Where you lead, I will follow.

This is the song I sing to my wife every time she decides to take a trip.

Coming home from Phoenix after spending Christmas with some of our kids, she took an unscheduled detour when we got off the plane in Salt Lake. She headed to Anchorage as her brother is struggling with pancreatic cancer. I decided not to follow. I came home and batched it for a week before flying back to Salt Lake to help her babysit a grand kid whose parents and siblings turned up missing.

Turns out they went on a cruise and ditched the young’un.

I met Michele coming back from Anchorage at the Salt Lake airport. I thought we were going to be in Utah for a few days but then was informed that we were going to be there for a week and a half. This tore up my work schedule but I guess the boss didn’t mind.

She’s the one that makes the arrangements. I just follow along. You’ll see why in a minute.

Just before I got on the plane in Pasco, I realized I really am an idiot. As I got out of my vehicle, I realized I had left my luggage at home, sitting by the door, waiting for me to grab it. I had been so intent on taking the garbage out, per boss lady’s instructions, I completely spaced out the necessary bag.

I knew I would be ridiculed by my dear wife for the next week and a half. I was not disappointed.

We got to Saratoga Springs, the site of our babysitting job and before I could make myself comfortable, I was instructed to head for the shopping area across the valley to buy some necessaries. That job was completed in good time.

The only snafu we had was some dude who didn’t speak much English called me and to make a long story short, he succeeded in getting my phone service shut off. Not just mine but my wife’s and my son’s and his wife’s and our daughter’s and her husband’s and our other son’s and our other son’s.

For the first time in their life, they learned what it’s like to go a day without a working electronic screen in your pocket or purse.

It also resulted in 8 lines being screwed up, 8 SIM cards invalidated and 10 IPhone 10’s being sent to an address in New York, courtesy of some idiot giving out his PIN number who happened to be standing in the Target store in American Fork, Utah at the time. Also, another $700 in charges got tacked on to my bill besides the IPhones. Oh, don’t forget about my password and billing address becoming non-existent.

As I walked out of Target in American Fork after the multi-national transaction had taken place, I was unaware of the ensuing conversations I was going to have with AT&T and at least 7 of their representatives. All I worried about as I tried to leave the store was which directions I should follow.  I was so confused I must have spent an hour in this very spot trying to decide what to do.

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As I began to try to sort through the phone mess along with figuring out how to exit Target, a heavily accented AT&Tguy asked me what the guy sounded like that had done the scam on me. He said “I don’t mean to be racial but did he sound like he was from India or the Orient or…..”

I broke in. “I can’t tell you. All I can say is that I could barely understand him. In fact, it sounded a lot like you! It was you, wasn’t it? Why did you do that to me?”

I thought it was funny. Him? Not so much.

I guess I should add that all the time I was talking to the scammer (before the AT&T guys), my wife was telling me to hang up. For once, she was right and I was wrong.

So we drove the 15 miles home from Target. At least now I had my essentials even if I had lost my relationship with the phone company and my wife.

Immediately after I walked in the door, I realized I didn’t even have that. I had left my bag of goodies I bought from Target at….Target. I had to turn around and make another trip around the block. I got back 45 minutes later.

I began wondering where the nearest Alzheimer’s clinic might be and if they would let me in even if I didn’t have a valid AT&T password.

In my defense, the scam was well thought out and would have fooled anybody (who was not playing with a full deck.)

 

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This is Michael, playing with his new Fish game that he had insisted for months that we bring him. The game we were going to let him play was back in Washington, locked up in my suitcase. The game you’re looking at was just purchased at Target in American Fork. I worried that maybe Mike is OCD since he had to have everything lined up nice and neat as you can see.

Those worries soon left.

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This was Michael’s punishment for making a mess. I used my phone to pound the plastic stake through since I couldn’t use it for anything else.

We went to church for two weeks while in Utah. The first week, they asked me to introduce myself. I said I was from Basin City, WA and mentioned my luggage snafu. I told them the jeans and striped shirt I was wearing would probably be the same outfit I’d have on for church the next week. It was.

I didn’t say anything about the underwear and socks.

It’s hard going to a new church looking like a duck. Try doing it two weeks in a row.

The second week we noticed a family sitting across from us. There are six people in their family. All six were zoned into the net age through the meeting. That was a first for me.

