Monday Memories: Experience Counts

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Traveling back to Montana, Phil and Phyllis arrive from back East.  They’ve brought their teenage grandson along to fish the Gallatin River.

Staying at the Rainbow Ranch, they plan to fly fish right along the river, which runs adjacent to the property.  The Ranch employs a fishing guide during the summer months.  Bert knows all of the best spots to fish on the Gallatin, and he is always bragging about his fishing prowess.  As he always reminds people, “experience counts.”

Complaining under his breath, Bert takes the trio of fishing pilgrims to the river.  He always frowns upon city folks who come out to the Gallatin to fish.  Mumbling under his breath, “All novices . . . they have no clue about fishing a river.”

Bert sets up Phil and his grandson, and they begin making tentative casts on to the river.  Each has fished very little, and their inexperience offers a bit of amusement for Bert.

Meanwhile, Phyllis moves down the river a few paces from Bert.  She shouts out to Bert, “I wonder who will catch the first fish?”

Bert replies, “A piece of ‘rainbow trout’ cake my dear!”

Bert begins to cast several times with little luck, not even a bite.  He glances down the river bank at Phyllis, and reminds himself he has plenty of time to catch the “first” fish. 

Phyllis spies a perfect hole in front of two rocks.  She casts her first line perfectly into her chosen spot.  Hmm, Bert didn’t even see her awesome cast because he is too busy with his own fishing.

Strike! 

Phyllis’ line goes taut.  She has a “granddaddy” rainbow trout hooked on her line.

Bert looks over at her with dismay.  Phyllis laughs and continues reeling in her prize catch.  Calling over to Bert, she shouts, “Experience counts, you know.”

As she lands a hefty, beautiful rainbow trout in the tall grass along the river bank, she tells Bert more of her story, “I fished these same waters years ago as a little girl.  My daddy taught me well.  I practically grew up on this river.”

Bert realizes he has been had.  If he does catch a trout today, it will likely taste more like crow.

Monday Memories: Reading a Classic

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Searching the local bookstore for one of the all-time classics to read, I find myself wandering the nearly infinite rows of bookcases, overflowing with books of every kind.  I am not looking for just any book, mind you.   My reading appetite hungers for something rich in prose, but the book needs to fit my personal definition of a classic.

As I walk around, my eyes notice many classics of American literature.  I flip through pages of book after book.  Hmm, “not this one” becomes my common response.  Frustration is beginning to set in, and the time is growing late.

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

 The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

 The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

 The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

 Walden by Henry David Thoreau

 To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

While these books would fill many lists of some of the most treasured novels to read, my appetite is still looking for something with the “crowning glory” of literature.  My vigilant book search continues.

Coming around a corner, the final section of the enormous store is laid out in front of me.  This overly small section of is buzzing with activity.  A large gathering of book lovers are digging all over its shelves.  What stories are these readers of classic literature finding here?

“Jonah and the Whale”

“Moses Leads Israel Home”

“Daniel in the Lion’s Den”

“David vs. Goliath”

“Abraham and Isaac”

“Noah Builds an Ark”

Feeling the excitement now as well, my eyes capture a beautiful volume with the above stories, but I also discover “The Greatest Story of All-Time” about a Galilean named Jesus Christ.

My spiritual journey has finished at last.  The Holy Bible will fill my spiritual hunger for an eternity.  Amen!

 

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Monday Memories: Afternoon Rendezvous

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The pace of work at Bill’s office has recently been too much to bear.  Laboring for countless hours to land a substantial account for his marketing business, he has been working diligently, nearly nonstop, with little time off.

Viewing a beautiful day outside of his office window, Bill checks his calendar.  All looks free for an afternoon rendezvous with one of his favorite places . . . a splendid, quiet 18 holes on the golf course.

As he quietly slips away from the office, Bill instructs his secretary to hold down the fort . . . “Please keep the boss off of my back for three hours.”

About two hours later, Bill’s boss shows up.  He needs to catch up with Bill about this new account.  Let’s eavesdrop on the conversation between the boss and Bill’s ever-protective secretary.

The boss asks the secretary, “Where’s Bill at?  I need to check on his progress with our newest account.”

She dutifully replies, “He’s working on his game.”

“What game?”

“He’s working hard to land this new account that’s better than par.”

“Well, I hope he keeps his eyes focused on the prize, just like an eagle.”

“Oh, I’m sure he’s looking for lots of birdies, perhaps an eagle or two”

As the boss leaves the office, he turns around and smiles, “Bill really is my ‘ace in the hole’ around here.”

Meanwhile at this same moment on the golf course, Bill tees off on the short, par-3, 13th hole.  His ball carries straight and true, lands softly on the green, and meanders right into the hole. 

A hole-in-one . . . an ACE!

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Monday Memories: Can a Typewriter Fly?

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A trio of boys is always up to mischief at school.

Mrs. Hall is the very strict, no nonsense, typing teacher up on the second floor.  She runs her classroom like a well-run military operation.  She adores reading about General George S. Patton.

The typing classroom consists of the latest manual typewriter models.  (Sorry lad, no electric ones yet.)

