Coyote Goes For a Dip

Driving up the hill, I could see the Animal Control Officer standing by the ice shrouded pond. About 20 feet away was another lady, jus’ standing there.

They were both focused on something splashing around in the water; that something was a dog. So I pulled over to see if I could lend a hand.

She was rushing around the far end of the pond, using her looped-pole to try snagging the floundering animal. However it wasn’t long enough to reach and it was obvious she didn’t want to step into the freezing ice-water.

“Here,” I called to her, “Let me try.”

She briskly shook her head, “You’re not trained to use it.”

By this time the dog was using only one paw to stay afloat. I watched as its head slipped below the ice-encrusted surface several times, each time taking longer to resurface.

I knew it was now or never.

Removing my wallet from my pant pocket, I stuffed it in my jacket and handed them to the female bystander. Then I ran to the far side of the pond and jumped in.

Then with the butt-end my folding lock blade knife, I smashed through the layer of ice. While the pond wasn’t that deep, there was a lot of mud and while slowing me, I didn’t let it stop me as I pushed aside the broken ice fragments to get to the dying animal.

That’s when I realized it wasn’t a dog at all – but rather a coyote. The beast must have sensed I was there to help as it ceased struggling and allowed me to scruff it by the neck and tail, yank it from the water and toss it to the nearby snowy bank.

It laid there, panting heavily as I made my way over to it. As I crawled up on the bank next the coyote, I briskly rubbed its body and pushed down on its skinny chest a few of times to help get its circulation going faster.

With in 20 seconds it jumped to its feet, shook its self vigorously and sprang off towards the hillside. I pulled myself to my feet and walked briskly to my truck, where I knew the warmth of the heater would help stave off the onset of hypothermia.

Somewhere behind me I heard the Officer yell, “Are you fucking crazy?!”

Ignoring her question, I climbed in the cab, turned the ignition on and cranked the heater up. As I sat there enjoying the warmth, the female bystander came over to return my coat, which I quickly pulled on.

The lady then explained that it was her dogs that had chased the coyote into the ice and that the Officer was waiting for the Department of Wildlife to arrive.

Finally she said, “Thank you,” as she asked, “Are you okay?”

As I began to pull back onto the road, I smiled through my chattering teeth, “Y-e-e-s-s-s a-n-n-d-d-d y-y-o-o-u-r-r wel-wel-co-co-co-come.”

And to answer the Officer’s question: I suppose I am crazy.

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“Hot and…”

While at the veterinarian’s office with one of our dogs, I asked for cup of coffee. It is something they offer to the ‘parent’s of their patients,’ and anytime I can get a fresh brewed cup o’ Joe, I’m all over it.

As the coffee finished gurgling through the maker, the young lady who was making it warned, “It’s not full, that way you can add sugar and cream to it if you’d like.”

“Thank you,” I returned, “But I like my coffee undiluted.”

The 30-something woman seated at the computer screen and answering phones, laughed and added, “He likes his coffee like he likes his women — hot and…”

She paused, catching herself before she completed the thought. She finally saved herself by finally saying, “…Strong,” to which the three of us laughed.

By this time her face was as red as if freshly sunburned. So not wishing to be outdone in the ‘not politically correct department,’ I put my hands backward on my hips and in my best-Robin-Williams- from-The –Bird-Cage impression, lisped, “Don’t tell my boyfriend that!”

The young woman who made my coffee for me pee’d herself from laughter, which caused a stir in the reception area with the other two women working on the cat-side of the counter. So I took that as a sign that I better get back to the examination room with my coffee before I caused anymore trouble.

The three of us could hardly look at one another as I slinked out the front door. I think we were afraid that by making direct eye-contact we’d start laughing again.

Losing to Meadowlark Lemon and the Harlem Globetrotters

Harlem Globetrotter “Meadowlark” Lemon passed away at the age of 83. He played 24 seasons and by his own estimate more than 16,000 games with the Globetrotter organization.

It was the early 70’s and I remember watching his on court antics as a kid, and enjoying Saturday morning cartoons with his team mates solving some sort of problem by playing a friendly game of basketball. And if I remember correctly, they also appeared in a few “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” cartoons as well.

But the greatest ‘Globetrotter experience’ I had, was getting to run up and down the basketball court against him and his fellow Trotters in late 1979. Ironic thing is — I’ve never been very good at basketball, but I was the only person to sign up from the 90th Hospital Squadron, so I was an automatic pick.

Anyway, Meadowlark and crew were at Warren AFB, in Cheyenne, Wyoming for a charity basketball game against the Warren Airmen (or whatever we called ourselves.)  While we knew we would lose – we ran ourselves ragged trying to get our hands on the basketball and it wasn’t the least bit helpful when the Globetrotter’s did something that made everyone, including us, crack up with laughter.

I had so much fun that night, playing for whatever charity, that I never knew what the score was in the end.

A Tenuous Connection

Perhaps you’ve heard the old saw: “Things happen for a reason.” Well, it seems that Star Wars is running through my son’s and my life, over 32-years after I found myself involved in “Return of the Jedi.”

This thought came to me as we sat watching the new movie over the weekend. Hopefully, I can explain myself well enough not be considered ‘too far’ out there.

Kyle works for an electronics company, where they create, box up and ship electronic parts all around the world. One of the many thousands and thousands of orders he’s helped work on these past few months has been parts for a new droid character in this latest Star War’s film, “The Force Awakens,” known as BB-8.

