Archive for January, 2008

Dog Dialogue; Welcome to Jack’s world

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

A dozen days, traveling cross country with an elderly white guy, would be hell without a few treats. So provided is a photo of me enjoying a favorite snack; the chicken-flavored fudgesicle. Tyson Leftover

I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing essays, so I plan to share thoughts with you. Even though as dogs, sub-species canus verycoolis, we rarely speak directly to owners, I often converse with friends in the animal world. An example follows. We have entered New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, which, I don’t find particularly enchanting with no welcome center nearby. Better however than a Texas facility near El Pisso which exhibits this disgusting sign below:

Illegals get a warmer greeting

Gives new meaning to the worn-out Texas cliche, “Hook’em Horns”.

Twelve miles from the real Mexico

The ceremonial photo-op under the sign. We stop at the historic ghost town, Steins, New Mexico. No dog cemetery, no milkbones, no squirrels, no girls, and only one donkey. Fortunately the donkey was quite literate and we discussed John Steinbeck’s, “Travels with Charley”. He also wanted to talk about Faust’s ‘Remembrance of Things Past’ that he had just finished but bores me to the point where I wanted to look for something, anything, vertical to pee on. So I changed the subject to class basketball in Arizona, which really piqued the burro’s interest. He was not, however, familiar with Ralph Laurens’ continued use of the polo pony as an unpaid advertising icon, although he did admit to lusting over a wolf he once met in the desert. Evidently he watches too much cable-TV and confessed an addiction to “Monk” re-runs on the USA network. My intervention with this burro was unsuccessful because he felt he would enjoy the show even more if they had named it “Donk” instead of “Monk”. But donkeys, what can you expect, they’re all a bunch of asses. Steins, a dead town with my live new friend

(‘ did you hear the one about this donkey and a dog that go into a bar and ask the bartender if he knows how to make a Moscow Mule ?’………) Oh well, I’m busy now, but I’ll write again. My next column will be about meeting, up close and personal, a large extended family of fire ants and how it made me re-think the judicial process. In the interim, consider sending some gourmet dog treats my way. I’ll forward my p.o. box number, privately, on request. JACK

Conservative drive from Liberal, Kansas

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

7 F., 7 ” of snow and 7 minutes south of 7 A.M., I’m feeling lucky. In the predawn darkness, the sign indicates Dalhart, Tx., Ten Miles. At this hour the sign is hardly necessary. The distant horizon is bisected by the corona of Dalhart.Across the expanse, lights create an eerily straight line separating heaven and earth. Some flicker red or amber or yellow or the halogen warning strobe from the cell towers and the grain elevators. Lights bounce from a monster Ford diesel truck, a Southern Pacific engine entourage followed by a hundred Chinese shipping containers on flatbeds, and on the left, an airstrip welcomes a wealthy cattleman in his flickering Cessna 182. The west Texas panhandle….where have all the cowboys gone ?On long drives down lonely highways do you ever wonder how you became the person you are ? Why do you prefer freedom to money ?  Why are you happiest in old flannel clothes ?  Why do you wonder the names of birds, wildflowers, trees, mushrooms, and weeds ?  Why would you choose to live in a place where you can see a million stars on clear nights, but can’t buy a frozen pizza without driving 40 miles ?    From the window, an Oklahoma byway An endless panorama of prairie, bordered by stoic stick-figured telephone lines, sentinels in the wind, the search for zest, authenticity and simplicity comes naturally.  Being alone is not lonely.  Even the red tailed hawks took the day off. Boise City, Oklahoma The Artic (sic) RV Park, Boise City, Ok.  Closed, but cool.    

Dress for Distress

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

Frosting on the flea market dumpster

On a cross country trip, against the westerly teeth of winter on the great plains, Jack wears a new argyle sweater. Like boy scouts, we are prepared to slide off any two lane highway…and you should be also.

Staring through the windshield, that soft edge trapezoid that resembles wide screen HDTV, the majority of billboards on I-70 are advertising casinos and strip clubs and mega-churches. Not for us, as it is a sure bet we won’t remove our sweaters in Sunday School, so we opt for Missouri 36, the high road. Now the outdoor ads are soliciting our interest in the sterile, homogenous housing tracts starting at $ 219,000, or as my daughter described them, the scrubdivisions.

Glamorous names like Hunter’s Run or Prairie Walk at Riverstone threaten credulity. Really now, can you imagine gun-toting, camo-dressed, pheasant bashers trotting around your cul-de-sac ? With flourescent orange Stormy Kromer hunting hats ? Yes, yes, we are in Missouri, where, unlike Tennessee, the trailers have tires and anything is possible.

Traveling east to west, I’ve often wondered where the fulcrum is located that divides our grand country into a teeter-totter, the west coast from the left coast. Perhaps Greensburg, Ks. (pop.1500), until it was destroyed by a tornado in May 2007, eight lives lost and a community leveled. Maybe it is now Hutchinson, Ks., covered in rime (hoarfrost), a result of thick fog and 24F this morning, the landscape is surreal.

For years I observe an early morning tradition: to always notate the first out-of-state license plate I see. This A.M. it was a New Hampshire, Disabled Veteran plate. What are the odds ?

Breakfast before liftoff

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2008

12″ reason to inch toward Arizona

Thoughts at the table over eggs, toast, & a morning beverage.

Squeeze oranges, you get orange juice. Squeeze pineapples, you get pineapple juice. Squeeze cranberries, cranberry juice, but squeeze apricots……..

Speaking of nectar, is anyone else concerned that a parasite in the thorax of honeybees might threaten pollination of a third of the world’s food supply ? Universal war over food, not oil, may destroy us long before global warming, an irony created by an invisible microbe. Not funny, but curiously amusing. Unless you’re Al Gore.

On a lighter note, welcome to the new year and the A/S Life columnists. Jack and I head southwest this week and you are welcome to follow along in our carbon tire tread. Say hello to Jack; a terrier of suspicious ancestry, likely the result of hasty, unplanned dog sex, and my constant companion on the road. Since he does not have a driver’s license, he may take time to write entries of his own.

But for now, in the pursuit of world survival, give the bacteriologist or beekeeper in your life a big hug today.

About the Author

Retired 1997.
Frequent travel. Loyal companions: wife, Lynn; dog, Jack.
Avocation: writing social and political satire.
Past life: three decade clinical pharmacy owner. Now in recovery.
Location: Northern Indiana, Eastern U.P. of Michigan, Southern Arizona

No telephone;
E-mail cspiher@aol.com