Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “State Patrol”

The Serpent and Other Dangers

Company Name - 17685 U.S. HWY 287 Livermore, Colorado

Sugar only saw one rattlesnake this summer.  For her, that was one too many.

Now that I have your attention, allow me to share with you a true tale of adventures and misdeeds, punished and unpunished.

There are actual forks in the road and there are choices in life concerning which moral path to take.  Read on about the paths of both types which I have taken in a single day and the consequences thereof.

Today, I hauled some trash to the dump, I mean, to the sanitary landfill.  I had put some old tires and an old grill and other actual trash in a seldom-used stock trailer.  As a romantic husband, I invited Sugar to come with me to the dump, but she was not in the mood for a date such as that.  So I went by myself.

At the dump, they charge by weight and charge extra for tires.  The lady at the entrance counted six tires amidst the other stuff.  I had loaded the trailer so long ago that I did not know how many there were, for which the disposal fee is $4.00 per tire. So, the truck and trailer were weighed on a scale going in, I was given a tag, and then the truck and trailer were weighed again going out.  Maybe they are worried that I might be sneaking some trash out.  But, get a load of this — when I unloaded, I counted ten tires, so I told the lady at the exit gate and paid another $16.  What a good boy am I!  Well, not always.

On the way to and fro, I took back roads because the license plate on the trailer expired in 2007.  As a member of the Rural Land Use Board, it would be embarrassing for my political career for a man in my powerful position to be found violating the law.  So I was real sneaky.  (You are thinking — Is publishing a blog about criminal activity being sneaky?)  Well, Concerned Readers, there is no need or benefit for me to continue being sneaky because the cat is out of the bag already and my violation is a matter of public record.  Sin has been exposed to the light of day already, so why not be exposed on the internet too?

Temptation altered the outcome of what otherwise appeared to be the perfect crime.  On the way home, I did not stay on the back roads all the way but risked traveling on the highway for just a few miles because I wanted to stop at The Forks, a convenience store/bar which is less than two miles from home, appropriately located at a fork in the road.  I stopped to get a treat.  I deserved it.  I got an ice cream cone because I need to keep my weight up during football season in case the Broncos need me.  I am a free agent, you see, not having been selected for the 53 man roster, just like Tim Tebow and many other fine players who are still available.  It is just a matter of waiting for a phone call from the Broncos or perhaps desperate calls from other teams.

It turned out to be an expensive cone.  There was a State Patrol officer/tattletale who was parked behind a motor home in the parking lot of The Forks.  Now that is sneaky!  What a snake!

I hoped the officer was just focused on catching speeders.  He had his radar gun out.  I calmly ate my cone on the porch, exuding feigned innocence, and was pleased to see the patrolman eventually leave The Forks.  I breathed a sigh of relief.  I had finished the cone.  Now for my get-away.

My truck and trailer were pointed in a direction that made it easier for me to go out a different way than I came in.  It takes some room to turn the whole rig around and I was worried about hitting something if I tried to back all the way out of the parking lot.  So, I exited in violation of the sign that said “no left turn” because, duh, the ranch is left of The Forks when facing the direction of that exit.

The suspense is building.  You astute readers are guessing that the officer of the law saw my illegal exiting maneuver.  Wrong!  I got off scot-free.  Again.

I drove up the highway less than a mile.  That is all the further my road is from The Forks.  I dutifully turned on my right-hand turn signal, slowed and turned.  What to my wondering eyes did appear, but the State Patrol car parked to the side of my very own road, a mere mile from home.

He had set up another speed trap.  I still believed that I was going to make it okay.   He was looking for speeders.  Surely he would not crane his neck to check out the rear license plate on the trailer when I passed him.  We were, after all, facing opposite directions.  As I chuckled to myself, the officer turned his car around, away from the highway, and headed toward our ranch.  He followed me.  He turned on his lights.  I quit chuckling.  Four hundred yards from our lane, I pulled over.  I waited for the patrolman to approach the driver’s side window of my vehicle.

“It is hard to miss those expired plates on the trailer,” he explained.  (You see, the Department of Motor Vehicles cleverly issues different colors for different years.)  I did not try to pull the “Do you know who I am?” card, like Reese Witherspoon did recently.  Since the officer did not recognize my famous face or name, I just let him treat me as if I am a member of the general public.  I was polite and respectful.   I was fake.  I was phony.  I was ashamed to hear myself saying, “Thank you, Officer.”  Thanks for what?

He gave me a ticket for $95.00.  Expensive cone.

But the joke is on him.  He did not notice that the brakes and signal lights on the trailer don’t work.

