Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Joshua

Yep, Josh is turning 18 today.  We can all probably remember when we turned 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, 60, and, well, let's stop counting now, OK?  Anyway, Josh is marking his first real big age-related milestone today.  He and his Dad are going canoeing over at Watson Lake in the Prescott vicinity today after they tend to their goats.  We're going to call and sing Happy Birthday to him soon.  Josh heads off to Northern Arizona University this month.  He's going to live in a dorm and do the full monte college freshman thing.  Josh is doing really well on college scholarships and this week was honored with a real nice scholarship from The Hopi Tribe.  The support couldn't go to a more deserving student.  We're all pretty excited to see what Josh winds up mastering at NAU.  Josh and Pa Goatherder have been car shopping and it looks like he's going to wind up with a typical college car--an old Subaru station wagon.  There's something about Subarus that suddenly makes their owners have an overpowering urge to have a rowdy black lab with a red bandana.  Luckily, the lab is against dorm rules so he will have to enjoy the Subaru and let the dog come later.

School seems to start earlier and earlier these days.  Down in our Arizona wintering grounds, school started there TWO DAYS AGO!  That's right--August 9th.  Us Old Timers remember when school started well after Labor Day.  Frankly, I think it oughta be against the law to start school in the first third of August.  Heck, we haven't even finished the Dog Days of Summer yet.

Well, naturally, we are behind on blogging again.  There's been lots going on but little time to peck away at this keyboard.  It's looking more and more likely that we will soon be heading back to banks of the Wabash in Hoosierville.  When we will depart and how long we will stay are unknown at this time.  In the meantime, we've been packing and making a variety of arrangements so that we can leave practically on a moment's notice.  On this trip, we will be traveling with a small netbook so will be up and running to keep blogging during all phases of our travel there.

Shooting sports took a lot of our time this week.  It's been a bumpy ride but it all washed out well in last night's weekly IDPA match.  We did very well indeed and were quite happy with our performance.  Maybe later today we can write about it over on our shooting sports blog.  We do have one vignette to describe here.  Believe it or not, none other than Houn' Dawg showed up for a cameo during the match.  Wouldn't you know he would arrive at the time my Squad was facing the single toughest stage any of us had shot all summer long.  Oh, what a bear it was.  Each shooter only had six shots.  The first two had to be carefully placed in an area smaller than a salad plate.  But the the next four were off the charts.  There were two wildly swinging silhouettes and you were required to hit each swinging target twice.  OUCH!  Last week when Susun attended the match I came down with a really bad case of stage fright.  I wanted to impress her but wound up shooting the worst of the summer.  I couldn't help wondering if the same thing would happen with Houn' Dawg looking on.  Luckily, I was far down in the shooting order so had a lot of time to collect my wits, such as they are.  All I could do was hope for the best and pray that maybe a little luck would come my way.  It wasn't at all comforting to see some of the club's top shooters miss the moving targets completely.  I don't ever take satisfaction in seeing someone else miss because that means it's going to be even tougher for me to hit what they missed.

Well, by golly, I stood up at the firing line and let 'er rip.  The first two shots were placed perfectly and then I prayed for some luck and, BINGO, I hit both of the moving targets in the correct location with two shots each.  WOW, I was amazed.  It had to be pure dumb, blind luck because I am definitely not skilled enough to do that by design.  Suffice to say that Houn' Dawg was very impressed and asked, "How DID you do that, John?" I told him the truth--It was PURE LUCK!  Anyway, it was fun to have him there, however briefly.  THANKS, HD!

Oh, there's one other story, too.  Our neighbor Bill S. is one of the perennial top shooters at the weekly matches.  He now even reads this blog from time to time.  Well, he asked a question about a recent blog post and one thing led to another.  Lo and behold, Bill worked as a guide on the Middle Fork for ten years!  If I get half as good as Bill someday, I will be very pleased with my shooting.  Bill is a master of the piano and he shoots like I suspect he plays the ivories.  Every shot is like a precisely timed note in the melody of a sweet piano performance.  WAY TO GO, Bill!

 Susun has been busy volunteering and will be so again today.  Each year there's something called the Snake River Youth Jam down alongside the river.  Habitat for Humanity has decided to set up a booth there this year so Susun will be smiling and greeting people today.  We sure are proud of her for her Habitat volunteerism.  It's such a great program filled with such positive energy.  THANKS, Susun!

Kelli made a comment about gnomes after the post below this one.  Don't worry, Kelli, we will give our Gang of Gnomes their Day in The Sun soon.  Your comment has caused some ruminations on the social order of gnomes and also many thoughts on their pedigrees, intelligence and physical skills.  We suspect that gnomes behave the way the toys do in the Toy Story movies.  At night, especially, the gnomes frolic and cavort as gnomes are wont to do.  In any event, Kelli, we will get right on the topic soon.

Earlier this week, we received a box of six bottles of fine California wine from DF & LBR Dave E. (AKA: Siegfried).   Last night after returning from the shooting range, Susun and I spent a really nice late evening out in the twinkling courtyard discussing this and that under a fine waxing August moon while sampling a bottle from Dave's gracious gift.  We also nibbled at the 3 C's--cheese, crackers and cantaloupe--an eclectic mix but very tasty.  The night air was so wonderful and the summer's ambiance seemed so full and robust.  THANKS, Dave, for facilitating a fine time last night!

Speaking of summer, it's coming to a close.  The heat of High Summer is long gone.  Young men are filling the football practice fields of the area high schools.  The malting barley crop is drying down and awaiting harvest.  A snippet in this morning's paper said barley farmers are hoping for frost free nights in the next few weeks.  Less than a month from now we will be camped over at Jenny Lake waking up to a sheet of ice in our water buckets.  One harbinger of the change of seasons is geese.  During the late spring and summer seasons, geese tend to go their own way while hatching and raising their goslings.  We rarely see them flying around acting like honkers V-ed up in the sky.  Well, some invisible switch gets flipped and right about the cusp of the end of summer, the local resident geese begin flocking up again and following an Alpha Goose through the sky in rag tag V's.  As time passes, such flyovers increase in size, and frequency and look more like a real V.  No, this doesn't mean our local mooch geese are preparing to head south.  Far from it.  They like the way their bread is buttered here.  But it's instinctual for geese to do that flocking and flying gig--that's how they are hard wired.  It's like watching one of the second hands of Ma Nature's wall clock.  If the geese are flocking and trying to remember their V's and Q's again, fall can't be too far away.  The summer's here are so amazingly short.

As a closing note, we'd like to call your attention to a factoid of space exploration.  As most of you know, there's a robotic rover hanging out up on the planet Mars. It made the news this morning because it finally moved to the lip of a gi-normous crater on the Red Planet.  It had to move 13 miles to get there and that trip only took THREE YEARS!  So, next time you get stuck in slow traffic or are gridlocked someplace, just think of the little rover taking three years to travel 13 miles.  Such thought will add a whole new positive spin on taking an extra 10 minutes to get to your destination!

Have a great day & Many Cheers!  jp

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