"Fly fishing is my passion, hunting is my weakness, and mules are a perplexing addiction."

Friday, November 16, 2012



You probably won’t believe this, but I have spent an inordinate amount of time this past weekend putting together a tremendous essay for this month’s story.  The truth is; it’s been kind of a dry spell lately, and I’ve had trouble sitting down and focusing.

Anyway, I think I finally came up with something; a story, that is, not something as in a screwdriver, or a lizard, or a piƱata, or something like that.  (Although a screwdriver does sound inviting right now,) but as I started to say, I’m not one to pat myself on the back, mostly because to perform that feat it is nearly impossible and would require incredible dexterity on my part due to the fact the arms are hinged in such a manner as to physically defy su….sorry, I’m just having trouble focusing.

At any rate, I really outdid myself by creating a hysterical tale about the time Lecil Hadley loaded up all his dirty saddle blankets, pack-pad covers, cinches, and canvas manties and headed into town to the local Laundromat for his yearly pack-gear cleaning, only to discover the proprietor had received prior warning of the impending visit and locked his door just as Leese pulled into the parking lot.  Then I wondered if Lecil could actually get all of his pack gear into the back of his truck?  It’s important for a writer to construct his stories in a manner that they are believable, and at the time, Lecil owned a pack station and had probably twenty-or-so mules.  Do you realize how much pack gear that really is, considering packers always have extra gear on top of what they use on a daily basis, and it’s probably physically impossible to get all that gear into the back of a pick-up?  Then I realized I’m not really a writer anyway; more of an ink slinger, really, having never actually had any formal training, unless you count Ms Ridenhour’s incessant, “I before e, except after…” whatever.  Then I realized I was wandering again…focus now, I gotta focus…

“You not weowcome heow!  You go way!  You crog my macheens; you go way, you go way NOW!” screamed the feisty little Chinaman who owned Ling Wey Laundromat.
Then I wondered if I was stereotyping Chinese people, not only with the pigeon-English Ling Wey was speaking; but do Chinese really own Laundromats anymore?  Of course not, I realized.

“You go way,” screamed the intimidating Korean, as Lecil stood in front of Hyung-Soon-Jung’s Laundromat.

At this point I was stumped.  What would Lecil do now, after all, a rational person would turn around and leave; but then I wouldn’t have a story.  Besides, a story has to have conflict.  You know, guy meets girl, guy loses girl, guy gets girl back.  I had to have conflict to make this story work.  Focus, Firth, focus…

Lecil’s steamy affair with Mayleen Trefflecoop had been a longtime, on again, off again affair.  The voluptuous beauty was deeply in love with Lecil, and the feeling was mutual.  Lecil just had one problem; he couldn’t commit to the relationship.  Actually, he had two problems, as he stood timidly on Mayleen’s porch, his legs buckling and his arms burdened under the weight of his dirty saddle blankets, pack-pad covers, cinches and canvas manties that were in desperate need of cleaning.

“You go way, you go way,” screamed Mayleen defiantly, as she produced a pair of whirling numchucks and sprang nimbly onto the porch from behind the screen door.
Wait a minute, I thought, just two problems?  Nobody has just two problems.  Life is full of problems; mortgages, work, bills, family emergencies? Standing on a porch, cowering in fear before a numchuck wielding, Dolly Parton look-a-like surely isn’t one of them.  Besides, Mayleen is a red-head, not a blonde, and a blonde couldn’t have the dexterity and where-for-all to wield numchucks; but that would be stereotyping, wouldn’t it?  Focus, now, focus…it’s got to be believable, Firth.  Try again…

Lecil stood at the edge of the steep precipice overlooking the ocean.  “This ought to do the trick,” he thought to himself, as he surveyed the foreboding, jagged rocks below.  All Lecil had to do was jump and it would be all over.  The misery would disappear, the rejection eliminated, the fear gone; it would all mercifully come to an end.  No more numchuck wielding redheads, no more crazy, irate Chinese or Korean Laundromat owners, no more wondering how he was going to get his pack gear cleaned by next year.
“You go way, you go way from criff.  You no can jump,” ordered the Irish-born, New York cop, waving his baton at Lecil while angrily nudging him away from the edge of the cliff.
Wait a minute; no one is going to believe such an outlandish tale as this for even a minute; Irish cops are only in the movies…focus now, Firth, focus…make it believable.

Lecil pulled up in front of Wally’s Water World and Natural Hot Springs Resort, and set the parking brake on the rented 40’ U-Haul truck containing most of his accumulated pack gear.  Lecil lifted the sliding door open and began unloading his dirty saddle blankets, pack-pad covers, cinches, and canvas manties and headed toward the resort’s gate for his yearly pack gear cleaning.

“You go way, you go way… ya’ll” bellowed the burly, Alabama redneck proprietor, clad in bib overalls and brandishing a double-barrel shotgun…

Saturday, November 10, 2012



When events happen such as Hurricane Sandy, Katrina, or any other of nature’s occurrences come along, they don't happen in a vacuum. They aren’t events that rush in, wreak havoc and then go away, leaving us to pick up where we left off.  In fact, they change our world at the most basic levels, leaving us vulnerable and with the sudden understanding that we are among the tinniest of creatures, left helpless and on our own to fend for ourselves.

The truth is the real tragedy here isn't Hurricane Sandy, but rather it’s the lack of planning prior as it pertains to the aftermath of any given catastrophe’s devastation, and even worse, the faith that the people living in these areas have come to put in the almighty, take care of us, government, a government with an outstanding record of ineptness in regard to past performances in nearly every arena, and now these folks are seeing first hand just how limited that help really is.

When I was growing up in the fifties, America was still primarily a rural nation and even many of those that had moved to the urban areas after World War II were from a rural background.  Back then, folks in rural areas were survivors; they were survivors by nature.  Families grew their own food, they slaughtered their own animals, they canned and put up supplies to get them through the tough times.  And when a disaster did strike, it was neighbors, churches, and others just willing to help that came to their aid.  Now that mandate to help our fellow Americans has been turned over to ever-inefficient big government agencies.

The layers upon layers of bureaucracy are staggering and woefully incompetent in supplying help and needed supplies.  No food, water, fuel, electricity, or trash pickup has caused sanitation to become an issue of real concern as people are using the bathroom wherever they can.  From utility crews arriving to help restore power to victims of the disaster being turned away and sent home because they are non-union, to FEMA closing their doors because of the adverse weather conditions that have affected the restoration of the infrastructure, if you're one of the victims, it's pretty much tough tittie right now.
Get used to it, folks; this is how big government works and this how it affects its subjects when they come to depend on it from the cradle to the grave.  Folks need to wake up and realize the inadequacies of big government.  Hurricane Sandy is a peek into the future and the direction our nation is going.  It’s also a clear vision of what people need to do to prepare for the next Sandy, or heaven forbid; something worse!