I had a bad feeling when I first heard about the covid-19
virus. Somehow I just knew it would
bite into the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake, and that’s just what
happened. The 2020 Annual Wild Game
Feed Main Event for September 18, 2020 has been CANCELLED! Bummer! And a few other choice words to go
with it. But it is for the best. This virus must be stopped, and the Board of
Directors felt the safety of everyone involved was the most important item on
the Feed’s agenda.
YEAR!!September 17, 2021.Mark your calendar for the third Friday in
I know it’s not a complete lockdown, but I'm treating it as
such--sort of. I still need to get
groceries, water, and visit my doctors for routine maintenance, but for the
most part, I’m staying home. It’s not a
lot of fun. But I’m trying to do my
part in stopping this virus.
Many adjustments have been made to accomplish this
minimalization of lifestyle, and I know I’m not alone.I was talking with my neighbors (over the
phone) a few days ago, and the discussion of toilet paper came up.Oh, boy!Neither of us knows of anyone who has even seen a roll of the stuff in a
month.Well, sort of.Almost everyone has seen it in abundance in
someone else’s shopping cart.Earlier
this week I was at a Costco and saw a person with eleven shopping carts lined up
each with a bundle of toilet paper in it, along with paper towels and hand
sanitizer in most of them.I watched as
this person (along with her shopping cart guard) took one of the carts through
checkout, then handed it off to a waiting friend to remove from the store.This person then took another cart through
checkout and did the same thing again.It took a team of four or five people to work this out, but it was all
purchased by one person.And I didn’t
get any.The store was out.
The phone discussion with my neighbor turned into a “what
did people do before toilet paper” discussion.Well I was raised on a farm with an outhouse, and I know what to do, but
I’m not real excited about doing it.I
remember when Papa brought home a wagon load of dried corncobs, and piled them
by the outhouse.Just grab a few on the
way in and scrape away.Fortunately
dried corncobs are scarcer than toilet paper today.Of course, corncobs were a last resort.The usual choice was a few pages from a catalog, such as Sears or
Montgomery Ward, that is until they started printing in color on the slick
glossy paper.Then it was back to
corncobs or even a handful of hay from a bale lying next to the pile of
This morning I called to make an appointment to see my
doctor about some problems stemming from an accident some time in my past.What a circus!The doctors at the clinic I go to are now on a rotating schedule
with no one working more than two random days per week.To get an appointment one must be in an
emergency situation and call on the day their doctor is available.If the doctor is not available, one must
wait until the following day to try again.When I asked what days my doctor will be in, I was told the schedule is
known only to the doctors, so I must try every day until I get it right.What is this?
I went to a local grocery a few days ago only to discover a
line wrapping around the building.The
estimate was a seven to eight hour wait to enter the store.The next morning I returned at five a.m.
only to discover the line was already wrapped around the building.I asked some people near the front of the
line what time they arrived, and I was shocked to discover they were in line
when the store closed at nine p.m the night before.
On the plus side, I needed gasoline (for the first time in
many weeks), and there was no one in line at Costco.I drove straight to the pump and filled my gas tank.Unbelievable.It’s usually a twenty to thirty minute wait, and sometimes much
A sign on the front of a hardware store said “Face Masks
Required.”Underneath it was a sticker
on the glass reading “Facial Coverings Not Allowed.”
It’s a crazy world we are now living in, but the key word
here is "living."I'm seeing
on the television reports of protesting crowds and crowded beaches.I don’t understand why these people have
such a death wish.This pandemic will
only grow longer if people don’t isolate.More time inside will help to end this tragedy sooner.To me that is obvious, but apparently not
everyone agrees.Oh, well.I'll just stay as isolated as possible until
this is over.Hopefully you will also.
Well, the official word is that there is no official word as
to whether or not the Annual Wild Game Feed will happen as scheduled on Friday,
September 18, 2020. Today I received a
notice that everything is ready to move forward quickly when the quarantine is
lifted, and we can have a safe and healthy environment for our gathering. Hopefully we will know by mid-June, and if
the "All Clear" button is pressed, the ticket order forms will then
be mailed out. If so, then be ready to
place your order quickly.
This year has been a ride on the back of a buffalo in the
middle of a stampede.Of course, the
buffalos are all wearing masks and staying six feet apart, but nonetheless,
it's been a crazy ride.However, no one
I know is rushing to get this corona virus.And let's keep it that way.Speaking for myself, if the Feed has to be postponed for safety reasons,
so be it.I am an outdoors person, and
quarantine does not fit my lifestyle, although it is infinitely better than
So, hang in there guys.As soon as I know anything I’ll post it here.
Today is the halfway point in the yearly journey to the
Annual Wild Game Feed, and I don't know to be happy or sad. I could be happy because half of the year is
already behind us and the waiting time is shortened by 26 weeks, or I could be
sad because half of the year is still ahead of us, and it's a long 26 week wait
for the greatest feast in Orange County.
Once again, it is on the third Friday of September. This year it happens on September 18, 2020.
For over twenty years I have been attending this annual
gathering of men to chomp down on quail, buffalo, alligator, wild boar,
ostrich, reindeer, calamari, frog legs, antelope, elk, sea bass, gumbo,
crawfish, and quite a few other treats.I simply cannot remember all the meats served.Each year the list seems to grow a bit.Also, the beer.What can
I say?ALL THE BEER YOU WANT!!Meat and Beer!How can it get any better?Maybe throw in some incredible raffle prizes?Exhibitions, games, contests.Back to the beer -- how about rotating handles of craft beers? Utopia!
The ticket order forms will be arriving somewhere around the
end of May to the middle of June.When
you get your form, order your tickets immediately.Every year this event is sold out in just a few days, and I
always receive messages from guys who got left out.Sorry, but sold out means sold out.Order quickly for best results.
Well, I was just looking at my beer glass and realized it
doesn’t really matter if it is half full or half empty.There is still half a year to go
regardless.But I’ll be ready when it
Biggie has been in my life for nine years now, and for this
entire time he has been my part-time dog.
His mom is a friend who currently lives in a different city from my wife
and me, but Biggie gets to come for regular visits for a few days at a
time. However, his current visit has
lasted for over nine months, and I am beginning to forget he belongs to someone
Biggie’s mom is having trouble finding quality work and an
affordable place to live.While this is
something most of us have experienced in our lives (past and/or present), it is
making it difficult for her to keep Biggie at home and care for him
properly.Therefore, “Grandpa" and
“Grandma" stepped in.
We love this little doggie.A lot.But we never expected to
have him for nine months and counting.It’s like having a 2-year old with bad habits (or maybe it’s Grandpa
with the bad habits), but still we love this little doggie.A lot.
Biggie brings us a lot of joy, fun, and laughter.Everyday he does something fun to
watch.Lately he is starting out each
day with a back scratch by crawling under my feet and moving back and forth so
my feet do the scratching.Needless to
say, it wakes me up.So does crawling
up on me and licking my ear.This,
along with a series of doggie dances, ultimately gets me up.As soon as I am vertical, he starts nudging
me toward the kitchen for his breakfast.
