• Dale Bowman

Armadillo, Arkansas, cheap gas & smoke on water: Ramble with the Lady

Wisps of smoke lifted off two piles of piled brush and trees on the west side of the south old clay pit as Lady and I rambled by this morning.

While we were gone visiting my mother-in-law on Table Rock Lake, the west side of the south pit was stripped, similar to what the south side of the north pit was a couple weeks ago.

Arghh. I will have to adjust and find a new ramble in the wilds with Lady, our family's mutt.

More on that another day.

Back to smoke.

So our youngest son and I were swimming in Table Rock and this couple, maybe my age or near it, wade into the water.

She has a cigarette dangling out of her lips as she waded deeper, which I found amusing in its own right.

But to top it, the guy pulls a lighter from his shorts and fires up his smoke as he wades in. And sticks the lighter back in his pocket. And keeps wading deeper.

Some stuff you just can't make up.

Maybe there are tradeoffs in life between cheap gas and social skills.

Good Lord, did we find cheap gas. It was down to $2:09 in West Branson when we started back home Monday.

And just outside of St. Louis, I found it even cheaper, $1.99, at an off-brand store. I can't remember the last time I paid less than $2 a gallon for gas,. And I mean anywhere.

It was a long weekend to expand the family history. It was the first trip my wife and I made with only the youngest. The middle two had things going and stayed home.

But the youngest added another state when I did a drive across the Arkansas border without realizing I had went that far one afternoon.

On the way home, between three traffic jams, which made the trip home nearly 10 hours, I spotted an armadillo along the side of I-44. At first I thought it was an opossum belly up and swelling in the heat, but as we passed I realized it was an armadillo. I was past it too quick for our youngest to see it, which he wantted to, another thing he would like to see in life.

We did not do any fishing this weekend, though plenty of bluegill swam around under the docks, but I did focus on getting a few passable photos of hummingbirds at feeders. The set-up is right for that at my mother-in-law's. I spent a fair amount of time on that.

This morning only a few doves cooing as we set out.

Not much else moving on the way out.

I was so pissed about the ongoing civilizing of the town pond that we circled it quickly and headed back into town.

Four young doves sat on the wires above the grit area near the grain elevators on the edge of town.

Downtown, Lady flushed the first squirrel of the morning up a porch, flushed it so convincingly that the squirrel dropped a walnut on the porch.

Two blue jays squawked back and forth as we turned the corner a block from home by the bur oaks. Two squirrels chased each other up and around the maple across the street.

At home, Lady chased a gray squirrel trying to slink around our porch.

Home again.

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