Guatemala, 1989 tourist visa and livin the life! I borrowed a friends Volvo (do not read “oh wow Volvo” – read ” 450,000 mile beater” and set off to see Central America. I am flogging this Volvo 4 cylinder for all its’ worth heading up a mountain to cross over into Santiago Atitlan. The views are stunning ! Lake Atitlan in all splendor guarded by her volcanos. The Lake is a blue that is only experienced not described. Finally, I pause for Guatemalan coffee at a beautiful hotel I have sworn to return to before I retire. I plunge off the mountain to land at my buddies compound on the shores of Lake Atitlan. Maria, the maid greets me with coffee and pastry and I settle into a few weeks in Atitlan. Next door to my buddies compound is a five star hotel with an incredible restaurant that serves Gallo (a local beer) and Black Angus steaks.
I sit at the restaurant’s bar alone on this sultry summer evening looking down to the terraced pools that lead ones eyes to the beach and lake and volcanoes. The restaurant has pillars cascading half moon down to the pool and the entrance and bar give a perfect view. I had a coat, shirt and tie tailored in town the day before and sat smoking a good Cuban cigar looking out over peace. I notice that at each pillar well dressed men have materialized and here I am the lone gringo at the bar! Two well dressed men sit down on either side of me and I notice a bulge in their jackets. People begin to rise and clap and I look to the entrance. A well dressed man in his mid-forties accompanied by a stunning woman and a young boy walks in and smiles, hold the chair for his wife as she is seated. Marco Vinicio CerezoArévalo the president of Guatemala – the first civilian president in fifteen years.
I had no idea who he was! I just knew that two armed gentleman are sitting on either side of me and so I bought them both a beer! They were both gracious and curious. They asked me many questions and looked at my passport. They were very polite and curious not interrogative. They asked me if I would like to meet the President of Guatemala (they assumed I knew) and I was thrilled. No one left until the president left and then only slowly. The two security men told me to come to the fourth floor in a half hour. I tried to pay my bill but the tab had been covered and I took the elevator to the fourth floor.
Guns and security bristled in the hall as I was escorted in to meet Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo. I shook his hand and stuttered a sincere thanks and love of his country. He was gracious as the smell of cigar smoke lingered it was a moment locked in the eternity of my mind.
3.67 million Prius automobiles have been built and sold as of March 2013! Over half were sold in the US! GREEN! This car is touted as so green that it makes hippies dance without a hit from their bong.
For some reason, I just do not like the Prius. I have never driven one, never ridden in one, but I have been passed by one! I guess it is the irony of driving a Prius fast. It has not happened just once it has happened many many times. I was driving my 1997 Ford F350 with a 7.3 liter diesel at 75 miles per hour headed to Billings, Montana and bam there goes a Prius at 85 miles per hour – I thought well they might be charging their batteries on a downhill! I look down at the odometer and see that it is about to turn 400,000. I wonder how many Prius are about to turn 400,000? I think of the batteries in the Prius and Each battery pack uses 10–15 kg (22–33 lb) of lanthanum, and each Prius electric motor contains 1 kg (2 lb) of neodymium; production of the car is described as “the biggest user of rare earths of any object in the world.”
Whoa – the biggest user times 3.67 million Prius built = huge environmental impact!
I pull into the parking lot here in Lodge Grass, Montana at the local IGA! I spot a hippie getting out of a Prius! I am driving my 1969 Jeep CJ5. I am thinking wow Earth Day and I am driving an eco-friendly vehicle! Her Prius has a bumper sticker “MiSOULa” I guess Missoula Montana has a soul..cute and “Who Would Jesus Bomb” well we all know the answer to that – Muslims! Oh wait… Anyway, the Jeep is lifted with 35″ tires and the original engine, tranny, and transfer case! Yes, it has new axles Dana 44‘s out of a 73 Ford Bronco (re-use materials makes me a hippie?)
Wow, 2013 Prius with cool bumper-stickers and my 44 year old Jeep! Which is more green? Well, I guess we have to find out in 40 years if the Prius is lifted and still on the road!
Happy Earth Day! and remember dream of Whirled Peas…peace out!
My sister-in-law gets kicked in the head by a big bay gelding named BR! (I always said she needed kicked in the head but it did not work.) She is about 6′ tall and goes a good 270 – so she is not petite and is still standing. I wondered if the horse hurt his hoof!
