Fog Lies On The Mountain

by Calendar Hacksaw

And so it came to pass - as it does each year - that it was time once again to clear the accumulation of duff from around our cabin and assorted outbuildings and trailers which make up the bulk of the Twisted Sisters Ranch.

My grandson, "Alpo," agreed to help, so we set out early one morning looking forward to some invigorating hard work and manly sweat. We would eat out of cans, burn fires, cuss, spit and pee wherever we damned well pleased.

Alpo's not his real name; just a nickname given to him by our Rottweilers one ugly day, and it kinda stuck. It serves as a constant reminder of where he stands in the food chain.

We headed up I-5 and when we got to about Gorman we knew we were in a heap of trouble because we couldn't find Gorman or anything closely resembling it. Fog blanketed the hills and sky in a sea of white that even a Carl's Junior sign couldn't penetrate. I throttled it back to 85 just to play it safe.

Well, we crawled on over the Grapevine to where we could sort of see again, and everything looked fine until we hit Twin Oaks (note to casual readers: one does not "reach" Twin Oaks, or "arrive" in Twin Oaks; it must be "hit," and hit squarely, in order to do it right).

The valet took our car, and from the parking lot of the General Store we looked about. All the surrounding mountains were enveloped in the same stinking fog we saw somewhere up by Gorman.

A few hours later, we finally found the ranch. It was in deep soup. But a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, so I told Alpo he'd probably have to clear duff without me because that kinda weather's no good for an old boy like me.

As the hours drifted by, so did the cloud bank. I'd gaze out the window toward the road and sometimes I could see Alpo working, but at other times he'd just disappear into the haze. Once I saw a small cloud of brown fog drift by, and remembered that Alpo ate chili for breakfast. Maybe he burped or something, I thought.

Another time, I saw a cluster of black spots floating past and went to investigate. I found a Dalmatian.

In the early afternoon, I got out my Stihl and cut out a cubic foot of the stuff and put it in the ice chest to keep the drinks cold.

A little later, I heard a small airplane circling overhead, so I sauntered on over to the rocky outcropping that overlooks the Basin. As the Cessna flew by, the pilot rolled down his window and shouted, "I'm running on vapors; where's the landing strip?"

"Which one?" I responded, politely.

"Hell, there's only one!" he screamed.

"No; there's two."

"Two??? Who cares?!?! Where's either one of 'em?"

"I don't know," I confessed. "I'm not a pilot; I'm only a columnist. By the way, do you know anything about Coleman stoves?"

"No!! Where the hell can I put this thing down?!?"

"Try Zanutto's barley field."

"Zanutto's barley field?!? Are you crazy?!?"

"No; Rick's a "dry farmer." Nothing ever grows there; it's flatter than Al on a Friday night!"

And that was the last I saw of him.

So with Alpo dispensing of our duff, and the pilot lost in the fog, I felt that I had accomplished quite a bit. And I had some time left over to do some serious thinking.

I found myself wondering if the United Nations could build a prison secure enough to hold Michael Durham. I wondered if the U.N. would be interested in building a prison at the Twisted Sisters, and hiring me to run it.

I wondered if Sherry Poisson (pronounced "pwah-sew") was a descendant of the great French mathematician of the last century, Simeon Poisson, who developed the theory of Poisson Distribution, used to determine the probability of a like series of events occurring during a specific period of time, such as bicyclists ordering a glass of water at the General Store between 9:00 a.m., and noon on a Saturday.

I wondered how I came up with that thought.

But mostly I wondered if I had reached or exceeded my allotted word count for the month. Yes; 804 words, counting this one.

I also backed off a bit on last month's threat to abandon this column, at least for another month or so, thanks to the sage advise and wisdom of Wayne Moody, often called the "Mother Teresa of Walker Basin," and some guy named "Luke," often called "Luke." I thank you both.

Calendar Hacksaw can be reached via e-mail at <> and he'd love to hear from you.

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