An Open Letter

by Calendar Hacksaw

Dear "Thunderhead" Reader:

You'll pardon me for using the singular "reader," rather than "readers," but I suspect that my readership has dropped off sharply in recent months, and there may be only one of you left. Perhaps it's time for ol' Calendar to hang it up; grab the proverbial saddle and bedroll, and head on out the door. Make room for a new columnist; one who is better able to compete with the likes of Moody, Durham, St. John, Triplett, and all the rest. Yep, maybe it's time for some new blood here on Page 9; someone more in tune with what's goin' on in the Basin.

You see, I've always been at a competitive disadvantage bein' as I'm only a part-timer around Twin Oaks. If you're a permanent resident of these parts, you probably hear more good stories and lies on a slow morning than I could collect in a year. Stuff that I couldn't make up if I tried. Just reading the blackboard at the General Store causes me to double over in laughter and roll in the aisles, and that's hard to top.

A few weeks ago I stopped in at the Dinner Bell for a you-know-what, and decided to listen in on some of the locals to catch up on the news. Hearin' what they were talking about convinced me that my fictitious column doesn't compare with real life. Herewith is a brief summary of things that were goin' on that afternoon; things a part-timer like me would never otherwise know about.

Having enjoyed the Olympic Games on more than one occasion, I've long been familiar with the sport of Water Ballet, although it's never been my can of beer. A little too conservative for my taste, and I find it difficult to tell the difference between "good" water ballet and "bad" water ballet, if indeed any such distinction could be made. But then I heard the locals talking about "Caliente Creek Water Ballet," and my ears perked up.

This activity was not for steers, and not for the squeamish of heart either. It seems that Walker Basin's proud crowd of female range cattle like to celebrate the end of calving season by taking to the water in some of the deeper pools not easily visible from the road. With goggles firmly in place, and one-piece bathing suits that went out of style with Esther Williams, the merry cows pirouette, dive, somersault and defecate to the enticing melodies of Liberace and Gershwin, piped in from some friendly ranch hand's borrowed boom box. Picture that!

Next, I heard all about "topless" duff clearing. Apparently this is a more creative and entertaining way of rounding up and disposing of all the pine needles and fallen branches that pile up around the mountain cabins and trailers during the winter months, as mandated by the U.S. Forest Service. But unlike the "Go-Go" dancers of the 60's with their gilded cages, or in the Travolta-style discos of the 70's, these dancers are actually doing work and reducing fire danger while having fun and providing entertainment. Just imagine driving up Breckenridge or Piute Mountain and suddenly coming across Wayne, Rick, Al, and who knows who else, all stripped to the waist, pulsating to the beat of Willie, Merle, and Hank while pulling those 12-tine rakes through the forest flotsam. What a sight that must be!

What really caught me off-guard though was the discussion about "Jeep Team Penning," the object of which was to get the Jeep driver to go where you want him/her to go by giving instructions with live gunfire. The end result has been some awfully perforated Jeeps, but it was said that the meanest guy in Lerdo wouldn't mess with anyone driving one of these well-ventilated survivors.

There was also talk of hosting the first "Lions Trail Grand Prix" road race, but not allowing the unwitting contestants to preview the course ahead of time, and not telling the drivers that the "finish line" is in the deep end of Julia Lake. I wondered if the plans for this event had moved beyond the planning stages.

Of course, the subject of Open Range Demolition Derby always rears its ugly head. Even I know how this event works, but I want to thank the local ladies for fighting to make it a co-ed pastime.

So you see, dear reader, if you'd e-mailed this stuff to me at <> as I'd asked, I wouldn't have had to prowl the alleys and smoke-free bars of Twin Oaks in search of column fodder. But, alas, you let ol' Calendar down, and now I'm faced with "the big decision," to stay or to go, a decision I'll make sometime next month.

In the interim, might I suggest that the next time some local activity causes milk to come out your nose, sashay on down to the local Community Internet Access Point (Piute Mountain School or Mike Durham's living room), and e-mail the details to me before you forget them. You don't have an e- mail address, you say? Well, why not? They're free, you know! Just go to <> or <> and get yourself one! Pick out a stupid name for yourself, like "vilejidiot," or use the name everyone around town calls you (probably one and the same anyway), and join ol' Calendar in making the world a much smaller and more intimate place to live.

But remember: "cybersex" kills; especially in Walker Basin.

Calendar Hacksaw's e-mail addresses are <> and <> and he'd love to hear from you.

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