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Wyoming Wilderness Elk Hunt







My wife showed me a blog she received form a fellow who went hunting for moose in Alaska. I guess hunting isn’t appreciated much anymore. As a matter of fact, there is evidence that the lack of hunters these days is contributing to huge numbers of deer that are becoming a nuisance. If you travel some of our main roads, you may have seen numerous deer lying mangled on the shoulder. I can’t say I am helping to thin the herd these days. I hung up my shotgun years ago. But, I thoroughly enjoyed the many days spent afield, as they say.

A few years back I accompanied my son-in-law to Wyoming to hunt elk. He called and asked me if I wanted to go and I answered in the affirmative without hearing another word. I was floored when I learned later that the party would be riding a mule or a horse, twenty-two miles into a wilderness area without a single road. I rode twice in my entire life. I hated it. But, I had given my word. I took a ton of Pilates and Yoga over several months, touching that off with riding lessons. Meanwhile my son-in-law spent many hours on a shooting range and ran mile after mile with a thirty-five pound pack on his back. We were getting our respective butts ready. And to think I was just going along for the ride!

I was with him for a remarkable turn of events which culminated in a kill. We spent all day hiking up and down a mountain side, as the terrain was deemed too steep for the horses. Wrap your head around THAT for a minute! Then, near sunset he downed a huge bull. We celebrated like kids for awhile, and then sat quietly for a time just taking it all in. We were alone, one with nature. There were no noises at all outside of the lonely sigh of the wind. There was nothing about except the unseen members of the herd and the grizzly bears who also pursued them. We stood watching the sun fire up the rugged landscape in the “Golden Hour,” and marveled at the absolute beauty of a world almost totally untouched by man since the Indians roamed freely in the West.

Every tent, every piece of cooking equipment, all the food, everything in the camp had to be hauled in and out each season by mule train. Only a hard working wrangler would even bother. Our outfitter, Tim Dodd of Bliss Creek Outfitters, kept a herd of almost eighty mules and horses just to make it all come together. Check him out on line if you can stand riding for more than forty-four miles up and down the mountains. Otherwise, just take in the pictures. Isn’t it simply grand just to know that such an absolutely soul soaring setting still exists!

Whom Do You Trust When You Can’t

Why do politician feel free to bend the truth or freely lie? Why do a vast number of businesses, particular ones who advertise in the mass media, make almost any claim about their products they wish? Why do we read of businesses exposed almost every week for cutting corners, selling shoddy merchandise or disregarding regulations designed to protect the public?

What if all of us felt free to do the same? What if all business owners were simply out for a buck? What if all of us lied or made things up when it served our purpose?

I don’t know about you, but I already feel that I have to have my guard up every time I receive a strange email, every time I hear about a new miracle product, every time someone tries to get information about me on the phone, every time someone I don’t know knocks on the door. What’s with that?

If everybody can say one thing yesterday and something entirely different today, where is the trust? If we purchase a supposedly good product or service and we get cheated, where is the trust? What happens if we lose it? What happens when we lose trust?

I don’t want to see the day. We will be living in a sorry place indeed. Without trust, we all will be headed to Hell in a hand-basket!

Wouldn’t gun sales, already high, climb? Wouldn’t everyone try to find a safe haven, a gated community, an armed compound? Hmmm we have these already! The point remains, we would never believe we were safe from strangers and we would remain guarded around friends and relatives as well. After all, whom do you trust when you can’t?

Why do we, the voters and the consumers, tolerate this BS? Why do have to have fact checkers? Whatever happened to the esteemed value in what a man or woman said?  Whatever happened to standing tall and telling the truth?

Why do we tolerate some politicians and some people in business who want to do away with all regulation, consumer agencies and the like? Why do we tend to believe that Capitalism, allowed to operate freely, will somehow do the right thing by us? Why indeed?

I don’t know about you, but it is time for We The People to stand up and be heard. There are good people out there. We need to stop electing representatives who wouldn’t know the truth if it bit them in the butt and bring in the guys and gals who don’t play that game. If we let the self serving mob we elect now remain in power, we have no one else to blame when we wake up one morning and discover that it’s OK to lie and trust has simply up and gone!

Happy Anniversary!

I stumbled out of bed like I had been knee walking the night before, shaking off the wobbles. No, I’m too old for nights like that anymore. It is the standard return to the living for me. I am a zombie for a time, swaying side to side like one leg is three inches longer than the other, moaning a bit, and blinking out from eyes still partially pasted shut.

My wife was already up and the coffee pot was huffing and puffing away, disgorging spurts of the liquid antidote we need each morning to survive. She poured it so fast it required a jolt from the microwave to heat it up.