As he begins eating I start making breakfast for me, but
Biggie considers it his second breakfast and does not allow me to walk away
from the stove for any reason.If I try
to step over to the refrigerator, for instance, he will begin barking non-stop
until I return to the stove.He will
allow me to leave the stove only if I am about to plate my (his second) breakfast.He will even allow me a few bites of it
before becoming worried I will eat all of it.Ultimately he wins, and my plate gets a Biggie licking.
About two hours before sunset every day Biggie begins
announcing he wants to go out.Not
outside, but out, as in “out to a park."A walk around the neighborhood will sometimes be acceptable, but a park
is always preferable, if not demanded.So about 5 to 6 times each week, Biggie visits a local park where he
gets the same exercise as when he takes a walk around the block.In our back yard he can run free if he wants
to do so, but everywhere else a leash is required.But Biggie still prefers a park.
We have made several dog beds for him to sleep in and placed
them around the house.There is one in
my workroom/office.One is located
under the bed in the bedroom, and one is located in front of our living room
television, and he knows these are for him.Just try to move one, and he will let you know to whom it belongs.But that doesn’t mean he is confined to
sleeping there.Biggie will sleep where
Biggie will sleep.Last night my wife
was working on a craft item and a large square of paper fell to the floor.Biggie immediately claimed it as a bed.He stepped onto it, scratched it a few
times, circled around for a bit, then laid himself down and took a nap.Later he abandoned it for a drink of water,
and my wife picked it up.When Biggie
returned, he looked around for it, let out a low growl, and went over to a
space between a lounge chair and the wall to lie down and stare at me for a
while as though I had something to do with removing his new bed.
Biggie also has a number of small soft toys to play
with.For the most part he just lets
them clutter up the floor around his beds, and he will rarely play with any of
them.And for Biggie, play never lasts
more than just a couple of minutes at best, but Biggie knows what is his, and
what is not.When we bring home a new
toy, he seems to know instinctly it is his.Biggie likes to inspect the contents of every bag we bring into the
house.Groceries, clothes, hair care
products, etc., it doesn’t matter, he just wants to look at and/or sniff
everything entering our home.Sometimes
we will buy a toy for our neighbor’s toddler or newborn, and Biggie gives these
a pass.But if it is for him, he always
Recently we purchased a small toy for Biggie, but we didn’t
give it to him immediately.Somehow we
got it past his inspection and hid it away for another time.My wife put together a small box of kid's
toys for the neighbor’s children to play with when they come to visit and
included this small (unused) toy we had purchased for Biggie.A few days went by, and the toddler came
over for a visit, so his new toy box was brought out for him to go through.Of course Biggie wanted to inspect the
contents of this box.As usual, Biggie
examined the toys as each one was taken out of the box, and as usual, Biggie
gave each one a pass, that is until his own toy was brought out.Even though he had never seen it before,
Biggie grabbed it and carried it over to his bed and sat there guarding it the
remainder of the day.How did he know?
Oh, how we spoil our “granddog.”The only problem right now is that we can spoil him, but can't
send him home.We have to live with the
results, but I’ll keep on spoiling him as long as I can.He is worth it.
A new year is upon us.Now everyone should have 2020 vision.Sorry.I couldn’t help it.
According to my calendar year, this year is actually 3 ½
months old.In about 8 ½ months my year
will close with the 52nd Annual Wild Game Feed, and I’ll start a new
year.The problem is, however, it’s 8 ½
months away – the equivalent of being stranded in the doldrums of one of the
great oceans.No wind.No movement.Nothing but a long, long wait, all the while hoping for some
distraction to help speed up the passage of time.
Actually, there is much to do.I’ll pack and repack my car several times to make certain I have
everything I want to bring with me.I’ll check the humidor every day at least once to be certain the cigars
are there (minus one or two of course).I'll look at the calendar a few times every day hoping a day or two got
dropped from the month.Actually, there
is not much to do but wait.And
wait.But it's worth the wait for the
best Wild Game Feed anywhere.
Last night I was brought in as a member of the Annual Wild
Game Feed. And I am very humbled by
For more than 20 years I have attended this annual event and
promoted it at every opportunity simply because I believe in the charities the
AWGF supports.In 2012 I began adding
information about it to my blog just because I wanted to share this event with
more people, and the response to my postings has been nothing short of
phenomenal.A few years ago I added a
page of frequently asked questions I receive, and it is viewed almost every day
by a number of people around the world.
Throughout the year guys wanting to attend this event
contact me, and I do my best to get them the information they need.Many guys are now attending just because I
was able to forward to them a copy of my ticket order form.At no time did I ask for anything in return
other than to stop by at the Feed and say ‘Hi.”There is nothing else like the Feed, and I just want to share the
fun with everyone.
The AWGF members recognized my efforts on their behalf and
made me a member, and for this I am grateful.Thank you.
I was walking through the produce section of a local organic
market when I spotted a sale on blackberries.
Immediately my thoughts turned to the cobblers my grandfather used to
make after an afternoon of picking blackberries on the side of the roads around
In the 1950’s many of the narrow secondary roads around Fort
Worth were either dirt or crudely paved with asphalt. If dirt, then the road had mud holes deep enough to "bottom
out" a car. If paved, then the
road had potholes deep enough to “bottom out” a car. Either way, the roads were an experience unto themselves. Along the sides of any of these roads were
bar ditches often filled with weeds, junk, and snakes, but in many places were
wild blackberry vines. And it was to these
vines we would journey.
It was not unusual to fill every pot and bowl we owned with
wild blackberries on a single outing.
It was also not unusual to disturb rabbits, snakes, wild dogs, and a
skunk or two, making the adventure an adventure. We would always come home with enough blackberries to fill our
big chest freezer, and our arms would be a mess of scratches warranting half a
bottle of Mercurochrome or Iodine. Such
fun! And Papa would always make a
For years I tried to duplicate the taste of Papa’s cobblers,
but I didn't succeed. But I won't call
it a failure either. After all, I got
to eat a lot of blackberry cobbler. It
doesn’t get any better!
Once again the members of the Annual Wild Game Feed at
Irvine Lake have produced the biggest and best Feed to be found on earth. And I do not believe that to be an
overstatement of the facts. Thank you
AWGF members for your hard work and dedication to this event and to the
charities this event supports. And
thank you to everyone who participated.
Without your ticket purchases and donations, this event would be
So now we (the ticket purchasers) have to wait another long
slow year for the 52nd Annual Wild Game Feed on September 18, 2020,
but it will be worth the wait as the AWGF members plan and prepare something
even bigger and better.Therefore,
start saving your dollars, and don't hesitate to order your tickets the day you
receive the order form.The tickets
will sell out again next year.
