Saturday, September 28, 2013


My dog is broken. Here's the story.

I awoke at 1:43 am after nearly five hours of sleep, my usual maximum before I magically wake. The cat was settling himself onto the expensive pillow he'd adopted on the bed. I tried to go back to sleep. I really did. I suspect that the cat was somehow responsible for the fact that I was awake yet again, but I have no proof.

I rolled to one side and picked up my Nook in the dark. I can now operate the button for it so that the little light comes on without my having to turn on the bedside lamp. This is a good thing. Sometimes I can lie there and read for a while until my eyes go unfocused and I can go back to sleep.

Tonight, no dice.

I rolled to my other side to see if that was the magical position. Three more of the very short chapters evolved. I'm reading 'Fat Girls and Lawn Chairs' by Cheryl Peck. I mostly like the book, though her nicknames for her sisters is confusing. It's cute, at first, but there are too many 'Wee' combinations to keep clear. Still, I like her description of her attempt at softball and the sister in labor is pretty interesting too.

Oh, I'm sorry. This book rates more than a 'pretty interesting,' but you've got to remember that it's 3:38 in the morning and there's a slab of roast beef on the floor beside me. I just might not reach a high level of intellectual prowess at this point.

As I tried to keep quiet in my bed, I realized that my eyes weren't going unfocused. I eyed the bottle of melatonin in the glow of my Nook and wondered how many pills it took to overdose on them. Two? Separated by five hours? I wasn't ready to die, not just yet.

Eventually, I began to go unfocused and I put my Nook on the shelf and snuggled deeper into the covers. Ah, I could sense heaven, almost within reach.

Until my stomach rumbled and my leg cramped up, threatening a Charley horse.

Who was the first person to name this cramp a Charley horse? Well, I looked it up. It's named after some guy named Charley, a guy who had these cramps. Duh. In Sweden, it's called a 'thigh cookie' and in Southern Italy, a 'donkey's bite.' Good one. In the UK, it's called a 'dead leg' and in Australia, a 'corked thigh.' These are all funny terms for a cramp, but I know I was never going to get to sleep with this thing twitching and threatening the real thing, the seizure of the muscle that would send me leaping vertically out of bed, usually screaming and waking the entire household.

With heaven still within sight, I knew I'd have to leave my warm bed to walk in the dark to the kitchen, usually stepping on wayward Legos or soggy rawhide treats and occasionally banging my shin or toe on some piece of furniture that hasn't been moved this century but I still didn't know where it is in the dark. I turned on the light in the kitchen, blinking in my sudden white-blindness, and blended some of that fizzy stuff that makes the Charley horse go away, the stuff that replenishes my magnesium and potassium. Oh, my writing prowess at 4:01 in the morning is prodigious, isn't it?


So, while I was mixing up my concoction, I figured I'd see if I could take care of the other little cramp. I can never go back to sleep when I'm hungry.

Roast beef. Swiss cheese. Mayo.

It was like having a sandwich, but without all the carbs, quick and neat, as long as I misaligned the holes in the cheese, and it tasted so good.

Suddenly, the dog was at my side, loyal dog that he is. It's good to have a companion in the wee hours. He looked intently into my eyes. Are all dogs hypnotists? Telekinetic geniuses? I was suddenly imbued with the impulse to give my roast beef to him. It was a strong impulse.

Usually, I only tear the yucky parts off my roast beef for him, but it was the middle of the night and this sweet, loyal dog was there with me every night, understanding insomnia and only occasionally groaning because the light was too bright.

It was the last of the roast beef, but I could spare a single slice, couldn't I?

I could. I dropped it into his bowl and heard the satisfying ping as it landed.

I went on to devour my snack, switched off the light, and was headed back to bed in the dark when I stepped on something cold and slimy. Yuck. What the hell was that? I reached for the light switch.

Roast beef.

The crazy dog had left his slice of roast beef on the living room carpet. What the hell was wrong with that dog? Was he suddenly sick after cheerfully begging for half of my snack? I knew he was picky, but this? Leaving roast beef for something better? Really?

My stomach grumbled again.

How old was that roast beef? Just a week. That wasn't too long, was it?

It had smelled okay. Did the dog smell something I couldn't? Was I about to suffer the effects of listeria? Botulism? Salmonella? Ebola? My back began to itch. Was that the first symptom?

Great. I got a dog that was smart enough to know when food had just begun to turn, but still wasn't smart enough to tell me so.

