Thursday, November 28, 2019

Adventures in Babysitting

I never actually saw the movie. The real one, not the remake. I remember seeing trailers, and noticing that the movie seemed to feature that one chick who had been in Call to Glory.

I remember Call to Glory because it it promised a lot of cool fighter jet action and featured that one chick.

That one chick was Elisabeth Shue.

I'm not what you'd call a movie fan by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't follow the actors the way a lot of folks seem to. Nevertheless, and having never watched one of her movies and only seen her playing a teeny-bopper Air Force Brat in a television series set in the early 1960's I've always liked her. Got no idea what she's actually like of course, so it's better to say that I've enjoyed the two-dimensional appearance of the girl and some of the acting she did very early in her career. I'd have to say, given the above, that it's the appearance of the girl I find pleasing. Go figure.

As an interesting aside, for some reason I have memories of watching Call to Glory back in the early 1970's. According to the interwebz, though, it actually aired in 1984-85. The mind can do some interesting things with memory. That's what all of us old duffers say when dementia begins to take hold. I rather imagine I could figure out how to watch the whjole series on my phone and/or computer, but I suspect I will not.

Nevertheless, none of this is about that, exactly. So on with the show.


Yesterday, which featured zero blog posts here, began with a lot of promise. It was very, very cold. I'm talking -8 at sunrise. And it stayed cold, with the day's mean air temp a paltry +7 degrees. The skies were clear and deeply blue, and the landscape was blanketed in pristine snow, glittering in the sunshine. It was visually stunning and gorgeous, and my camera simply can't replicate the image properly.

There was a pesky south wind, which varied from 10-30 mph. It was actually bringing relatively warmer air up from Texas, or whatever those places down there are called, but it was blowing over miles and miles of deeply frozen snow, so it didn't feel particularly warm. At 30 mph the wind chill values plummeted to -26, for instance.

I know I'm yabbering on about the cold, but let me share one more detail. When I water the chickens, I draw a five gallon bucket from a hydrant located just outside the chicken compound. I carry the bucket into the coop and refill the heated waterer. It's just easier that way. The waterer only holds three gallons, so I have an excess to dump on the ground before placing the bucket inverted back atop the hydrant. Yesterday it wasn't quite cold enough to freeze the water before it hit the ground, but the bucket did retain a good half-inch coating of ice on the inside. So yeah, cold.

I headed out to check cows, driving the F-150. Why did I take the F-150? No real good reason other than it needs to be driven from time to time and shouldn't be abandoned in the garage for the whole winter. I drove it yesterday (day before yesterday as I keywritetype this) and it was a comfortable experience. The Ranger actually gets around better but is more cramped and utilitarian. Sometimes comfort is good. Of course all my tools were in the Ranger, so any fence fixing or other delights the morning would bring would mean an extra trip to either gather tools or switch vehicles (the latter, obviously), but that wouldn't represent a terrible burden.

Red and I whisked in and tooled around the pasture.

As promised (I think) in a video fro a couple of days ago, here's the "after snow" moving picture of the area near the main water switch clear down in the southwest corner of the Cederburg pasture. Technically the switch is located in the northwest corner of the south pasture.

So, pasture names. The Cederburg and Cheisa pastures have been in the family for generations but are still called after the former owners who my forbears purchased the land from. And way back in the days of black and white, the half-section South Pasture was the only piece of ground to the south of the home place, so it was and remains the South Pasture.


Red and I tooled around and everything was fine. Cows were eating plenty of dry but nutritional grass, the water was fine, and the freezing temperatures weren't bothering a thing.

As I departed the pasture and came over the rise toward the county road I spied a car stuck in the snow right at my turn-off. There was a young fellow trying to dig it out with his hands. He was dressed in only jeans, sneakers, and a long sleeved tee shirt. A more sensibly dressed young woman was standing on the porch of Ted and Alice's place, a modular home built on a small acreage. Their home is right across the trail road from where the car was stuck, so it was a good idea to knock. However, Ted and Alice work in town and no one was home.

I stopped to render assistance. The young fellow was all tatted up and had the nose ring, the big model airplane tires in his earlobes, and a half dozen or so bolts in his face. He wasn't shivering, which meant he was either tweaking (on the meth) or dipping into hypothermia. He seemed a bit dazed and his speech was slurred and barely coherent. He seemed to be trying to apologize for causing me trouble, but could I possibly mumble mumble mumble.

