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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Update on the garden situation here in the Rockies.

I tilled a couple weeks ago, being careful not to till up the asparagus or the green onions.  (Which I missed harvesting last fall because the weeds took the garden and I could not find them.)  At that time I planted green beans and potatoes.  The green beans came up, but they froze last week under 9 inches of snow.  Potatoes did not even make an effort!  The strawberries, which I planted in the leaking horse tank that I filled with dirt and covered with a tarp before the snow, are doing beautifully and have tiny, teeny green strawberries about the size of a turnip seed setting on them.  The 6 tomatoes that I planted with the strawberries after the snow are setting on little bitty tomatoes.  Now if I could figure out something that uses both strawberries (which I really do not like) and tomatoes, I could have something high fiber for lunch.
The Red Bud tree is broken in the middle and looks very sad.  That happened when it snowed.  The snow was very destructive and I am now losing 2 of my evergreens.  The wild rose bushes fared well and I am happy to report that not a weed was damaged!  The bind weed is in full bloom and has leaves of record size.  (Sarcasm in case you do not recognize it!)
Patty and Bill were here for a week and Bill got a lot of my chores done.  He moved the books in the garage as well as the boxes.  We treated the stumps and he cut the broken limbs and drug them out back to the burn pile.  He took over "goose duty" thus freeing me up to watch Jeopardy!  He mashed all my aluminum cans and we took them to the recycle.  My car was full and we split $12.00.  May not seem like much but it is $12.00 more then we had.  His thumb is healed and they are going to try to lengthen his tendons this next week and hopefully it will be back to work for Willy!  Hats off for a job well done.
My daughters, Patty and Dona, along with my niece, Michelle attended my High Tea at the church the day before mothers day.  That was a rousing success, but I see a few flaws I need to iron out before the next one!  Then on Mother's Day they fixed me a wonderful lunch on the grill.  Bret and Amanda and the baby showed up to eat.  Pork steak and sirloin were on the menu along with asparagus fresh from the oven, baked potatoes, garlic toast, angel food cake and on and on!  Thank you children!
So that about winds up my week.  Oh, crap!  There was that trip to the dentist.  Did I ever tell you how much I like having some one's fingers in my mouth?
Last night I was home all alone and the solitude was different.  Makes me wonder if I really want to spend my waning days alone?  The solitude was broken by the sheriff cars in the drive way, but that is another story.
For now, I am pulling on yesterday's jeans and the ragged tennis shoes and I am off to attempt to till the garden so I can replant.  Oh, but first I have to find some breakfast.

Welcome to my world!

Friday, May 19, 2017

An epiphany by any other name, is still an epiphany.