Either that or he's broken.

Thank you for listening, jb

Friday, September 27, 2013

Keeping an Environmentally-Friendly House

I didn't go anywhere today. So, what do I tell you about when I didn't go anywhere today?

I admit that I drove my boy to school.

Yes, I took him to school in my pajamas. Guess I haven't learned anything, except that, this time, I didn't get out of the car.

After that, I went back to sleep for a little while. It was great! I got nothing done. I didn't clean up after my boy. I didn't clean up after my husband. I didn't clean up after any Boy Scouts.

I've gotten to be the Boy Scout merry maid lately. I clean up after them. I cleaned out a moldy bundt pan from a spring camporee a couple of weeks ago. I tried to wash it. I really did. But I could not redeem that pan. It was never going to be the same.

Last week, I looked through Mike's camping crates and found my vanilla. I had scrapped plans to make cookies and had to put vanilla on my list. Two days later, after I'd gotten more at the store, I found my half-used bottle. Now I have one and a half bottles of vanilla. And I found a couple of containers with old food in them. I could no longer identify what the food had been. I want to ask my husband, the Scoutmaster, 'Can't you just unpack the yucky stuff when you get home?'

I also have two an a half pounds of extra butter I need to figure out how to use. What recipe can you come up with that calls for two and a half pounds of butter and three-quarters of a cup of vanilla? Last weekend's popcorn never got its melted butter since the cooler housing the eight sticks happened to be up at camp while I struggled in a commercial kitchen to make popcorn the way I do in my own kitchen. No container smaller than five gallons existed there. No pot holders! Thankfully, I had three macho Boy Scout men who wadded up aprons they'd never be seen wearing and shook the ten-gallon stock pots as oil and kernels sizzled then popped. I never would have been able to do all that by myself unless we'd arrived an hour ahead and I'd been alone in the kitchen popping one stock pot of popcorn at a time. I doubt I'd have had time to melt the butter and put it all on while it was still hot. Nobody likes cold popcorn soggy with butter, so I imagine it worked out okay. All but two of the popcorn bags were claimed and the macho guys and I had a kitchen party while we popped and shook and scooped and spilled popcorn. I had never been so popular in real life.

Okay, so that was fun. Guess I'm not just the Boy Scout merry maid. And a couple of weekends ago, Mike and I paddled our canoe while the boys floated inner tubes in the cold water down the Snoqualmie river. I love that the Snoqualmie river is more challenging in a canoe than in a floaty tube. There were a couple of riffles that made me happy, standing waves nearly crashing over the bow of the canoe. I barely noticed that the gravel on the bottom of the canoe was grinding into my knees while we paddled those rapids.

There's so much satisfaction in finding the right route through the water.

So, no. I'm not just a cleaner bee for the Boy Scouts. I need to remember that.

Still, the fact that Mike's Dutch ovens are pitted and need to be completely reseasoned makes me feel a little aggravated since I already had to reseason one of them last spring after it came home with crap still in it, crap that made the whole thing smell like my mother's vegetable drawer. Have I ever told you about my mother's vegetable drawer? Let's just say that it's contents seemed forever to have to be poured onto the compost pile. Don't imagine that smell. Just don't.

I'm procrastinating around my own house, let alone Boy Scout duties. The carpet is furry. Bed sheets are mangled and damp. The lawn is too wet to mow, but its blooming weeds needs to be deadheaded. Leaves have fallen in a slick the truck skids on as it comes around the corner of the driveway. Gutters are clogged. Windows host spider webs, thankfully on the outside. Yet I do have a couple of cobwebs if I look for them. Dust? What dust. Those are star particles. It would be sacrosanct to brush them away, wouldn't it?

Can I say I'm protecting the environment when I only wash the car twice a year? What about saving the planet by not buying new flooring or painting the house? I put fewer household cleaners down the drain than most women do! My leaves compost naturally and bring nutrients back into the soil. I allow nature to take it's course, killing thousands of pesky mosquitoes and flies by leaving the spider's webs alone. Don't I get kudos for that?

I'm not a bad housekeeper. I'm an environmentalist!

Thank you for listening, jb

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Bed Head and Ratty Old Furry Clogs

It's been a strange day, one whose entire outcome has hinged on a single impulse. Early this morning, despite the fact I was still in my pajamas and wearing my furry clogs, I took the boys to school.

