The Importance of a Good Stick!

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.

Frequency Movie - For Contest WinnerSo…in honor of Jim Caviezel and the fact that any of us would probably poke him with a stick if we had the chance, I’ve chosen one of my favorite Jim Caviezel movies as this week’s blog contest!

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 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.

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18 Responses to The Importance of a Good Stick!

  1. Stacey says:

    Ahhhh! I just so love you!! It is so fun to get a glimpse of what goes on in that wonderful head of yours! A good stick is a very important thing for so many things for sure! And I am so glad that darn Black widow spider will be gone for god so cute Lincoln can enjoy the violets! I am just picturing you teaching Mallory about the spider web! So funny! And yes, Jim Kaviezel is a hottie! I loved him in Wyatt Earp as well! Great post!

  2. Kristie says:

    LOL!!! Actually Dennis Quaid does ALOT more for me!!! I LOve His gorgeous SMILE!! Makes me weak in the knees!! 😉 — so bring it on!!! I wanta to be entered in this contest!!! 😀

  3. Idona says:

    I have always enjoyed a good stick! Growing up on the farm in South Eastern Idaho I used sticks for everything especially for poking dead things like bloated sheep, dead coyotes, stink bugs, frogs, and for stirring up pollywogs in a pond. For mixing up the best mud pies, and for drawing directions to somewhere in the dirt for a lost traveler. I am a recently new fan thanks to my cousin Kristie and her girls! I love the time periods in which you write your books. And all the leading men in your stories,no matter how you describe them, I always picture my husband in the roll! Thanks for sharing your talent! And keep them coming as I know I will catch up on them all sooner or later! Love ya!

  4. Steph S. says:

    I loved this blog. So full of fun facts and memories. I also had to laugh about the Jim Caviezel / The Count of Monte Cristo poking…lol I watched The Count of Monte Cristo just a few days ago. Thanks for making me laugh today, you are the best.

  5. I love the randomness of your blogs. They are so lighthearted and make me smile. I live in Washington and its true that there never seems to be any good poking sticks around! 🙂 But somehow I’ll survive. Thank you for your lightheartedness.

  6. K. Lou says:

    Glad your grandson can now play in a spider-free zone. It makes me want to get on Google and check out different spider webs. What good is stick-weilding if you can’t back it up with arachnology?? I am thinking a black S.W.A.T. jacket and hat would be appropriate, also. 🙂
    You know who is also FINE in the Count of Monte Cristo is Henry Cavil. I love that movie because of Jim Caviezel–but his “son” is no small piece of eye candy. Now THERE’S a poke-worthy candidate.
    I love how my boys always manage to find a stick whenever and wherever we go. They must have some built-in weapon-finder radar. A small stick can be a Harry Potter wand. A big one–a light saber. it never fails.
    Wish I could invite you over for a girls night out to watch the movie Angel Eyes. (I have an edited copy for us non-R-rated folks.) Henry Cavil does a great job in that movie. So, the next time you come to Boise…in my wildest wish-fulfilling dreams. 🙂

  7. Misty says:

    When ever I am sitting around a camp fire a good stick is a must have. Without it how else would you be able to move the logs around to constantly keep the fire going at its best. At least that’s the excuse I always give for having it. Its more for my own personal entertainment purposes.

  8. melanie Adkins says:

    LOL!! I loved the blog! Thanks for sharing with us.

  9. Dawn Sherman says:

    A good stick is a must have tool for so many situations! I do not recommend yucca’s. They do not make t very good sticks. A strong chunk of mesquite sure does!

    ‘Frequency’ is a wonderful concept. The ability to communicate with loved ones who have passed on would be amazing!

  10. Jennifer Hammond says:

    I LOVE the Count of Monte Cristo! Have you read the book? It is quite different than the movie… but I still like them both ;^)
    I was simultaneously thrilled and horrified by Frequency and have never been able to get myself to watch it again after that first time in the theater… I remember the whole thing regardless… so you don’t need to put me in for the contest haha! ;^)
    AND a good stick is always great to have around, they are not only useful but can also be very entertaining – when I was a kid we would put the end into the fire just to pull it out and do crazy things with the smoke and watch it blow away with the wind… fun stuff!

  11. Lena Mattice says:

    I love it!!! I knew there was some method to your madness…lol Thanks for giving us a glimps into your life.

  12. Gina Larsen says:

    I love a good stick to poke with too–growing up on a fram, that’s a must!

    I wanna win a James movie….he’s hot. Fell in love with Count of Monte Cristo because of him!


  13. While I wholeheartedly agree with you that sticks come in very handy for a wide variety of things, but I have to disagree with you that there weren’t any sticks in Ferndale! We grew up with an endless amount of sticks in our back yard! And we didn’t live that far away from you guys! lol Either way, a 9 inch slug would have been a nasty site to see! Gross!!

  14. I’ve a stick , walking, poking etc. I cut it from a tamarack I use it to poke into snake holes, rabbit holes, coyote dens, etc. My dog gets excited when I poke into holes and little creatures etc scamper out.

    I’m gonna send you said stick. !

  15. Laura says:

    I love reading your blog. It never ceases to make me smile!

  16. victoria says:

    hi this is my first time here. I love your stick story so awesome. hate spiders especially black widows. we always get them outside in between the door and the wall. I love the movie frequency such an awesome movie when the movie came out on dvd I won the t shirt and hat from the radio station.. the shirt is long gone but the hat is somewhere and oh yeah Jim Caviezal yummy

  17. Laura K. says:

    I love how your brain works… always entertaining and never dull!!!! Your stories always bring a smile to my face!

  18. Melissa says:

    Love the big stick!!! And love your books!!!

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