events were state records.  One of the records tied a national high school record.  The person who held the record that Jeremy tied had gone on to be a champion sprinter in the Olympics.  Fast company!

Jeremy was as fast as any high school runner in the nation.   I bet he would have done very well in the previous year’s state track meet, had he competed.  He probably would have won those same events.  If only his Dad had not interfered.

Jeremy won something else his senior year — a scholarship to C.S.U. in both football and track.  His Dad certainly had something to do with that, and I do not mean pulling a few strings.

Besides contributing some very athletic genes, and coaching him, Jeremy’s Dad taught him some valuable life lessons.  He taught him about being a champion.

 

 

 

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D.N.A. Does Not Define Ethnicity

Elizabeth Warren proudly referred to the results of her recent D.N.A. test that revealed she had an ancestor who lived six to ten generations ago and who might have been from North America or South America or Asia and passed to Senator Warren between 1/64 to 1/1024 of her genetic make up.  Consequently, she believes that proves wrong those who question her claim to be Cherokee.  Those law schools who hired her and bragged of their diversity based on Senator Warren’s heritage have similarly been vindicated, I suppose, even though they did not hire her because of her Indian heritage.  They just listed her as being a Native American faculty member.

Of course, the senator never met that ancestor, so sharing some genes is not the same as being family.  Nor is it the same as being raised in a particular culture.

My wife, Sugar, recently did a D.N.A. test.  She too expected that she might be “part-Indian.”  In particular, she had heard that some relative in the 1800s was Shoshone.    We still do not know whether that is true.   The test is so vague that it cannot specify Shoshone.  It imprecisely indicates a tiny percentage of unknown D.N.A. that could be Peruvian or Asian or Native North American.    Just like Elizabeth Warren.  They could be related.

Sugar found out something that disturbed her father, who is, he believed, 100% Italian.  He actually knew all four of his grandparents, who were each, he believed, 100% Italian.  So, one might expect that  his daughter would be 50% Italian.  The test results showed that she is merely 39% Italian and 11% “Iberian,” which must refer to the Iberian Peninsula, occupied by Spanish and Portuguese people.  (For purposes of this post, I will not describe the other 50% attributed to Sugar’s mother except to say it did not confirm the Shoshone theory,)  My point is that my father-in-law, regardless of the D.N.A. test, is indeed Italian.  He was raised in an Italian family by Italian people who, by the way, were all born in America, so by definition of citizenship, were Americans who identified as Italian-Americans.

Elizabeth Warren did not, as far as I know, grow up in a Native American culture, nor is she a member of the Cherokee Nation or any other particular tribe or tribes.  Tribal groups have their own rules for enrolling as a member of a tribe.  I doubt 1/64 is enough and I am even more certain that 1/1024 is not sufficient for membership in the Cherokee Nation.

Now let’s talk about me.  I am affiliated with the Omaha tribe.  My Grampa, who was a rural mail carrier on the reservation shared by the Omaha and Winnebago tribes in Nebraska, was the son of Swedish immigrants, yet he took me to the Macy Pow Wow, where I played with little boys who lived there.   One of them wrote to me after he read my blog about the pow wow.  He remembered.  We would play under the bleachers and out in the woods.  The boys there treated me like a friend, despite my lack of tribal enrollment.  Grampa and I learned a little about the Omaha culture by having friends on the reservation.  That is more of a connection than high cheek bones.

To the best of my recollection, I did not see Elizabeth Warren at the Macy Pow Wow.  That proves that I am more American Indian than she is.

 

Customer Service?

Shootin' the Breeze

Miss Sugar was appalled.  Appalled I say!  She was appalled to find “evidence” of mice in our RV camper trailer.  I was appalled too.  So we decided to do something about it.  We decided to go into town and get some new mouse traps and moth balls.  (Moth balls are allegedly unpleasant to mice).

So we went to town in the pickup truck so we could bring the dogs.  I parked in the lot of a well-known chain store.  It is a store that has many departments, including clothes, electronics, jewelry, housewares, furniture, toys, recreation equipment, groceries, pharmacy, office supplies, and a garden department.  I thought maybe it would have mouse traps and moth balls.

Sugar said that she would wait in the truck with the dogs since I only had to run in and get two items.  She also asked me to get some dog treats.  I forgot to…

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Governor Lamm’s Speech on Destruction of America

Shootin' the Breeze

How To Destroy America

By: Dick Lamm | Sat, Mar 25, 2006

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(Editor’s note: A 2004 speech on the dangers of multiculturalism in the United Stated titled “I Have a Plan to Destroy America”, became famous after being frequently forwarded as an email. With the immigration debate again heating up, it is time to revisit the speech. Reprinted with permission.)