That, by itself, wouldn't have been memorable. Lots of moms like me drop their kids off in their pajamas and cozy clogs, all the while lecturing their kids never to leave the house wearing anything less than they could manage comfortably should they need to walk the five miles home in a thunderstorm. I know you've said it yourself. You know, those mornings when your boy puts on shorts and flip flops and it's only forty three degrees on the outside thermometer.  You may, like me, lecture your child about hypothermia half way to school before you get distracted by your next thought and the kids are grateful that you've interrupted yourself yet again.

"I'm going to work in the library before school on Mondays, so we'll have to leave ten minutes early those days," I said, planning to change the tack of the lecture to promptness. Both boys have been five minutes late since the beginning of school though they still have time to get into class on time after I drop them off.

"Why don't you go in today, Mom?" Nick asked. Nick was asking me to go in to school, to middle school, where he hangs out, to appear, in public, where his friends just might happen to see me. Wow. That is so sweet!

"You wouldn't be embarrassed by having me there?" I asked gesturing at my attire, baggy black shorts, a ratty long-sleeved Tshirt, an oversized fleece jacket, and my furry clogs. I love my furry clogs, but they aren't intended for spectators.

"No, you'd be standing behind the counter at the library anyway," Adrian chipped in. "Who would see?"

"You sure?" I asked.

"My hair isn't too bad?" I asked.

"Not too bad," Nick said. Yet, he'd hesitated for a half a millisecond and I could tell by this that it was probably smashed flat in the back and puffy on one side.

I swear. I did not hear them sniggering in the back seat. They sounded forthright and enthusiastic.

"Well, okay," I said, timidly. I am seldom timid.

And thus it began. I spent the first ten minutes in the library all by myself and when three kids finally came in to return a half a dozen books, I was safely ensconced behind the counter. Even the flat spot in my hair was safely hidden behind me.

'Wow, this really was worth coming in for,' I thought to myself when the fourth kid came in and asked if he could use the computer for his homework. Then, because the bell rang and the last student ran out, I decided to make myself useful for just a few minutes more by putting the books back onto the shelves. As I usually do, I got engrossed in rearranging the misplaced books and didn't notice the next person to come into the library.

It was the Chair of the PTSA. She wore a casual grey skirt, a lighter gray blouse that could have been silk, and a stunning red sweater. Cashmere, maybe? Her shoes were black ballet flats.

And I stood there, deer in the headlights, in my pajamas, bed head, and furry clogs.

She walked right over to me. She's nice. She really is. I tried to seem nonchalant while she chatted about her upcoming meeting. I helped her put tablecloths on the table while we chatted. I tried to stay on the opposite side of the table, hoping she wouldn't see my lumpy legs, the back of my head, and my ratty, furry clogs.

"I've got to get out of here before that starts," I said. "I only intended to be here for twenty minutes this morning."

She smiled.

"It's so great that you're here," she said. "It helps just to have someone to bounce my ideas off while I try to get organized." We put muffins and croissants on a platter.

"I should make a sign-up sheet for the volunteers," she said. I scurried back behind the library counter and made up a sign-up sheet on the computer using Word. I was behind the counter again.

"That is perfect," she said. "Could you make one with two columns for the Music Boosters? You know you're totally saving me here," she said, smiling again. I know that the sweetest, most charming people make the best PTSA leaders because I really wanted to help her after hearing her say that. For a moment, I forgot my wretched state of being until I smelled her gentle perfume wafting over my shoulder.

Then the head of the library volunteers walked in and the three of us began to discuss the art contest and how we could best help the parents of the new students get acclimated. She was wearing a pink polo shirt and a white cardigan with twill pants and a kicky pair of brown leather ankle boots. I checked in a couple more returned books and found some tape to put up the volunteer lists.

By the time I was done helping, people started filtering in. I tried to ignore what I was wearing and I went up to all of the people I knew, which was a little more than half of them. Were people going to notice that I was wearing my pajamas? It's not like they were pink with fluffy clouds and sheep on them. Could a smile be my camouflage?

No, it couldn't. It was totally the problem of the flat, slightly greasy hair and the ratty old furry clogs.

So, then, I started working it into the conversation, how I'd left the house never intending to be seen, and ended up here, at a PTSA meeting in my pajamas. People laughed politely. My friends laughed a little harder than they should have, considering my feelings, but I forgave them because they know me. They know I'm never perfect. They know the predicaments I get myself into.

