Monday, January 16, 2017

LAST MEAL


I thought this was an original idea but the more I wrote, the more it sounded familiar. I located the original version but not having anything else prepared, I will go ahead and publish this reworked post from 2009. Guilty of half ways phoning it in. 

I have played a game with myself for years and usually when I tell people of it, they look a bit shocked at first, but then play right along. It starts with the hypothetical question,"If you were on death row, what would your last meal consist of?"

I guess I use death row because that is the only circumstance where your life has a known time limit down to the minute. Regardless of your heinous crime, you are allowed to eat anything you wish for your last meal. Those circumstances do not occur in the everyday person's life. Of course in my fantasy, I would be wrongly accused but the call for a stay of execution doesn't come from the governor till after I eat. So eat I will.

Often when I have been eating in a restaurant and the food has been exceptionally divine, I will say out loud, "That is going on my death row last meal list." This always starts the debate after the surprise of my premise wears off.

I have found through the years that my "last meal" changes as my tastes expand along with my waist line. But there are the basics that never change. My only fear is that my stomach will not hold all I want. Besides having a free choice menu there is also the blissful freedom at that point of knowing that nothing you eat will alter your longevity one bit. That lets you pick freely. Bring on the fat and bring on the sweets. Cholesterol you are welcome.

I am sure I would want a pound of crisp bacon as an appetizer. Yes, you heard me, a whole pound. After I polished that off, the skin of a whole turkey would proceed a leg of lamb. OK, by all rights I am exploding right now but this is a fantasy and I would continue. Hopefully, the Out Back Restaurant would cater part of the meal as I would want one of their sweet potatoes. Mercy they are good. They make pie filling seem bland.  

Since my fantasy stomach would still be on the empty side after chomping through a rare Filet Mignon, I would request Lily's Chicken from the Bonefish Grill which is a grilled chicken breast, goat cheese, sauteed spinach, artichoke hearts and lemon basil sauce. Sometimes we have a meal so special that the memory stays with us forever.  Lily's Chicken is mine. 

Then for dessert, I would want a bag of Peppermint Patties and a tube of Pringles original.  That should do it food wise.  

Since they won't give me any wine or alcohol with my supper (prison rules), I will just want water to leave room for the food. By now, they would probably be putting away the lethal injection needles or unplugging the chair for my gluttony would have done the states work for them. I likely wouldn't even make it for the governor's call.

Fortunately, my fantasy is just that, a fantasy. I really do try to eat properly for health reasons. However, remove those health concerns and I would be scary at a dinner table. Those would be my choices today, tomorrow they could be different. Well don't know about you but I'm mentally stuffed.

Now my question for you. What would be your "last meal" choice?

Monday, January 9, 2017

FRED THE BULL


Rerun from 2009.

I met Fred when he was a neighbor's pet. He had been orphaned at birth and the rancher my neighbor worked for gave him to Paul with the stipulation that when he was grown, the rancher could use him as a breeder for his herd. Paul would receive a fee for Fred's services should he be a successful breeder.

But that was in the future. For now, he was a grand little Brahman bull calf who would suck fiercely on my fingers or on any exposed flesh. Shorts were not a good idea when visiting Fred. Leg hickies are hard to explain.


None of these are my photos but are close to what Fred looked like.


Fred was my first up close and personal experience with a bovine.  Some people think cows are dumb, I prefer to think they are selective learners. They learn what they need to sustain life and pleasure. The rest is just useless information.

Fred very quickly learned for instance that I was a bringer of treats. His favorite being a grapefruit cut in half. Not a neat eater, he often left my jeans a mess as he wiped his mouth on me. I was also looked upon as an easier of itches from those dratted horn flies. I always brought a brush and gave Fred a vigorous brushing. My how he loved that. He leaned into every stroke. Because of my pampering Fred would run to the fence when he saw me coming. I really missed him when my neighbor moved and took Fred with him.  

Every now and then, when I was in Fred's new neighborhood, I would stop in to see him. I was always enormously pleased when he would see my vehicle and run to the fence. Oh yeah, I never went without treats and a brush. He eventually matured into a handsome fellow.

Brahman's are very large cattle and are a favorite in Florida for their ability to withstand heat. They actually have more sweat glands than other cattle. Despite their huge size, they are known as a docile intelligent breed if handled with kindness from calf hood as evidenced throughout India.  The Brahman has a distinct large hump over the top of the shoulder and neck, and a loose flap of skin hanging from the neck. Their ears are large and floppy. I find their long droopy ears very endearing.




Quite a while passed and I lost track of Fred. One of my jobs was to check the rancher's pump meters. These were electric meters, in the middle of pastures that provided water for the stock. Contrary to popular opinion, electric meters do not run faster as they age. They in fact they slow down and stop. One of my jobs was to check to make sure a meter showing zero consumption was actually inactive and not stopped.

Checking these meters often required walking quite a distance into a pasture and that day was no exception. 

I looked to see if there were any cows around the tank and saw none. This was fortunate for range cows can get spooky around a person on foot. The empty, high growth pasture indicated that the pump was most likely inactive but I went through the tall grass to be certain. My main concern was stepping on a snake but I had a bigger surprise waiting for me.

As I got closer, the grass moved and a low rumble came from behind the tank. First the rump appeared, then the back, then the head of a 2000 pound bull. He had been completely concealed in a bull hole he had dug behind the tank.  I was a good 600 feet from the fence line. He had me.

I am certain my heart beat could be heard in the next county. I only saw two options. I had decent speed as a sprinter and felt with surprise on my side, I could out run him for about 20 feet then I would be stomped to death. Or I could freeze and hope for the best. Both options pretty much guaranteed my flesh being rearranged.

I don't know why for the chance was slim to none, but I hopefully pleaded, "Fred??"

The huge bull came towards me, backed me into the transformer pole and shoved his head into my chest. Ever so gently for a giant, he rubbed his head up and down my body, making funny little sounds. It was my friend Fred.

He followed me back to the fence line, gently nudging me with his head as we walked. I say gently, but several times I almost lost my footing. I gave him an apple left over from my lunch and scratched his back while he ate.

That was the last I saw Fred. I went back a few weeks later but he was gone. Hopefully to another pasture to spread his seed among the ladies as a proper bull should. I hope he lived long and was fruitful.

I can only urge you to be kind to all you meet along the way, for you never know when you will want that kindness back. My paybacks that day were blissful.