I was laying in my be the other night and I was thinking back to when I was a teenager.  When I was in the 7th grade mother had her hysterectomy.  I must have been about 12 or 13 at the time.  Mary and Dorothy had gone to stay with Flo Roberts and the rest of us stayed home with Dad.  We were on Strong Street at the time.  It seemed like she was in the hospital a week and then came home.  As small cot had been put in the front room by the window so she could see out.  That is all I remember of that time period.  Out of this experience came a need to attend church.  Mother said so, so as soon as she was able, we went off to church. 
There were only 3 churches in town.  The Baptist church was closest, but they hollered and raised there arms and waved them around when they sang and that scared us.  The Methodist was closer to Main Street, but it was for the rich people.  Everyone knew that.  The First Christian was on Main Street right beside the school, so we went there. 
It was a beautiful red brick building with stained glass windows all around.  Miss Barkiss, the school music teacher played the piano and directed the choir.  I forget who played the organ.  Miss Matters sat in the seat at the end of the last row on the right side.  No one ever even looked like they wanted to sit there.  She was, or at least appeared to be, very mean.  The school principal attended with his family.  So did the sheriff.  A spirea bush grew near the stairway that led to the basement.  The basement was where we had ice cream socials, cake walks and Sunday School for the younger kids.  It was also where the bank for birthday money sat on the table.  I remember putting my pennies in and everyone counting when it was my birthday.
The minister was Rush J Barnett and his wife was named Genevive.  They were wonderful people and loved children.  Very soon I had found my life calling.  I memorized many Bible verses.  Mrs. Barnett was always working with us kids.  I decided early on that I would be a missionary.  Africa sounded so good to me.  I would go save the souls of all the little black natives.  Pastor Barnett gave me lots of books to read and I devoured every word. 
As with any church, there were workings going on that us kids knew nothing about, and the time came that Pastor Barnett was replaced by Pastor Johnson.  In churches, when one pastor leaves the new one comes in and brings his or her own way of management.  The old pastor is not heard from again.  I was devastated that I had lost my mentor.  Reverend Johnson had a wife who did not want to lead the youth group and a teen age son who was , for want of a better word, a jackass.  We should follow him and that was not happening.  He was a jerk to the max, so slowly we just quit going to church.  It was no longer a safe place or a place we even wanted to be.  On to my epiphany.
I soon became clear that I would never be a missionary and I would never make it to Africa to save the wretched natives.  There was no one to lead me and when you are a young girl in search of a future, dreams die easily and quietly and are replaced by reality.  And Strong Street in Nickerson, Kansas gave way to Avenue A in Hutchinson.
Fast forward to the present.  The kids are raised and living fruitful lives in other places.  I am all alone on my back acre and I stay very busy.  I work tirelessly for anyone who wants something.  I feed the homeless, work with the migrant center, volunteer  and sit with people who are ready to cross the bar.  I give rides to those who need them and am busy every day with one thing or another.  So last night it dawned on me, that the girl named Louella is a frustrated missionary.  It is 60 years later and I am once more trying to save the world!  I have no leader and stumble around blind, but my heart is in the right place. 
So, all you therapists and psychoanalysts out there need to come to my rescue.  How do I stop this insane behavior?  How do I get off this merry go round called life?  Do I just have to keep beating my head against a brick wall till the good Lord calls me?  I know I can not feed all the hungry people and I can not save all the wretched souls.  I can not set on all the committees and there are not enough dollars in my bank account to keep everyone warm and fed.  Will that 15 year old girl on Strong Street ever go away and leave me in peace?
I guess my life has become rather like that story I heard about the man who was throwing the star fish back into the ocean and someone asked why he did that because they just kept washing up and he could not save them all;  he could not make a difference.  He threw another one back and replied, "It made a difference to that one."

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Louella is still in there!

It is sad that after all these years I finally realized that the little girl on Strong Street is still in there and still hungering for acceptance.  I thought she would have learned by now, but she hasn't.  The saddest part is that she comes out at the damnedest times and I have to talk her back in.  Always craving acceptance and validation.  I think I may have read somewhere that we have to confront and comfort the inner child before we can be a complete person.  Maybe so.

The world sees the fascade that I present.  I tell it like it is.  I am dependable.  The "go to person" when something needs done.  I am honest to a fault.  I would give you the shirt off my back (as momma used to say) and the last dime in my pocket.  But under all that callousness and crap is still that skinny little girl back in Nickerson watching from the sidelines.  While the other girls went to the parties and cheered for the boys on the baseball team, I stayed inside and drew pictures on the black board with the "nerds."  We were drawing fins on Cadillacs before they were even thought of by the company!

I never doubted for one minute that my mother loved me.  Dad was a different story.  Grandma Haas and  Great Grandma Hatfield loved me.  They never kissed me or hugged me, but they fed me and smiled at me sometimes.  Touching didn't used to be a big deal back then.  I wonder why?  Aunt Mabel and Uncle Goll used to come see the grandma's from Coldwater and Aunt Mabel would let me rub cold cream on her face.  Once she sent me to Hinshaw's General Store to buy a towel so she could teach me how to do textile painting on fabric.  When I got it home and opened it up there was a brown "shelf mark" on it.  I wanted to take it back and get one without the "wear" mark, but she told me it was "good enough" for me.

And thus set the tone of my life was set.  I married a man because he was the one who asked me.  I stayed with him because that was what we did back then.  I had babies because that was the way it was.
When I divorced and was a single mother with no child support I survived.  And I married several times thinking that was the answer, but it was not.  I came to Colorado.  I divorced.  I married. I divorced and then I met my last husband, Kenny.  He did not know about my hungry inner child and he loved me for who I was.  When I opened up enough to share my childhood with him, he laughed.  And when I told him my first husband called me a "nickle bred gutter rat" he found that hilarious and began to call me  a "gutter bred nickly rat."  Life took on a new perception when I looked through his eyes.  But now he is gone.