Then, about when my helpfulness was winding down and I thought I could slip out, a line of children came through the door with the new music teacher. She deftly rounded everyone up and sat us down inside a circle of children. I could not escape now.

Then, the children began to sing. It was a Taylor Swift song, 'Everything Has Changed.' Their voices were pure and high. They smiled at us as they sang. I had known many of these kids for years and my eyes filled with tears at their sincerity and the beauty of their voices. My nose began to run and I didn't have a tissue, so I sniffed. Loudly.

Then I remembered my condition. I tried to hide my varicose veins under the table, but by then, a half a dozen kids and the teacher were focused on me and my emotional state as they sang. I was not going to be able to explain to them that I only intended to be in the library for twenty minutes before school started and I hadn't intentionally dressed this way.

And then, I noticed the principal, standing proudly behind me, on the same side of the table as my pasty-colored legs and my ratty old muddy furry clogs. He was wearing a crisp grey dress shirt, new blue jeans, bright white tennis shoes, and a shiny silver silk tie. He looked as though he'd just gotten a hair cut. He seemed to be staring at the back of my head as I turned around and his eyes, ever so briefly, flitted onto my muddy, old, ratty, furry clogs.

When he looked up to my face to say 'hello' he was smiling politely, but underneath it was something else. He didn't know me so well to laugh the way my friends had, but it was there, the way the corner of his mouth twitched just a bit and the corner of his eyes crinkled.

Too much of a gentleman to let it slip out, he said, "Good morning Mrs. Holloway. How are you today?"

"I'm just fine," I said, knowing there was no sense in trying to explain my condition, the runny nose, the bed head, the pajamas, my ratty old furry clogs, and all.

Thank you for listening, jb


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Visceral Memory

At Hunter Safety class tonight, we got to try out different guns. It was weird. I really didn't like handling some of them. Just closing the action of the semi-automatic could take the end of your finger off if it got in the way when you pressed that button. Plus, I think I was the only person there who really acted as though the guns were loaded and might go off. They had special cartridges that allowed us to dry fire the weapons. Everybody else was popping away, but I kept feeling as though they might go off. I kept pulling down the muzzle in anticipation of recoil. I kept listening for the shot.

I wonder if there isn't a certain amount of confidence required to make using a gun safe. It's something to think about. It's certainly an issue with me to handle a gun for the first time and many of these were fairly new to me. Some were easy because I remembered. One was difficult because I remembered.

The .22 bolt action rifle was fairly simple because that's what Mike bought for Nick. I've used that gun. I'm fairly proficient with it, though I still have the problem of being right handed and left eyed. I also felt comfortable with the semi-automatic. Someone I shot with years ago had a handgun that was similar, right down to the button you pushed to close the action, the one that would take a chunk out of your finger if it got in the way.

Memories are slippery, but I have to tell you that, as a six year old girl, I remember having a lever action rifle placed in my hands. Tonight, it was familiar. The difference was that my dad's gun had a safety and the one I tried tonight didn't.

"Red is dead," I can almost hear my dad saying as I pushed the button. I was busy trying to figure out what made the button turn from black to red and back. I still don't know. I was too small to be able to cock the lever. It felt as though I'd have the same trouble tonight, but I didn't.

I was six years old. The reason my dad walked all three of us kids down into the woods to shoot is that there had been an accident. First, we received the lecture.

"Do not, under any circumstances, touch any gun you find in the house," he said. These words would have been capitalized, in bold face and large font, and underlined. Twice. I knew that what he meant was that if I touched his gun, he'd kill me. I was pretty well afraid of my dad when I was a kid. I know he didn't use the words 'I'm going to kill you,' but he implied it pretty clearly sometimes. So, I listened and barely breathed when he put the rifle into my hands.

That's how I felt tonight when the trainer put the lever action rifle into my hands tonight, barely breathing. That's how I knew it was the type that my dad had owned.

 I was six years old. My dad finished the lecture about the gun in the house, then he proceeded to instruct us about the features of the gun, the stock, the action, the barrel, the safety. Red is dead. Then he told us not to trust the safety.

"Never aim at something unless you want to shoot it."

By that point, I wasn't sure I wanted to shoot anything, let alone the empty Coke can my dad had placed on a stump earlier.

I was six. He handed me the gun and told me to close the action. I didn't have the strength to pull the lever all the way back. With arms on either side of me, he helped me do it. He told me to turn off the safety.

"But Daddy, red is dead."

