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Bummer's Monthly Musings

Bummer, who's an ABATE institution, writes one of the most widely read articles in the Outspokin' each month. Now he's also right here on the web! Welcome to the Computer Age, Bummer! ~ Enjoy!

 

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Shootin’ the Breeze 

by Bummer

Email: bummer@abate.com

    

As I sit writin’ this I’m listenin’ to some mellow jazz.  Got turned onto jazz by my dad long ago, along with big band, swing, classical, country and just about every other kinda music except polka.  Years later I learned that’s ‘cause polka music ain’t supposed to be listened to...yer supposed to drink  lotsa beer and DANCE to it!!  EEEEEHA!!

      I tried to do the same for my boys.  I tried to teach ‘em that if ya listen to the same music exclusively yer shutting out whole worlds of wonder.  I still can’t do rap, but I don’t consider....well enough of that.  My point is diversity is where it’s at.  Take bikes fer instance.....

      Bikes are all different.  There’s only so much ya can do to customize yer scoot, but I’m sure you could never mistake yer bike for someone else’s... unless ya haven’t had a chance to put yer own flavor in the cake.  All ya gotta do is go to Sturgis to see my point.   

     The same principal applies to everything.  Isn’t it great that we all look so different?  And isn’t it odd that we all, [most of us anyway] have only two eyes, a nose and a mouth?  Yet of all the hundreds or thousands of people you see regularly in person, in public, on TV, or even in yer memory.... none look alike: we’re all different.  When ya do see someone who looks like someone else, it really stands out.

      That happened to me the other day.  I had to go shoppin’ for some crap for my shack and as I was trying to separate some hard earned bucks from my wallet at the cash register, I looked up and saw a ghost.

     A young dude and his woman were at the next register and as I watched ‘em argue about something stupid and yell at their kid, the present fell away and I was twenty five years in the past riding beside a close friend down a country road on a hot summer day. 

     His name was Roland, a big, bearded bear of a man and he was probably one of the kindest, gentlest souls ya could imagine.  Two tours in Nam as a Lurp, [long range recon] gave him a whole different perspective on life than anyone else I knew.  He knew he could do anything to anyone anytime, and that probably made him find another level of conciousness, or else he’d end up in prison the first time someone really pissed him off.     

     He had a ‘72 Shovelhead with the cover from Jackson Browne’s “Running On Empty” album on the tanks.  Back then album covers were often used as tank art, and this one showed an empty gas guage before an unending desert road from the driver’s point of view.

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Bummer's Shootin' the Breeze Page!

Finally, once again we got hold of one and drug him into the barn and over to the feeding trough.  After we got him situated, Jacob pulled out his knife and started again.  My hands were gettin’ sliced up pretty good and I was kinda bitchy about havin’ to do this to anyone even if it was just a pig, so I spoke up.

     “What the hell’s takin’ so long?”

     “This blade’s old too!”

     “Well, quit torturin’ the poor bastard!”

     “OK!  Let him go boys!  This ain’t gonna work either!”

     So we let him go and the poor hogs kept their family jewels ‘til another day.  Next time he called and asked me to come over to help him do somethin’ I made sure I found out what it was, until he had his vet do his dirty work one day when he came out to work on one of his horses.

     Roland’s been gone for about twenty years now.  He died when he wrecked his Jeep into a creek and drowned.  But I think of him often and it’s my firm belief that if ya often think about those who have passed, then they’re still with ya.

     All this reminiscing took place in just a minute as I stared at the young guy in the store. 

    “Your change sir?”

     “Oh.  Sorry.”

     As the fella and his family walked out I was tempted to say something to him.  I didn’t know what.  Maybe just that he looked like an old friend, but that would have sounded stupid and wouldn’t have accomplished anything.  My friend would still be gone no matter how much this guy looked like him.

     I know a lot of people.  Most of us do.  But I once read that we usually only have about as many real friends as we have fingers, if that many.  When I go to wherever my Kharma takes me I just hope that I leave as many friends as Roland did.....and they think of me often........That's me, dammit!~Watch here for next month's installment!

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     He once told me that you should meet a new person everyday, and he did: everybody knew Roland.  Once we were gettin’ gas in a small country town where neither one of us had been before  and a car full of oriental people pulled in beside us.  He started talkin’ to ‘em in Vietnamese and next thing I knew we were invited to their restaurant and soon found ourselves bein’ fed things I couldn’t identify or pronounce.

     He had a small farm and one morning he called to ask if I’d come over and give him a hand doin’ something.  When I arrived he and an Amishman were standing by the barn obviously waiting for me.  As I shut down the scoot and approached them I asked, “Whats up?”

     “Jacob’s gonna give us a hand.”

     “What are we doin’?”

     “We gotta cut the pigs.”

     “What?”

     “I waited too long to cut the pigs and if ya don’t cut ‘em it makes the meat taste bad.”

     Not bein’ a farmer in any sense of the word I had no idea what the hell he was talkin’ about, but I soon found out.  Seems  yer supposed to castrate male pigs when they’re piggies to help fatten ‘em up and so the meat isn’t tainted later on when ya butcher ‘em.  Roland didn’t get around to it ‘til his pigs were about two years old!  I’m talkin’  about almost grown hogs here!

     After chasin’ one around and around for a few minutes we finally got hold of him and drug him squealin’ and thrashin’ over to a small feeding trough in which we managed to get him upside down and spread his legs.  As I held his hind legs and Roland held his fore legs, the Amishman dug into his pocket and produced an ancient, rusty roofing knife.

     That pig was makin’ noises I never heard before!  His hooves seemed sharper than razors as I kept his legs spread while Jacob took his good old time just a-sawin’ away!  Finally he stood up and said,”Let him go boys.  This old blade’s dull and needs replaced.”  [Amish are known to be slow about spending money].   So, we let go and that porker went sqealin’ and runnin’ out the barn door.  Apparently he told his buddies what was up ‘cause the rest of ‘em huddled together in a corner of the pen outside lookin’ really freaked!  After Jacob changed the blade and we tried approachin’ ‘em, they flew in all directions.

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