Made of two spheres, BB-8 includes a large ball for the body and a smaller one for the head. Disney licensed the BB-8 character to Sphero in July 2014, which in turn hired Kyle’s employer to produce, package and distribute the electronic pieces.

Having worked as Mark Hamill’s stand-in and stunt-double when I was 23-years-old, the Star War’s saga has managed to cross-sect 23-year-old Kyle’s life and mine more than three-decades later. I know – the link is very thin – but there it is.

Flashing Lights and Flashing Lights

So schools in the Reno/Sparks area are out for winter break — or Christmas break as we used to say in the old days. Despite that, the school zone light’s near my home continue to flash meaning (in Nevada) you’re supposed to slow down to 15 miles per hour.

So the question becomes: Do I drop down to the required speed limit or drive on as if the flashing lights mean absolutely nothing? Yeah — fool me once…

So I slow down to 15 miles per hour. In no time I have three vehicles stacked up behind me and I can tell they’re feeling less than Christmassy towards me.

Without warning, and from where the cruiser came, I don’t know. But he jumped right in behind me and flipped on his siren and flashing lights.

“Oh, crap,” I shouted at the dashboard, “Now what did I do?!”

Wasting no time, I pulled out my driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, which the man-behind-the-badge didn’t fail to ask for. He looked them over to make certain they were all up to date.

“Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked.

“No,” I answered.

“You were going only 15 miles an hour when the speed limit is 35,” he politely explained.

“Yes. I know I was, but…” I started to reply.

“You must not have children,” he interrupted.

“Not school aged, no,” I agreed.

“Well, schools out and there’s no reason to do anything other than the posted speed limit, even with the lights flashing,” he continued.

“Oh, good — then you saw them too,” I returned.

He furrowed his brow in a puzzled expression, but before he could say anything, I told him that I’d been ticketed a few years ago for speeding through a school zone in spite of school being out for the summer. I also explained that I didn’t want to get another ticket and waste my time or the courts time jus’ to get it dismissed.

“Gotch’ya,” he stated as he handed me my paperwork adding, “Have yourself a Merry Christmas.”

“You, too,” I called back as he walked to his cruiser, adding, “Stay safe and Happy New Year as well.”

The Truth Behind the Firing of a Lunch Lady

While working as Irving Middle School in Pocatello, Idaho, Dalene Bowden was caught giving a lunch to a girl who supposedly didn’t have the money to pay for it. Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25 immediately terminated her employment because of her theft of school district property.

Yes – school district property — which is paid for through both federal and state taxes and isn’t hers to give away as she sees fit.

The ex-lunch lady claims she’s never been written up or reprimanded on the job, though she did receive a verbal warning once for giving a student a cookie. And since she has a history such activity – it goes to show that she has a personal agenda.

Bowden should have paid for the $1.70 lunch if she truly wanted to help the child before stealing it in order to give it away. So simply put, she’s a thief – so why the hell is she being portrayed as some sort of hero by the press and social media?

Because no one has taken the time to look beyond the ‘bleeding heart story-line,’ of some poor wayward child being starved by the fascistic government bureaucracy, which is all bogus in the first place. After all, the girl Bowden gave the lunch had money enough pay for the lunch herself, but ain’t anyone talking about that.

And now the district is bowing to public pressure and in ‘the spirit of the holiday,’ is offering to reinstate the woman. Meanwhile a gofundme.com account has been set up help Bowden fund action against the district.

As my grandpa used to say, “A fool and his money are soon parted.”

Best Friends

It was Christmastime 1969, when my best friend and I got off the bus, arguing over whether Santa Claus was real or not. He said ‘no’ and I said ‘yes.’

My conviction was so strong that I eventually picked a fight with him and we both ended up in the principal’s office. I explained that I had jus’ seen a program on TV that took viewers on a tour of Santa’s Reindeer Ranch.

In the end we were both had to spend all of our recesses that day standing against the supply shed, watching everyone else play. Eventually, he moved away, his father having been reassigned to another air base and I soon forgot his name.

Not being able to remember his name always bugged me.

It was later summer, nearly 46-years later when Kay Vail, a friend from high school contacted me, saying she and her husband were in town and wanted to get together. I jumped at the chance.

It was during dinner that Kay’s husband, Steve started reminiscing about how he had attended Margaret Keating School his third grade year. He also talked about playing with the kid’s who live on both sides of Camp Marigold and how he was best friends with one boy right across the fence from him.

Then he shared how he and his best buddy got into a fight and ended up in the principal’s office: “I can’t remember what the fight was about. And worse yet, I can’t recall the kid’s name that I was friends with.”

I nearly choked on my prime rib.

“Your dad was in the Air Force and you were waiting for a place to open up in base housing,” I interrupted. “And if you heard you dad call for you – you had to drop what ever it was you were doing and get home and your dad had a one of a kind holler, kind of like a bullhorn.”

“Yeah,” he responded as a semi puzzled look crossed his face.

“And that fight – it was over whether Santa Clause was real or not,” I added.

He knew it before I could finish my sentence, “It was me who started that fight and got you in trouble.”

All I could do was choke back the tears I felt welling up and offer him my hand, saying, “I’m sorry.”

“No big deal,” Steve chuckled as he gripped my hand, “We were jus’ kids.”