taoCMS™ Demo Site: Columnists

Home » Columnists »



Posted 9/22/10 (Wed)


I can’t recall if I told you about Vern Baker or not. That is one of the downfalls of aging. But then again, if you are as old as I, you won’t recall, so what the heck.
Vern Baker is a house wrecker that lives with us. When he first arrived, we assumed he was young, but I have decided he is older. He had spent the last 18 months in lockup in Baker, Montana. I picked him up there and gave him a home in our house. Shirley was really excited!
Vern Baker is a dog. A big Australian Shepherd. Perhaps crossed with a bear out of Yellowstone Park. He had been locked in a cage at an animal shelter in Montana for over a year. Hence, as Carmen told me, he has developed “abandonment issues.”
We can’t have screen doors on our house. Oh, we can have them, but don’t ever close them. We had recently spent $60 repairing our screens. The grandkids had them pretty well stretched out from pushing on the screens when entering or exiting.
Sometimes it is kind of nice to let a little breeze come through the house, by opening the door and leaving only the screen door. That works well until Vern decides to go in or out. Then the bear in him comes out. He demolishes screens. I mean he passes through them like Casper the Friendly Ghost. He rips them to shreds. Then, for good measure, he trashes the garbage in the kitchen. $60 down the tube. That is one good “happy hour!”
One day he ventured over to El Dorado Acres. A residential area near here. The dogcatcher got him. A dogcatcher named Vern. Imagine the call. “We’re looking for Vern!” I mean what are the odds. There just aren’t that many Vern’s around here.
Then last weekend I was rodeoing in Watford. Vern was left in the house, where he normally sleeps for 12 hours a night, for three hours. He decided he had to get out. You know how that feels. That cooped up feeling when you just need to get some air.
Anyway, the doors were shut. So he began looking for a way out. He thought he would try a window. Oh, first he tried the sliding glass door. He can usually scratch around on that and get it open. But it was latched. He did tear the blinds completely off. Then he tried the dining room window. That was closed also. But he did tear the drapes off! Well, maybe the office window. If he stood up on the desk, he could reach the window alright. Ruff! Ruff! That is dog talk for “this window is latched too.” But he did destroy the blinds!
I received the call from Shirley about midnight on my way home from the rodeo. I was just going by Grassy Butte. She had just returned home from an energy meeting in Texas. She informed me that someone had been in the house and trashed it. I explained that I had been gone, and merely hadn’t picked stuff up when I left. She told me how the burglars had wrecked the drapes and blinds. I was a little suspicious because burglars seldom chew up blinds.
This week Shirley went to town to shop for new blinds. You will never guess what the blind-man’s name is. Vern! No kidding. Vern! Shirley explains to the sales lady that she needs someone to come out and measure for drapes and blinds. The lady tells Shirley that Vern will be out next week. Shirley says Vern is not ever getting in the house again. By the time they got it all straightened out, the sales lady was sure Shirley was a tad off.
I was just figuring this morning. I had to give $100 to rescue Vern. The first repair on the screens, before Vern, cost $60. And they are beyond repair this time. I’m looking at new storm doors with the screen at the top. Way at the top. Probably $300. At least. New blinds for the glass door. $300. Drapes for the living room? Blinds for the office?
But dang it, if you need to get a cow out of the brush, he’s a pretty good dog!
And like they say, “If you want to know who really loves you, lock your wife and your dog in the garage for a couple days, and see which one is happy to see you!”
Vern likes me; we’ll work it out.