Fat. Tuesday.

This is the first day of March, and I can see springtime from here. It’s also Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), so from my family to you and yours, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” (that is, “Let the good times roll.”)

And today happens to be the 50th anniversary of the Buffalo River’s congressional designation as a “National River.”

Deb and I didn’t make it to the Buffalo to celebrate today. We detoured to Flippin and grabbed supplies at Walmart, then on our final leg to The Mountain we pulled off at Crooked Creek Flippin Access and watched the blue-green water roll awhile.

Once again we rolled the Ranger to the summit and went exploring. And again our quarry was a depression revealed by the hillshade layer of The National Map. This divot wasn’t dramatic, necessarily, but it was appealing nonetheless — a collection of moss-draped ledges on a steep slope, with what looked like evidence of slip some time ago. It wasn’t enough to consider it an actual sinkhole, but the leafless late-winter woods allowed us to lay eyes on it.

Not far away stood the enormous Eastern red cedar I discovered a few weeks ago. Today Deb got her first up-close look at this majestic tree, easily 200 years old.

Returning to Deb’s cousin’s garage I borrowed a garden hose, made a bucket of soapy water and gave our muddy buggy a much-needed bath. Washing the UTV, even though it wasn’t a full detail job, scratched an itch for me. Very satisfying.

Mercy remains a grimy mess. Hell, there’s still Montana mud on the Jeep. We’ll remedy that soon.

Deb put the perfect cap on our visit by preparing a Mardi Gras nosh. The three of us enjoyed cheeses, pickles, olives and savory crackers, with King Cake for dessert.

Laissez les bons temps rouler.

We arrived back at the bus in time for the “State of The Union” speech delivered by the current occupant of the Oval Office. As we expected, it was dishonest and deflective. Between the mumbling, the slurring and the whispering, the address made it clear that the country we love is colossally screwed.

As I write this he’s still droning on. It’s hard to listen, but we’ve stayed with it.

That’s what citizens do.

I hate to repeat myself, but I feel the need to say it again: Put your affairs in order, my friends.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon #FJB