By the time yesterday’s sun had been up a couple of hours, my blog post was written and the ground outside was dry enough for me to move the picnic table, re-set the dog enclosure and sweep the patio mat. With this latest round of rain over and the standing water gone, it was time to return to (our version of) normal.
I’d just finished placing a pair of solar lanterns on the table when I heard a distinctive, raspy “kee-eeeee-arr” overhead, very close by. The scream was followed by the graceful form of a red-tailed hawk rising to perch in a black walnut scarcely 30 feet from me.
This was a magnificent bird. A big one, too, maybe the largest red-tail I’ve ever seen, its size leading me to suspect that I was looking at a female of the species.
We sized each other up awhile, this raptor and I. Eventually she swooped down off the branch and out into the leafless hardwoods upslope from the campground.
I’ve seen a thousand hawks, but the experience never gets old. I get the same goosebumps now that I did when I was a kid. These are alpha creatures, and the sight of them inspires me every time.
“[Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene] was very specific recently, saying a mom, a mother who lost two kids to fentanyl, that I killed her sons. Well the interesting thing is that fentanyl they took came during the last administration, he-he.”the current occupant of the Oval Office, on Wednesday, scoring political points by chuckling about the deaths of the 18- and 20-year-old sons of Rebecca Kiessling, who’d testified before a House committee on Tuesday
We haven’t driven Mercy, our Jeep Wrangler, much at all this winter. Parked on our campsite next to the Silverado, it’s become a sort of storage annex to the bus, absorbing overflow and overstock. Lately it’s been crammed so full that we couldn’t easily drive it if we had to.
This morning, under spectacular skies, we unloaded Mercy of the unnecessary and the unused, transferring it to the truck and heading toward our rented storage unit in Gassville. Along the way we took an unplanned detour to another AGFC facility on Crooked Creek, this time the Mark Oliver Access west of Yellville.
Smaller than The Fred, The Mark is basically a boat launch with a parking lot big enough to accommodate a dozen or more towed rigs. There are a few picnic tables on the wooded bank. That’s it.
Crooked Creek was way up today, roaring from recent rains. With time and weather on our side, we lingered at The Mark before resuming our run to Gassville.
We stopped by The Mountain, of course, on the way back to Harrison — chattin’ with neighbors, tailgate-sittin’ at the homesite, hangin’ out in Deb’s cousin’s driveway.
We’ll be there again tomorrow. We may try to be productive.
[Maybe it’ll end up a short-lived, fleeting thing, but I’ve hatched an idea for a closing feature — “Now what am I forgetting?” will be an oh-by-the-way, something practical and useful, regular but certainly not daily. We’ll see how it goes.]
Those of us who came of age in the ’60s and ’70s, and certainly before that, carried a pocketknife. For us boys and a few fortunate girls it was a rite of passage. For grownups it was an essential tool. For all — man or woman, young or old — a simple slipjoint knife was a symbol of being useful, grounded in American tradition.
Society’s reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 changed that. Suddenly we were being searched and scanned and ordered to empty our pockets. Accustomed to carrying a knife everywhere, lots of people stopped carrying a knife anywhere.
It’s safe to say that any American who works for a living didn’t alter his knife-totin’ behavior. I know I didn’t. See, most of us don’t commute to a secured office building every morning. Rarely (if ever) do we enter a courthouse or board a commercial aircraft.
Country folk didn’t change a thing, that’s for damned sure.
But if you’re among those who drifted away from carrying a knife, snap the hell out of it, be an American and start again. Don’t get cute — pick something small, something simple, something old if you can find it. Choose a good knife, not necessarily a pricey one. Learn how to take care of it, and then take care of it.
Whatever you do — especially if you’re a knife knut anyway — avoid multi-tools and tacticool designs. Get back to basics. You’ll be surprised at how much you can do with an ordinary two- or three-blade slipjoint. Just like your granddad did.
That’s it — and notice that I didn’t once say “EDC.”
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.