Acting Out The Reasons
by Calendar Hacksaw
Calendar was beside himself with Anxiety, Fear and Anticipation as the five of them sat on an old hardwood bench staring out at the vast wasteland of suburbia. Cal and his caucus of cohorts were pondering the first Piute Mountain trip of 2001, and the prospects looked dim, as usual. Meanwhile, Sanchez' ice cream truck lumbered down the lane, announcing its presence with the ever-familiar tune of "Home On The Range."
"How often at night when the heavens are bright
With the light of the glittering stars,
Have I stood here amazed and asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours."
Calendar briefly wondered aloud why the official state song of Kansas would be used to herald the arrival of an ice cream truck, and how the song's author—Brewster Higley, and its composer, Daniel Kelley--would feel knowing this epic had sank to such depths. But then he quickly realized he was beginning to sound a lot like Sherry Poisson, and decided it would be wise not to tread on her turf.
Fear spoke first, and reminded Calendar of the many sleepless nights he had endured on the mountain over the years. There was the time of the "great bear scare," when cabins and trailers were ravaged by a bruin so brazen she knew no fear. In the darkness before dawn, every snapping twig or crunching leaf startled him awake, shotgun in one hand, flashlight in the other, searching the darkness for anything but seeing nothing but darkness.
Then there was the other time, when lifting the generator from the bed of his truck at the start of a 4-day stay, Calendar so strained his back that he could do nothing but crawl on the floor for three days, eating and sleeping at ground level; too proud and embarrassed to seek help.
Anxiety spoke next, reminding Calendar that he never knows what disasters he will find on the first trip of the year. Did the roads hold up through the winter months, or are they probably still blocked by tree falls and boulders? Did the cabin sustain any major damage since last November? Maybe the petty thieves, dopers and vandals arrived early to rape and pillage Calendar's meager possessions. Perhaps a shot-out window or kicked-in door afforded access and egress to hordes of mice, rats and squirrels. A colony of Africanized killer bees might have taken up residence inside the stovepipe—or, worse yet—the outhouse.
"Skunks under the sub-floor!" Anxiety laughed, with obvious glee. "Rattlesnakes by the streams! Scorpions inside your slippers, Black Widows invade your dreams!"
Never one to sit idly by and listen to such negative thoughts, Anticipation suddenly swung around in her chair to slam a tight fist into the side of Fear's face, then Karate kicked Anxiety squarely in the groin.
"Shut up, or else I'm out of here!" she threatened, with a tone of voice one would normally expect only from someone like Connie during rent negotiations with Al.
"Have you all forgotten why we came here in the first place? Do you remember why we stay; why we continue to come back year-after-year, why we suffer all winter long awaiting the arrival of Daylight Savings Time and Duff Clearing Weekend?"
And with that, Anticipation began listing just a few of the reasons Calendar returns each year; the people, the places, the events and surprises that abound and astound:
"The serenity that comes with turning off Highway 58 and descending into Bealville," Anticipation recited, picking her teeth with a rusty, commemorative Buck knife. "Watching the train go by, stopping at Caliente to say "Hi" to Devon and use the restroom, waiting for the train go by again, waving to the goats, pulling over at the 5-mile marker and standing in line to use the bush, rolling down the windows to yell "Moo!" at the range cattle, waving at everyone in Loraine, dropping in for a minute to see how Al's doing and visit with Connie, Teresa, a half-dozen guys named 'Tom,' Christine, Paul & Elsa, Richard, Sis, Lawrence & Judy, and anyone else who happens to be around."
"Then there's "Happy Hour" at Sand Canyon, and a bunch of new and familiar faces; maybe the entire faculty of PMS, an assortment of friendly but ugly cattle dogs hugging the side door or protecting the beds of pick-up trucks, high school juvies workin' on their billiard posture as two or three Princess candidates look on with indifference, the world's friendliest barmaids, CMT on the TV, all the unique stuff that the big city columnists never notice."
That settled, Calendar bade farewell to his four companions, closed his eyes, leaned back, rested one hand on his faithful dog, and felt himself drifting away as the ice cream truck made one more pass.
"Veer, veer right at the "Y"
Follow that creek into town;
Range cattle galore, Karaoke, and more
And not one cowpoke sportin' a frown.
Lyric by C. Hacksaw, 2001
Now Cal's got something new to sing when Sanchez comes down the lane, and he's hopelessly addicted for another year.
Calendar Hacksaw hangs out at http://www.calendarhacksaw.com, and he has to admit the real attraction is watching the hummingbirds. That, plus gettin' to pee outside for a change.