I disfigured their appearance to prevent any recognition. I wonder what Martin Luther or Brigham Young would think about this new method of worship?

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One night we had Michele’s cousin Sally and her husband Gene over for dinner. Michele and Sally were close growing up. I met Gene through rock and roll years before I met Michele.

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Gene is an awesome musician. Guitar, steel guitar, mandolin, vocals…he can do it all.

He showed me some songs he has written, played the instruments and sang lead and harmonies. Have a listen…

Gene

Hot off the press…

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This Christmas was the best. The grand kids were gearing up for a Nativity reenactment. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed my granddaughter coyly sporting news of a new addition. I wasn’t sure parents Christianne and Todd or grandma Michele had noticed yet so I didn’t say anything. I slyly pulled out my phone and snapped a picture.

Anyway, I am so excited to announce that I am soon going to become a great grandpa! I am on cloud nine. I would expect the newborn will weigh approximately 50% of what the mama does.

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We spent our Christmas taxiing around between our four kids in Phoenix and their families. While we were there, we got word that Michele’s brother Scott is not doing well with that touch of pancreatic cancer I mentioned in a previous post. It was a downer. He’s in lots of pain and is down to 112 lbs.

One of the things he wanted while still in this existence was to be able to play music with his dad one more time. Michele made some arrangements and when we flew home, she didn’t fly home. She stayed in Salt Lake while I caught the connecting flight to Pasco.

When I went to the counter to get my ticket, the lady asked if there were two of us. I explained she was taking a different route.

The guy standing next to me said “I told them I wanted to send one of my bags to Kalmazoo Michigan and the other one to Bangor Maine and I wanted to go to Seattle. The lady told me they couldn’t do that. I asked them ‘Why not?’ You did it last month!”

The lady behind the counter didn’t laugh.

So the next day, Michele’s dad Karl showed up in Salt Lake after traveling up from St. George. He is 88 and blind. They caught a plane to Anchorage where Scott’s wife Angie picked them up and shuttled them to Wasilla.

You might remember that’s where Sarah Palin is from. Scott has several Fed Ex routes in that area. He’s delivered packages to Sarah.

I just got a text from Michele. She sent a clip of Scott and Karl. She said that was the first time Orange Blossom Special has made her cry. I’m sure things are very tender up there right now.

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First I need to address my last post.

This morning I was still a little bugged so I called the real estate company that the girl (let’s call her Mary) who wrote the offensive Facebook post worked for. I left a message.

I got a call back an hour later from the owner of the high-end real estate company. I’ll call her Gina Lollobrigida. I’ve always liked that name. Gina was nice and became horrified at my information. She said Mary was a good person and would never do something like that. I gave Gina the benefit of the doubt and decided maybe someone had hacked into Mary’s Facebook account and made the post. But I still felt pretty sure Mary was the culprit.

We finished and I looked up Mary’s Facebook info. Mary is a lover of animals. There are pictures of her and all kinds of critters on her page. I then knew she had not been hacked. She was the originator of the post.

Gina said she would talk to Mary and get back to me. This afternoon I got a call back and we had a nice conversation. Mary is now checked into an alcohol treatment center. Gina likes her but will not put up with that type of behavior.

Ms. Lollobrigida said that her seeking medical help means something. If not for that, Mary would have been fired today. Gina is giving her another chance after Mary finishes treatment.

I wish the best for Mary. In fact, I called her cell and left a message of forgiveness from Kashann and the rest of us up here in Basin City. I also wished her the best of luck in conquering her demons.

Alcohol sauce is a nightmare. I’ve lost some good friends (some of whom are still living) along with a brother-in-law who was also a friend. Why play with fire? Leave the sauce alone.

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Right after Christmas I got a call from Jorge, a guy I sometimes work with during corn harvest. Four or five years ago I was involved in a near-fatal accident. Two days later I was involved in another near-fatal accident. The second incident found me working feverishly with a father to save his son.

After all was done that we could possibly do, Jorge Jr. (George) was still trapped and dead. I gave up. It was all over. We both were crying, exhausted and resigned. Then inspiration hit and it all worked out. The story is in my Book so I won’t retell it here.

