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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Big Chief and Some Crayons

A couple of days ago my girls were asking about a tablet and a nook color.  I started asking them questions about what they meant, and as near as I can figure…….

I need to buy a big chief tablet and some crayons they can color in the corner with. 

I thought this was a strange request, especially since they are fixin’ to be 8th graders.  But I am a dutiful and mostly wrapped around their finger father, so I started looking in the store for the items they required.  The big chief was more difficult to find than they crayons, but I persevered and found what was needed.  Heck I even picked up a pack of number 1 pencils, nothing but the best for my kids!  When I brought the items to checkout…my kids just rolled their eyes!  I don’t understand….

So I questioned them again, they just kept saying a tablet and a nook color.  I am starting to think my kids are a little ungrateful…I mean, come’on….it was a big chief and some crayons!  I still don’t understand why they want to color in a nook….and why can’t they just call a nook what it is…a corner? 

We discussed this for some time and I just kept coming back to the big chief and some crayons….I really like the idea of this.  It is fairly cheap, a lot cheaper than what some kids are asking for.  I mean, do kids really an ipad and one of those thingys you can read books on?  I think that is what is wrong with the world today, kids get what they want without putting out any effort.

Lucky for my kids, their wants are pretty cheap.  They are only going to have to rake grass once to pay for that big chief and the crayons.  If they had wanted one of those ipads or them book thngys, It might have meant the whole summer to pay off those!


I love my kids and want to supply their needs, but not without some effort on their part.  I did know what they really wanted, it just was a heck of a lot of fun to wander around in the store with them asking for big chief tablets and crayons.  Hmmm….maybe that is why they are a little embarrassed by me…naww!  That can’t be it.

How many of you know what a big chief is?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cowboy Ingenuity

My Dad can be a little old school and before I talk about what his latest thing is….I thought I would give a little background.

I grew up in Higbee Colorado, about 25 miles south of La Junta.  To say we were far from town was somewhat of an understatement.  The bus ride was about 4 hours per day, two in the morning…two in the evening.  A lot of things were learned on that bus, but that is another story.  Our bus driver lived down the road from us and she took the bus home with her for the school year.  One of the things that almost always happened was getting snowed in, every year.  As kids we all enjoyed this, probably not so much for the adults.

One year Dad was having trouble with a tooth, he mentioned that he was going to go to the dentist the next day.  But it was not to be, it started snowing that afternoon and by morning the roads were impassable.  For my brother, sister and I….this was a glorious day.  No school and we could break out our scoop shovel (for those that don’t know, we would ride it down the hill like a sled).  For Dad this wasn’t as much fun.  His tooth was hurting and he couldn’t get to town. 

There were still trails to be broke in the snow, so that the cows could get to the pond, and ice to chop.  So he took a dip of Copenhagen and headed out to saddle a horse at the barn.  By the time he was done saddling that tooth was starting to feel better.  He figured it must have been the dip, so he kept his tooth packed with Copenhagen for most of the week.  I don’t know if he got used to the pain or all that nicotine made it numb.  When he finally got to the dentist he sat in the chair expecting to get a numbing shot and have the tooth pulled.  He barely sat down and the dentist had just stuck his fist in there….and the dentist was done!  Dad asked him if he was going to give him the shot and the dentist turned around, showed him his tooth and said, “I’m done”.  Dad never even knew that he had pulled the tooth!

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  We were out in Utopia, Texas for Mother’s Day.  We had a real good visit, probably not as long as anyone would have liked, but a good time was had by all.  Dad gets to telling us about a tooth he broke, said he took one of Mom’s nail files and just rounded it off so it wouldn’t cut the inside of his mouth.  That right….I said he took a nail file and just rounded it off!   No dentist, no plans on going to the dentist....just rounded that bad boy off!

 Price of Broken tooth:  $ painfull

Price of nail file:  $2.00

Actual price of going to the dentist:  $0

 A little cowboy ingenuity:  Priceless!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lessons from Chickens

When I was a kid and we lived in Higbee Colorado, there was a family that babysat us for one summer.  They were pretty rough and tumble, which fit in just fine for me and my brother and sister.  I won’t go into all the details (I have talked about that in a previous story), but I did learn some interesting things that summer.

A couple of them involved chickens.  Don’t jump to in conclusions here, it was pretty tame stuff.  The family in question probably had up to 200 free range chickens, give or take what the All Night Coyote Diner feasted on.  They were a great source of enjoyment to four wild boys that fancied themselves cowboys.  There were many an hour spent roping chickens.  For anyone reading this, you need to understand that roping chickens is much safer than roping geese!  As some point I will expound on that story, but the mental scars have yet to heal.

Anyway, we spent many hours improving our chicken roping skills and were actually quite good by mid-summer.  Needless to say, the chickens were a little skittish!  At one point there were no chickens laying eggs and we were banned from roping chickens.  Which led to about a week or so of moping around trying to think of something to rope….until my Dad showed us a couple of new tricks.

