Chicago is a cosmopolitan city with cosmopolitan people; many Chicagoans proudly walk down Michigan Avenue on the shore of Lake Michigan with an air of confidence and sophistication. It is far beyond my humble abilities to judge whether that confidence is real or just an illusion. My downtown visits were only temporary outings, mainly to see the sights on a Sunday afternoon. My world was an hour or two away, at the race tracks of Sportsman’s Park, Hawthorn, and Arlington.
When a guy from the city showed up in the barn area with Sansabelt Slacks and tasseled loafers; we were expected to patronize him; until, we found out whether he was a horse owner that wrote checks. Sadly, this is part of doing business, even on the race track. We were never rude, not at all; especially, when you consider how we were treated with our country accents and western style clothing when were down on Michigan Avenue.
You see the confidence of a bona fide horseman is real; especially, in the presence of lesser humans who have no horse knowledge or skills. Consequently, we were always polite to the point of condescension, advising the city person when they were in a position of personal danger. Race horses are so strong and quick they can kick a human in an instant, breaking an arm or leg so fast that you wont see it happen, you just hear the loud cracking noise of the bone as it is broken. Most race trackers are well versed in the potential dangers and rarely get hurt, but someone that doesn’t know the habits of the beast, can be in real danger.
In this small horse world, within a much larger cosmopolitan world, is where I worked, made a living, and supported a family for six years. The people are a little tougher and harder than you normally deal with: I’m not talking about street punks who make a culture of being ignorant and mean. I’m referring to people who work with horses that will never take a step back or show fear, even if you took an ax to them. Not all the horses are like that, just the Grizzly and eagle types, but they are the ones who make you proud to work on them and the ones who would make a street punk, with all his bravado, wet his trousers.
During the late 70’s there was a character on the backside that never seemed to work, but made a decent living bumming meals. He always caught a ride to the next track and slept where ever he found a decent bed. Among those who knew him, he was a quite a guy and always good for a few laughs, especially on the weekends, when the city rubes were touring the backside. He was a bully, that can’t be denied, if he saw a weakness, he would attack with unholy terror and cause big men to scream like little girls while running away with their hands high in the air and wetting their britches. No one knew his real name, we just called him Oscar.
Oscar was fearless and lived by his wits among hard people; you see, Oscar was a Leghorn rooster. How or why he ended up on the race track will always be shrouded in mystery, but one thing that isn’t a mystery is that he had an uncanny ability to spot people who had an unnatural fear of chickens.
I’ve butchered hundreds of chickens if not thousands over the years; to me it is a sad day to kill animals that came to you so small that you could put them in a coffee cup and then a few months later you were cutting their heads off. Killing a hundred chickens is a ghastly business and I have never enjoyed any part of killing, whether hunting or butchering livestock, but it is a way of life.
On one of these butchering days, I decided my children were going to help in the process. I warned them about the proceedings and what happens and of the blood and gore so that they wouldn’t be shocked. I was the one that was shocked, they loved the whole show, while screaming like banshees and laughing like maniacs. Yes, they all turned out to be normal productive citizens and none of them have been to the looney bin or to prison.
In retrospect, I was the one worrying over my own feelings and projecting them to my children, who accepted the butchering of chickens and eating them as a natural part of the life process.
Oscar managed to live out his life in a much different style than the meat chickens on my ranch; he had that spark of intelligence that allowed him to detect weakness in otherwise bold strong men, with a brain that was smaller than a BB, from 50 yards away.
It was hilarious, he would spot a victim within a group of men wearing city clothes walking between two barns and all of a sudden his head would drop down low and he would spread his wings out to the side and commence a high speed run straight for his intended victim, like a horseman of the apocalypse. Within a few seconds, the victim would spot the maniacal chicken headed straight for him and throw up his hands in stark terror, and turn to run. Sometimes the victim’s trainer tried to protect his check writer from this feathered beast from Hell, they usually grabbed a broom to chase the chicken. Needless to say, it turned into a comedy that could never be written or staged, every incident was different and many trainers swore they were going to kill that damn bird, but Oscar lived a long and comical life. While we diabolical race trackers enjoyed our live action and chase scenes every weekend.
