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Posted 7/27/11 (Wed)


I sure appreciated all the offers to buy Vern Baker. Well, actually, there were no offers to buy Vern Baker. But I did have a lot of people question my sanity in keeping such a dog. I guess you could say it is compulsive, obsessive behavior. Which is not an indication of sanity.
Because of Vern, we can’t have screen doors on the house. He finds screen doors a public nuisance. He doesn’t just tear a hole in them and go in and out of the house. He rips them from the frame. And, as on our reinforced sliding glass door, when he couldn’t rip the screen from the frame, he removed the entire frame. Actually, for not having any tools, he did a pretty good job.
But the lack of tight screen doors has been a problem for us before.
I was smiling to myself this morning as I carried Vern’s latest project to the dumpster.
Years ago, in a land far, far away, we had a screen door on the ranch house that was in need of repair. Shirley had been after me for quite awhile to fix the door on the porch. I kind of put it off. She hadn’t married a carpenter. She had married a cowboy. One day, there was a rattlesnake on her CattleWoman of the Year plaque! Really! A small, but very agitated rattlesnake in Shirley’s office on her cattlewoman stuff. Even I don’t touch her cattlewoman stuff! That snake was committing suicide. She insisted I fix the door. After seeing what she did to that snake, I was thinking maybe I should. In a day or two.
A couple of nights later, she awoke me with a sharp jab of her elbow. I mean she really whacked me. She could hear a burglar in the living room. I listened. I have bad ears. But, then I heard it! There had to be more than one! We lay there whispering. I kept urging Shirley to peek out and see how many there were. She said I had to. I was the man. I hated to argue. We couldn’t call the cops. We lived 35 miles from town. And the cops didn’t like me anyway.
As we listened, I heard them move some furniture. There had to be more than one. I quietly slipped out of bed and began to dress. Shirley was a little agitated that I was taking time to dress. I had a reason. I didn’t want to be in my underwear when the ambulance came for me.
I tiptoed over to the closet and found a Ping driver. That is a golf club for you less educated. I quietly eased down the hall, stopping to listen. I had to go to the bathroom. It sounded like there were at least two, possibly three. My legs were shaking like a kid getting on his first bareback horse. I wanted to throw up. But I had to protect my young wife.
I got to the living room light, and was recalling my Fort Leonard Wood training. I was a killing machine. I flipped the light on, let out an Apache war whoop and charged into the fray! I may die, but I was going to get the first swing in.
It scared the hell out of Okie. Okie was a saddle horse that was teaching the kids to barrel race!
In the morning, I fixed the screen door. A fly or two is one thing. A small snake is kind of bad. But when a 1,300-pound horse can get through the screen, it’s time.