She handed me a cup and said, “Happy Anniversary, dear.”

I, still more the monster than the man, took a full step back. It wasn’t that I had forgotten. I remembered all right. I just wanted to say it first. But like a jealous actress who wanted to steal the scene, she stole my line and made it her own.

Being married to her is like that. She always seems to be one step ahead of me. She picks the perfect time and place to catch me when I’m shuffling around, not certain just who or where I am, to charm me, disarm me, and schoolmarm me. Even before we wed, we had each other’s backs, we were best friends, and to a certain extent lovers as well.

But the very best of it is her undying affection for me. Once when I ran like a wild stallion and now as I walk as an old horse, she stands right by my side. Nothing  I have ever said or done, no matter how hurtful or unkind, has ever shaken her promise to me made forty-six years ago. In truth, I can’t even think of anything she has ever said or done to even give me the slightest doubt about mine!

Somehow we took our vows seriously. We were not just getting married. We were hooking up for life. It was an easy decision for both of us. We had been dating off and on for four years. Her mother told me that she was actually relieved when we finally tied the knot. She came right out and said that we were all over each other! And to tell the truth, that was true forty-six years ago. Further, it is still more than true today!

“Happy Anniversary!” It could almost go without saying. Sure, we have had our share of marital battles, but absolutely nothing but death will keep me from being happy. I still have my best friend by my side. What more could I want?

Well, she could let me say it first, next year!

Can’t Get No……………….Satisfaction

I had an occasion to listen to The Rolling Stones on an old vintage RCA  45 record player last night. Actually my spouse and I played “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” several times, practicing. It’s too complicated to say why, but we wanted to sing some of that song on the telephone to Kate, one of Beth and Mark Hanna’s kids, one of several beautiful granddaughters.

In the doing I wrote some of the lyrics down so that we could look at them as we sang. I was fumbling around just now on my desk when I spotted the little sheet of scrap paper that I had used. I read the first verse much closer…

“When I’m driving in my car

And the man comes on the radio

He’s telling me more and more

About some useless information

Supposed to fire my imagination

I can’t get no, oh no, oh no

Hey. Hey. Hey. That’s what I say…

Wham! This 45 came out in 1965! That’s almost fifty years ago! And, brothers and sisters, I’m here to tell you that verse is as true right now as it ever was for the Stones!

Think about the radio. Think about TV. Think about the hundreds of junk headlines , stories and ads on the web. Does the media really fire up your imagination?

Where did the news go? What are talk shows? What are reality shows? What in the world are you watching and listening to these days?

I don’t know about you, but almost all of the stuff the man tells me now is useless information! Rather than educate me, make me laugh or cry, inspire me, lift me up, or help me down, it just frustrates me.

I can’t get no satisfaction!

Sedition, Inciting A Riot, Hollering “Fire” In A Movie Theater?

Have you ever felt like slapping someone. I mean just hauling off and busting their chops. Well, forgive me, but I have. I don’t do anything about it because I’d end up in jail for assault, rightfully so.

Some folks who call themselves Media for Christ, a non-profit of course, raised more than a million dollars last year “to glow Jesus’ light” to the world. Apparently they hire a guy to put together a film designed to belittle and totally disrespect millions of Muslims around the world. They were successful too. Jesus glowed in the fire and fury of the inevitable turmoil that followed. Obviously they wanted to cause trouble, and they did. U.S. citizens died, American embassies were destroyed, and millions of dollars of damages occurred as a direct result of their stupid assed film!

Will they go to jail? Apparently the director of the film may have violated probation previously handed down for prior financial misdeeds. He may yet face some consequences for that. But, my friends, apparently what he and his friends did this time will go unpunished. They will claim innocence. How could they have known that their movie would cause trouble? Yeah right! Would you go to any number of Arab countries and show the film in the market place? No, you have more sense than that. Give me a break!

Last night I started to wonder about crimes of treason, sedition, inciting a riot, and so forth. I tried to find something that could put these clowns behind bars. You already know the answer. This is America, and we value our freedom. The people who made this film and the non-profit organization which may have paid for it find protection in the First Amendment of our Constitution.

I wondered as I turned out the light last night, if we should consider new laws that might deter others from acts like this in the future. I don’t know what the laws would look like, but it seems to me that if you purposely incite or create enemies of our country and the result is death and massive destruction, you should face the music. The First Amendment does not protect the person who calls in a bomb threat or hollers “fire” in a crowded movie theater. These fine people, Media for Christ, and certainly their filmmaker, wishing “to glow Jesus’ light, did far worse than that!