These days, old Oscar has been replaced with an army of Oscars; instead of white feathers, they wear suits and fancy dresses. In our last presidential election they chose the Republican nominee, a unique accomplishment for doltish bird brains, but when their candidate chose Sara Palin as a running mate, they put their heads down and spread their wings. They knew that she was fearless, but they also knew the Republicans were easy to manipulate; after all, they chose the Republican candidate, a salvage candidate that could carry on with a Liberal agenda, just in case their Progressive Socialist faltered in the campaign. Oh, and how well we fell for the ferocity of the chickens; so much so, we are still reeling and sorting out the facts, in the aftermath. The woman who spoke with a country accent and was supposedly too stupid to be elected was accused of every disingenuous and mean thing the MSM could come up with; consequently, we now live with a Secretary of State who screeches like the fishermen’s wives of a seaside market when she is excited and makes a fool of herself at nearly every opportunity, a vice president who seems to be promoting a clown troupe, and a president who was vaunted to be the most intelligent man to ever hold office, yet we are still waiting, waiting ever so patiently, for any indication of this brilliance. Actually, within his own field, supposedly of law, Obama seems to be the least prepared for the presidency, his gaffs concerning law are legend, his knowledge of geography is comparable to a junior high school student’s, his historical knowledge seems non-existent, his speech off the teleprompter is aimless and disconnected and with his teleprompter speeches, his delivery often suggests a complete disconnect with his audience. After two years, we are still waiting for the brilliance to shine through.
Instead we hear the diplomacy of a street thug: “They Bring a Knife…We Bring a Gun”; “Get in Their Faces!”;“I don’t want to quell anger”; “I think people are right to be angry! I’m angry!”; “Hit Back Twice As Hard”; “We talk to these folks… so I know whose ass to kick!”; “Republican victory would mean hand to hand combat”; “It’s time to Fight for it”; “Punish your enemies(political)”; and the oh so tough, imitation of a Chicago street thug, “I’m itching for a fight.”
Yes, I can see why a country would be afraid of a genteel grandmother, who saves the threats for the enemies of America rather than the political opposition who opposes Socialism. Because so many Americans listened and still listen to the harpies spouting their venom and lies, we will be subjected to this immature, crude, and vulgar vindictive from the want to be street thug Obama. The professor who wasn’t really a professor, merely a guest lecturer, awaiting political placement by the Chicago Machine and a wife who was a “diversity coordinator” for $300,000 a year at a hospital, working a job that didn’t exist before and doesn’t exist now, while the hospital collected huge sums money from the state of Illinois, while her husband was in the state legislature. We traded these two for Palin and her country accent: two people who had jobs that weren’t really jobs at all, for someone who wasn’t hiding behind the curtains and had a real job in politics and whose grades and past were open to the most intense Democrat and MSM scrutiny.
Yet, we now know that Barack is familiar with Urdu poetry, despite the fact that he has never quoted the first line and that his so called knowledge of the Constitution exists solely in the best methods to circumvent or discredit the Constitution.
From Melville we have this simple line to contemplate our experience with this uncouth politician from Chicago: “Hell is an idea first born on an undigested apple-dumpling; and since then perpetuated through the hereditary dyspepsias nurtured by Ramadans. We, the American non-Socialists, have had enough indigestion to last a lifetime, but we face another 21 months of heartburn with all the complications of severe indigestion.
Now we are fully aware of our options, do we run another RINO, selected by the ever willing MSM, against Obama, so the MSM can hedge their bets or do we run the only Conservative of prominence. Personally, I like the non-Elitist diction of Sara Palin, it reminds me of my own and of all the friends I have had in this lifetime; her education is not that much different than my own and she is not so ashamed of her education that her records are forever sealed, her work ethic and love of the outdoors is something that I can relate to as well. Are we to be frightened by the Oscars who work so closely with the Great Pretender in Chief, they have claimed every Republican since Eisenhower to be stupid; yet on analysis of grades and IQs there has never been any substance to their accusations, yet we run like proverbial cowards while they spout their vile lies. Personally, I am not afraid of the Oscars of print and video and I no longer believe anything they have to say.
A professional horseman for over 50 years, Skook continues to work with horses. Skook has finished an historical novel, Fifty Thousand Years, that traces a mitochondrial line of DNA from 50,000 years ago to the present. The story follows a line of courageous women, from the Ice Ages to the present, as they meet the challenges of survival with grit and creativity. These are not women who whimper of being victims, they meet the challenges of survival as women who use their abilities without excuses or remorse, these women are winners, they are our ancestors.