So here I set crying over some slight that happened at church, or not having someone to hold my hand when I go walking, or wanting to run an idea by someone, and no one is there.  Nights get cold and lonely and very scary sometimes.  That is when I close my eyes and feel the wool blanket against my cheek and hear the coyotes yip in the distance and sometimes, the lonely scream of a cougar down on the river.

I guess it is all coming full circle.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

And the legal drinking age was?

By the time I was in high school I was old enough to drink liquor.  Well, maybe not according to the State of Kansas, or my mother, but I had a friend who had a father who made and bottled home brew.  He also left every weekend and left the stock unlocked.  I soon became known in Nickerson High School as "Home Brew girl."  That is a title I am not quite as proud of today as I was back then.  But the truth of the matter is it set the stage for later days when we moved to Hutchinson.

About the time we moved I was a senior in high school and tired of going there every day especially in a big city like Hutch where I knew no one.  So I got me a job in a burger place out on 4th and worked 2 weeks.  That was pretty boring.  It was one of those places where a speaker was on the tables and the customer ordered and I carried the food out .  Whoopee shit!  Big future there. 

I found the beer joints up on Main about the same time.  The interesting part here was when they checked ID it was in the form of a question.  "Are you old enough to drink?"
"Well, I been doing it for quite a while now so I guess I am."  Duh!

Now the best way to get free beer is to work in the place that sells it.  Within a one block area on Main Street were 3 bars that were known as the "3 Queens".  The first was the Manhattan Club, then the Brown Derby, and lastly was the Brass Rail.  I had heard of these places from way back when we lived in Nickerson and dad used to go drinking in Hutch.  Years later I read about them in the old family history when one of my great grandfathers had kept a journal.  One entry concerned his sons who worked for other farmers for cash money.  They had gotten paid and had " gone into Hutch and blowed up $20."  He was very upset about that little trip and mentioned it several times.  $20.00 was a lot of money back then and "blowing it up"  was a cardinal sin.

Also when I was young my fathers son (my half brother, Gene) had came home from the Army and was regaling us with tales of the 3 Queens and a lady of the night named "Sea Biscuit" who could out drink any man.  Her favorite drink was White Horse Scotch and milk.  I was "lucky" enough to meet her on one of my forays into the night life of the 3 Queens.  Sadly, she was not at all what I had pictured.  She was old, skinny and could cuss like a sailor.  She still drank White Horse Scotch and milk.  She had given up the "lady of the night" business and was married to a very tall man who was very quiet.  I think of them  when I hear the song, Country Bumpkin (click to listen.)  Her real name was Delores.  No last name, just Delores.  She did not remember my brother Gene.  She advised me to make something out of my life and not spend my time down on South Main.  My brother, Jake, concured with her and so my life in the bright lights of the 3 Queens was very short lived.

Then I found a place way out on 4th Street called the Tiny Tear.  The Tiny Tear was a cafe that was friendly to teenagers.  Sometimes I cooked there which also entailed waitressing.  I do not remember how I got from point A to point B since I did not have a car, but I managed.  The Tiny Tear was more my speed.   The kids that hung out at the Tiny Tear were very possessive of the place and we did not like strangers coming on our "turf."  During one of our "rumbles"  I met a guy who would be the love of my life.  His name was Jimmie and he called me "bright eyes."  Had the fates smiled on us we would no doubt still be together and I would still be in Hutchinson, but sadly, they did not.  He had just broken up with his girlfriend and 2 months into our torrid love affair she announced that he would be a father.  Back in those days that was an automatic marriage guarantee.  Thus ended our future.  I do not know what ever became of him, but I do know they had a couple more kids and I think he still lives back there, but I am not sure.  I still think of him fondly, but I also miss my little black calf named Dennis that died when he was 3 days old.  Water under the bridge.

I have good memories of my younger days.  While I may not be real proud of some of my shenanigans they did lead me to who and where I am today.  I do not have a prison record, for which I am thankful, but I do have a lot of life lessons that I could share with the kids now, but they would not believe me, so I won't.  My memories are just that, my memories.  And while I am sure Jimmie will never read this, if he does, I hope he remembers me just a little.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring time on the Mesa or better known as catch the damn wet backs.

