Some Observations While Wandering Around Missouri

I’ve been cramming stuff into my brain for a lifetime  just like I’ve crammed stuff into our ranch salvage yard. Some of it worth saving, some of it just clutter, and then there are some real gems that never lose their Luster.

My problem is that if I don’t write this blog quickly all my observations might get lost in the recall part of my old brain that doesn’t work as well as it once did.  Zee and I started  our wandering in our mini van 6/29/2014.  As we criss crossed this state I never found one Pot Hole that made me want to question their road fixing ability. You cross all bridges and never know they were there, divided roads are everywhere and all secondary roads were smooth as silk. Cal Trans, the people that fix  our California roads could learn a lot if they would  send the head dog out to Missouri and observe how they build and repair their roads.

Missouri in the summertime is a beautiful green from top to bottom and I have taken notice that all the farmsteads have front yards and because it rains at least once a week,  they have grass and lots of it. The question becomes how do you control all this green growing mass? Why It’s the riding lawn mower to the rescue!

I truly believe that there are more riding lawn mowers per capita in Missouri and that goes for the rest of the Mid-West, than any other place on Earth. Each front yard owns It’s own Riding Lawn Mower and they look to be always at the ready to give their grass a Crew Cut. They come in all sizes shapes and colors. I saw one yesterday a big yellow beauty that I believe could go 20 M.P.H. on the highway.

That’s fast enough to take a break and a back road to the local Mini Mart, get a 6 pack of beer a cheeseburger, and then head for home to finish mowing the Green Jewel. However there is a price to pay for all this lawn mowing exuberance.

Its called FAT, because the lawn mower was the only one that got any exercise. The jockey got all the calories that are now on display around his Belly. Seems as though the more our jockey mows the lawn  (Burgers and Beer) the larger pant size becomes necessary. I Guess that’s the price to pay so our lovable jockey can continue to mount his steed  and keep the shaggy mass at bay and his standing in the community untarnished.

One more observation; in my travels I haven’t noticed one thin person riding a mower. I know that the more weight you put on the back of a pick up truck the better the traction. Makes me wonder if there is some law that precludes skinny guys from cutting the grass!  Can this be the reason Skinny guys in the Shoe Me State are scarce as Hen’s Teeth?
It about 5:30 this afternoon and my low tire pressure light has just come on and the town of Cassville is now in view. “How lucky would it be”,  I said to Zee,” if we found a tire shop open!” And in another moment there it was! Doors open and a friendly face working to finish the last tire change.

I pulled up to the tire changing area. “Could you fix a tire?” I asked. “Sure park it right over there”.  As the tire guy was working to get me back on the road I just had to ask him, How in the world does every lawn in this whole state get mowed every week or so?  And then he explained that most cut their grass because they like the look, but most all counties also have an ordinance that if you don’t cut your grass the county will cut it for you and send you a bill that will make you want to “cut the cheese”for not cutting the grass.
We’re staying in West Branson tonight and so far all we’ve seen is one giant strip mall that looks pretty ugly. The night has passed without incidence and we’re ready to visit downtown Branson. It’s touted to be the Mid-West’s answer to Las Vegas. Route 76 is the main entry and West Branson is 5 or 10 miles distance depending on which street sign you read. Well we had not traveled but a mile in easy traffic when the traffic leaving Branson was either stopped or doing the snail walk. I thought that at 10 A.M. in the morning all the action would be going to town.

This bumper to bumper pace we learned was a fact of life.  I think it rivals a real good Los Angelus traffic jam, made even worse because It’s vacation time and a person was supposed to have left this  kind of snarl at home. Zee and I both had the same idea. How do we get out of this poorly planned  place?

I could tell that the Peter Principal was alive and well, which says that any person or thing will rise to It’s level of  incompetence, was working. I think, that has happened to Branson  and with a fair number of For Sale signs along the way, tells me that others agree. For us  It’s time to say, “Adios!”  We headed out of town on a road that the sign read Arkansas.
We’re in Oklahoma City now and will spend the night. Going to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in the morning. But first I want to say good bye to Missouri, a very beautiful state to visit. The people are friendly and if you like to fish this is the place for you. Everywhere you go you’re  either crossing a creek or a river, or driving by a gigantic lake just waiting for you to bait your hook and do some fishing. For me the Agricultural wealth I.E. Corn, Grass, Cattle and Hardwood Forests were amazing to see. Zee and I looked at each other and agreed that our time was well spent in Missouri.
See Ya,

Jack

How to live in a cage

“I like living in a cage as long as the door is open.”

This quote came from Goldie Hawn. it fits perfectly with the way I lead my life. Close the door and my peaceful easy feelings disappear and thoughts of confinement take over. Living 37 miles from our shopping town Paso Robles, is just the right distance to separate me from turmoil. Any closer and a person could get a cluttered uneasy feeling.
Being somewhat claustrophobic causes me to ride in elevators with toes fully curled, sweaty palms and an ear bent toward any unusual sound. Finally, I reach my floor and it’s an eternity waiting for the doors to open. Then the doors begin to slide open to reveal elbow room and I breath a comfortable sigh of relief; something that people that ride with no fear never get to feel.