We know Dick Lamm as the former Governor of Colorado. In that context his thoughts are particularly poignant. Recently there was an immigration overpopulation conference in Washington, DC, filled to capacity by many of American’s finest minds and leaders. A brilliant college professor by the name of Victor Davis Hansen talked about his latest book, Mexifornia, explaining how immigration – both legal and illegal was destroying the entire state of California. He said it would march across the country until it destroyed all…

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Miss Sugar’s Brew

Shootin' the Breeze

For those of you who have read other posts of mine, you know that Miss Sugar is my trophy wife and that Miss Sugar feeds birds.  Today, I want to report on my involvement in bird feeding in a very tangential aspect of her hobby.

I try to be a good husband.  Sometimes, I even make the coffee.  Yesterday, as Miss Sugar was sleeping, I got up and did just that.  I know how to put the beans into the grinder.  I know where to put the filter in the coffee maker and also where to pour the water.  I had to think about it, but I remembered to put the ground coffee into the filter.  I pushed the correct button and the water heated up, ran through the coffee in the filter, and dripped into the waiting coffee pot.  So far, so good.

Then I tackled the more difficult…

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Mentoring Manliness

Shootin' the Breeze

cowboy eating icecream

My wife has recently hinted that I am not in touch with my sensitive side. She recounted two recent events. I do not get her point. See if you do.

We were out to dinner with another couple last Saturday night. We were talking about the other couple moving to another home.

The husband addressed me and said, “I hope you won’t think less of me, but I cried when we left that house.”

Apparently, he wondered whether I understood how he felt. I do understand his sadness at leaving that beloved home. What I do not understand is why he would admit to me that he cried. T.M.I. — Too much information!

I was about to mentor him a bit concerning the inadvisability of sharing his emotions when Sugar squeezed my leg under the table. She can read my mind. So, I shifted to a different take on the…

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The Bridges

Shootin' the Breeze

riverwalk
A river runs through it — it being a corner of our place. Our Labrador Retrievers enjoy that feature of ranch life. But this is a story about a cat.

Beau, our male Yellow Lab, has taken upon himself many responsibilities. Some of them I share with him. For example, at the crack of dawn’s first light, he barks. Since we let the dogs sleep in the house to prevent fraternizing with coyotes, his bark requires me to get up and let him and Sadie go outside. Sometimes I return to bed, but if I slumber too long, Beau barks again from outside. This is my signal to feed him and Sadie on the back deck. I also put out food for the cats, in the elevated feeding station described in another blog. Beau is very vocal and very bossy. He has a routine. He likes all of us to…

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The Haircut

Shootin' the Breeze

I got my hair cut today.  Randy is my barber.  He is about my age.  We talk about sports and local news.  It is usually uneventful.

There was a young teenage boy in the next chair.  I learned, from eavesdropping, that he is in 8th grade.

Personally, I don’t recall ever crying in the barber chair, or at all as an 8th grader, so I had zero empathy when that 8th grader had a hissy fit.

Apparently, his haircut was not turning out as he wanted.  I could tell because he said that was not what he wanted, threw down the cloth thing they put around your shoulders to keep the hair clippings off your clothes, got up literally crying, and went outside, followed by his mother and the lady cutting his hair, who attempted to placate him, one of them bringing him water.

Randy and I shook our respective…

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Crazy Horse

Shootin' the Breeze

Crazy Horse was a Sioux war leader who was never defeated in battle.  He was one of the strategists at the Battle of Little Big Horn, where General Custer was wiped out by an alliance of Indian tribes. 

He fought to protect his home in the Black Hills of what is now South Dakota.  He was never defeated, but he did surrender and was taken to Fort Robinson, in the Pine Ridge area of Nebraska.  Sadly, he was murdered there, stabbed in the back by a bayonet, to the shame of his captors.

He died in 1877.  Many years later, Indian leaders persuaded an award winning sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski, to build a monument such as Mount Rushmore, honoring Crazy Horse.  The “monumental” job was undertaken by the artist in 1948, but is still not completed.  Mr. Ziolkowski died in 1982.  His family continues the task.  So far, after six decades, only the face of Crazy Horse is recognizable.  It…

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In the Eyes of the Beholder

Shootin' the Breeze

This morning I am sitting in our sunroom as the sun rises and I wish my eyes were cameras so I could share what I see.

At our house, as with many other places, perhaps even at your own home, the sun is coming up in the East.  It has to come up between some low hills, lighting them with warm color.  As the light expands, the red and orange fades and spreads into neutrality no longer tinted but brighter. 

With the brighter lightness, I can see all directions, each with its own beauty.  To the North is a rocky ridge called Greyrock, half a mile beyond our red and white barn.  The ridge is not merely gray, however; it is interspersed with pink rock and green vegetation.  Beyond the ridge is a rock formation appropriately named Steamboat Rock. 

To the South are blue mountains.  They look like someone cut construction paper…

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