Sasquatch Sighting Halfway to Rapid City

We stopped at the Wellington KOA (a nice, clean, and well maintained campground with all the amenities including blazing fast wireless service) for the night after yesterday’s long labors of prepping and loading the RV. Despite my best efforts and insistence on riding my bike to “trailer week”, Robin, Shelby and Mike all finally convinced me that my age and health (and track record) dictated that it was very unwise to ride all day in 107 degree weather.

I relented and rode in the RV, finally, but it was darn uncomfortable what with the gag and ropes cutting into my wrists and ankles.

We hit wildfires just north of Oklahoma City and I was doubly glad I wasn’t on the bike. More about that in the “big Sturgis Story” to come later.

So far we’ve had one crypto-zoology sighting, the below picture of an American Sasquatch snooping around out RV at the Wellington KOA.

But I really HATE Cars

I recently developed a bit of new interest in tracing down my family roots. I located another researcher who has done an admirable job collecting info and building out her geneology online. We have some common ancestors, and she had an open invite on her web site for others interested in the family tree to contact her.

I sent an email and she replied the following day with this:

Hi Tim:

I received your invitation to view your Frazier Family Tree…

seems like we have common ancestors…

I skimmed your blog, and realized that though we may shake from a similar tree, we have nothing in common aside from some distant genes.

I hate guns and motorcycles… but really HATE guns…

Thanks for the invite, but I have a much more fleshed out family tree.

ciao

Her reply was a bit of a shock…I really didn’t think political views would be a consideration for whether someone communicated about shared family tree info, but I guess some folks take the no-compromise view.

Of course, I wonder if she’d ever have been able to accumulate so much info if she had the same attitude toward cars, or power tools, or kitchen knives…all of which are used as fatal weapons to kill more people every year than guns. Try swapping the word “gun” for any of those in the quoted text above and see if it doesn’t sound silly to you.

And, by the way, it sure sounds like she’s implying in the last sentence that if I had something she needed she might be willing to converse. Maybe she’s not so un-compromising, after all.

A Few Puzzling Differences Betwixt Male and Female

I sat at the table in the dining room, blissfully cleaning the lead and powder residue out of my .45.

The clean, crisp odor of powder solvent was in the air, mixed with a hint of gun and reel lube as I used a technical oil pen to deposit a drop on each rail. A that moment, just as I was pushing the slide back against the tension of the recoil spring in reassembly, a voice behind me said, “WHAT ON EARTH are you doing on my dining room table?!”

Startled, my hand slipped off the slide and it shot across the room to put a nice dent in the textured sheet rock on the far wall. It was followed by the recoil spring and barrel bushing, making a PA-DING sound as they ricocheted off the wall behind the slide.

The lady of the house had once again silently materialized behind me, somehow entering the house noiselessly after a trip to the garden center.

There she stood, fuming at the fumes, one hand on her hip and the other holding yet another potted plant, “I cannot believe you’re doing that in the house. Why don’t you clean your guns in the garage?”

Instead of trying the previous failed explanation of why it was important to have a clean, dust free environment to clean a precision instrument like a Kimber 1911, I decided perhaps this time the best defence would be to go on the offence.

“Well, I can’t believe you’re standing there with a bucket of dirt with a bundle of weeds growing in it to set somewhere else in the house. You already have the place looking like a rain forest.” I retorted.

The best defence is NOT a good offence…or vice-versa.

The glare she gave me made me suddenly happy that my .45 was currently disassembled, unloaded and out of her reach.

“Sorry, Dear,” I mumbled. I quickly gathered my supplies and typically useless weaponry and humbly skulked out of the dining room en route to the garage, scraping against the wall in order not to come within her reach as I went by.

I’ve had friends who parked their motorcycles in their living rooms. I’ve had friends who left their socks on the bedroom floor overnight and awakened alive the next morning. I’ve had friends who drank directly from the milk carton and then stuck it back in the fridge, and they survived.

Of course, none of those friends were married.

So us married guys know there are certain things that women will not, can not, tolerate. It is sinful and disgusting to them for us to clip our toenails in the living room. It is the epitome of violations for us to leave the toilet seat up.

But there are things that women do which perplex their husbands beyond sanity as well. Most of the time we choose to ignore them rather than mention it and forfeit our safety as we sleep at night.

For instance:

Why do they raise plants indoors? They are always after us to clean up, yet they store buckets of dirt with writhing green masses growing out of them all about the house. And if you sneeze, you’d best just take a Zyrtec and keep your mouth shut. Any hint that her plants are causing it is tantamount to calling them weeds.

Why do so many of them keep cats instead of dogs? If your dog weighed 500 pounds he’d still be your best friend. If your cat weighed 500 lbs it would eat you.

Why do they ask you why there are so many females in your FaceBook friends list and then ask you what you’re trying to hide when you un-friend all but the 50 guys the next day?

Why do the 100 female friends you un-friended in FaceBook who you haven’t actually seen or talked to since high school 30 years ago write emails that sound as if you served them with surprise divorce papers after they discover you’re no longer their FaceBook friend?

Why do they allow their husbands to live after he posts a blog entry like this? I dunno, but that’s partially why I love her…all the mystery.