The delinquent boys intend to surprise and shock Mrs. Hall this morning.  After all, there is nothing wrong with conducting a small science experiment from her classroom.

Have you ever seen a typewriter fly? 

The boys sneak an old typewriter into Mrs. Hall’s classroom before the school day begins. 

With a lookout posted near the classroom door, the other two boys open a window and place the typewriter on the ledge.

Just as Mrs. Hall walks into the room, her ever-alert eyes see the boys at the open window with the typewriter. 

“Hey Mrs. Hall!  Have you ever seen a typewriter fly?”

The typewriter is launched from the window ledge, precisely on schedule.

Thinking the boys are dropping one of her prized Olivetti typewriters from the window, brings a shocking look of surprise to Mrs. Hall’s face . . . Priceless!

Missing the Bus

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Little Johnny hurried down the sidewalk.  Catching his breath upon reaching his school bus stop, he waited and waited.

Soon his fate began sinking in.  He had missed the bus . . . again!

The warm and sunny morning invited him to walk across the street to a park.  Curious and feeling playful, he explored and enjoyed some spontaneous fun.  Readin’ and writin’ and rithmetic could wait a spell.

Minutes turned into a couple of hours.  Feeling hungry, Johnny discovered a perfect hideout under a nearby pine tree.  He pulled out his brown bag lunch.

Following a quick lunch, he felt a bit sleepy.  Fresh air, plenty of exercise, and a filling lunch made him drowsy.  Curling up under the tree, Johnny was soon snoozing on a bed of soft needles.

Stirring awake, the noise of his rickety school bus shuttling down the street reminded him that school was over for another day.

Upon reaching his house, Johnny’s loving mother met him at the door.  Her stern-looking frown told him to watch out . . . caught again!

 

Monday Memories: Start Bailin’

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Milt and I push his small rowboat into the lake’s calm waters on a sunny, early morning.  Fishin’ is absolutely on our minds.

Milt’s boat has stood the test of time, and she definitely looks it.  There are patches here and there, scrapped and worn paint, and even some mismatched planking on the floor.

Rowing the boat far from shore, we arrive at the very best place to fish the lake.  The deep water covers the territory with the biggest fish around.

We both become quite involved with our fishin’ as we cast again and again, hoping to catch the big one.  We fail to notice the threatening skies above.  A mother-of-all thunderstorms appear heading for the lake, and we sit directly in the crosshairs of its vicious aim.

Before we can even think about rowing back to the safety of the shore, Milt and I feel the tiny craft being engulfed by the torrents of rain and the white caps of the charging waves.

Our clothes and fishin’ tackle become soaking wet in a few short minutes, and then the boat begins to list to the starboard side.  She’s taking on water much too quickly.

Looking more anxious by the second, Milt shouts out, “Start bailin’ now!”

Watching my tackle box floating away, I yell back, “With what?”

 

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Monday Memories: Filling the Freezer

Written in October, 2019, this story is based upon a true incident experienced by a close friend of mine.  He actually did make a bow hunting trip into the mountains of southwestern Montana in search of an elk to fill up his freezer.

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“The freezer will be full of meat this winter,” Pete tells his skeptical wife as he heads to the mountains for his annual elk hunting trip.

Montana’s Big Hole Valley offers some of the best elk habitat in America.  Pete has been preparing for his fall elk hunting trip over the summer, and he plans to bag a large bull elk this fall to fill up the home’s deep freeze with delicious and tasty elk meat.

In scouting the mountains, Pete knows exactly where the elk will be when he returns for bow hunting season.  Armed with his very effective and precise compound bow, he knows success is just one accurate shot away.

Hiking into the mountains, Pete stakes out a familiar area and waits quietly in the tall grass and brush.  The anticipation builds as his body stays on high alert.  The nervous tension only adds to the anxiousness of the hunt.

Suddenly, an enormous bull elk wanders through the trail, just as Pete expects.  His position provides a nearly perfect angle and distance.  He takes careful aim with his bow, pulling it back with careful precision.

Plummeting to the ground with a groaning thud goes Pete!

The arrow flies harmlessly into the trees.  Pete’s shoulder has popped out, and the throbbing sting is excruciating.  He rolls around on the ground in acute pain.

Deliberately and triumphantly walking past the stricken bow hunter, the elk looks down at him with a slightly confident look as if to say, “I guess your freezer will be empty again this winter.”

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Monday Memories: Incredible!

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Autumn fills with sounds of cheering fans and the excitement of Friday night high school football games.  We pick up the action with play-by-play announcer “Cato the Cat” Johnson as he calls the final seconds of the game between the undefeated Valley High Bulldogs and the lowly Vernon High Bengals.

Welcome back football fans as the undefeated Valley High Bulldogs are poised to garner their 10th division championship in a row.  The winless Bengals of Vernon High have put up an incredible fight against overwhelming odds tonight, but their time in the limelight is about to be extinguished by the mighty Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs are poised to add to their lead with the score at 7-2.  The stingy Bengals have only yielded one score, and its defense has scored their only points with a safety back in the first quarter.

From the Bengals’ five-yard line, the Bulldogs are facing a second down and goal.  They line up in their favorite power run formation.  The ball is snapped.  But wait . . . fumble!