The young woman walked up. She was wearing a nice winter jacket. However, "distressed" jeans with gaping holes in the knees were probably not the best choice of attire, given prevailing meteorological conditions. And I hate to be judgmental, but the sandals were just wrong. In contrast to the boy, (boy because he probably wan't yet old enough to be considered a fellow) the girl seemed to be free of tattoos, model airplane tires, or bolts. She was in fact quite pretty in a very young, blond girl kind of way. The pair were to my eyes obviously a couple, and I thought -- to myself you understand -- "You sure picked yourself a winner there sweetheart!" The girl was shivering so hard she couldn't speak.

At this point I realized we we're flirting with a medical emergency. Hypothermia can go from bad to disaster in only a few minutes. I loaded 'em up in the F-150 and headed for the ranch house, only a mile or so down the road. Once there I got them wrapped in blankets, seated in the old people recliners with optional heat and massage, which came in very handy indeed. I also got thermometers in their faces. The girl's temp was 98 and change, so perfectly normal. The boy's temp was 93. He'd probably been no more than 10 minutes from collapse. While they sipped hot coffee they (mostly the girl) told me their story.

They'd decided on the spur of the moment to drive out in the country and look at all the pretty snow. Three miles down the Airport Road they'd decided to turn around and head back, but in turning they discovered that snow can often hide deep spots. As it turned out, they were actually brother and sister. Both from a larger town to the east, about 200 miles away. They'd recently moved back to Kimball, where they'd been born, to be closer to their Mom and to get away from the "bad crowd" in the town they were living in. The boy had recently been discharged from inpatient drug and alcohol treatment, and the girl had been fighting a losing battle to take care of her big brother and to fight the siren song of drugs and booze.

They both had smartphones, of course, but they couldn't call their Mom for help because she has a broken foot and they didn't want to scare her. They didn't know anyone else to call. So while the boy dug snow with his hands, the girl tried to knock absent people into existence. They were 22 and 23 years old, and were closer to death on a lovely bright snow day then they will probably ever realize.

At age 22 and 23 they're both legally adults. When I was that age I was doing all kinds of grown-up, responsible stuff. To be fair, I had a solid upbringing and an entire naval service to keep me coloring inside the lines. These two had a different story, and they were a lot more vulnerable than I like to see. Ducklings, really, enchanted by all the bright shiny stuff out there in the world and trying to learn to fly. Not really aware of how many hungry coyotes there are out there, or of how quickly their adventure can end for good.

My phone buzzed, and it was my friends the cattle owners who, on their way to feed their cattle, had come across the abandoned car. Did I know anything about it?

I left the boy and girl to warm up, while I took their car keys and headed back out into the beautiful day. Between myself and cattle owners we had the car out in a jiffy. I drove it to the ranch while one guy went in to feed and the other followed me while I delivered the car then drove me back to my pickup. The whole project took about 20 minutes.

In the time it took to rescue the car, the boy's temperature had rebounded to 96 and both brother and sister were feeling much better. I followed them home to make sure they got there okay, and they invited me in to meet Mom. She was very nice, and her home was spotless and clean. That didn't surprise me, because I knew her. She wasn't by any means a bad mom, but a divorce had made things tough for the whole bunch. She and the kids were very appreciative, and we all exchanged phone numbers. On a whim I offered to give them a 4WD snow tour of the ranch later in the afternoon, and brother and sister agreed with surprising delight.

Later, as we drove around, the pair did a lot of talking and I did a lot of listening. They both seemed hungry to unburden themselves, and they shared the tale of a rough couple of years.

When I returned them home it was with a couple of dozen farm fresh eggs and the promise to continue to be a listener if they needed one. For this I extracted their promise to call me if they get stuck in the snow again, or if they find themselves otherwise stuck in a tough situation.

Later in the evening I got a text from the girl saying how good the eggs tasted and how much she appreciated my assistance and my ear.

So today on this day of national thanksgiving, I find that more than anything else I'm profoundly grateful that I was able to be in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge and experience to stave off a disaster. And even more that I was able to extend the hand of caring friendship to a family of sovereign human beings. It was little enough that I did, but my efforts were rewarded at least tenfold in simply living the experience.

Today the weather is warmer but gray and quite nasty with a stiff south-southwesterly breeze. Snow is drifting like mad and the roads are an icy mess.

This morning's text from the girl: "Stay warm and tell the cows hi. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!"

Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.