Anyway, Jorge called last week and invited me and my wife to his home for dinner. Michele’s brother is down with a touch of pancreatic cancer so she was headed to Alaska to be with him. I told Jorge I would be there by myself.

New Year’s Eve found me knocking at their door. We had a nice dinner. Jorge has a great family. We played a game I called Mexican Bingo. When I won, I stood up and shouted “Gringo Bingo!” It got a laugh.

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We then played another game involving beans and snakes. By some strange fluke, even though I don’t think in Spanish, I won.

I figured I better go. I decided I better quit while I was ahead. Remember the Alamo?

I wanted to take a picture of Jorge’s wonderful family…George (Jorge Jr.)is the kid on the right.

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Since I had a little bit of film left in my camera/telephone, I got another picture of the three people involved in the accident along with Lorena (Jorge’s wife and George’s mother)…

 

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This was one of the more special nights of my life. As I left, they handed me a card…

 

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This is one of those passports I’m going to take when I try to weasel my way into heaven. It means a lot to me. Several times during the evening, there were at least three or four eyes that teared up. Did I mention it was a very special evening?

Right after the accident, my wife and I ordered this plaque. We keep it on a file cabinet so we’ll always remember how blessed we are from the happenings of that day years ago.

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Should my bro’s dog go?

But first this…

We spent Christmas with our kiddies and their kiddies in Phoenix. While at the Salt Lake airport, I observed two instances of the difference a dog can make in people’s lives.

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The first was a custodian laying out some caution signs. I asked the guy what was going on. He said somebody with a large dog had just walked through and the dog urinated past 2 gates and then up the carpeted runway. I doubt that the dog owner even knew the dog was relieving himself. I for one didn’t know dogs could do that while walking.

Maybe Homeland Security should make a rule that all dogs in airports should be outfitted with catheters.

I’m pretty sure there was enough liquid spilled that a Haz-Mat team should have been called.

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A bit later, I saw this lady with her best friend. She came over and sat by me. She proceeded to tell me a sad story. Her family is all against her, she has brittle bones and after breaking a few of them, deals with lots of pain and anxiety. She then listed all the pain killers and assorted pills she’s addicted to.

We didn’t get to talk about her dog but I know it’s probably the most important thing in her life. I felt bad for her. Until we got on the plane and I saw her sitting in first class.

Just kidding. I still bad for her. However, I’m not kidding about the first class. And speaking of dogs…

I have a brother. This brother has a dog. This dog is a hunting dog. This dog is named Cyrus.  Cyrus belongs outside.

Cyrus barks and growls at me whenever we meet up. Maybe it’s because he knows I don’t approve of the fact that he gets to sleep in my brother’s house. The aforementioned house is the house I grew up in.

I look at Cyrus like my dad would if he hadn’t already checked out of this earthly sojourn. Dad would say Cyrus can track scents and scare up pheasants. Outside.

Cyrus can help herd the cows to the next pasture. Outside.

Cyrus can play with the kids on the lawn. Outside.

Cyrus can bark at strangers when they come around. Outside.

Cyrus can make strangers stay in their car until somebody in the house tells him to be quiet. Outside.

Cyrus can keep the house from being ransacked by a few of these strangers. That’s what dogs are for. Outside.

But in my mind, from decades ago, I can still hear Dad saying:

“Get that dog out of this house. Now!”

Dad and I have always held on to the adage that dogs, especially big ones like Cyrus, are not to have a free run of the People House. The Dog House is fine but not the People House.

Dogs aren’t going to scare up any pheasants in the house. They aren’t going to herd any cows in the house (unless they are in India). They just aren’t made for the great indoors.

But unlike me and my dad, my brother let Cyrus have the run of his house. That is until the other day. In an instant, my brother moved over to our side and saw things very clearly from our point of view.

The family had been gone for a couple of hours. When they got home, they saw that Cyrus had wet down a good 500 square-foot section of carpet in the living room. I guess he was just marking his territory. Maybe it was Cyrus’s way of telling my brother that he and his family were no longer welcome in the living room.

At this point, my bro started reconsidering his stance. Then one of the kids went downstairs and found a Mt. Everest style-sized pile of Cyrus’s dog chow remnants and another patch of dew-dew on the carpet.

At this particular point in time, my bro saw the light. It was like he all of a sudden was staring at the sun without sunglasses or a welding helmet.

