Monday, April 27, 2009

COWBOYS GONE FISHING

By Julie Carter

I know many cowboys that, if close to a pond or other some such fish habitation, like to throw a line in from time to time.
Curly, Robby, Darrel and Jim slipped off to do little fishing one year. Curly and Robby opted to sit on the bank of the lake, casting lines and consuming adult beverages.
There were more beverages going down than there were fish coming up, but, after all, it was spring and you don’t have to clean the beverages.
Darrel and Jim were drifting along in a flat-bottom boat they’d brought along, casting lines and sometimes catching old tires and other like treasures. Once in a while, they’d even catch a fish.
One of them whipped back a perfect cast after catching a tree limb on the bank. He shook loose the lure, along with it came a snake he’d managed to pick up in the commotion.
The snake hit the bottom of the boat and both the anglers bailed over the side. When Curly and Robby, still bank-side, quit laughing, they had to go save the boat that was continuing to drift on the current.
Cowboys that live where there is a lot of water, specifically lakes, will tell you of a common phenomenon, a culture of people called the Lake Dwellers.
You know you are in the neighborhood of a clan of them by the number of catfish heads on the fence posts and the abundance of Heinz-crossed mutts in every yard. They seem to live off one another, trading belongings back and forth as available cash ebbs and flows.
Occasionally, the cowboys will attempt to mingle with the Lake Dwellers. Jim and Curly had been down to a beer-swilling, pool-playing joint and picked up a couple gals who invited them to a party down at the lake.
When they arrived, they immediately deducted they were overdressed. Having gone home and showered, put on their starched jeans and best boots, they were no match for the crew in Bermuda shorts with no shirts and rubber boots.
Immediately unpopular with the men of the Lake Dweller clan, it didn’t improve when Jim spotted a deer’s behind mounted over the fireplace, tail up.
He promptly stuck a cigarette in the deer’s south opening and things went downhill from there. It didn’t take them long to enjoy all of that party they needed as they were considerably outnumbered.
The recent event where the captain of a hijacked ship managed with the help of a few Navy Seals, to fend off some scruffy pirates, has the cowboys swapping “cowboys as boat captains” tales.
If cowboys are anything, they are storytellers and are the very best at it when it involves themselves. The running dialog speaks of leaky boats (poor folk always have leaky boats) and bailing water to the extent it drove them all to the time-honored sport of bank fishing.
Curly has rounded up a gal to fantasize about – his flavor of the week. He says she has a “just a touch of the Lake Dweller in her.” That means you don’t ever have to worry about what she’s thinking.
Over cold longnecks, they’ve had some relationship discussions about kids and child support. He pays through the nose for one but she announced she’d never birthed a baby (and she has three) from a guy that ever paid a dime.
While Curly was digesting this information, she, in her Lake Dweller directness said, “You wasn’t thinking about getting married again anytime soon was you?”
When this question came forth, Curly was just putting his beer bottle to his mouth. His hand started shaking so bad he was afraid he was going to chip a tooth, and it wasn’t the grammar that was appalling him.
Recalling a previous commitment, he managed to free himself from the immediate Lake Dweller danger, and of late, has limited his vices to full time team roping.
Julie can be reached for comment at www.julie-carter.com

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

AROUND TOWN FROM A GENTLER TIME

by Julie Carter

Mr. and Mrs. Lyle Linton motored to town on Sunday to spend the day with Mr. Linton's ailing parents. They were met at the elder Linton's home by friends Zelda and Frank Cook, and they shared an evening meal of roast pork, potatoes and fresh garden vegetables.
A delicious lemon pie and coffee for dessert complemented the evening.
If the paragraph above brought back any memories of simpler times, it is because it is typical of the news collections from small towns and communities that were printed in the local paper 50-100 years ago.
People loved to read it and the fact is, they still do.
Our own Lincoln queen, Rosalie Dunlap, writes that very kind of everyday news about comings and goings of the people in her community. When a child is born or baptized, a wedding takes place, someone gets a new porch built, a birthday is celebrated, a dog is lost or meetings of all kinds are held, it's news.
Her reports endear her to he fans.
I gleaned the following from my Colorado hometown paper that runs a section called Peaks of the Past.
The following was published exactly this way 100 years ago:
We hear it talked that Silver Cliff has two candidates for mayor. The regularly nominated one should be re-elected.
L.C. Atkinson, president of the Geyser Silver Mining Co., was an arrival from the east Tuesday, on visit to the property.
Laundry business must be flourishing. Lew Key has just bought the lot adjoining his premises on the east of Silver Cliff.
Plowed patches of ground up and down the Valley indicate that the farmers are preparing rapidly for their spring planting.
Our friend Burke of the Maverick Billiard Hall says he drank salt in his coffee last Thursday morning, and then it dawned upon him that it was the first day of April.
The opening of Edman and Clancy's last Saturday was well attended by the ladies from the towns and surrounding country. The fairer sex is all fitted out now for the Easter show.
We humans still have a basic need to stay connected to the people and events around us on an almost personal level.
Today's writing style has changed to catch the eye of a attention-deficit generation and give enough information in the first sentence to beg the patience for a paragraph.
The buzzwords and catch phrases change as fast as we can run the remote control through 300 channels and the acronyms are nearing a complete language of their own, something akin to hieroglyphics.
However, with a quiet moment and a thought, I can go to the time when a little matronly woman in a floral dress, hair in a tight bun, is sitting at lace tablecloth-covered table putting notes on a tablet with a sharpened pencil.
Thelma stood before her wall phone and gave it one quick crank.
Myrtle, down at the telephone office, answered. Thelma greeted her heartily with a "Mornin' Myrtle," and then asked to be connected to 511.
This happened only after Myrtle inquired about the family.
Thelma assured her all was well except for that touch of arthritis that hitches her git-along from time to time.
Thelma spent the afternoon sipping tea and contacting her regulars for the week's news. Who hosted Thanksgiving dinner and with whom, what kind of cake was served at the Sherry Harper baby shower, and where did the card and domino players gather this week?
Thelma could make news out of no news.
When the readers finally got a glimpse at Thelma's story, they felt like they had a visit from those mentioned throughout.
With a warm feeling in their hearts, they went back to their daily lives that didn't include an iPod, flat screen TV, computers, faxes, scanners and cell phones.
They might even have sat on the porch that evening, recalling those events they hadn't attended and those people they hadn't seen.
With all their lack of technology, I believe they were more connected to life's important things than we are today.
To connect, we may have to disconnect all those electronics of which I own, at least, one of each.
Be right back, my phones are ringing.
Julie can be reached by phone, two of them, fax, email at the website www.julie-carter.com ,, or, if you must, a note card.

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