Dime Bet

An amusing memoir from my high school years. Those who know me as a citified new media artist, or more recently as a soft, old, bald guy may not recognize the Scooter revealed here. And yet, sometimes the improbable is true. To keep the story moving, I had to trim a few anecdotes and some fascinating history about the families mentioned in the story who settled this area. Maybe later. The photo of the dime comes courtesy NCG Coin Explorer. The Yampa valley photo in the background courtesy The Unknown Real Estate Agent of Maybell, Colorado. Compositing by yours truly.

“Dave stood still as a tombstone in the middle of Moffat County 10, a graded dirt road traversing far northwestern Colorado north of the Yampa River. At fifty or so yards away, the weirdness of his body language didn’t immediately register. So for a couple of seconds, I remained immersed in the smell of sagebrush and sun-baked, cream-colored clay while searching the roadside skirting the broad, high desert valley.”

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The Nadir of the Thin Man

This memoir is about when I helped ensure that a man was able to maintain his dignity in a time of crisis and how it unexpectedly enriched my life. Some names and locations have been changed to shield an identity. The image at left is a poster for The Thin Man from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.

‘”Were you a friend of Rick Hansen on Bell Street?” he asked.

“Still am,” I replied.

“I thought I recognized you.” He paused. “You ever . . . ?”

He let the question hang. In that lull, I recalled who he was.”

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Hog Wild and Dotty

This memoir relates a few experiences with wild pigs and one very close call. My photo is of our dogs, Dotty (left) and Mabel, waiting to go, just go please, in our utility vehicle. Mabel is cute and shy, but Dotty wielded an outsized personality that shone as fearlessness and an endearing elan. At the end of the story you’ll find two links to segments that further illustrate some of its elements.

“Along the way, I began to notice a lot of fresh pig tracks of various sizes and caught the smell of their feces. Unlike other animals, hogs defecate where they sleep. So, clues like that usually meant a sounder, numbering anywhere from a handful to many dozens of swine, camped here for a day before continuing to forage after sundown.

Then we came upon a fresh pile of scat. Somehow, I made it fit the narrative in my head: they were here last night, not now.”

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Stand To Your Glasses

We just passed Vietnam Veterans Day last week (March 29, 2022), placed perversely on the anniversary of the Fall of Saigon. That we are in the midst of another terrible war, this time in Ukraine, wraps my heart in melancholy. Tonight, I take a drink to honor fallen friends and to mourn all the combatants and non-combatants caught up in the latest maelstrom.

Then, in a movie on Turner Classic Movies, I hear the song sometimes called “Stand To Your Glasses.”

The photo, by an unknown squadron mate with my camera, is of three VRC-50 “Foo Dogs” drinking, 1969: from top to bottom, Airmen Beeman, Gleason and Smith. We always had reason, I guess. See Come the Revolution and Solemn Mysteries.

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An Education in Feral Swine

My wife, Amy, and I decided to convert some heavily wooded and creek-cut acreage into an ecological haven of renewed tallgrass prairie and protected species habitat. Serious about our goals, we took classes from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. We learned about Blackland prairie botany and biology, erosion control, and best practices for farm and woodland management. And feral pigs. Drawing at left from a 1921 Collier’s via Wikicommons, artist unknown.

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The Power of Hug

I wrote this essay/memoir in mid-2019 as a reaction to the shaming and derision Joe Biden was receiving for caring enough about people to love them; to hug them. The photo of my father was taken by an unnamed friend of his in Sasebo, Japan, 1945.

“My father chose to be a hugger, but behavioral norms change. Today, our culture is flirting with the idea that people who hug others, regardless of intent, should suffer societal censure. While there are justifications for this, I sense a net loss for humanity.”

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Path of the Painter

I’ve been writing a lot of memoirs. They seem to require an economy of writing that doesn’t interfere with the story. As a mild rebellion, I wanted to let loose with description. The result is this short fiction about the contradictory soup of friendship, love, and the imperative of ambition among and within those who must create art. Frankly, there’s more to come, but it’s still a fun read. Image from photo by Katarzyna Gonsior on Unsplash.com.

“Astrid seemed too pretty, too gentle, too in touch with her feelings to be the paramour of the Painter. I knew that part of me and saw this immediately. But oh, how I was smitten by this precious gift. I promised the Painter that I would not become lost in a trackless wilderness. This time.”

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Satin Jacket

This is an anecdotal memoir about the sex lives of techies in the film and video business in the 1980s. Well, kinda. My photo at left is of the logo on the back of my satin jacket.

“I was short, losing my hair, and sported a large Seventies mustache. But with this jacket, suddenly I was a thing.”

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