The farmer in the dellBill's Briefs Thursday, April 26th, 2012
Social Chaos: Bill's Briefs
Being from the big city (Portland, Maine: 75,000), my one memorable experience of rural life was a Boy Scouts overnight trip to a farm.
First, tents were put up in a pasture, carefully avoiding the cow pies and then off to the fields for “tasseling the corn.” Having no idea what that meant, I gamely ripped off the tops of corn stalks. I was soon covered with dust, sweat and bugs. Making it all bearable was the hunky, hairy farmer. Stupid me; I repeatedly had to have him come and show me how to grab that corncob correctly.
Lunch included cold beef tongue sandwiches that I wouldn’t eat, commenting I didn’t know where that tongue had been. Hunky farmer then asked where I thought eggs came from.
Afternoon brought disaster: horseback riding. I learned never, repeat never, try to mount a horse from the right. Finally, I was lifted onto the damn beast. And my feet didn’t reach the stirrups. Oh, the humiliation!
Next came milking a cow. No, I will not stoop to cheap, gay remarks. However, I will confess to immediately thereafter having dreams of a certain nature.
Then came the thrill of “slopping the hogs,” shoveling out the horse stalls and fishing a dead cat out of the well.
Dinner was another huge meal (we skipped the ice-water) followed by manly campfire songs and ghost stories. Great fun if one forgets the mosquitoes and lack of toilet paper.
With the temperature at about 45 F, sleeping in our flimsy tents was a trial. My suggestion of how we could keep warm was rudely and firmly rejected.
Naturally, once home, we all claimed a fun-filled and educational experience. In truth, my most vivid memory was the sight in the meadow of what the scout leader referred to as a thinking horse. When asked how he knew the horse was thinking, he replied it was obvious what he was thinking about. Hmm … still thinking about that one.
Recently, I saved a young friend from a return to drugs and prostitution. The actor son of an old buddy (we’ll leave it at that) was in town and looked me up. I sensed someone feeling alone and frightened and offered a shoulder to cry on. He opened up and confessed his life was a mess and dreams of stardom unfulfilled. His agent had manipulated him through drugs and lies into a series of porno films and an escort service. He begged me for help.
I finally succeeded in getting him a room in San Diego, a part-time job, two 12-step programs and enrolled in a local hotel management program.
My young friend faced reality, admitted his problem and asked for help, but often for seniors doing so is difficult. Many of those we once shared our inner thoughts and troubles with are gone. So now we must avail ourselves of our new friendships and not hesitate to listen, discuss and share our mutual fears and problems.
My friend now calls me Father Teresa. Someday maybe someone will refer to you the same way.
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