The Bengals have recovered!  Oh my, what a turn of events.  However, the Bulldogs still hold the lead, and the game clock only shows enough time for one more play. 

The Bengals face nearly the entire length of the football field—95 yards to be exact.  With only one more play, it appears their woeful season will end on another sour note.  At least the marching band has performed quite well this season.

The Bengals line up in a spread formation.  The Bulldogs’ defense sets up in a prevent mode.  They only need to stop the Bengals here, and their string of championship crowns will continue.

The ball is snapped.  Instead of passing, the Bengals hand the ball off to their speedy halfback Kurt Warner.  With a power sweep to the right, the Bengals are pushing the ball up the sideline.  There is a phalanx of blockers in front of Warner. 

Only two players stand between the Bengals and a touchdown.  One blocker takes out a defender, and Warner fakes left and hustles right, leaving the last tackler humbled on the ground.

Nelson is on his way . . . to the 30, the 20, the 10 . . . touchdown!

The Bengals score, and the game is over.  Vernon High 8, Valley High 7. 

Oh my football fans!  We have seen an incredible finish for the ages.

Life isn’t always as basic as a seemingly simple high school football game.  Just as Vernon High comes into the game as a hapless underdog, Jesus Christ is perceived to be a loser and an underdog when he is taken to Calvary and a cruel Cross.  Football fans underestimate the resolve of the Bengals, just as people underestimate Christ’s real purpose.

The Vernon High team experiences an unbelievable moment, but it pales in comparison to the stunning moment when Jesus’ followers find the empty tomb. 

Incredible!

 

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Top Cat

Reigning as the Top Cat.

I think of myself as the “Top Cat” around this house.  Mr. and Mrs. Wynter brought me home from a shelter about two years ago.  They love skiing up on the big mountain, and they adore their cats even more . . . with one exception.

Me!!  Yes, you got it.  I always seem to be in trouble around here.  My female cousins, Sky and Birdie, are treated like royalty.  Can you imagine two cats being treated like a pair of princesses? 

Well . . . I want to tell you my side of the story. 

My given name is Revel, which isn’t such as bad name.  While Sky is sometimes curious and Birdie is shy, I love the adventure of roaming and exploring the house.

A few days ago, I was in the garage with Mr. Wynter.  He doesn’t seem to notice me as I glide along the garage door rails high above the floor.  I can be quite the acrobat while walking this tightrope.

I enjoy chasing and teasing my cousins, especially Birdie.  She is so timid, but she doesn’t seem to mind it when I am pulling a chunk of hair from her back.  I have a cool collection of her hair stashed under the bed in the spare bedroom.  Mr. and Mrs. Wynter haven’t vacuumed there for months.

Sky likes to pull open drawers in just about any room.  I encourage her to open as many as possible.  When she’s finished, I move in and pull objects out of the drawer with my mouth.  It’s so much fun to leave a mess in every room of the house.

When Mr. and Mrs. Wynter eat dinner, I join them by jumping up on the dining table.  They become easily annoyed with me so I have to be quick to jump back down to the floor.  It’s sort of like playing “cat and mouse.”

Last week, I helped Mrs. Wynter do some baking.  When she would turn her back, I would jump up on the kitchen counter.  Have you ever seen a cloud of sifted flour float through the air?

It seems that everyone in the house has grown tired of my adventures.  They call it mischief. 

Oh my!  The life of a “Top Cat” needs to be an exciting venture.

Last night, I climbed up on a bookshelf high above the master bedroom floor.  There was a pot with a houseplant in it.  I just couldn’t help myself.  I pulled and pulled with my teeth and claws until most of the plant and dirt flew out and landed on the bed.

I guess I may have gone a bit too far this time.  Mr. and Mrs. Wynter have been dressing me today in a prison outfit, complete with black and white stripes.  I look more like a convict instead of a “Top Cat.”

Snickering at my unfortunate circumstances, Sky and Birdie now call me Rebel.

Hey, I am innocent until proven guilty! P.S. My name isn’t Rebel . . . It’s Revel!

My youngest daughter and her husband provide a home for three rescued kittens (now full-grown cats).  Revel, Sky, and Birdie enjoy their new home.  And yes, Revel does have his moments.  The photos of Revel were taken by my daughter.

Monday Memories: Icy Caper

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Police issue an “All-Points Bulletin” in a flash.  The local jewelry store has been robbed by an elderly man dressed in a white suit.  Patrol cars frantically scurry here and there—no luck!

Detective Joe Friday joins the hunt.  His crime-solving skills are legendary.  He always reminds each interviewee, “Just give me the facts.”

Driving down a quiet residential street, Friday spies a white ice cream vending cart on a corner.  Selling ice cream treats to the neighborhood children, the gray-haired man hands out love and more.

Pulling up behind the cart, the renowned detective surveys the scene.  Calling on his car’s radio for back-up, he knows he can’t wait.  The last of the children walks away with their frozen, sweet treats.

Approaching the man in the white suit, Friday pulls out his gold detective shield.  With a confident voice and a smile, he asks, “Do you happen to have something ‘hot’ on ice today?”