Fellas, I’m sure you have plenty of your own to add, just leave them in the comments section.

As for me, I gotta go. We have friends coming over tomorrow and I refused to “not volunteer” to help clean house tonight.

Maybe a Vacation Will Help

I always wondered why my Dad gave up a regular job with insurance and retirement benefits to strike out on his own in a small business venture that never really turned a profit. I also wondered, as the next few years prior to his untimely death went by, why he didn’t give up and go back to a steady paying job instead of doggedly pursuing his dream of being his own boss and running a paint and body shop.

He was an automotive paint and body guy who was more of an artist than a businessman. He could lay down a layer of paint that seemed to be half an inch thick and a mile deep without a single sag, drip, or run. But he was such a perfectionist that he couldn’t churn out work fast enough or cheap enough to make a living at it. He raised cars and pick-ups from the dead, and doctors and lawyers in Fort Worth and Dallas sent their Corvettes and Jaguars to his run down shop in Greenville after a wreck, because people knew he would send them back in better shape than they’d been on the original show room floor.

In his previous jobs he’d proven he could do anything. He could manage a work crew and get a project completed on time and under budget, repair just about any piece of machinery, weld, drive eighteen wheelers, operate a grade-all, run a combine, whatever you tossed at him he conquered. From single-handedly facing down burglars in the middle of the night to dragging a hundred-plus pound steel crane hook to the top of overturned railway cars, Ted Frazier never backed down from a challenge on the job. He held several jobs at different times, and his bosses always had glowing reports about his work ethic and skills from my recollection. And it didn’t stop there. The man worked at keeping his own livestock, hauling hay, and all manner of side jobs from security to carpentry every chance he got to earn an extra few dimes to feed and clothe me and my three siblings in attire that matched any upper middle class family on Sunday morning. He had pride.

I know his bosses appreciated him, because I worked for a couple of them myself after my father moved on to other jobs. I remember him getting me my first real job at the Highway department. “Jim,” I heard him say to the chief maintenance foreman over the phone, “just give my boy a shot at the summer crew job. He’s got a weak mind and a strong back. You won’t find a better worker.” Two years later at age 19 I had progressed from filling pot-holes to welding signs to drawing right-of-way maps to inspecting concrete bridge construction and quadrupled my income.

I moved on from there and landed one of three slots available with the local police department, graduated from the academy with honors, and spent 8 years as a patrol cop in my own home town (much to the chagrin and surprise of some of my old dope-smoking high-school classmates as well as my more prim and proper childhood friends).

And I had an immense sense of pride that I was contributing to society.

Meanwhile I watched Dad’s career fade away and crumble into a small ram-shackle tin-roofed garage on the outskirts of down-town Greenville. When a motor vehicle accident took his life unexpectedly, his career ended there…his life cut short in the midst of what ultimately turned out to be an exercise in futility, trying to make a decent living as his own boss.

I’m starting to understand why a man would pursue such futility so stubbornly, even losing money month after month, year after year, in hopes of sustaining himself without dependence on others.

He was fleeing corporate stupidity. To distance oneself from the sycophants, the self aggrandizing, the pompous overseers and office toadies of the corporate world, a man might eventually submerge himself in the bliss of hopeless pursuit, grasping at the elusive straw of self sufficiency, even though it becomes senseless and self destructive. That pursuit, that hope, false though it may be, seems so much more desirable than the daily grind of office politics, hypocrites, and charlatans. I heard him speak of it often, but back then I never realized how much it weighs on you as the years go by and you see the “Peter Principal” repeated over and over and over again.

Lately it’s been sucking the life out of me, and I find myself wondering what good it will do the world to eventually hang up my spurs having contributed so much to the retail world and so little to things that really matter for time and eternity. It won’t matter that I’ve achieved a white collar salary on a blue collar education. It won’t matter that I had a nice house or drove a nice car or rode a nice motorcycle. All that will matter to me as an old geezer rasping out his final breaths will be that I wasted so much time allowing people to set my priorities and direct how I used my time.

I’ve seen life and death. I’ve been involved in both. Those of you who’ve been in the military, law enforcement, emergency medical, or fire-fighting services know what I mean when I say I often have to suppress the urge to laugh out loud at the solemnity and seriousness with which these corporate types talk about integrity, honesty, and courage. Some of them have the outright gall to preach about humility.

Not that everyone in the white collar world is bad, it really just boils down to a few. But man do those few make life miserable for the other 95%.

If I don’t move on to living out a dream of writing and working just for yours truly, I hope I’ll remember I did the best I could, brought a steady pay check home to my family because it was the responsible thing to do, and didn’t jump off and go self-employed without prayerful consideration and wise counsel first. Maybe a vacation will help. Maybe other opportunities will arise that aren’t as risky as just throwing in the towel and assuming I can write magazine articles and blog for a living.

Perhaps I’ll land a job with a company that has less sucking up and more of a friends and family atmosphere.

I wonder whether my father ever regretted quitting his 8 to 5 job and striking out to pursue his dream?

Or did he regret not doing it sooner?

He died broke. Worse, he died in debt. But he died his own boss.

Maybe that made him much richer than I.