Three Weeks! That’s
all the time remaining until the start of the Greatest Feed on Earth! The 51st Annual Wild Game Feed at
Irvine Lake. I hope you are as ready as
I have been attending this event for over twenty years, and
it just keeps getting better. I’ve been
to more than a few game feeds from different organizations in my lifetime, but
nothing compares to this one. Words
aren’t enough to explain. Attendance is
the only way to find out. So get
ready. It’s almost here.
Eight Weeks! That's
how much waiting time until the 51st Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine
Lake. I hope you purchased your ticket
when the order forms finally became available, because I doubt there are any
left now. You might find a ticket on
line somewhere, or someone may bring an extra to the Feed, but if you don’t
have one right now, you may have to wait until next year.
Last year was the best it’s ever been, and this year
promises to be even better.Well, I’m
ready for it.The AWGF members have
spent this past year working hard to improve perfection, and I expect them to
do just that.More food, more prizes,
more events, more games, more fun!
As always the party starts at noon (this year on Friday,
September 20), but don’t forget the pre-party parties.I've met guys who make a multi-day event of
it by gathering the day before to have their own barbeque somewhere.And there is always a party in line waiting
for the gates to open on Friday.Also,
don’t forget, Saturday and Sunday can be used to party (or recover from the
party).The Feed is not just an “end of
the summer” party, it is also a “beginning of autumn” party.Okay.Enough.Guys don’t need much of
an excuse to have a good time.But, in
my opinion, the Feed is still the best event a guy can go to.
The order forms have FINALLY arrived (apparently the printer
had equipment problems), and it’s time to order your tickets to the 51st
Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake to be held on Friday, September 20,
2019. I received my ticket order form
in the mail today, and it is already back in the mail because I don’t want to
miss out on the greatest Wild Game Feed anywhere. If you also don’t want to miss it, your ticket order form needs
to join mine very quickly (as in ‘Right Now'). The Feed will sell out really fast—most likely in just a few
days. Every year this event gets bigger
and better; however, the number of tickets remains the same. The park is at its limits as to the number
of men it can hold, so don’t hesitate, or you will miss out.
If you have never been to this hoedown before, you have
missed one of the best man gatherings anywhere.Food, beer, games, events, prizes, and more food and beer.For many years I've tried to describe on
paper what happens at the Feed, but I have been woefully deficient in my
expressions.Basically it is like an
enormous tailgate party, but the only way to fully understand is to
Once again I plan to fill my plates and bowls with
alligator, wild game chili, gumbo, game sausages, quail, buffalo ribs, turkey
nuts, frog legs, calamari, clams, tamales (I’m partial to the goat tamales),
crawfish, game hen, salmon, sea bass, and a few other things.These are just appetizers.I may or may not have room for dinner
(roasts of buffalo, elk, goat, ostrich, venison, etc.), but I’ll try
anyway.I’ll wash it all down with some
beer, and follow it up with a cigar.Maybe another beer.
Every year I look forward to visiting old friends and
meeting new ones; however, every year I receive a number of emails from guys
who didn’t order their tickets in time, and they are frantically looking for a
ticket, but I am not a member of the Feed.I have no “insider’s track" to nab a ticket, nor can I “pull any
strings” to get one.If you don't order
your ticket immediately—well, don't say you weren't warned.I do hope to see you there again (or meet
you for the first time) this year, so, one last time--Order Your Tickets Now!
Today my wife and I were talking about how things have
changed over the years. It wasn’t a
discussion about how things were better in the ‘60’s or ‘70’s, it was just an
observation about changes. For
instance, I grew up with Twinkies costing a nickel a package. When they jumped to a dime, I thought I was
going to starve to death.
We have been privileged to witness the transition from a
world without computers to the marvels of the Internet surrounding us.The world of gourmet foods was only for the
upper class not too long ago.A
telephone was strapped down to the walls for a long time, and now it’s unusual
not to have one in our pocket.Does
anyone remember film?How about a
pocket calculator—never mind a slide rule?Transistor radio?How about
defrosting the refrigerator?Ice box?
My wife’s mother once told her about watching a movie
projected onto the side of a barn back in the 1920’s.It showed a train coming directly at the viewers, and they began
to panic because their minds weren’t used to such realism.Nowadays we watch almost any kind of action
movie with a wide array of special effects, and we just sit and enjoy the
movie.Not often do we go into panic
mode when something appears to be coming directly at us.
My mother’s mother remembered the first car she ever
saw.She described it as a light buggy
with a motor and a paddle for steering.My mother’s father used to talk about using wooden tools as an
electrician (Sparky) in the navy a number of years before WWI.I remember my mother trying to learn to
drive a car with power steering and power brakes.It took a while, and many bruises, for her to transition to such
Even in my own (almost) seventy years, I’ve witnessed many
changes.Sputnik.A man on the moon.We had party line, crank box telephones.Electricity was from a generator in back of
one of the barns. How about well water?Outhouse?Wood burning stove?
I remember the good times of days long past, and I remember
the bad times as well.But I don’t long
for the “good old days.”I’m enjoying
those right now.
In the early 1970’s I loaded my canoe on top of my car and
drove to a lake in northeast Texas. It
was called Lake Texarkana at the time I was there, but about a year later the
name was changed to Wright Patman Lake.
A rose by any other name. I was
seeking a couple of days of solitude away from the endless business meetings of
corporate life, and I thought exploring a lake I hadn’t seen before was just
the thing for me.
The trip was an uneventful few hours as I drove the 190
miles from my home to Douglassville where I rented a room as my base of
operations.Since I had left my home at
about 3am I had plenty of time to drive on over to the lake and launch my
canoe, and long before noon I was well out on the water.The idea was to simply explore, but I had
brought with me some basic fishing equipment just in case a likely spot
I paddled along the shoreline for about an hour as I soaked
in the solitude and warm sun.I found
myself getting sleepy and decided to drop my anchor and do some “fishing” while
taking a nap.Best laid plans.I dropped my line in the water, settled down
in the bottom of the canoe where I could stretch out and lean back against the
seat, and promptly fell asleep.
While the nap was not unexpected, the next thing to happen
was a shock.I was awakened by the game
warden.He had drifted his boat up
beside me to check on what appeared to him to be an empty canoe, but instead he
thought he had found a body.We were
both relieved there was no lifeless body in my canoe, and he understood my
explanation of seeking solitude from the rat race I lived in.He had the opposite problem.He sometimes drove into Texarkana just to be
Since it was nearly 6pm he offered to tow me back to where I
had launched my canoe, and I accepted.I guess I had been asleep for about 3 or 4 hours when he awakened me,
and I was acutely aware that my skin was quite burned.If I had tried to paddle back to the launch
area, I may not have made it.
That night I visited a store where I could load up on baby
oil, skin cream, and aspirin.I hadn’t
been sunburned since I was a kid, and I was not overly fond of what I was
feeling.I was able to lie flat on my
back to try to sleep, but any movement make my skin feel like old brittle
cellophane being crushed into a ball.Not fun.The next morning I
loaded up my things and drove home.
