the mugwump

Forty and found

Can hear it now, "Forty and Found?"

Well back in the day, it was what every cowboy was looking for; forty dollars a month, all you could eat and anything you found along the trail was yours to keep...sounds simple, but there was a time when not just cowboys were satisfied with such simplicity...food on the table, a dollar or two left in the coffee tin at the end of the month...healthy family, a good partner and a good laugh at the end of the day...but as most of you suspect, that is no longer the case.

I could read you thr headlines, but you have CNN, Fox News, The Huffington Post and Drudge Report for that. Here you will find what I have learned over from the over 500,000 miles of America's West I have traversed...from north to south and here to there, full time for over ten years now, I would rather let the stories of the thousands of people I've met, deliver their "State of the Union", one no President ever dared. That said, I think you will find over time, that there is still a goodness and solid core to keep America upright, as much as it may appear her soft underbelly is quickly overtaking her back, front and sides.

With that in mind, this new incarnation of my old website will do one thing, if it does anything... introduce you to Americans and an America you may not believes still exists...one that embraces simplicity, expects no rewards they didn't earn, steps up rather than aside, and (Spike Lee be damned for hijacking this phrase) ...does the right thing...ok. maybe a few asshats for good measure.

There will be many cultures, colors, and religions whose stories are told here and the curious thing is... none of those characteristics will have anything to do with their stories ...my, my, isn't that a switch? The characteristic they will have in common however, is character.

Nope, no crazed doomsdayers, occupyers, hoarders or looters....but...and its a big but, real Americans who may be as foreign to my big cities readers as those I've just mentioned, but who would step up for you in a New York minute, just as they would for their neighbor. Can you say the same? If so, keep reading and meet more folks like you and hear their stories...if not, stick around and hear the stories of people you'd beg to meet when you're in a bind and when Red or Blue states don't matter....either way, Welcome to The Mugwump.

The more things change...

Despite any protestations by you Bon Jovi fans, I prefer to remember that it was the French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr who scribed, "The more things change, the more they remain the same."

If so, add this to the list of things the French and I disagree about, for much has changed since the last "Roadnotes". So much so, that "Roadnotes" is no more and The Mugwump is.

I won't go into the details of why the Mugwump, but a brief definition of the term can be found at the bottom of this page, so suffice to say, no amount of "more change" will ever make things "the same" in my world as much as I might wish.

I could write a book about why RoadNotes disappeared, but that does't mean the writing stopped and it would also make two books I'd have to write...and since I have yet to write "RoadNotes" the book, that would also make me an asshat... a hat I never felt comfortable wearing.

That being the case, everything has changed, yet nothing has remaind the same. I say that because the first question I am asked of late by those who know me (since most folks are now convinced I am "on the road" for the duration I suppose), is 'how are the dogs?'

Sadly, the stock answer, the one that rolls off the tongue, because it has always been so, as in "they're good." Well, it is no longer the case...

Chief R.I.P :

Chief (aka Kramer), my oldest pup, who embodied most every quality man (not A man) should aspire to, has gone home. I begged him for weeks to go peacefully in his sleep, but he defied me as he did most of the commands I gave him over the last year.

It will sound impossible to many, but I spoke of it to some. In short, he knew his time was coming... I've seen it in people including my Grandfather who died on his birthday and Chief was no less intuitive. There were some behavioral changes along the way and thankfully none of a bad strain...more from an affection and closeness aspect ...some might suggest that the addition of a fourth (Lozen) in the pack could have explained that, but no ma'am, it was deeper than that...most telling of which occurred when on walks.

The sights, sounds and smells of a natural world he had great access to all of his life seemed even more rewarding (there is evidence my Grandfather experienced this as well) with each passing day...seemingly, they were no longer just simple dog walks to enjoy the moment, but long pauses to inhale deeply, look to the horizon and soak in a world and moments that he knew would be fleeting...I surmise in an effort to somehow take them in so he might also take them with him when he left.

Keeping him a week, even a day, longer would have been solely about me and as I sit in the same state park in Blanco, Tx writing this, I believe now more than ever, he had one more lesson to teach. You see, many a man has made claim that his old dog was "the best friend a man could ask for", or his "buddy" as I overheard another artist say recently, but few can claim the passing of their pup brought tears to the eyes of half a dozen or so of the thickest skinned men they know...and in the end, that is the why, in the "why he couldn't go peacefully" in the night...that would have been too easy to dismiss by all but me as he layed in my arms and cried as they put the needle in.

Nope, the "he had a good life" thoughts and comments that come so easy when they go in their sleep or because it's "just a dog" would have to wait a week or so, or just thought and never said, because if nothing else, this dog that lived a lifetime without feeling a hint of anger, made men who are quick to do so, simply feel...if only for a fleeting moment that I will forever carry with me.
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