I’ve mentioned before that I’m a chronic procrastinator — that’s a bit redundant, isn’t it? If I wuzn’t, I’d already have this column written instead of writing it just hours ahead of the Flint Hills getting clobbered by a wicked wintry weather mess that might include ice that could leave Damphewmore Acres without electricity. So, I’ll attempt at writing this column quickly.
On the subject of procrastination, this year I almost let that personal fault cause the Yield family to go venison-less this winter. But, I pulled out a clean harvest of a little deer just at dusk last Sunday — the last day of the regular Kansas deer season. I wuz set up on a ground stand while my teenage hunting friend walked some woods towards me. A bunch of deer ambled into range of my shotgun and my deer didn’t amble any after that.
I spent the next day boning the deer out and the third day grinding it into deer burger — except for the tenderloins. So, now we’ve got plenty of venison for chili and other tasty dishes for the next year.
The worst part of deer hunting is dragging the critter to the vehicle and skinning the carcass. After this year’s experience at 70 years young, I’m reminded of an old homily about drinking hard liquor that is equally applicable to harvesting deer. It goes like this: “A good time that starts off with one simple shot usually ends up with a mess on somebody’s hands.”
The schedule I write my columns on shows that this one is slated to run on Christmas Day for most editors. Since that won’t happen, you’ll be reading this post-Christmas. That puts me in an awkward situation because we haven’t had any family here for Christmas and we haven’t opened any presents or played any games with the kids and grandkids. So, I’ll have to wait until next week to really talk about our Christmas experience.
I think this is a funny story.
Runda Root, an ancient Flint Hills rancher, is on his deathbed. He is with his nurse, his wife, his daughter and two sons, and knows the end is near. So he whispers loudly to them:
“Axton, I want you to take all the houses on the west side of town.”
“Sybil, you take all the apartments over in the county seat.”
“Oscar, I want you to take all the office buildings around the town square.”
“Shelly, my dear wife, please take all the acreages on the outskirts of town.”
The nurse is just blown away by all this, and as the old guy slips away, she says to the wife, “Mrs. Root, your husband must have been a hardworking man to have accumulated so much property.”
Mrs. Root replies tartly, “Property? What property? The cheap old scoundrel has a newspaper route to throw the regional Sunday paper.”
I’ve mentioned home-schooled children frequently. Well, thanks to a Washington state reader for these home-schooled lessons that readers of my generation can identify with. These are things our parents taught us:
Our mothers taught us to appreciate a job well done: “If you’re going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning.” Our mothers also taught us about religion: “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.” They also taught us about logic: “If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you’re not going to the store with me.” And, about foresight: “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you’re in an accident.” And, about the science of osmosis: “Shut your mouth and eat your supper.” And, about contortionism: “Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!” And. about stamina: “You’ll sit there until all that spinach is gone.” And, about the weather: “This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it.”
And, moms taught us about hypocrisy: “If I told you once, I’ve told you a million times. Don’t exaggerate!” And, about behavior modification: “Stop acting like your father!” And, about envy: “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.” And, about anticipation: “Just wait until we get home to get punished.” And, about receiving: “You are going to get it from your father when you get home!” And, about medical science: “If you don’t stop crossing your eyes, they are going to get stuck that way.” And, about ESP: “Put your coat on; don’t you think I know when you are cold?” And, about how to become an adult: “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you’ll never grow up.” And, about genetics, “You’re just like your father.” And, about our roots: “Shut that door behind you. Do you think you were born in a barn?” And, about wisdom: “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”
We oldsters also got home-schooled by our fathers. Here’s how: Our fathers taught us about time travel: “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week!” And, about logic father-style: “ Because I said so, that’s why.” And, about irony: “Keep crying, and I’ll give you something to cry about.” And, about the circle of life: “I brought you into this world, and I can take you out.” And, about humor: “When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don’t come running to me.” And, finally, our fathers taught us about justice: “One day you’ll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you!”
Like I said, we were well home-schooled. I’m gonna wind up with two quote about Christmas. Some wag named Bernard Manning said: “I once bought my kids a set of batteries for Christmas with a note on it saying, ‘Toys not included.’” And, some guy named Roy Smith said: “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” Hope you had a good ’un of a holiday with your family. ❖