Have you ever had a sunburn?I believe I had rather have endless leg cramps.Even worse is the aftermath as the skin
tries to repair itself.I had to return
to the job of wearing a suit every day and giving presentations in different
cities almost every day.Burning,
itching, peeling skin looks almost as bad as it feels, and having to travel
around the country gave me very little time to try to solve the problem.
About six or seven weeks later I thought I was repaired and
ready enough to go back to the lake to finish what I had started.I wanted to explore this big lake, and this
time I did not take either the fishing equipment or the canoe.I decided to take along an old friend and
rent a boat.
Mike and I were out on the lake about 7am and were well
prepared with extra fuel, water, lunch, and a huge pile of snacks.We motored for a few hours exploring,
snacking, and reminiscing our childhood.We had had many adventures together as kids, and we were actually
reconnecting after a few years apart.About 1pm we found a spot near the shore where we could drop anchor and
have lunch.And a nap.A long nap.
Mike woke me up, and I remember looking at the reddest
person I had ever seen.Then the pain
hit me.Not only had I done it again,
but this time I had inflicted the pain on my friend as well.
The sun was going down as we finally returned to the boat
landing.The manager of the boathouse
said we should see a doctor.I think he
was right, but we didn’t listen.We
spent the night bathing our skins in various oils and lotions, and attempting
to cool off.Nothing worked.Needless to say a second day exploring the
lake was out of the question for both of us.
We returned home and dealt with our problems in our own
ways.I saw Mike a couple of weeks
later, and he was beginning to heal reasonably well.But I was still ultra sensitive to the touch.In fact, my new skin from the first burn was
not fully developed before the second burn occurred.For about six months afterward I found it difficult to go outside
during the daytime without experiencing physical pain.And for almost a year my skin had a pink to
light red cast to it.To make matters
worse, I spent much of the next year in Spain where the hot sun is a way of
I know you are thinking, “Why didn’t you wear
sunscreen?”But to be honest, I didn’t
really know about it.I had heard of
suntan lotions; however, I thought that suntan lotions were only for getting a
suntan.Live and learn.And it’s a lesson I don’t want to learn
Recently my wife and I took some time to browse through a
few antique boutiques, thrift stores, and just plain junk shops. I grew up with many of the things in these
stores as everyday items in my home, so basically I found it to be a trip through
memory lane. But there are always
surprises and delights to be found that jog my thoughts in unexpected
ways. One item I saw was a rather large
neon green ceramic snail with the shell encasing a clock in its spiral.
Many thoughts went through my mind almost immediately.My first thought was, “Oh, man that's
ugly!"Then I noticed it was
chipped, cracked, and crackled, and I thought, "Who would ever buy that!”I reached over and looked at the price tag
and thought, “!#@$%&*”I also had a
few other thoughts about the absurdity of this thing, but then it dawned on me
that this is the perfect representation of waiting on the Annual Wild Game Feed
at Irvine Lake to arrive each year.
On the surface time moves forward at a constant rate with no
measurable change in pace.But there
are times when it seems to move so slowly there is almost no perception of
movement.One of those times occurs for
me about halfway through the year--not the calendar year, but the Wild Game
Feed year.This halfway point falls on
the third Friday in March each year as the Feed is always on the third Friday
in September.From this day in March
time moves forward so slowly I find it difficult to even notice.
Am I alone in this?Does anyone else notice how time just seems to slow to a snail’s pace
while waiting for the Feed?On the plus
side, this gives me plenty of time to prepare for the biggest and best man
feast on planet earth.On the minus
side, it’s still six months away.I’ve
passed through this doldrum over twenty times, and I know the snail will
eventually reach its destination, but the Wild Game Feed is still six months
away.Six long, slow moving, snail
There is, however, an event much closer in time involving
the Annual Wild Game Feed.It’s the
mailing of the ticket order forms.That
one usually happens about the end of May or the first part of June each
year.I hope you are saving your money
guys, because when the forms arrive, they need to be returned immediately.There can be no hesitation, or there will be
no Game Feed for you this year.The
Feed sells out within days every year, and to hesitate is to miss out.Then the snail will haunt you for an entire year.
Whether snail time is long or short, this year’s Annual Wild
Game Feed will happen on Friday, September 20, 2019.
I’ve received several inquiries as to when I’m going to post
again, and I apologize for waiting so long.
I’ve been rather busy with a little white doggie and simply forgot about
my writings. Sorry. But Biggie is just too much fun.
To me it is simply amazing that Biggie has been in my life
for eight years. He may be my part-time
dog, but he is still a large part of my life.
There has been much to overcome for both of us, but it keeps getting
better. Eight years ago, I wanted
nothing to do with him simply because I didn’t want to get attached, as I knew
I would. That quickly changed, and now
I find it difficult to think of letting him go. Hopefully that is still many years away. Biggie is twelve years old now, and this
summer he will turn thirteen, but I’m counting on many more years.
A couple of weeks ago Biggie came for a visit. He stayed until last night before returning
home to his mom, but during his stay with my wife and me he expected to be
highly entertained. Actually he provided
most of the entertainment.
Biggie demands breakfast be served at exactly 6am every
morning, and he understands it takes me about 15 minutes to wake up and prepare
his breakfast. Therefore, at 5:45 I get
the wake-up call. It starts with a
simple hand lick. Apparently I sleep
with one hand over the edge. At first
I’m just hoping it was a dream, and I try to go back to sleep, but Biggie isn’t
fooled. The hand licks now include a
few hind leg scuffs. Then comes the
front leg pawing. When that doesn’t
work, I get the dancing.
By now my eyes are open, and he sees me watching him. Every dance is different. My favorite is the twist where he quickly
turns back on himself (first right, then left) a few times. This is followed by the dogtrot where he
prances back and forth across the room. Then there is the dog hop where he
literally hops around the room. Biggie
has his own versions of the funky chicken (funky dog), the jitterbug
(jitterdog), and the boogie-woogie (doggie-woggie). And the list goes on.
Since I’m enjoying the dancing more that getting up, Biggie
now resorts to force. My hand now gets
a set of teeth attached to it (not hard, but he won’t let loose either), and
Biggie will start to pull me out of bed.
The moment my feet touch the floor, he lets loose of my hand and starts
to nip at my heels to herd me into the kitchen. Once I’m in the kitchen he backs off as breakfast is
prepared. But if I try to leave the
kitchen before he eats, he will block the door and not let me through.
I usually go straight to my computer while he is eating, so
as soon as he is finished, he finds me and stares at me until I pet him. And pet him. And pet him. Now it’s
time for him to take a walk. I get
dressed, I put his walking harness and leash on him, I take him to the door, I
open the door, he looks outside, he turns around and runs under the bed. I go back to the computer. I know Biggie needs a walk. Biggie knows he needs a walk. Biggie wants my wife to take him. My wife is still asleep, so Biggie decides
to wait. Apparently his walks with my
wife are more fun than his walks with me.