A malady called Canine Stress was building so he decided to relax and take a dip in the hot tub. (I coined the term Canine Stress. I’m hoping the medical industry grabs on to the term and elevates it up to the level of PTSD and PMS. Maybe I should file for trademark protection.)

Oh, but we’re not done.

The hot tub cover had been completely shredded by…you guessed it. Cyrus. Incidentally, this was not the first cover to be reduced to tatters by Cy.

Bye-bye, Cy.

So the head of the home was informed by my bro that Cy had to go. She put a post on Facebook, asking if anyone would like a dog? She didn’t say they were going to dump him off in the desert. She didn’t say they were going chase him around the house with an ax or a shotgun. She didn’t even say that he was going to sleep outside until they found a new owner.

She just asked if anyone would like a dog.

This family all love Cyrus. If you don’t believe it, take a look at the picture…

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They love Cyrus but enough is enough. (Cyrus has caused other damages along the way that haven’t been spelled out.)

She instantly got major feedback on Facebook, a few of them scolding and even screaming at her for being a bad person, irresponsible and mean for not taking care of her dog. It was as if people thought Cyrus should be the top dog on the food chain, a notch above her kids.

In my opinion, a good share of this world is going insane. They think animals have more rights than humans. I personally think critters were put on the earth for the good of man, not the other way around.

I mean, where does it stop? If a dog is on the same level as your children, is a cat also? If so, then how about a squirrel? Which reminds me of an incident a few years back.

My son Derek and his wife Brianne were living in Charlottesville VA while he went to law school. One day they drove down the lane from their apartment and a squirrel darted across the road. A couple of their tires make a crunching sound and ended the squirrel’s mortal existence.

They stopped and walked back and found the tree hugger. It was lying on it’s back with paws in the air, glassy-eyed and putting out a few final involuntary shudders.

They felt bad. Especially Brianne. She thought for a few seconds of how they could possibly help this flattened and almost-a-corpse bigtail and then asked, “Would it help if we fed him a nut?”

Brianne is a sweet lady and always wants to help. However I’d bet the entire bundle of assets that I own (approximately $124 and some change) that she has never worked in the surgical wing of a squirrel hospital or she wouldn’t have asked a question like that.

Anyway, back to animal rights. If squirrels have rights, then how about frogs? If they do, how about a mouse? If so, what about a snake? And if the mouse and snake have rights, what about a butterfly? And a stinkbug? And an earthworm? And a mosquito?

If they get their way and it becomes a crime to swat a mosquito, they’ll probably outlaw mosquito nets and OFF!

What a messed up world.

So my bro’s wife started getting hate mail after her Facebook inquiry. A real estate agent somewhere down south took the cake. Here is her communication (redacting the really nasty expletives):

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********* is quite a refined and well-spoken lady, isn’t she?

This lady’s real estate company is listed on her page. If you were her boss, would you want an employee spewing this kind of venom over the airwaves?

There’s been some major new developments concerning this situation. My next post will address the situation.

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Got a little note and picture from the wife of the guy that won the $500. Unbelievably, they haven’t spent it all. Here’s the note:

I bet by now you’ve wondered what happened to that $500? Well, it inspired me to start saving some cash around the home. Started with some Benjie’s, now we are here! Adding to the pile at least once a week 🤑🤑🤑 Thanks for choosing my husband!!!

 

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I’m happy for their good luck. Wish I was doing the same. But I’m not.

I’ve had two molars break off in the last mouth, I mean month. Not long after I gave away the $500.

To them.

I’m so very glad they saved it and didn’t blow it. Cause I need it back.

I’m thinking they should loan me their $768 so I can make a down payment at the dentist. Why $768? Because that’s what I counted up in her stash picture.

I sent them a couple of texts with my new request but haven’t heard back. I’m sure I’ll hear from them soon. After all, they got right back to me when they won the dough.

On another note, I have a friend who dabbles in the sheep biz. When I saw this picture on Facebook, it reminded me of him…

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This is what happens when you lie on your resume about having previous sheepdog experience.

It also reminded me of the song Stuck in the Middle with Ewe

Since we’re totally random, this particular song was released in 1973, the same year my sheepherder friend and I graduated from high school.