Child Abuse Investigators, Spot on!

I started off working with serious delinquent offenders in an isolated work camp deep in the Poconos in Pennsylvania. It was much later while in management that I assumed responsibility of all programs for dependent and delinquent children in a district in Florida. I didn’t know much at all about abused and neglected kids when I started. I had good staff to teach me, and I got out and learned first-hand.

I recall going out on my first investigation. I accompanied one of our pros, but I was to take the lead. The anonymous report indicated that a young mother was neglecting her baby. I got to the front door steaming about girls who harm their own kids, and punched the door bell. A girl, age nineteen, if I recall correctly, opened the door and peered at me from behind a door chain. I stood right at 6’ 5” back in the day and I carried more than my share of weight. I snapped out my lines. I’m positive what she heard was this: “We are from the FBI to investigate a murder, so open the damn door!”

She immediately started  sobbing as she slid free the chain and stepped back wringing her hands, blues eyes as big as gas caps. When I actually stepped up and into her little haven she backed up as if I would surely slap her silly! To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what to say. I had thought of nothing beyond the introduction. Seeing a kid, sobbing like her pet puppy had died, kinda took the wind out of my sails so to speak.

My companion, not much older than the girl, seized control. She spoke to her in a tone which was the total opposite of mine. She relieved the girl’s panic, actually putting her arm around her and softly encouraging her to calm down. Eventually the two women walked side by side to the nursery. I followed like a huge shadow and watched as my investigator deftly checked the baby form head to toe, opening her diaper and refastening it, without a peep from the child. Next, the investigator secretly signaled me that all was fine.

Later, back in the little living room, I managed a question. I asked her if she knew anyone who might be worried about the little one. She looked down at the floor and said that her mother-in-law had said the child was too thin. The investigator assured her that the baby looked fine. All babies are not chunky and fat. Then she suggested a very simple way to assure all concerned, that that was true. She asked the girl for permission to send over a nurse from the health department for a healthy baby checkup. And, that really did settle that!

This was a simple investigation, right? Not at all! I proved that investigators had to have their antennae out at all times. I botched it from the very beginning. Men had to learn to gently soothe the scared and wounded, and play with Teddy bears. Women had to learn to stand their ground in the face of a threatening and abusive drunk! More importantly all had to have the wisdom of Solomon to sort through the issues, get at the truth, and recommend to parents or to a judge, the absolute, spot-on solution for the children each and every time.

Writing! Just Do It!

I have been writing lately and neglecting my blog. Since I have been hard at the fiction, I thought I would say something about the craft.

Since I started, I have met and talked with lots of folks who have thought about writing. That group would include my own daughters, but they see it as a future endeavor after my grandchildren are off to college, married or whatever. That brings me to my first point. If you are thinking about it, but have more pressing things at hand, you still should be proactive. Take notes! If you dream of writing children’s books or the next great American novel, start collecting your life experiences now. I never did. I just finished a book about my first job, a counselor / house parent position, in a camp for serious juvenile offenders. I remembered a great deal, but I wish I had been taking notes at the time.

Jot down small things too. Writing this morning, I had occasion to use substitutes for real, curse words. First I used “Cowabunga!” Later, I came up with “Rassa Frassa, miassa.” Do these somehow sound familiar? I dredged up the first from memory. I had a clue about the second, Googled it, then added my own twist. The point is that you can’t trust the think tank. Sometimes it is empty. Get systematic. Find a way to keep that cool joke, story, phase or description and secret it away.

Secondly, write something now. Apparently no one does email anymore. I used to love it. When I think of it, I write hand written letters, stories to tell my grandchildren, and, yes, a few long emails for those who still like to hear what’s on my mind. It shouldn’t be easy, but it should be no chore either. If you struggle, that’s fine. If you just don’t feel right, maybe you should take up origami or try tie dying T shirts.

You really should enjoy it, even if it’s just practice. I find that when I’m alone and lost in the world I’m creating, I feel it. I tear up when a character is in great pain. I laugh out loud as a character takes my pratfall. I don’t necessarily get chills when it’s cold, but I can see the character shivering in the dark.

I will close with a warning. You can’t have cold feet. You might as well take off all your clothes and walk naked down the street until they come for you and take you away. Your beautiful, full bottom is going to be hanging out there. You will stand alone. I keep thinking that if I happen to write something really good, it will be noticed about three days after I die. That’s just the way it is, unless….But, if the spark is there, go for it. Damn the torpedos! Bring on the stuff! Forget the sore back, put your butt in the desk chair, fire up that computer, and pull a NIKE!