Afternoon rides in the car are not just expected, they are
demanded. There was a time when I could
put him in the car and take him around the block. He would be a happy dog with just a short ride, but those days
are over. Long over. Now he isn’t happy until we run out of
gas. Either that or I take him to a
park where he can explore for a couple of hours. And I had better not take him to the same park twice in a
row. Thank goodness there are more than
twenty parks within a few miles of home.
His favorite park is the beach at White Point less than 5
easy miles from home. It isn’t the
classic sandy beach, but a rocky shoreline with old broken up concrete slabs
and retaining walls from a 1920’s bathhouse resort. It is filled with tide pools and shallow flat areas with almost
no wave action. Perfect for Biggie.
Biggie has always had a fear of water. When he first came our direction we had a
small children’s plastic wading pool.
We put about 4 inches of water in it, and tried to place Biggie in the
water. I’ve never known a dog to
exhibit such fear. I won’t go into
details, but we realized there was a big problem. It took years to get him to trust us when just giving him a
bath. We could take him to a nearby dog
beach, and he enjoyed playing in the sand and with the other dogs, but he would
not go near the water. However, at White
Point Biggie won’t stay out of the water.
Go figure. And he still hides at
bath time. And he will not step in a
water puddle on his walks.
The past two weeks were filled with Biggie Adventures,
and I found myself quite occupied with being entertained by entertaining
Biggie. I’ll do my best to keep
writing, but if there is another lapse in my postings, somehow Biggie will be
It’s not often a backyard barbeque lasts for over fifty
years, but the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake is one of those
rarities. In the late 1960’s a few
hunter and fisherman friends emptied their freezers for a backyard get-together,
and had so much fun they decided to do it again the following year. Each time they would meet up for the annual
emptying of the freezers, a few extra friends would tag along, until one year
they managed to outgrow the backyard.
It didn’t take long before they had to charge admission in
order to cover costs, so they did it legally by incorporating as a not for
profit group with monies being donated to various charities.Over the years, this grew into what is now
the biggest and best wild game feed I’ve ever attended.
This year I plan to attend the fifty-first Annual Wild Game
Feed, and I hope to see you there.As
always, it’s the third Friday in September, (this year it’s September 20,
2019).If you have been there before,
you know what to expect, and you know that no words on a piece of paper (or
computer screen) can adequately describe this event.I’ve never been to any wild game feed I didn’t enjoy, regardless
of who put it together, but the Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake is one of
a kind.Nothing else compares.Nothing else comes close.
If you haven’t attended before, well, re-read the previous
paragraph.Every man who can possibly
get to Southern California on the third Friday in September each year should
experience this event.However, the
tickets are limited, and the few tickets available sell out quickly (as in
QUICKLY!).The last several years have
seen the tickets disappear in just a matter of days after the order forms are
made available in late May or early June.Several guys have told me they overnight FedEx or UPS their order forms
the very day they receive them in order to get their tickets.Not a bad idea.
I’ve lost the memory of which year was my first one at the
Feed, but I think this year is number twenty-one or twenty-two.And every year is better than the last
one.And last year’s Feed was
If you are interested in joining about 1,500 of your closest
man friends (sorry, no ladies) this year in September, send me an email and
I’ll add you to my mailing list.My
email address can be found under the tab “AWGF FAQ’s.”The very day I receive my order form, I’ll
send you an electronic copy for your use.Just don’t hesitate to place your order.
Biggie and Sir are BFF’s.
They enjoy being neighbors, taking walks together, and playing
together. But until this week they have
never had an overnighter. Although they
are still best friends, a few jealousies have crept into their relationship.
As I have written before, Biggie is my part-time dog. My wife and I have looked after him on a
part-time basis for many years now. At
first it was everyday while his mom was at work, and then after we both moved,
it has been visits for a few days to a couple of weeks at a time.
Sir belongs to one of Biggie’s mom's new neighbors. Sir is a little white poodle, and Biggie not
only likes Sir, but he enjoys being with Sir.
This is the only time Biggie has ever wanted to be with another
dog. But Sir seems to feel the same way
Sir’s mom became ill and had to be hospitalized for over a
week, and Biggie's mom took up the reins to oversee the recovery of her
neighbor. Both Sir and Biggie needed a
place to stay during this time, so my wife and I turned our home into a two-dog
kennel. I thought keeping up with
Biggie was tough enough. Oh, was I in
for a surprise. Overall it was a good
experience, and we were very happy to provide these two doggies a safe haven
while their worlds were in turmoil. But
there was a learning curve for all parties involved.
What we did for one dog had to be done for the other
dog. If one of us picked up Biggie, Sir
needed to be picked up. If one dog went
for a walk, both dogs had to go for a walk.
If one got a treat, both had to have a treat. If one dog got a bath, the other dog disappeared completely. Baths are the only thing they did not wish
I was surprised to discover they ate the same amounts of the
same food each day. This was purely
coincidence, but it made my life a bit easier.
I placed their food in separate dishes and showed them which one was
theirs, and they had no problem with this.
They didn’t try to eat each other’s food, but they did check out what
and how much the other was getting.
Biggie is not exactly a snuggly, cuddly, or playful dog, but
Sir is. However, anytime Sir found a
lap to snuggle in, Biggie would go into non-stop barking mode. He still didn’t want to snuggle, Biggie just
didn’t like it that Sir was getting something he wasn’t getting.
Everywhere we went, we had two dogs with us. Everything we did, we had two dogs with
us. Every meal involved two dogs. Every conversation included two dogs. Every time mail was delivered, again, two
dogs. Well, for about ten days, my wife
and I got absolutely nothing done that didn’t relate to “two dogs.” We are very busy people, and getting behind
in projects creates havoc for us, but I would do this again in a heartbeat--although,
I hope it's a long time before it happens again.
I spent much of my formative years on a working farm. It was there I learned the basics of raising
various crops for food—or so I thought.
It seemed easy when my grandfathers or uncles were in charge of
things. They always knew just what to
do when things changed. And things were
always changing. Rain, wind, hot sun,
high humidity, bugs, big bugs, birds, rodents, etc., were always a problem to
face. I just didn’t realize how big the
problems were until I planted a few tomatoes last spring.
It seemed easy enough.I had three frames for shallow raised beds laid out on the ground where
the sun would reach them about 8 to 9 hours each day.I filled them with quality soil and amendments, and covered them
with weed cloth and mulch.I cut holes into
the surface and planted eight tomato plants, two tomatillos, and eight pepper
plants.I gave them a good soaking, and
sat down to admire my garden of four-inch high green twigs.After a couple of hours I went into the
The following morning I rushed out to check on my new
garden.(Actually I got dressed first,
had breakfast, worked on my computer, and did a few other things before I
remembered the garden.)My tomato
plants were already a full inch taller than the day before, but the pepper plants
were exactly the same.I was
disappointed.I expected to have
tomatoes and peppers by now.Oh, well.