We rush her to the Emergency Room (always take the white guy in the family to IHS because they speak “white” to the doctors). By this time she is semi-conscious and yet still on her feet! I grab the ancient doctor and jump to the front of the line. She is standing/swaying beside me and the doctor says lean down and let me feel the bump. By this time, she has a grapefruit growing on the back of her head – so the doctor says let me put this neck brace on to immobilize her head! He cranks down on the velcro tabs and bam she passes out cold into my arms!
The doctor – shocked – goes to find a wheel chair! What seems like 20 minutes later he comes back with one and I indicate that she is out cold ! He says wheel her back to Trauma (like I am an EMT or know where it is) so I go cruising back to the back of the ER! The doctor begins to panic when he says her breathing is shallow and her pulse weak! He takes off her shirt and puts on the little tabs to monitor her. (Yes, she still has the velcro neck brace on) All of sudden the ECG monitor flatlines! Yes, just like the movies and the old doctor wakes up! – he hit her with paddles and shocked her right back to consciousness! She looks up and wonders what she is doing in a wheelchair in the trauma room!
I take off the neck brace and instant relief! The doctor finally finds a nurse and we get her into a bed and in walks Mr. EMT! He assumes I am the husband and starts in on me! “Has she been drinking, has she been doing drugs, have I been drinking, what drugs do I do, why were we fighting?” I calmly asked the racist moron if he was asking these questions because she is Indian or because he assumes all Indians drink, do drugs, and fight? (She was the principal at the local Middle School.) I was waiting for him to ask if we just came from casino after we ate frybread in our Teepee!
The next day suffering from a massive headache the sister-in-law asked why her chest had burn marks? She did not remember a thing! I asked her how she liked IHS – she smiled! So, next time ya think about how great universal healthcare is – if the government can not get it right for Indians how is it gonna get it right for the whole country? Or just ask an Indian!
The IHS Hospital is in Ganado, Arizona on the Navajo Reservation!
My first memories are life on the farm! Classic American upbringing complete with church on Sunday and a great theologian for a minister: Ted Smetters. I remember being baptized in April with his son my best friend Steve Smetters their was still ice on Kenney Pond that was forty years ago! My grandfather wrapped me in an old blanket after I was fully
immersed. Back in town at his house, I sat on the steps and listened as he played the mandolin with his impromptu band sounding like Country Gentleman mixed with polka. I sipped Faygo red pop and all was good with the world.
Life on the Davis Farm was great and I often search back through the catalog of my memory for highlights. Just this morning feeding West, my six month old colt, I remembered my first ride! I guess our family did not have much imagination or creativity when it came to names because we named my first horse Paint! Yes, it was a Paint! Original, I know!
We were sitting at the kitchen table and I was four years old, I remember asking my dad how to ride Paint. My dad laughed and said climb up on the fence with some sugar cubes and feed her then grab her mane and swing on and ride! He thought that was funny till the next afternoon. He was at Lubrizol working as an electrician and I was the horse whisperer and Clinton Anderson combined with sugar cubes! I remember grabbing her mane and swinging on her back. Paint was about five years old and definitely not broke. Paint took off across the field and it was like flying, well it was flying because she jumped the creek and I hung on to that horse’s mane for all I was worth.
No, I did not fall off! I slid to the ground “Indian style” just like all my TV heros. I heard my mother yelling and I knew I was gonna get whipped but it was worth it. I took the whipping and I was more careful where I jumped on Paint the next time – not in view of the farmhouse. My dad came home that evening and got a good tongue lashing from my mom. He was used to it just like I was used to whippings.
Now I have Tater Gun and West an appendix mare and a quarter horse. Combined with Mojo, my black lab, I have been blessed with animals. When I am waking up in the morning, Mojo is excited to see me. When I walk out the ranch house door, West is waiting to greet me. When I head down to the arena, Tater is waiting to be fed and loved on – and it never ceases to amaze me how life is a circle and I was baptized into horses at an early age.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Pastor Ted Smetters a man who profoundly influenced my life at a young age!
“My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To
him, all good things–trout as well as eternal salvation–come by grace and
grace comes by art and art does not come easy.”