  1. You are a good man, Sean.
    You did a hell of a lot more than just help a couple of goofy kids get their car dug out.
    You listened to stuff they probably never told anyone else, and it may have made a difference, backed up by your being a visible role model for hard work and good deeds. A momentary substitute for a male role model they have not had.
    We will never know if they find their way back on the straight and narrow track, or return to old habits and bad friends. You did your part.
    There is much to be thankful for in this world, so let us give thanks.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, including your family member in rehab.

    And, I am thankful for all your posts, even when you skip a day or month.
    John Blackshoe.

    1. Thanks very much for the kind words John. Sovereign human beings often bounce quite hard off the guardrails, it's how we learn. Those of us with the years and scars can do little but hope and pray and treat the ducklins as we would ourselves be treated.

      Hope you and yours had a great Thanksgiving. We did here. And thanks for the thoughts of Sis. She'll be venturing back out into the world next week, a dangerous yet promising time for her.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  2. A heartwarming story for Thanksgiving. Thank you. You are a good person. Thank you for that as well. Post college, I had a friend from Alaska who taught me that you always stop to help, particularly in the winter time. I grew up in the South where stopping to help was not as critical though we always did it. Unfortunately, these days it can be a dicey proposition. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and keep on doing what you do.

    1. Thanks very much Mark. It's always tricky and risky to help, so imo you have to be pretty clear with yourself about your motivations and expectations. Not a bad idea to be reasonably able to defend yourself as well.

      Hope you and yours had a great thanksgiving.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  3. WELL DONE, THAT MAN! It feels nice to have saved two lives, doesn't it? I have made my displeasure manifest, when I would make a traffic stop in the winter, and find a car full of kids in shorts and t shirts. They could not understand why I would ask them, " Do you WANT TO DIE?"

    Cars have become so reliable that they cannot conceive anything happening to them. But it can!

    My-40 green ANSI coat lives in my F150. A cold summer rain can kill through hypothermia, too. I am very pleased to know you, Shaun! You Done Good!

    1. Thanks for the kind words Scott and I'm pleased to know you too. Feels good to be able to help, and feels a bit tough to be unable to help directly with some of the other stuff. But it's the way the big adventure works.

      Hope you had a great Thanksgiving and thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  4. You are a good man, Shaun Evertson. I have known that for some years now; but, by your actions, you continue to show what it is to be a good human being and American. I hope that all who gather here had as pleasant a Thanksgiving as my family and I did.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Thanks very much Paul. Glad you had a pleasant Thanksgiving as we did. BTW, Mom sends her greetings to you and the Missus.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    2. My wife said to thank your Mom and sends her greetings to her and you. My greetings to your Mom as well.


  5. Once again, you done good! And didn't find popsicles on the side of the road yesterday, which could have happened, had you not come along.

    1. Thank you sir! The whole thing could have had a very sad outcome. It didn't though, and that's the main thing.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  6. You're a good man Charie Brown. Btw, I noticed something else about That Clancy TV show- Greer is now Muslim. Can't have a Christian, but a Muslim is ok.

    1. Oh, and not that you probably need the suggestion, but maybe drop them a line every once in a while. You never know what kind of impact it could make on them and your advice is surely worth far more than it costs. Since you helped them, they might actually be willing to listen to it.

    2. Thanks Tuna, that's very kind.

      Greer a Muslim. Kind of a face-palm moment there. I wonder if those folks in the mediatainment industry ever take a moment to think about reality? How long would they last, I wonder, if they were somehow plopped down in a Muslim country without ID, plastic, or money? It's not that they would be instantly murdered, but they would be preyed upon and probably suddenly find themselves to be the property of a God-fearing and devout Muslim man. Their certainties about the universe seem a bit misguided.

    3. I'll do that. The girl has texted a couple of pretty bright questions at me and seems to be thinking good thoughts. The boy has a lot on his plate with new and briefly held sobriety. We'll see how it goes. I might point them at this post and let them see that people who don't even know them nevertheless care about what happens to them and wish them the best.

    4. They seemed to like the eggs. Purpose and goals and a sense of accomplishment from doing something useful and right can be helpful to recovery and nurture a sense of responsibility. Might ask if they would like to get some tips on having a couple of chickens of their own. (Yes, there is chicken $h!t involved, but in a good way...)

    5. Good idea, and chick buying time is just around the corner...

      Thanks John!

  7. A great tale for Thanksgiving.

    Well done Shaun.

    1. Thanks Sarge. Life continues to be a daily adventure!