Spring time on the Mesa is like no other time nor place.  Fields are being plowed, disked and some are already showing little onions and radishes popping through.  The field up on 27th Lane held black cows the last few months of the year and through January.  And of course there were little calves.  So damn cute hopping around.  How one cow could tell her calf from another always amazed me.
There were lots of cows and lots of calves.  This picture was taken on March 17.  The next day all the cows and calves were gone.  It made me very sad because having been exposed to life's realities I knew where they had gone.  They were taken to a sale barn.  Mothers went one way and the calves were sent to another pen. They were sold separately.  I can hear the calves crying and the mothers bellowing at night and that breaks my heart.  The field is now green with new alfalfa.  It is called the cycle of life.  Where do you think your hamburger comes from?
For time immortal Migrant workers have been a piece of the fabric that makes the Mesa one of the most lucrative garden spots in this United States.  Some of our greatest novels are based on the backs of migrant workers and the poorest of the poor who work the fields.  Who has not read "Grapes of Wrath?"  "God's Little Acre?"  "Angela's Ashes?"  The very fabric of this nation has been dependent on the poor.
Have you ever really just mingled with people who are struggling to put the next meal on the table, assuming they have a table?  You turn on the lights in your house and go into your kitchen to fix a meal.  Or order in a pizza.  At night you lay on your bed between your sheets and dream of tomorrow and going off to your job, or club, or wherever it is you go and do whatever it is you do. 
They come up here from Mexico.  You know where Mexico is and you know that our government wants to build a wall and keep them out of "our country".  Think about that a minute.  Are you going to show up out here in a few weeks to start pulling radishes and green onions and bundling them into little bunches to send to market?  Probably not.  Are you going to the produce stand to buy them nice and fresh for your table?  Sure.
When you are slicing those onions or eating that radish I want you to think about how that got to your table!  When you are roasting your chile, or eating your sweet corn fresh from the field, think about whose hands put it there.  Someone was bent over in the hot sun with their hands in the dirt picking it for you.  The "field workers"  are provided a "port-a-potty on the back of a trailer for their bathroom needs.  There is a cooler of water that may or may not have had ice in it when it left the farm.
The fields are alive with the workers all day long.  If it has rained and cooled the earth a little bit they are working in mud.  Most usually the sun is beating down all day long.  There is no shade.  They  work with hats and scarves covering every part of their body to keep the sun rays off them. 
Lunch break comes and they eat their beans and tortillas.  Of course they are cold, but they are also filling and easy to carry to the field. They drink water.  Lots of water.
When their 12 or 14 hour day is over they return to wherever they slept the night before.  Maybe a shack or shed some where.  Maybe a relative provides them shelter.  I do not know.  I do know they live in the shadows and they exist in a life that would break me in a New York minute.  Some of them have "papers" and some do not. 
They come here to work and when the season is over they go back to Mexico.  They go back because they live there.  That is their home.  They send money back to Mexico to take care of their family there.  That seems to upset some people.  I admire them for that.  While they were here they put money into our economy and what they saved they sent home.  They are taking care of their obligations.  Does that make them bad?  No!  How many people are we supporting because our "citizens" do not feel any need to work and take care of their own.
Many years ago my daughter and a son-in-law went to the fields to work.  Easy money. Pick a few peas and money in the pocket.  Yep.  They took my car and were gone 10 hours.  Patty had a red eye because she was behind Tex and he pulled a weed and threw it over his shoulder into her eye.  Their total take for the day was $6.30.  That was second only to the time that all 3 girls went out to top onions and I spent $30.00 buying the equipment needed.  That was a worse fiasco then the first trip. 
So, it is now Spring planting on the Mesa.  The "wet backs" are not showing up like before.  There are a few, but there is also a big white van that patrols the fields.  Not just the fields, but the sidewalks, and any where people with no hope congregate.  The men/women in these vans have the title of ICE on their uniforms.  That stands for Immigrant Code Enforcement (I think that is right.)  There job is to catch people "with out papers" and send them back to Mexico.  ICE is a good acronym for them because they are cold and ruthless.
(Interesting note here:  Back on Ellis Island when it was a clearing house for Immigrants and someone came through that did not have papers, the guard would call out "WOP!"  For many years Italians were called "WOPS".  I think it was later deemed a derogatory name and is no longer in use.  Just a thought there.) 
So here we set in a country that was founded on the poor and marginalized, meting out "justice" on the weakest of the weak.  I do not need papers because when I walk down the street I am white and everyone knows it.  I own my home.  I am privileged.  I have a car and draw Social Security.  I have it made.  Or do I? 
Our government bombed Syria because Syria gassed the same people who wanted to come to our country to escape.  No!  They are refugees and we will not have them here.  Isn't that just a little asinine?
I see the hatred in my country and it breaks my heart.  No more protection GLBT.  Confederate Flags flying in the breeze.  DAP full bore and hell with the Indians and their treaty.  EPA is a waste of money.  Global warming is a myth.  The homeless and the migrant workers are in danger and I can not help.  I want to gather the world  to my breast and tell them it will be alright.  But it won't.  The hatred is palpable.  I had a shirt once that said;
"They came for the Jews, but I was not Jew, so I stayed silent."
"They came for the Blacks, but I was not Black, so I stayed silent."
"They came for the Gays, but I was straight , so I stayed silent."
"They came for the disabled, but I was not disabled, so I stayed silent."
"Then they came for me, and there was no one left to SPEAK OUT!"
I will go to church this morning and I will pray for peace.  I will pray for my people who are suffering and I will pray for my friends who hide in the shadows and I will pray for my friends who ignore what is going on in our country. 