I'm pretty sure he rolled his eyes, but I had to try to convey to him that I didn't want to take the safety off. This gun was pretty scary with the safety on. By then, I'd already had a BB lodged into my shin, shot from fifteen feet away by Mark Harper, the bully on my street. This gun, I could tell, was much more serious than a BB gun.

I held the gun up to my shoulder, putting my hands where my dad had instructed, and squeezed my eyes closed for a minute.

"Now look past the notch at the can on the stump and line it all up," he said tapping the notch and the blade one by one. I opened my eyes and lined them all up, but the rifle wavered. It was too heavy for me.

I was six. With my daddy's arms around me, steadying the gun, I pulled the trigger and shot, feeling the recoil into my shoulder, not much, but the sound made me flinch and fall backward. The sound was a shock. I would have dropped the gun had my dad not had hold of it. The can still stood where my dad had placed it, on the stump.

Lesson learned.

I can't tell you that I became proficient with the gun that day. I didn't. One shot, the warning shot, was all I got. I think my dad wanted to shock us, at least with the sound of that gun. Then, he told us that the neighbor boys had been playing with their father's gun and it had gone off. Mark Harper was dead. He died of a gun shot to his stomach. He was killed by his brother.

Mark Harper, the bully who'd shot me in the leg with a BB gun, the kid who'd ground my face into the gravel, the kid whose house I was afraid to walk past, was dead. I felt relief and dread at the same time. Guns and bullies were not simple subjects, and I was only six years old, a first-grader when I first saw a dead body at Mark's funeral. I couldn't quite read. I couldn't pour my own milk out of the gallon jug when it was too full. My parents still cut up the meat they put on my plate. And yet, there I was, shooting a rifle and then standing by a casket and staring at a dead body, the dead body of the boy who had shot at me, who had been shot through the stomach.

So, it doesn't surprise me that I had a flash of memory at using the lever action rifle, that I could feel the fear, the weakness, and the dread all over again in the time it took to cock the lever and dry-fire into the woods. I didn't hold that gun with confidence. I doubt I ever will.

Thank you for listening, jb


Monday, September 9, 2013

This Is the Deneuralizer

Oh, I don't think I'm going to get anything written tonight.

I already took my melatonin and I'm going down. I can feel it, a heavy spot at the bottom of my gut. My arms are a little heavy too, as if I suddenly got those grandma add-ons on my upper arms that wave when grandma waves. You know what I mean, don't you?

I should really go to bed now. Maybe I'll actually sleep for seven hours.

Fat chance.

I usually only sleep five hours a night. And then people wonder why my mornings aren't available.

I'm sleeping, that's what I'm doing! What would you do if you only got four to five hours of sleep a night and it got quiet right after everyone left for work and school? You'd sleep too. I know you would. If you didn't, you'd end up 'either getting used to it or having a psychotic episode.'

What's the movie?

Did you guess? Did you?

Men in Black. I love that movie. Only Seinfeld, Ferris Beuller, and Firefly have better and more repeatable lines.

This is the deneuralizer.

This is the denerualizer.

Class, class, pay attention!

Okay, I'm really going down. I don't like drugs, but if I did, this melatonin shit would be like having a few drinks. It might be like marijuana, but I can't remember how that felt. Isn't that pathetic? I never once got high when I was in college without having a few drinks first, so I have no clue what it really feels like. I just remember being a little tipsy and being nervous that I was going to get caught by the RA. Relaxed and paranoid. I heard that part was true. I don't even remember getting the munchies.

I hope that doesn't make me lame. I'd hate to be lame.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Thank you for listening, jb

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Starring in the News

Oh man.

I was on television.

Don't ask me why I admitted that I have a boy in the school district when the news crew showed up at the dog park, but I did. All the other people started moving away when the guy began to set up his camera. I stood there, umming, and uhhing, as the reporter asked me questions about the teacher's contract. I admitted that I wasn't keen on extending my boy's summer but that I wanted the teachers to get a good deal. I even managed to say that a good education was good for the future of our community. They cut that part.

The whole thing was mortifying.

I was afraid I was going to cry. Why would I cry over the teachers ratifying a new contract? I was more worried about the argument Nick had with Adrian this morning. If the kids were off from school because the school district didn't want to pay the teachers a decent wage and make some attempt for the class sizes to be normal, then Nick and I would head off on some adventure with his friends. I didn't mind.

What I minded was the thought of having to speak into a microphone.

