Gourds

I have found Garrison Keillor. I had thought that he was done for when he was accused of allowing his fingers to play along the bare back of a woman on his show and when confronted he exited stage left rather than argue about it in public, with cowardly PBS kicking him in the seat of his pants as he walked off. I don’t know whether he actually did what he was accused of or not, nor do I know what the surrounding circumstances were, we never got the chance to fully hear the parties out who were involved. But at that time in our recent history he was not the only man in public life who was being similarly drummed out of the corps without what one might call a proper courts-martial.

I assumed that this might be the end of his humor, insights, and general drollery, so I never looked for it anywhere. Today I stumbled across not one but two web locations where his voice can be heard. If anyone is interested, that is.

The web addresses are:

Please know that my delight in being able to read more of Mr. Keillor’s writing in no way endorses letting one’s hands go roaming around anyone’s back who does not welcome it. That is definitely not okay. So is roaming around their front, for that matter. I just wish there were a better way to deal with these accusations of impropriety, and that when called for we could find penalties that are appropriate to the offenses.

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Yesterday afternoon Poco was overdue for the afternoon meal. He always comes back from his roaming around three o’clock, and now it was four-thirty and there was no sign of him. He’s an old guy, you know, and we worry sometimes. So I went out walking along some of his favorite territory down the irrigation canal that runs behind our home, calling out his name.

I looked back and trotting about thirty yards behind me there was Willow, who had now joined me in the search. As we reached the point where Poco finally answered my call, Willow ran ahead into the thicket and in a very short time out the two of them came. No longer worried, I started back for home, only to find that the two cats had lined up and were now trailing me, and they did so all the way back into our yard.

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The cartoon above is one of those that delight me when I run across them. Just the right amount of surrealism coupled with imagination to brighten a person’s day. And really, where do those damned things come from? Do you personally know anybody who has a gourd garden? I know that I don’t. And yet every autumn … .

There are times when I have a thought that I believe would make into a great cartoon. But we will never know because I can’t draw to save my soul, and whatever illustration I created would only distract from the the caption. Perhaps if I applied myself and got some serious instruction I could remedy this with years and years of practice, but would it be worth the time and trouble? I have my doubts.

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On Monday grandson Tanner joined our growing Colorado family for a few days. Dakota had picked him up at the Denver airport, and they were making their way back to Montrose when they got held up with the ongoing highway construction on Highway 50 for nearly two hours. So they arrived hungry and tired, and after Robin and I finally let them off the hook, they went immediately to their rooms.

Early on Tuesday morning a light rain came through, accompanied by the forceful whooshing sound that the ash tree in the back yard makes whenever a stiff breeze blows. Lovely to listen to, and it’s not unlike that feeling you get when camping by a stream. For the most part, natural sounds like these don’t keep one awake, but have the opposite effect. There are exceptions, however, and one that comes to mind is the freight-train-like announcement of an approaching tornado. That one wakes you up, hopefully before you are airborne.

A hailstorm is another waker-upper. There’s nothing quite like the symphony produced by tens of thousands of missiles of varying sizes pummeling your roof, your car, and anything else you forgot to bring into the house last night. I will share only one hailstorm story.

Robin and I were bicycling out in the Colorado rural several years ago, when hailstones began smacking us on our helmets and shoulders. We were miles from our car, but started pedaling like crazy to get there as quickly as we could. There was no shelter available anywhere in sight until we came around a corner and – unbelievable – there was a Porta-P0tti a quarter of a mile away, in the middle of nowhere. The storm, seeing we had an option to escape it, now began in earnest to try to kill us off by increasing the size of the hailstones and their numbers as well. (Lord, that was a painful moment). When we reached the little structure we threw our bikes to the ground and rushed inside.

What a din there was in that malodorous space! But it was so much better than the death of a thousand pebbles that we had left behind. When the hail stopped we emerged from our plastic cocoon as two bruised and grateful souls.

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Lastly for today, I will address a topic that is daily on all of our minds, I know. One that has occasionally kept me awake at night, unable to sleep because the answer to the question is so elusive. What is the question, you ask?

Why don’t we have tails?

Researchers think they may have discovered the gene mutation that lopped off the tails that our ancestors surely had, and this has them all a-twitter. I am happy for them, people looking for gene mutations on tail-less animals must live a lonely life. I do not in any way begrudge them this success.

But although this might throw some light on how we became tail-challenged, it does nothing to tell us why. Usually a successful mutation confers some advantage on those who have it. But why in the world did those ancestors of ours do better when what might have been a perfectly beautiful and useful tail suddenly went missing from Cousin Norma?

There are so many times that I have leaned back to rest on that tail before I remember that I don’t have one. And when swinging through the forest canopy I can see where my balance would be better with a good sized prehensile member to employ. So I will follow this research with interest, while I grieve my loss and wonder what life would have been like had this genetic accident not occurred?

It’s all I can do not to take it personally.

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