Emergency room bustle and an American and everyone is tense! The nurse approaches and she is drop dead gorgeous Korean style! She speaks Konglish (Korean bastardized English or vice-versa) which is a plus. I am holding my smashed left arm and hand up on my chest with my right hand tenderly. She approaches with a nice big syringe and I am thinking wow…drift away to lala land with morphine! She indicates that I must drop my pants and turn around. I can not drop my pants and hold my broken arm and hand. She drops to her knees and fumbles with my jeans realizing they are 501 Button Fly Levi’s, she looks up distressed!
I lean way back placing the weight of my broken hand/arm on my chest and reach down to rip open my jeans. That is when I remember my underwear! Mom sent me a “cool” pair of boxers for X-mas with little Ralph Lauren Polo bears waving American flags and marching! Yep, she pulls the Levi’s off and bursts out laughing!
She runs into the hallway and gets the other nurses to come look at the American’s funny boxers! They laugh and laugh and finally she bends me over and administers the shot! I feel nothing – nothing as in no numbing bliss! I look at the nurse and ask ? She smiles and tells me “Bitamin B berry berry good for heeealing” ( Vitamin B very very good for healing). They do not give pain meds until after all bones are set in Korea. YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!
The nurse inspects my torn groin (without the help of the other nurses thankfully). She proceeds to take me to the doctor’s office where he will set my bones. Snap snap snap – push snap – ” oh you berry berry strong American man, you no cry!” No, I did not cry. I was in a place far far away called give me morphine now land! He finally gave me a shot of “painkiller” and I started tripping! I have no idea what “korean medicine” he gave me but instead of “no pain” it gave me Bob Marley singing “No Woman No Cry”. Pain meds in Korea do not work on me they just gave me psychedelic dreams! Within a week, I was back teaching. I could not teach through the pain but my best buddy Petey brought me Stoli Vodka and I taught drunk for the next ten weeks! I have never been more fun or popular! No one missed my class and everyone got an “A+” !
Interestingly enough, I went back to the doctor for x-rays the following week and he took my cast off smiling and smiling. He had the same hot nurse come into the room and talk (distract) me. She smiled and told me how handsome and strong I was! The doctor kneaded my arm near the wrist and I was pretty drunk and happy! SNAP – he re-broke the wrist where it did not set right and re-set it! The nurse smiled and said “see, you berry strong – me like American man – do you need to throw-up?” Yep, all in one sentence!
When the cast came off 10 drunken happy weeks later, I could no longer use my left arm and hand. The doctor smiled and said “no problem, now go Chinese”. Acupuncture, massage, and physical therapy combined with “oh God, I don’t want to be a gimp with a limp arm” ie prayer…brought my arm back to 100%. Well, until I was rappelling down at Glen Canyon Dam but that is another story.
I don’t know if you ever had a thought that later comes true? Like you are seeing something happen before it happens! I was the second person through a GREEN light on my motorcycle on my way up to teach ESL class at Woo Song University in Daejeon South Korea. I stress second person and green light because a week before at this same intersection I had a “look into the future moment” – a prescient warning if you will – of a motorcycle being hit! I was being careful!
The screech of brakes as I look to my right only to see a flat front Mac Semi bearing down on my tiny motorcycle and me! I had about two seconds to realize that I needed to grab the grill or go under with my motorcycle. I looked up and saw two people looking in horror at this “Mee-Gook-Saram” as he goes under their semi! MeeGookSaram – loosely translated “Stupid American”! They thought they could run the red light because the cars were far apart.
I grab with my right hand as my motorcycle goes under and my left hand and arm are sucked under the front passengers side tire – crunch! My bike spits out the back of the semi – mangled. My hand comes out at a right angle to my arm as I drag myself out from under the semi. My ability to speak Korean is knocked out of me and yet a small old Korean lady hobbles out of her home to hand me 2 aspirin and says in broken English ” Bayer Aspirin, berry good” I smile and thank her. I still can not speak Korean! The shock of the accident has left me Korean speechless . The internet shop owner I know grabs me and says in Korean ” 119 (911 Korean style) too slow – I drive. Thankfully, I still understand Korean. We rush off in his van to where the real pain begins!
Nine broken bones, one torn groin, multiple lacerations (yes, I was wearing a helmet) and I seriously want some morphine! I still can not speak Korean but get the most beautiful Korean nurse with a huge syringe! Humor and pain combine because remember your mom always told you to wear clean underwear!