When I got home and was unhitching the trailer from the truck, I spied a snake in the grass, literally and factually.  I was not in the mood to live and let live.  It was him or me.  Maybe it was her or me.  It was it or me.

Jesus crushed the head of the serpent with his heel, but I am not in his league, so I am not above using tools for safety reasons.

Having just been to The Forks, I had an idea.  I calmly went to the barn, got a pitchFORK, and skillfully stabbed the serpent right behind the head from which his/her/its forked tongue emerged.  Now I feel better.

And to you snake-lovers out there — get over it!  Save the whales instead.

The front of The Forks 287

Miss Sugar’s Lemonade

The car accident was two years ago this week.

It seems like yesterday that I drove up to the scene on the highway and saw the flashing lights of two ambulances and the State Patrol car amongst the three smashed vehicles.

I had gotten there as quickly as I could after my wife called me at the law office.

She said, “Mom and I were in a bad accident by the lumberyard.  Please come.”

So, of course, I left immediately.  I did not know what to expect.  I prayed as I drove.

When I arrived at the scene, traffic was backed up.  I went around the line of cars, driving past the State Patrolman directing traffic and parked on the side of the road right by the ambulance, as if my pickup was an emergency vehicle too.

Karen (aka Miss Sugar) was on the gurney and was being lifted into the ambulance.  She saw me and reached out her left hand.  I naturally gave it a reassuring squeeze.  She grimaced in pain and pulled it away.  (We learned in ER that she had fractured a bone in that hand).  Blood was running from her broken nose.

She said, “We are still having the party on Saturday.  Don’t cancel it.”

The accident was on Monday, May 23rd.  The party was to be Saturday, May 28th.  We had invited dozens of people for our annual John Wayne Birthday Party since the 100th anniversary of his birth in 1907.  This would be our fifth John Wayne Party.  Sugar works for weeks getting ready, baking pies and making side dishes that can be frozen.  On the day of the party we serve Texas-style Bar B Que with all the fixins.  She did not want to cancel.

I don’t recall what I said.  Something non-responsive to her order about the party.  Something like, “I love you.”

After they put Sugar in one ambulance, I went over to our car.  My mother-in-law, Ginger, was still in there because the passenger door was jammed shut.  The emergency personnel used a crowbar to open that door.   The crowbar damaged the paint job.  That’s a joke.  The car was clearly unrepairable.  The hood was so smashed that if I did not know better, I would have expected the accident was fatal.


Ginger said that she couldn’t breathe.  The airbags had deployed, leaving a gunpowder smell.  I suspect that it was the driver seat airbag that broke Sugar’s nose.


The accident occurred because a northbound car crossed the center line on a curve and struck the southbound car that was immediately ahead of our car.  That first collision caused the northbound vehicle to spin into the front of our car, resulting in the head-on collision.

I followed the ambulance to the hospital.  In the ER, I alternated between Sugar and her mother.

The fifth metacarpal in Sugar’s left hand had suffered a spiral fracture, known as a “boxer’s fracture.”  Her hand was swollen and painful.  She also sprained her neck and tore the posterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.

Sugar was treated and released from the ER.  Her mother was admitted to the hospital, but she got out on Friday, in time for Saturday’s party.

Yes, we still had the party, as Sugar insisted.  She wore a neck brace, soft cast on her hand, and limped.  She had to sit down a lot.  She was a brave and stubborn hostess.

But now let’s think about me.  Just because I wasn’t injured, I had to serve the barbeque sandwiches and even help clean-up.  I think that there were 60 or so attendees.  That’s a lot of work for someone as inept as me.  In truth, we had good help from many kind souls, including Karen’s father.  Her mother was no help at all.  She did not attend.  Eventually she had back surgery.  Party-pooper!


Back to the title about lemonade.  We did serve lemonade, as well as sweet tea and adult beverages, but that is not what the title is about.  It is about the old phrase, “When life serves you lemons, make lemonade.”

After about six weeks, the broken bone healed and Sugar started physical therapy.  Despite all that, her left little finger stuck out at an angle like a Star Trek greeting from Mr. Spock. Sugar is a very high energy, positive, and creative person. She is an artist and musician.  She had won a piano scholarship in her younger years, but she did not play the guitar.

As a way of making lemonade, Sugar decided to take guitar lessons so as to force herself to strengthen that broken left hand and to use that disfigured finger by forcing it to hold down strings.

Now she is a pretty good guitarist.  Surprise!  Surprise!

Another plus is that she can use that left hand dexterity for plumbing tasks, a reference to my prior post called Do-It-Herself Plumbing.

neck brace (2)

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