It was about two weeks later before I realized the pepper
plants were not showing much improvement.Certainly they were bigger and had more leaves, but the leaves were
wrinkled and had holes in them.I also
noticed the tomato plants were showing some leaf stress.What do I do now?My grandfathers and uncles are long ago gone from this earth, so
I turned to the internet.Oh Good
First I addressed the leaf stress in the tomatoes.According to the internet the causes were
not enough water, too much water, not watering often enough, watering too
often, too much sun, not enough sun, too much wind, not enough wind, humidity
too high, humidity too low, white flies, lady bugs, honey bees, aphids, birds,
squirrels, and noise from having a freeway within five miles.So I decided to look up the pepper problems.
Apparently (according to the internet) my peppers were
stunted from a lack of calcium, they had wrinkled leaves from a lack of
calcium, but they had holes in them from too much calcium.It was time to cry.When I had regained my composure, I thought
a trip to a nearby reputable nursery was in order.
I left the nursery with a car full of amendments and
fertilizers, an empty wallet, and a stunned look on my face.But I did what I was told, and in a few days
all of the plants began to show signs of improvement, and after about nine
weeks I had tomatoes and peppers forming.I also had more bugs than I thought possible.I think an entomologist would have a field day identifying new
species in my garden.I believe there
are at least four.Maybe more.
What was I thinking when I reached back to my farmer days
and decided to plant a small garden?I
know I was remembering the taste of vine-ripened tomatoes picked and eaten out
of hand in the field.I know I was
remembering the times I picked fresh jalapenos for breakfast.I seemed to have forgotten the volume of
work it takes to bring a crop to the table.I also forgot that I wasn’t the one making all the decisions necessary
to raise a successful crop.And I
forgot about the insects.
Well, a hot spell cooked the tomatoes and peppers.When the tomatoes and peppers are charred on
the vine, it’s just too hot to continue, but the few that ripened were worth
all the trouble.There is no substitute
for ripe tomatoes and peppers right off the vine.Next year I’ll try again, but this time I’m adding some corn to the
planters.I may not be a good farmer,
but I can’t deny my roots.
Biggie is a very attentive dog. He knows what is going on around him at all times, even if he
appears to be sleeping. For instance, I
was in the kitchen doing some dishes and other kitchen maintenances while
Biggie was asleep in the living room.
At one point I was wiping down the outside of the refrigerator, rinsing
out the cleaning cloth, and continuing to wipe down the refrigerator. Biggie did nothing. But the moment I touched the refrigerator
door handle, Biggie was under my feet waiting for me to open it. Somehow he knew when I touched that handle,
and he knew I was about to open it. It
didn’t matter that I had been grabbing that handle for the last ten minutes
during the cleaning process. The big
difference was that I was about to use that handle to open the
refrigerator. Biggie is like that, and
if you have a dog, you know exactly what I mean.
Biggie’s adventures are usually rather benign, but
occasionally there is something to write home about. If I were to tell you that an average day’s adventure consists of
sniffing every blade of grass on a walk around the block, or standing in one
place sniffing a single spot for fifteen minutes, it would be somewhat boring
since this is what all dogs do. It
might be a bit more interesting if we went to the park and he chased a squirrel
or two, but again, this is what all dogs do.
Just about anything I could come up with to talk about concerning Biggie
is what all dogs do, including his brief encounter with a skunk. Almost all dogs encounter a skunk at one
time or another, but unlike chasing a squirrel up a tree, some of these
encounters can be rather memorable.
Last night Biggie walked over to the front door and scraped
his back foot. Then he walked over to
where I was sitting and placed his nose against my leg for a moment before
walking back to the door. This is a
signal to me he wants to go for a walk, so I decided to take him out (believe
me when I say it’s better than deciding not to take him out). When I opened the door Biggie ran over to my
wife signaling he wanted her to join us.
Okay. So all of us stepped
Now, usually when Biggie goes outside, he is wearing a
harness and leash, but this time I decided to forego the hassle, since he
doesn’t run away except to inspect something nearby. Even then he will come back the moment we call him. Besides, I was going to make this a quick
whiz in the yard. As we stepped onto
the porch, there was a rustling in the bushes along side of the house, and
Biggie ran over to inspect. I saw a
flash of something black and white, and my first thought was of the neighbor’s
cat that Biggie wanted for a friend, but then I saw it turn around and the tail
raise high into the air. Biggie had
just come face to tail with his first skunk.
Biggie froze, the skunk ran away around the corner of the house, and
there was no doubt that skunk left something behind.
Although Biggie took the full force of the blast, my wife
and I were peripheral casualties. My
wife immediately picked Biggie up and carried him into the house for a bath,
and now the entire house has been transformed into a skunk’s den. Oh well.
I mixed up a batch of anti-skunk-odor dog wash and Biggie got a
bath. My wife got a bath. I got a bath. Our clothes are hanging outside in the fresh air, although they
may need to be burned. And our
house… Our house has every window open
and every fan on. And the smell outside
the house will insure no solicitor comes to our front door for a while.
This morning Biggie altered his morning walk to include the
infected area around the house where he thoroughly marked his territory. Again on a second walk, he double marked his
territory. This is Biggie’s house, and
skunks aren’t welcome.
What is it about dogs and skunks? Growing up in farm country, every dog I knew had managed to spend
some time in a tomato juice bath in a futile attempt to diminish the effects of
the encounter with a skunk. I have
never known a dog to win the battle. My
friend Frank’s dog once thought he had managed to become victorious, but in the
end he was the biggest loser of all, along with the entire neighborhood.
Chunk was a solid dog, much like a pit bull, and he was very
curious, as many dogs are. About three
or four blocks away from the block where Frank and I lived across the street
from each other was a small area of scrub oak trees on a piece of land not yet
cleared for new housing. This was a
great place for my friends and I to go and pretend we were hunters or
something. Usually one of the guy's
dogs would join us, and on one fateful day it was Chunk who was the chosen one.
Chunk was doing Chunk things when I heard Rick or Mike or
someone shout something. About that
time I saw Chunk running down the street towards home holding some object in
his mouth. Behind Chunk were several
skunks giving chase. Behind the skunks
was Frank frantically chasing after his dog.
I know once a skunk releases his stuff, there is very little
left for a second shot, although very little goes a long ways. And the skunk in Chunks mouth had
reinforcements not far behind. I’ve
never experienced anything quite like this before or since. People were coming out of their houses for
several blocks and fanning the air as they looked around for the source of the
Chunk ran for several blocks before releasing his captive,
and then he went into hiding not fully realizing his location was easy to sniff
out. As quickly as he would find a good
spot, someone would chase him away. The
problem was he would leave behind strong evidence that he had been there. For a couple of days Chunk broadcast his
adventure around the neighborhood before returning home. As for the skunks themselves, it seems they
informed the neighborhood for several weeks they were not to be disturbed in
Well, Biggie’s encounter with the skunk hasn’t really
taught him anything, and I do not believe for one second the skunk thinks it is
over. I just hope the house airs out in
the near future. And Biggie will
definitely be on a leash from now on.