And then I will come home and weep.































Friday, March 31, 2017

Was it Ed or John?

Trying to remember way back to the Stroh place when I was 5 years old is a stretch.  I do remember that one of dad's friends was a carpenter.  Back in those days a carpenter could carry all the tools of his trade in his pockets and in a leather pouch.  All you really needed was a saw, a hammer, a level and some sand paper.  Oh, nails.  You needed nails.  I think his name was John and he carried his nails in a pouch, but when he was hammering he held them in his mouth so they were "easy to get at."  As years went by that little habit had some dire conseqences.  He developed cancer of the mouth.  He had to have part of his bottom jaw removed and after that it was just not much fun being a carpenter so he just died.  Funny how life goes sometimes.

That was back in the day when cancer was just beginning to rear it's ugly head, or at least the medical community was seeing this strange disease that could eat you alive.  Ever so often we would hear of someone who just took sick, wasted away and died.  We heard the whispered word "cancer" more often back then.  It just seems like when cancer was given a name it spread like wildfire.

So it was no wonder that when momma went into the hospital when I was in 7th grade that I was worried.  Yes, it was cancer.  They hoped they got it all.  Doctor was sure he had and we trusted him.  After all, my mother cleaned his house once a week so it was in his own best interest that he keep her healthy.  And he did.  Her recovery was slow, but she did recover.

Living in a small town and having my mother as a "cleaning lady" opened a lot of doors for our family.  She cleaned and I babysat for the people she  cleaned for.  One of the families was the family who owned the mortuary.  I must remember to tell you about that little episode.  Oh no time like the present.

That was back when television was first coming into being.  The Lamb family lived over the mortuary.   They had 5 little red headed kids.  They had to go out for the evening so I was called to babysit.  There was a body in repose in the viewing room but the man who worked for them would stay until they came home.

I got the kiddies settled in bed and thought I would just watch me a little television.  Do you remember when I think it was Orson Wells wrote a play about the war of the worlds or something to that effect?  The first words the television spit out were " We have been invaded by aliens!  They have come to kill us and we are all in danger!"  Of course I snapped that television off because if I was going to be killed I sure as hell did not want to know about it.  There is a lot to be said for the element of surprise.  I can still to this day feel the terror I knew that night when I heard that.  It was so realistic and I had never dealt with television before so I knew it was true.  But the night was just beginning.

The phone rang and I picked up just in time to hear the man down stairs say to his wife, "Of course, I will be right home.  I am sure it will be alright.  Let me just lock up and I will be there in a few minutes."  Click!  Oh, shit.  Now I not only had the worry of the aliens landings, I now had the reality of a dead body only feet away and no one guarding it.  I knew I was not going to turn that tv back on for sure.  I had only one course of action.

I went into the kids bedroom and woke them up and read to them.  I am sure they thought I was nuts, but I was 15 years old and scared to death.  The kids finally could not stay awake and I heard sounds downstairs so I knew the man had come back, or at least I hoped to holy hell he had!  Just for giggles check out that period in history.  The papers were full of stories about people who had heard the beginning of that movie and thought we were being invaded.  Hind sight tells me that I handled the situation better than a whole lot of people.