One of them had to do with catching and holding a chicken’s head on the ground and quickly drawing a straight line in front of their beak.  The goofy things would lay there for hours, staring down that line.  My Dad said he would drive in to pick us up and there would be 40-50 chickens laying on the ground staring down a line.  You would think that was a lot, but that was only 10 or so apiece.  That little trick was used for a couple of weeks, we used to see how many we could catch and hypnotize before the first one woke back up.  The other involved holding one and tucking their head under their wing.  I guess that had somewhat of the same effect.  Once you got them still, you could sit them on the ground and they would sit like that for hours.  Needless to say, we were easily entertained. This was probably some of the tamest things that we did that summer.  Who thought you could have so much fun hypnotizing chickens?

This leads to this thought:

Are we like those chickens in our Christian walk?  Dumbly staring down that line, leaving ourselves open to all kinds of attacks from satan?  Or are we studying and praying so that the devil doesn’t have a chance to grab us by the head and draw a line in front of us?  How about those of us who allow our heads to be tucked under our wings?  We don’t say anything to anybody about Christ; we just hide in the four walls of our church?  At different times I am both of these chickens.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring a lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

1 Peter 5:8-9

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Life is Tough, are you for the horse?

It has been a tough couple of months in the Johnson house.  By tough, I just mean we had to put to two old friends in our horse herd down.  Not the way I envisioned us reducing our horse herd.

First was Tuff.  Tuff was an Appaloosa gelding named by my niece, Megan, right after the movie “8 Seconds” came out.  It fit him just right.  He came to us from our friend Marilyn Wachel.  In 1994, we went over to buy a foal and he was the first on to walk up to us, I decided that all things being equal…he was for us.  We took Tuff and his mama (ended up buying her, too!) to the house and the rest is history.  Once I started riding him, he spoiled me for riding two year olds.  I compared everything to him after that and nothing measured up.  After three days in the round pen I could take him out in the pasture and lope circles as pretty as you please.  He just picked things up really fast.  He also was a pretty good teacher.  I worked him over with spurs pretty good one time (pretty ashamed of myself after, I have taken them off and not worn any since) and he was still willing to do whatever I asked of him.  He taught me the word forgiveness, horses don’t have our thought processes…but I learned that if he was still willing after what I did to him……that was forgiveness!  Over the years he raised nieces, nephews and my kids.  He was always the faithful babysitter.  Never giving them more than they could handle, despite the legs flopping up and down on his sides!  My girls didn’t ride him as much, but he was always ready whenever they were…didn’t matter how long he had been turned out to pasture.  I could get on to ride and he was all vim and vinegar, ready to travel at whatever speed I needed. 

About five years ago he came home from my brother-in-laws with eye problems.  They had taken him to the vet and were told he had cancer around both eyes.  We cared for the issue, but over time it just got worse.  Last month I took him in and was told that they would have to take an eye out.  I really couldn’t see him wandering around with both eyes out, because I knew that would be the case eventually.  So Felicia and I prayed about it and in the best interest of an old friend, we had him put down.  He was 18 years old.

This last Tuesday, we took Showtime in with colic.  Showtime was a 2 year old miniature that Felicia says was for our girls on their 5th birthday.  Over time I have come to realize that it was just her moment of insanity, I mean who in their right mind would own a mini?  I laugh at that statement now.  When we first got him he was supposed to be a back yard horse (I know, redneck hillbilly), but he wore a trail on the back fence wanting to be with the other horses.  So one day, I just turned him loose with the big horses.  He never missed a beat and they never bothered him.  He ended up being our babysitter for any weanlings we had.  Annie was the first and they played together all the time.  He used to bite her on the knees and she would drop down on her knees to bite and play with him.  In fact the only problem I had with him was that I never could catch the little turd!  He would not touch feed if you were within 50 feet of him, always on the lookout.  The girls and Felicia could walk up to him anywhere, drove me crazy!  He ended up hanging with us for 8 years, a babysitting yard ornament.  Last Sunday, we noticed him rolling around a lot and since we had wormed him the week before we thought we better check on him.  Good thing we did, he was colicing.  We spent all day walking and putting mineral oils in him, to no avail.  So Monday morning I loaded him up and took him to the vet, where he spent until Tuesday.  Tuesday Dr. Ben told me things were not getting any better, so we went ahead and had him put down.  He was 10 years old.

Neither time was easy walking out of that barn, but we (as horse owners) have a responsibility to take care of them.  To make decisions based on their best interests and not our own selfish desires.  Tuff looked really good, but was in pain and constant irritation.  It was our responsibility to make him as comfortable as possible.  And if we couldn’t do that, then we had to put him out of his misery.  Showtime was a little easier decision to make because he was colicing, he was suffering.  I would encourage any horse owner to think of their horse first, make decisions based on what is best for your horse…not you!  Is it really fair to keep that poor, skinny 35 year old horse that you can’t keep any weight on?  What is their quality of life?  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think all old horses need to be put down.  My point is, life is hard and sometimes hard decisions have to be made.  Make sure you are for the horse and not yourself.