Well, it’s over, and I almost don’t know what to say. Almost.
The 50th Annual Wild Game Feed at Irvine Lake was
unbelievable to say the least. We were
promised the biggest and best wild game feed possible, and the AWGF members
delivered beyond our wildest dreams.
Thank you to everyone that participated either as a member
or a guest.You made this year’s Feed a
standard for comparison to any and all other wild game feeds around the
country.And nothing I know of can
compare.The best is simply the best.
Now the plans begin for next year’s Feed, and my plans are
to return once again.I deem it a
privilege to be a part of the charitable fundraiser, and I hope you feel the
same way.For me to participate is to
have fun, but I cannot forget that for me to participate is to give to others
help and opportunities otherwise unavailable.
Today I will unpack my car and carefully store my things
away until tomorrow when I will start the process of preparing for next year’s
Feed.Just because the 50th
anniversary bash was the best Feed ever doesn’t mean the next Feed will be
less.In fact, every year improves over
the previous Feed, so expect the next one to be ‘over the top’—again.
Two more weeks.It’s
almost here, and I’m ready, but I’ve been ready for almost a year.This year is the 50th Anniversary
of the Feed, and rather than write a few paragraphs about it, I thought
something different would be more appropriate.The Annual Wild Game Feed sends out a copy of their creed most years
with their ticket order form, and I decided to reprint it here as a reminder to
everyone of what this shindig is about.
Wild Game Feed Creed
“We, the members of the Annual Wild Game Feed, declare that
the old traditions of the Western Territories of the United States are alive at
this beginning of the twenty-first century.
Since the early 19th century it has been the
tradition on this part of the North American Continent that hunters, fishermen,
mountain men, and outdoorsmen would once each year gather to trade game, food,
furs, provisions and experiences.Through this gathering, men of high education or of keen business sense
formed life long friendships, initiated a sense of community in that vast
wilderness and gained respect for this region and for all its wealth.These conventions were known as the “summer
Lest such tradition fade completely into memory, the Annual
Wild Game Feed is hereby created and dedicated to the preservation of the
summer rendezvous and for all that it means to the modern hunters, fishermen
and outdoorsmen.That the community of
the West still survives to preserve for the future of our young and old alike, the
rights of hunters, fishermen and outdoorsmen, to enjoy and continue to
experience the wilderness and wealth that still exists but is perilously close
It is for these purposes that the Annual Wild Game Feed is
organized and dedicated and resolves to raise funds for donations to such other
non-profit and charitable or public benefit organizations similarly situated,
either in part or in full, for the preservation of the traditions of the
American West outdoorsmen’s experience for all generations to come.
Accordingly, at noon on the third Friday of each September,
the Annual Wild Game Feed will hold its annual event, serving game and
beverages to its members to celebrate the Western tradition of the summer
rendezvous and raise funds for charitable organizations.”
A few days ago my 98-year-old neighbor came bouncing out his
front door to catch me in my driveway.
“David," he shouted, “I’ve got something for
you!" And with that he handed me a
big bag of lemons.
Bob had been sitting on his back porch earlier that morning
looking at the lemon tree he planted in 1948, seventy years ago just after he
built his house. He said it has
produced bushels of lemons every year since 1949, and the only thing he has
ever done to the tree since planting it is pick the lemons. No water, no fertilizer, no pruning,
nothing. Just pick the lemons. He said he is running out of people to give
the lemons to, so it’s up to me to take up the slack.
Well, I like lemons, but this seems to be a bigger job than
I wish to deal with; however, for now I’ll use as many lemons as I can. Let’s see, lemon pound cake, lemon water,
lemon iced tea, lemon pie, lemonade, lemon chicken, uh, lemon ice cubes, lemon
… Oh, my! This brings back into my thoughts a few lemon incidences.
At one time I had a position with a company that required a
lot of travel. My main office was in
Chicago, but I was often away, and my assistant James kept things running in my
absence. Needless to say, James knew my
schedule, and once when I was slated to return to the office, his wife baked me
a lemon pie.
James brought the pie to work and somehow managed to sneak
it past the security guard and other employees and into my office without being
seen. Believe me when I say if just
just one person had noticed it, the pie would not have made it to its
destination. Rather than leave it on my
desk where anyone walking by would have noticed it, James placed the pie in my
desk’s chair where I would be certain to see it. Best laid plans.
I arrived at the office a few minutes later, pulled out my
chair, and promptly sat on the pie. At
first I was confused. My chair didn’t
feel right. Did someone swap chairs
with me? As I stood up, I realized what
had happened. To be honest I really
wanted to sample some of the pie parts that appeared to have been left in tact,
but I thought better of it. After all,
my bottom had just sat on that pie. At
least I had a couple of extra suits in the travel bags I kept in the office.
Another time lemons impacted my life was again at the same
office about a year later. One of the
other department heads had made some limoncello using a recipe from his Italian
grandfather. He managed to get it past
the security guards and into my office where he closed the door behind
him. I watched as he pulled out two
oversized shot glasses and the bottle of limoncello from his overcoat. He uncorked the bottle and filled both
glasses. He picked up one of the
glasses and knocked it back in one gulp, and then he pointed to the second
glass and to me. I must say it was
A second round was poured, and it went down even easier than
the first. Then a third round was
poured. I can remember asking him if I
really wanted to do this, but I absolutely do not remember his answer. Later—much later—he told me I didn’t make it
to the fourth round. It turns out his
old Italian grandfather’s recipe started with a bottle of Everclear 190 proof.
So I thanked my neighbor Bob for the bag of lemons,
and proceeded into my home to brew up some lemonade and iced tea. And later out of curiosity I drove over to
an adult beverage store to price some Everclear. Thank goodness it is outlawed where I now live, and I’ll need to
find other ways of dealing with life’s lemons.
Maybe I’ll make a pie. But I
won't sit in it.
We’re getting close.
Just 10 more weeks and the 50th Annual Wild Game Feed at
Irvine Lake will be in full swing.
Friday, September 21, 2018 was marked on my calendar within 5 minutes of
purchasing a 2018 calendar. And I’ve
already gathered everything together I’m planning to bring—well, almost. I’ll wait on the ice until the last
minute. But you get the idea. I’m ready.
How about you?Did
you order your tickets the day the order forms came out?I hope so.I’ve said many times before that to hesitate is to miss the Feed.And every year I receive many emails from
guys who waited only to be turned down when they finally did send in their
order forms.In over twenty years of
attending this event, I’ve watched the ticket sell-out date move closer to the
form mail-out date.It used to be a
couple of months, if they sold out at all.Now they will sell out in just a few days.If you didn’t get a ticket, I will miss you, but hopefully this
will be incentive to order your tickets as soon as the form arrives next year.
