The other day, a friend posted this on my Facebook wall:
“So I am reading Sweet Cherry Ray and you talk about poking the coyote LOL any ways I’ve read all your books a bunch of times and I guess I really never realized that you talk about poking coyotes or other animals with a stick a lot. Or maybe it is just the books I reread this summer. So now to my question…Is this one of those things that has a funny story to it or were you just interested in those kinds of things? Maybe it is something to blog about…lol I guess I just found it interesting…ha ha ha ha!”
Well, I think I WILL go ahead and blog about the stick thing…specifically, the importance of a good stick! I mean, let’s think about it…sticks are quintessential in so so so many ways-obviously! However, when it comes to poking things (especially dead things) the availability of a good stick is paramount! I don’t know about you, but road kill and other dead animals…well, how do YOU investigate them, if not with stick?
Of course I poke dead things with a stick! I also use a stick to test spider webs…you know…like this summer when I showed my new daughter-in-law how to tell if a spider web was a black widow web just by the feel of it when you pull at it with a stick.
An arrogant little black widow decided she was going to live in the bottom of the pot of my violets! Now, naturally, this pot of violets was the one pot my little grandson was always drawn too. So when I saw the web that was spun from the bottom watering hole of the pot of violets to the side of my sage pot…I was worried. Well, naturally, I found a good stick and ripped up that widow’s web. Then I watered my violets so that the water in the bottom of the pot was pretty deep. Voila! I thought I had drowned that nasty little she-devil.
But NO!!!! The next morning I went out to find a bigger and stronger web! The little she-devil had spun her new web, not only between the violet pot and the sage pot…she’d ventured out onto the walkway! Can you believe the audacity?! Well, another stick was in order! And I found one! I whipped down her web and watered my violets again, thinking surely she’d be discouraged by now, right? But NO! This went on for days and days…back and forth…a contest of wills between a protective grandma and a she-devil, husband-killing black widow spider.
Well, one morning, the web the spider had spun during the night stretched clear across the walkway! Anyone coming to the front door would’ve walked right through it…including my little Lincoln! I tore down the spider’s (Belligerent little so and so!) web again and this time went and got the small little blow torch type thingy Kevin uses to light the grill, and burned the rest of her web in the bottom of the pot! I also stuck the torch in to the watering hole of the pot and let it rip! I thought we were done with Miss “I’ll build a web to worry you when the grandbaby is over” Widow! (Remember, it’s her own fault she’s a widow in the first place!)
The next morning I walked out to find the biggest, longest, thickest. highest, most belligerently spun web ever! Okay…now I was really vexed! Mallory (my new daughter-in-law) was over and so I explained that I was through messing around with this spider! BUT…being so much like my mother the way I am…I saw the opportunity to have Mallory learn a little about Black Widow Spiders. I found a good stick and told her to use it to feel the unusual strength and stickiness of the web. I explained that black widow webs look chaotic, too. To the trained eye they’re very recognizable…but not to the untrained eye, or to a 16 month old little boy who loves to get into mischief! Needless to say, Mallory was very impressed with her new-found knowledge and stick skills.
After I was certain Mallory was sufficiently impressed by what a good stick can teach you as far as spider webs are concerned, I turned on the hose and stuck it right into the watering hole of the pot! Moments later, here she came…that competitive, belligerent black widow who was keeping my grandson away from my violets! She came crawling out of the hole and began making her way up the side of the pot.
BAM! She never saw it coming! I used my one of my chartreuse colored Crocks (the right one, I think) to smash her flat on the side of the pot! Victory! And now my little Lincoln can sniff and pick my violets ’til his little heart is content! Thus, I’ve presented only one reason a good stick is important!
One of my greatest frustrations about the 8 years we lived in Washington state, was the sad lack of a good stick to poke dead, living, or interesting things with. Everything was so green and gorgeous and alive, that when a nine inch slug presented itself, there was never a stick available to poke it with. It was infuriating! There was never a stick around to fish something out of the creek with…never a stick available to poke a rotting pumpkin with. Nope. There ain’t no good sticks in Ferndale, Washington.
Thankfully, we’re back in New Mexico now…and when I found a dead rattle snake while on my walk a couple of years ago, I glanced over to the side of the road and Voila!…a big, perfectly strong and dry stick was right there at hand! Therefore, I was able to carry the snake home for Trent to see (and for the UPS man to wonder about when he saw it laying in an old pie dish on the bench on my front porch).
I mean, what are you going to prod animal feces with if there aren’t any good sticks around? What are you going to stir mud with? What do you use for poking dead things with if you don’t have a good stick?
Which brings me to this…if you were walking along the shore and you saw, let’s say, The Count of Monte Cristo/Jim Caviezel washed up on the sand…you’d want a good stick so you could poke him and make sure he was alive, right? I love the movie The Count of Monte Cristo! AND I love Jim Caviezel in that part, AND I would totally poke him with a stick if I found him washed up on the shore! I wouldn’t poke him as hard as I would, let’s say, a washed up, squishy, transparent-ish jelly fish. But I would poke Jim Caviezel/The Count of Monte Cristo with a stick if I found him.
I know, I know…my brain runs around like a chicken with its head cut off sometimes! But, in thinking about the question of a good stick and poking things with it…I thought of The Count of Monte Cristo and how I would want a good stick around if I came across him on the beach. That led me to Jim Caviezel…which of course let me to thinking about the first Jim Caviezel movie I ever saw…which was Frequency! LOVE it!
So…the winner of the last blog contest and the pirate/mermaid puzzle is Nikki! E-mail an address to me, Nikki…one where I can send the puzzle…at email@example.com and I’ll get that in the mail for you! Meanwhile, leave a comment here if you’d like to be entered to win one of my favorite Jim Caviezel movies-Frequency! Okeydokey?
Ahhh, some truths cannot be ignored! You can never underestimate the importance of a good stick.