It was John.  John was the carpenter.  I remember. Amazing how these facts come back if I just talk to myself for a little while.  I am not sure if the facts that come back are the way it actually happened, but that is the best part of being me.  That is how it happened and John was the one with cancer.  If mother were here, my facts may not stand a chance, but she isn't is she?  So I will enjoy telling my stories and you will enjoy hearing them, because this is just how it is!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stick horse, comic books and baseball cards.

I have been away from 709 Strong Street long enough that I am pretty sure most of my memories will go unnoticed and the people who helped create them are long since dead and buried.  As long as I do not name people, no one will know who I am talking about.  It is nice to know I have out lived a lot of people so I can tell the stories as I remember them and no one can say "Nope!  That is not how it happened."
One of the girls in our neighborhood liked to ride a stick horse.  So did her mother.  Sadly, this was also the woman who babysat for Mary and Dorothy when mom worked.  Her father was a farmer of sorts.  He raised peanuts and pumpkins mostly.  Also pigs and a goat or two.  Her mom had a bit of brain damage, but managed to still cook and clean.  They had a wood cook stove, but so did we.  Hers was fancier and had enamel on it.  There was also a water pump and a sink right in the corner, so they did not have to go outside for water.  I  was envious of that.
She would make a chocolate cake every day and the daughter always tried to get me to eat it, but I just could not bring myself to do that.  For some reason it had a greenish tint to it.  I think it was probably the cocoa she used, but I was never sure.  She was always frying something, or boiling something.  Seems like parsnips were cooked more than potatoes.  I just figured out the other day that parsnips are actually very good.  Lagree's had some on the mark down shelves and I bought them and brought them home.  I peeled them, boiled them and then sauteed them in butter.  Yep!  Parsnips are now on my eating list.  They have a sort of sweet, nutty taste and I really like the browned parts.
There were 5 in the family.  Mother, Father, son, son and daughter.  The oldest son was already grown and gone when I met the daughter.  The father just farmed.  He planted things and harvested things and fed his pigs and butchered his pigs.  I never knew him to ever have a friend.  I heard rumors that they had been in a car wreck right after they were married and the mother had brain damage and the father felt guilty.
The daughter only wore jeans and flannel shirts.  Her shirt pocket was always bulging with baseball cards she collected.  Same with the pockets on her jeans.  I never saw her in anything else.  When the mother needed to go to town, she and the daughter would mount their stick horses and ride the 6 or 7 blocks into the grocery store.  I never knew either of them to ever ride in the pickup the father used for hauling his produce to market.
The house was sturdy and very well built.  I expect it is probably still standing.  I forgot to look last time I was home.  It had no indoor plumbing and that was not unusual.  All the houses on Strong Street had the out house going on.  Theirs was the worst though.  It consisted of a shed in the corner where two rows of chicken houses met.  A big hole had been dug and a metal wash tub with a hole cut in the center had been turned upside down over said hole.  The proverbial Sear and Roebuck Catalog was at the ready.  Man, I have been in some scary places in my life, but that one was the scariest thing I had every seen.  There was no way in the world that I could ever bring myself to even go inside that let alone pull my britches down and crawl on that tub.  No way in hell!  Never had to pee that bad!
The grandma lived in town in a big house with a bathroom and running water and all that good stuff.  The  brother went to live with grandma leaving just the 3 of them on Strong Street.  When I was 17 we moved away and I never heard of them again.  Years later I heard that the daughter had married and had a couple kids.  The mother died and then the father.  The daughter died when she was 50.  I often wondered how their life went.  They were just such isolated folks back then, but looking back no ones life really touched anyone elses.
We all lived on Strong Street until we left.  I sometimes wonder if mine was the only life that is changed by that little dirt road.  I never heard my sisters ever talk about it.  Was it because they were too young, or in Josephines case, too old?  Did that life shape me for who I am today, or did I escape?  Who knows.  I do know I take solace in the girl I was back then and I think she is buried some where beneath my callous exterior.  When I drive down that street now, I can not recognize the places, but when I close my eyes at night I can see the stars, hear the cougar down on the river, and I can feel the hot, humid air on my bare arms.
I am home!