Shootin' the Breeze

and random targets

Archive for the tag “The Forks”

Winning the Lottery

Sugar and I had cabin fever, so we called our friends, Rodney and Debra, to see if they wanted to meet at The Forks.  They did.

I have written about The Forks previously.  It is like an old general store in that folks can meet there, get a treat, and sit on the front porch.  Tourists stop by too.  So Rodney and I, together with our hot trophy wives, ate ice cream cones on the porch.  I had a Jack Daniels cone.  Yes, that is one of the ice cream flavors at The Forks, made by Walrus Ice Cream in Fort Collins.The front of The Forks 287

I felt like we were decorating the place with our authentic Western attire in order to enhance the experience of the tourists. At the next table were two couples who had German accents.   “Look, Ma, real cowboys!”

Rodney and I were each wearing a cowboy hat.  A man who was also wearing a cowboy hat joined our group.   He kept getting calls on his new-fangled cell phone.  He explained that he was there to meet some people from New York.

“I don’t think they’re too smart,” he volunteered.  “They had to ask me my address three times.”

We talked about a mare that he had for sale.  Sugar was interested in the horse because of its bloodlines.

As we talked, the cowboy with the mare for sale got two or three more calls.

“I’m right here waiting for you.  Where are you?”  we heard him say.

“They said they will be here right away but they don’t even know where they are.  How can they know how long it will take if they don’t know where they are?  Boy, are they dumb!”  He couldn’t get over how dumb they are.

After about a half hour, we were fixin to leave.  The New Yorkers had still not arrived.

As we were getting up, the cowboy awaiting the New Yorkers was irritated by another call from them.  He told them that he was tired of waiting.

At that point, we got nosy enough to ask why he was meeting them.

The cowboy got a sly look and confided with us that they were bringing him a check for $2.5 million.  Sugar commented that she would wait a little longer if they were coming to bring her a check for millions, even thousands, even $10.00.

Then he elaborated.  “Ya see, I won some lottery.  The thing is, they won’t just send me the money.  I need to pay them off the top for taxes and fees or somethin, so they are meeting me here to trade checks.”

I butted in.  “Pardner, I don’t think their check will go through.  They will get your check, which will go through, and you will be out that much money.  It sounds like a scam to me.  I am sorry to tell you, but I have heard of such things.  I am a lawyer.  Years ago, a client told me that he had won the Spanish Lottery.  He wanted me to look over the paperwork.  The lottery officials wanted him to send a check for taxes before they could send him his winnings.  I contacted them and said they could deduct the taxes first and send him the balance.  The was the last we heard of the Spanish Lottery, which, by the way, my client did not even remember entering exactly, wishfully thinking he had forgotten that he entered, maybe over the internet.”

The millionaire cowboy got a strange look on his face and left immediately.  He did not even say goodbye.

Rodney noted something else.  “Since he gave them his address but was to meet somewhere else, I wonder if they are robbing his place while he waits here.  Why did they need his address if they were meeting here at The Forks?”

Rodney just might be on to something.

Boy, were those New Yorkers dumb!

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

Now Appearing in Concert — Miss Sugar!

Miss Sugar has been taking guitar lessons about three times a month for a few months.  So now she is proficient and I am her agent for setting up concerts and other public appearances — coming soon to a location near you.

Today we went to Ridin for the Brand Cowboy Church.  Sugar had volunteered the Sunday before to bring her guitar this week and to sing.  I did not volunteer to sing up front with her, yet that is what Sugar made me do.  (In the photo below, even though we are both wearing hats, you can tell us apart because I am the one who is not smiling.)

sugarsingingThankfully, others joined in on the singing too.  No one walked out, so it was a great success.  Of course, in that particular venue, there was no charge, nor did we take anything out of the offering plate.  Maybe next time….


On our way home, we stopped at The Forks, a convenience store that also has a deli with sandwiches and ice cream as well as a bar upstairs where bands sometimes perform.  When the owner saw that Sugar had her guitar, she asked Sugar to play a little somethin for the folks eating ice cream and sub sandwiches.  So Sugar did.  She played and sang three songs.  I did not join in.  I stayed in the audience.

A motorcycle guy came over and asked whether I was with Sugar.  When I bragged that I am her husband, he gave me a $5 bill.  The owner of The Forks gave us two coupons for future ice cream.

This was not Sugar’s first time to appear as a paid performer, having sung professionally, but this was her first time accompanying herself on guitar.

Contact me as her agent to book your next event.  You’d be surprised what $5 and some ice cream will get you for your entertainment budget.

P.S.  Sugar volunteered that I will preach next Sunday when the pastor will be absent.  Bring $5 for that too.  Email for directions.

coffee at church

Frontier Justice and Hospitality

There is a local story hereabouts concerning a stint in Leavenworth Prison   To be more accurate, the story is about two separate stints in prison.  Well, not totally separate because they were related, however, the sentences were not served at the same time.

Miss Sugar and I were at The Forks, which is a convenience store that serves ice cream and has a bar upstairs.  We were having ice cream, so the bar is irrelevant to this story, but mentioning it might be good advertising for The Forks.  And another thing — there is live entertainment on certain Saturday nights.

As Sugar and I were enjoying our cones, we were accosted by a store employee, who was talking to some customers.  The employee, name of Mary, said,  “Al, how long have you lived around here?  These people are looking for the Zimmerman Ranch.  Do you know where it was?”

“No,” sez I, helpfully.  “We have only lived here about twenty years.”

Anyway, Sugar and I talked to the Zimmerman people.  They showed us photos from long ago, before my time.  Sugar thought she recognized a group of three trees in the photos.  The trees are still there, but the house in the photos is not.  We offered to take them there.

They followed our car in their car.  On the way, we stopped at the home of an 80 year old  neighbor who did know where the Zimmerman place was formerly located.

Now, here is the part about prison.  When I introduced old Mr. Zimmerman to the helpful rancher, he recognized his name.  Without regard to politeness, Mr.  Zimmerman said, “I heard that my grandfather had your grandfather put in prison for moving fences or something.”  I did not think that was a good conversation starter.

He was corrected.  The story my friend told is that in the late 1800s, some of the first ranchers did not welcome the newer homesteaders and burned their barns and such.  He said his grampa and his grampa’s brother, i.e., his own great uncle, each went to prison as a result of being accused of such activities, perhaps based on accusations made by Zimmerman’s grampa.

The judge who sentenced the brothers to federal prison in Leavenworth recognized that having  both brothers in prison at the same time would destroy their ranch, so he let each serve six months at separate times.

Ironically, the descendants of the jailed ranchers are still here and the Zimmermans can’t even find their own family homestead without the help of someone from the family with which their ancestors had a conflict.

No hard feelings…..

P.S.  We took them to the trees.  Sugar, with her artistic eye, was correct.

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