Do you remember in the movie 'Bridget Jones's Diary,' how Bridget would get to rambling in front of a crowd and dig herself deeper and deeper into the mire? Do you remember how she said she feels like an idiot most of the time anyway? At that moment, as I stood in front of that expensive camera, I could hear those words, 'I feel like an idiot most of the time anyway.'

And it nearly made me cry.

So, now, I've seen the footage. I've looked at the way they edited it. Teddy pranced in the foreground. He was fabulous, a grin on his innocent face. I looked and sounded like me, not so good, but not quite an idiot. I was what they wanted me to be, a concerned parent who likes teachers and values their work. Teddy was the star.

And he didn't say a word.

Thank you for listening, jb

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hunter Safety

So, I have a question I asked myself tonight:

Why on earth am I taking a hunter safety class?

Good question, don't you think? I'm not a hunter. I'm not exactly excited about going hunting. I'm not sure I could look at a rabbit and say that I want to kill and eat it even though I frequently ate rabbit, pheasant, squirrel, venison, and quail as a kid. They tasted great. I'll tell you that much.

But there are lots of reasons why it doesn't seem all that obvious why I'm in this class. Most of the adults in the class are dads. I realize I've never been a normal mom, but that doesn't bother me. What bothers me, at least a little, is the idea of going out into the woods and shooting something to eat with a gun. I've just never done it. I can't quite picture myself doing it though I have no ethical problems with other people shooting their food. So why am I in this class?

The reason, the compelling reason is that Nick wants desperately to go hunting. I'm not that person to help him with this. I'm really not. I might cook it. I might go traipsing around in the woods with people who are hunting, but do I really want to go walking around in the woods with a gun? Do I want to aim it at something and shoot?

Not exactly. I like to eat rabbit, but killing one would make me cry. I know that makes me a hypocrite, but there are lots of ways I'm inconsistent.

So, bear with me. Nick wants to go hunting. So far, I've taken him shooting at a range. That's easy. We go and we shoot pieces of paper to shreds. It's not all that much to think about philosophically. Do you know what I mean?

But if my boy is even going with someone else to go hunting, I want to know the rules. I want to be able to talk with the adults that are taking him about their methods, about their safety standards. There's one guy, one of the dads in our Boy Scout troop, who is safety conscious enough for me to let Nick go with him. He's a good guy, and funny too, but he's never funny about gun safety. Nick could go with him. I'd be okay with that.

I also want to be assured that Nick is a guy who has the knowledge to be a good hunting partner. I guess I didn't have to actually take the class to figure that out. I could have just looked at the material online. It's good information. From that site, I can learn lots of safety, Washington state laws, and general information about hunting weapons. Then, I could use that to assess Nick's readiness.

I also want to take the class so that I learn more gun safety from people who know. Tonight, I did learn. These guys also talked about the ethics of being a hunter, what's fair to the animals, what's courteous to the general public. It's good for me. I can feel the difference in my knowledge already.

I also wanted to take this class because I know three people who were hurt or killed by guns. They are all grisly stories, complicated stories. Some day, I might tell you about Mark Harper, the boy who bullied me when I was a kid. Now, that is a long and confusing story to tell. Mark Harper is dead of a bullet to his gut.

No, I didn't do it. I was six when he died. That was the day my dad taught me how to shoot a gun.

There's another significant person for me who died in a hunting accident. Actually, we've been instructed to call them incidents because an accident is something that isn't anyone's fault and there is seldom a situation in which someone handles a gun and causes an injury and remains free from blame. There's nearly always a way they could have used better safety methods.

This fourth person, the significant person could also have used better safety methods. See, when my grandma was very young, she was engaged to be married. The day before her wedding, her intended went out hunting pheasant. He was killed when he leaned his gun up against a fence, climbed over it, the gun fell and discharged, and it hit him. See. Safety.

Back in those days, distant family couldn't be notified as easily, but eventually, they got word to his brother who immediately came back East from California, well, as immediately as he could come. It wasn't as easy to travel back then and my grandpa had to stop and get work a couple of times on the way to pay for the trip.

Yes, I said my grandpa. He returned home when he heard his brother had been killed and ended up marrying his brother's fiancee, my grandma. People did stuff like that back then.

So, you see, if it weren't for an incident with a gun, a fatality in fact, I wouldn't even exist. Now, that's a good reason to take a hunter safety course, don't you think?

Thank you for listening, jb