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summer 2004

Howdy folks,

Well now, since the last newsletter life here has been somewhat uneventful. Part of the reason for that is that I am on a medication that makes me very drowsy. If I start pondering deep thoughts, I wind up in deep sleep. I have to wear a snorkel when I eat soup in case I pitch face forward into the bowl. Father's Day, Matt brought over one his good buddies to have dinner with us. Jason, who can be a bit caustic, saw me and asked "Are we having fish soup? Bobbing for carp?" Nasty young man.

I'm so groggy right now I wonder if I ever told you about a bizarre event that occurred last Christmas. No joke. A couple of days after Christmas, our cleaning gal Judy came back into the house after emptying trash bags into the can at the rear of the drive and said, "Hey, Jim, do you know there is a dead deer on your septic tank?" I went outside and sure enough there was this big brute with a very large rack of antlers. He'd been dead for about two days, probably died on Christmas Eve. Now, the way I figure it, Santa got ticked at Prancer, Donner, or Blitzen and "outsourced" him…with extreme prejudice. Another possibility is that he was hit by a should-held missile fired by…you got it, Osama bin Laden or John Ashcroft. In any case, what do you do with a two-hundred pound (so I estimate) buck that died in your back woods? I pondered deep thoughts, I wasn't on the medication then, and came up with a redneck solution: leave him there. It was cold and within a month varmints had cleaned up the area. But before that happened, the carcass provided some mental stimulation for our 21 year old tomcat Panther (the hero of my last newsletter Spring 2004). He would go down in the woods and sit on a fallen log and just look at the dead deer, thinking deep thoughts, or so it appeared. He was probably wondering how a mouse could get that big and hoping that one that size did not manage to get into the house.

Had I known what my foster brother and nephew were planning, I would have hacked up some of that venison for topping. Charles is helping his son Tim start a pizza shop in this little river town north of St. Louis up the Mississippi. This place is so off the beaten track that they think "Dueling Banjos" is the national anthem. There's supposed to be about 700 inhabitants in the town, but that's because they count the scarecrows in the backyard "mater" patches. I told Charles that these folks wouldn't eat pizza unless Tim used catfish for topping. I suggested that they make possum pizza their specialty. Well, if they made crow pizza I'd have to eat one. They opened a month ago and the place has been packed every night. Either everyone in that little burg is addicted to pizza, or there are more people in the area than the census ever caught--people living in cisterns, outhouses, duck blinds, whatever. Whoever would have thought that deluxe chitlin pizza would be such a draw?



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