Another advantage of having elevator phobia, I get to use the stairs when I’m by myself. For riding the box solo is real scary. One option is to climb the stairs. But when my hotel room is above the 10th floor that’s when fear meets tired. So I will usually wait a few minutes in hopes that someone might happen along that wants to join me in a minute or two of high anxiety.

Now to all of you out there, who riding the box is no big deal to: Don’t be annoyed if I try to say a few words to you, as it helps ease my need to flee. But once the cage door is open life is good again.

See Ya,
Jack

What do politicians and earthworm have in common?

 Our mid term elections are now history. At the winner’s party all the champaign has been consumed, the balloons have been dropped and the newly elected official with microphone in hand is promising his or her constituency that a new day is ahead and the world will be a better place because the new Senator Snort has the reins.

Little does he or she know that the bureaucrats back at the capital are just waiting to re-mold him or her to fit their image. Now, to the losers gathering. After the customary concession speech words are hard to come by. Drinking Champaign and dropping balloons is going to have to wait for another day. Last one to leave turn out the lights.

But real politicians are like athletes. They just lost one game but the next one will be different. It will have winner written all over it. I think to be successful in politics a person needs to be like an earthworm. Now before you jump to any conclusions, here’s what Charles Darwin champion of the theory of evolution had to say about Earthworms:

“It can’t be doubted whether there are many other animals which have played so important a part in the history of the world as have these lowly creatures.”

 Did you know these lowly critters can eat their weight in organic matter everyday and turn it into a ready to use top soil for a grass plant to eat. The evening news is the territory where our Senator Snort will eat his weight in our national treasures on a daily basis, and poop out soil to fertilize the national debt. What I’m not sure of is whether the national debt will feed our populace as well as the earthworm feeds its hungry hordes.

And did you know that some fellow wanted to know how long an earthworm lives. So this chap observed a worm for 15 years before boredom over came him and the worm was alive and well still making top soil. Now to Senator Snort who lives by the use of Gerrymandering and Pork barreling to keep his political body alive . And much like the worm “Snort” is hail and hardy after 15 years and still spending with vigor for the publics welfare and his own.

One last ‘did you know’.  Our friend the worm multiples it’s kind by laying eggs and then they are spread about in the soil guaranteeing the earthworm’s survival. Our politician does it by following the money that leads to my wallet and has also been known to lay an egg every once in a while.

Now I don’t want you to think that I’m disparaging my brethren who chose politics for their life’s work. But who in their right mind would choose work with a form of government (democracy), that is such a messy way to govern but its still way ahead of whatever is second?

So to you, my civil minded citizens who’ve been elected to meet the needs of ‘we the people’, who by the way, want it all. And when ‘we the people’ feel threatened by some Wing Nut in another part of the world, you promised to keep us safe. This way we can continue to complain about what a lousy job you ‘Senator Snort’ are doing. You can’t win Senator Snort therefore, go ahead keep sprinkling my dollars around but please try to use a modicum of restraint. And you go earthworm, we can’t live without either of you.

See Ya,

 Jack

What Lights Your Fire?

Well my fire is just now beginning to die down as my son Greg, grandson Zack, and my right hand man Juan have just spent the last five days loading and hauling with ranch pickups and trailers, 18 loads of “every kind of imaginable stuff”.

Of late I’ve had an uneasy feeling as to the health of my salvage yard and I think those that live there were probably having worried thoughts that maybe the Salvage yard had lost its one of my favorite places to hang out’ status”

It was that, coming up empty handed more and more often  trying to find that special thing that you can’t explain to someone what it is, but you know it when you see it.

This was becoming a common occurrence . You could see the signs of neglect. There was lots of bare ground showing. Even a Rattle Snake was having a hard time finding a place to hide while waiting for Mr. Mouse to walk by. The Cottontail Rabbit that likes to eat dinner after dark, because during the daylight hours he’s  a very desirable target for a Redtail Hawk. But with many of his favorite dining spots now just bare ground he too had to venture out when the Sun was shining instead of when the moon was shining, just to eke out a meal.

I had to take action and move the “Museum” as some people like to call it, up the priority scale, so I could regain the respect of the many critters that live in this wonderful little neighborhood. I had to do something… But replacement stuff has been difficult to find.

I should have been looking during our recent ‘Past Recession’ that caused 2nd hand stuff to flood into the market. Now with better times at hand, lots of folks don’t have to part with their treasures.
Just when I thought I would have to look farther a field, the phone rang. An old friend was on the other end with news that a local contractor had passed away and his estate was selling a very large accumulation of, “My kind of goods”.

I couldn’t wait to give the party that was in charge of dispersing the goods a call. A man’s voice answered. I asked if I had the right person that would be in charge of selling the used portion of the estate and he said told me he was. I was to meet him at 9 am the next morning to look at what this now deceased gentleman had accumulated in his lifetime or part there of.

Well, the beginning paragraph aptly describes how to spend five days of bliss and I believe I could hear an “Atta boy!” cheer go up from all the residents when the first load was dumped and feelings of social security were felt when the 18th load of treasure found its proper place on the bare ground of a sparser time.

See Ya,
Jack