Saturday, February 25, 2012

"On the Road Less Traveled"

You might ask me what its like on the road less traveled. Or you could wonder if I'm really on it at all. Let me tell you about something that happened the other day and I'll let you make up your own mind.

Now, I'll admit that on the surface, I look pretty normal. As you know, normal in most things is a range, and I think I'd make it at least up to low normal. Although, in years past Mary used to say I looked exactly like the Cro-Magnon Man. I never figured out what could be the problem with this; I personally thought the Cro-Magnons were a good looking bunch. A little hairy maybe. She hasn't said anything recently, (I think she's given up) but an honest look in the mirror shows me that I'm looking more like the Neanderthal every day. Which, of course, is evolution in reverse. And I'm guessing there aren't very many of us left.

But I'm getting a little sidetracked. I need to tell you about the phone call I got several days ago. My cell phone rang. I answered. "Is this Merle?", the voice said. I said it was. "Hey," the voice said, "I've got two dead buffalo heads if you want them."

Now how many of YOU got a call like that several days ago? How many people in the WHOLE WORLD got a call like that, do you suppose? I might have been the only one. My point being that this is a less traveled road indeed.

Now before you mark me off as enjoying the macabre, let me explain. I just happen to like skulls. I'd like sometime to put up poles at the end of our driveway with a pole across the top like they do out west. Then I'd hang a sign in the middle saying "Cabin Creek" and have a couple skulls on either end for decoration.

You have to admit, there's no pretense in a skull. A skull will tell you no lies. You look most any skull deep into its empty eye sockets and it will almost speak to you. That skull was once part of a living, breathing creature. It may have had hopes and dreams just like you and I. (although I can't imagine a cow having either) And whatever those hopes and dreams were, they are now over and done; gone away along with the vapor that we call life.

So you see, a skull has a steadying effect on you. Causes you to think about numbering your days and applying them unto wisdom.

But back to the phone call. It was my brother-in-law who works at a butcher shop. A year or so ago I had seen a buffalo head at my daddy-in-laws place and I had told me bro-in-law if he ever comes on some that don't have a home to let me know.

I had a horse skull once. A neighbor had a horse that looked old enough to have fought with Napoleon. It finally died and he wondered if I could do something with it. I dragged it way off into the woods. Years later I remembered where it was and went back and got the skull. It was a neat thing because it was still in the bridle.(another good lesson; die in the harness) I hung it up on the board fence at the end of the lane in beside a rose bush. It added an extra nice touch.

But one day my horse skull went missing. I was most suspicious of Mary, so I questioned her first. Did she know anything? "Maybe", she said. "Let's just say it's resting peacefully," But that's all she would say. Maddening! Judge between my cantankerous wife and me and my horse skull!

After a year or so her conscious got the best of her and she told me the general area of where she had given it a big heave. I went and found it, but it was never quite the same again; I never could get the jawbones to hang nicely in the bridle after that. It's sitting outside my back door on a stump right now.

The skull I'd really like to have above our driveway entrance is still walking around in the neighbor's pasture. Neighbor Bob has two longhorn steers that are just his pets. Both have huge horns that are probably almost five feet wide. The oldest steer has gotten pretty skinny lately, and I'm thinking maybe I can offer to drag it off when it's days are over.

One year when we still lived on the dairy, we had a flower bed out by the road and I had added a few cow skulls for a nice effect. Sometime later Mary started noticing a guy we didn't know hanging around at the end of the lane. She began to get spooked. Does he plan to rob and murder us, maybe steal the children, or what?

Come to find out, it was the neighbor lady's son in for a visit. He was an aspiring artist and had studied about the famous artist Georgia O'Keefe who later in life became known for her paintings of stark desert landscapes, usually with a skull included.

And now, you've spent (and wasted) all this time feeling sorry for me with my weird ideas. And in the end I'm ending up being the most cultured of all, right up there with the likes of Georgia O'Keefe. I'll tell you, there are some mighty strange twists at times, on this, the road less traveled.

1 comment:

  1. I had kind of forgotten your interest in such morbid things as skulls. (I must admit, it is hard to imagine a bovine having any dreams worth knowing about.) The truth is, some day all of us will have a lifeless skull lying some where...