To illustrate just how quickly your order needs to be
placed, last year the order forms were a couple of weeks later than usual
arriving, and everyone was in such a panic they ordered immediately.One person contacted me and stated he waited
from the time he received his form on Tuesday until payday on Friday to place
his order.He was too late.Order forms need to be mailed immediately
upon receipt.I can’t stress this
I’ve been told to expect great things for this year’s Feed,
but I expect that every year.And every
year the organizers manage to deliver.I can’t wait to find out what they were referring to, because it has to
be great to top last year’s Feed.
New Post on July 8, 2019. 51st Annual Wild
Fifty years. Half a
century. Wow! This is a Big milestone for any organization. Congratulations Annual Wild Game Feed
members for creating the biggest and best wild game feed anywhere! For a group that started out basically as a
backyard barbeque, this has taken on a life and meaning far beyond anyone’s
I’ve heard rumors of big doings planned by the AWGF members
for the Big Five-O.I don’t know
exactly what those plans are, but I do know the Craft Beer Garden will be
expanded with more local craft breweries represented, as well as more food
items to try.Also, they are bringing
back the whole Alligators!
The ticket order forms for this year’s Feed are arriving
right now.If you are planning to join
the Brotherhood of Carnivores at the 2018 Annual Wild Game Feed on the third
Friday in September (September 21, 2018) at Irvine Lake and find out what all
those rumors are about, order your tickets NOW!The tickets will sell out in just a few days, so any hesitation
will bring much sorrow, maybe some wailing, certainly some regret.A couple of years ago one guy forgot to
place his order until mid-July.He was
waaaay too late, and he ended up taking out his frustrations with a shovel
handle on the side of his truck.Then
he had to have the truck repaired.Double whammy!
As soon as you have the ticket order form in your hands,
fill it out, write a check, and send it in.I’m not joking about this.I get
emails every year from guys who waited a while to place their order only to
discover they were too late.And last
year I started receiving those emails about 2 weeks after the order forms came
out.This year will probably be earlier.I cannot help you get a ticket after they
are sold out.I buy my own ticket like
everyone else, and I don’t have extras.So, place your order immediately, or plan on waiting another year.
The Annual Wild Game Feed is a big charity fundraiser.Many worthy organizations (some are listed
on your order form) benefit from this event, and I am proud to be allowed to
participate.As always it is a stag
event (men only) and 21 years old or older.No exceptions.And as always it
will be too much fun.Raffles are for
some unbelievable prizes, mounds of meat followed by more mounds of meat,
bottomless beer mugs, about 1,500 of your best friends, games, cigars (bring or
buy there), and more.Then they serve
dinner.Absolutely the best wild game
feed I’ve ever attended.
So check your mail because the order forms are on the
way.Order your tickets immediately,
and prepare for a great time.
Do you remember the name of your first grade teacher? I certainly do. And over the many years since then I have never been able to
diminish a deep hatred for that name.
Anytime I meet anyone who shares her last name, I find I cannot like him
or her for any reason. I know they
haven’t done anything wrong to me, but the name brings back memories of being
tortured for using my left hand.
I was somewhat ambidextrous as a young child, but for many
activities I preferred one hand to the other.As an adult I still prefer one hand to the other for many things.For instance, I swing a golf club (on the
two or three occasions I’ve played golf) right-handed.I swing an ax left-handed.I swing a bat with either hand.I throw a ball right-handed, but I also
prefer to catch a ball in a gloved right hand.I shoot a shotgun and a pistol right-handed, but a rifle is more
comfortable left-handed.And many other
things have a hand preference.
In the first grade “Mrs. Vlad the Impaler” hated left-handed
people.I mean HATED left-handed
people.I was not allowed to do
anything with my left hand at any time or for any reason.I remember picking up my lunch bag with my
left hand.She grabbed it away from me
and threw it in the trash, and then slapped me across the face.I found using a pencil was easier in my left
hand than in my right hand, but each time she caught me attempting to write
left-handed, she would grab a brick from a pile she kept in the corner, place
my hand on a hard surface, place the brick on my hand, and hit it with a hammer
until the brick broke into pieces.Then
I had to sit on my mangled left hand for the rest of the day.My left hand still bears the scars and
evidence of broken bones.
My parents questioned me about the condition of my hand, but
they didn’t believe me.When they
questioned the evil queen, she said I must have injured it on the
playground.It’s always been strange to
me how I must have injured my hand on the playground almost everyday during my
first year in school.The bruises on my
face and body from her slaps and hits with a small club were ignored.
Outside the window of my second story classroom was a slide
for use as a fire escape, and I discovered I could escape the fires of hell by
jumping out the window when my teacher wasn’t looking.The first time I tried it, I made it home
(about a mile away) only to find my mother waiting for me.“Mrs. Vlad” had called to say I had run
away.For weeks I got a belt across my
backside every morning and every night for doing that; however, the belt was
better than the abuse from my teacher.
The last time I jumped out the window at school another
teacher “Mrs. Genghis Khan” was waiting for me at the bottom of the slide.That day I went home from school with blood
all over my face and shirt.This time
my parents were really upset, but not because of the beating I took from both
the teachers, but because of the ruined shirt.They were told I had fallen on the playground.There must be something wrong with me, because I keep falling
I have many other reasons for my outright hatred of this
teacher.She called the police on me
for being taller than my classmates.She told them I was lying about my age, but I was the youngest person in
the class.I had to bring in my birth
certificate to prove my age, as well as have my parents appear in court to
prove it to the authorities.Often she
found a reason to throw my lunch in the trash.My coat always disappeared from the coatroom in cold weather.On one occasion she smeared dog poop on the
seat of my desk and had me sit in it.
Our playground time always consisted of walking around the
perimeter of the schoolyard.There were
no games or playing allowed.(So how
could I have fallen while playing?) Walking was supposedly all the non-curricular activity a child
needed, but I always had to make the walk barefooted.The big stickers we called “goat heads” grew everywhere, and I
always managed to step on a few of these things.More than once they broke off in my feet and had to be removed by
a doctor.I was always in trouble from
my parents for not wearing my shoes, but “Mrs. Vlad” would remove them from my
feet (along with a couple of slaps or hits from her club) if I didn’t take them
off fast enough to suit her.
Fortunately for me I survived the first grade, although I
don’t know how.My parents moved, and I
was sent to live with my grandparents because their place was only about five
miles from a school as opposed to the over 10 miles to a school from my
parents’ new home.It was an
eight-grade four-room country school where I was able to be left-handed without
consequences.I still wrote mostly with
my right hand because my right hand had had more practice with writing, and
because my left hand was too deformed to hold a pencil.But never again did I experience anything
close to my first grade year.
When I was in high school I read of a teacher (name not
given) in a neighboring city who was found bound and gagged with both hands
smashed, and several broken bricks were nearby.Apparently she survived, but wouldn’t tell who did it to her, or
why.I can only assume it was some
left-handed former student because I am certain I wasn’t the only left-handed
student she had in her classes during her many years of teaching.No one, not even her, deserves this form of
punishment, although at the same time a part of me wants to thank the person(s)
who did it.