There we were, Elaine and me… Having out afternoon martins and musing about how yes, these are our Golden Years.  Bird watching while sipping and listening to Martin Denny tunes.  We moved on to discussing some of the finer points of the upcoming golf course development here at the ranch.  But there was a trip-wire…

One of the issues in laying out the course has to do with my mother’s remains.  She was cremated, as were her wishes, but she’d made it clear to me she wanted her ashes in a place where she’d have “a sweeping view” of the house and front yard for as long as possible.

Naturally, wish granted…


With the upcoming installation of the Cotton Mouth Creek Golf Course, I was trying to figure out what kind of view (if any) my late mom would like of the new golf endeavor.  Duffers parading in front of her view (*from the Great Beyond), or should the course take a dog leg around her view?  I tried to imagine what he choice would be.

Well, one thing led to another and first thing you know Elaine and I were deep into the topic of what we’d like have done with our remains when the time comes; or more properly, shortly thereafter.

Honestly, I hadn’t thought about it much, but here on the back-side of the great statin experiment, the subject seemed more pertinent.

“Well, there are only so many choices, really:  You’ve got the conventional burial, but that costs a coffin and ground rent for whoever’s left alive to write checks.  Or, like my mom and dad, there’s cremation….but there has to be something else…”

I must have sat there for a good five minutes mulling on things.  Way off in Elaine’s gene pool is some Cherokee Indian.  This led to thinking over a Indian-style a funeral fire might work for me…but with dry weather at hand in East Texas, I was pretty sure burning the husband’s remains on the land would be off the table (or off to jail)… so the musings continued.

Then in a flash, a thought crawled out of the dark corner of my mind where it had been hiding for several decades.

“Hey…Elaine…what about I get stuffed?  You know, like taxidermists do?  Then the kids could take turns hanging me on the wall at one of their homes or I could sit on the mantel…”

“George, you’re sick!  I can’t believe you could even come up with such a rotten idea.”

Well, that got me a bit defensive, so I laid out the case.

  1.  First off, Taxidermy is a fine and noble art.  People have their prized game stuffed and mounted.  In fact, I offered a $10 bet that within walking distant of our hovel in the East Texas outback we could find at least three homes with prize deer ‘racks’ and maybe a stuffed trophy-class taxidermied deer on the wall.
  2. Secondly, Museums are full of taxidermy examples:  How many life-sized coyotes and elephants and such have we seen?
  3. Beside, this being America and all, people have recently started to have their favorite pets stuffed.  Sure enough, Thunder Bay Taxidermy up in Ohio does pet preservation…  (Elaine sometimes refers to me as “…my pet…” so it’s in the ball park….
  4. And there’s some high tech stuff, too: PERPETUAL PET – Pet Preservation Freeze Dry Taxidermy Service where freeze-drying is employed….

Just because no one has gone on this track with human remains yet doesn’t mean it won’t eventually become a fad.  Hell, it could be a whole new industry and ‘Merica could lead the world for once.

I glanced at the cute blonde who was rolling her eyes….while Zeus the Cat eyed me suspiciously figuring my brain was up to no good, again.

So next I argued it’s a HELL of a lot cheaper than freaking PYRAMID.  (Although in truth, I don’t know as mound-building of pyramid building is legal in Texas or not.  I’ll have to check on that one. Don’t know how long it would take Jared to “tractor-up” a 100-foot base pyramid, either, or what the cost of diesel would be…)

Elaine gave me a long and considered look.  You know, the kind that Raymond Reddington gives Mr. Kaplan (the Cleaner) in the TV show The Blacklist when he’s considering something.

Presently, she announced I was sick, but that so is the whole country anymore, all whipped up in  left-wing nuttiness and SMS virals.

“Well, I suppose you could put it on your web site but I think it’s a terrible idea…”

“Yes, dear, it is.  Anti-religion, probably illegal too, but in today’s world, that just about ensures it will take off like a rocket!”

“North Korean?”

“Humphf” I snorted.  She had me there.

I was sticking to my guns.  The idea of spending the Hereafter in an urn like my mom, or being dispersed at the bottom of Elliott Bay in Seattle in one of the prime salmon fishing locations like Pappy doesn’t sound as appealing as adorning a wall with a good view of the bar and maybe watching TV now and then.

I seem to remember seeing a deer mounted on a wall once that had a bra laced around his head…apparently it had been a hell of a party the night before.  I might be up for a few antics like that, I mean with all proper respects paid, and all.

Another point in favor of taxidermy is the fact my eye surgeries have worked out perfectly.  Might an eternal pair of glass eyes work out better?  Less maintenance than RGP contacts, that’s for damn sure.

So, there it is.  Today’s breakthrough new idea to expand the American Economy.

OK, maybe it’s a bad idea. But in order to make sure you’re thinking through ALL the possibilities in Life, you’ve got to study the bad ones, too.  This effort wasn’t wasted.,

“Come my pet…time for dinner…” Elaine was saying.

I didn’t need to be asked twice.

There was one odd thing about dinner I should mention:

By the end of it, I felt stuffed.

Major Golf Concerns Explained

My buddy the Major up in Gig Harbor, WA. is worried about the budget for our planned golf course.

“You do realize that the budget for developing a single green can run as high as $40,000 on a serious course?” he informed me.

I confessed that I had not looked into having a Pro design the course, and I would leave that to Oilman2’s son, Jared, who armed with his Aggie Hort. degree ought to be able to figure out something much cheaper.

“Tell you the truth, Major, I was thinking a few bags of sand, maybe mix in some peat moss, till it all in, lime it a bit and plant a mix of sun and shade grass.  Surely something’ll sprout up.  Whatever it is, we’ll play it.”

“You know how BIG the greens are?”

“Uh, no….er….”

Well, think 40 by 90, maybe?”

“I was thinking more like 15-foot circles….”

And OMG just mowing the fairway!  Think about mowing times…good grief! Like you have free time?

“Well, just bush-hogging’s all I had in mind….”

Aw, what kind of GOLF course are you building?

The conversation went on for several more minutes as I stumbled through my low-rent district concept.  I could hear the “raised eyebrow” over the phone.

Afterwards, I went digging into the early history of golf. (Some dandy info over here.)

I like playing golf on those great big wide fairways and monstrous putting greens as much as the next guy.  But when it all comes down to it, golf is supposed to be fun.

When everyone plays with the same clubs, same dimpled balls, same course map, same GPS to figure out distance to to the pin…and a standard 6″ cup….there’s something about the magic of the game that goes away.

Just like there’s something missing between hot dogs cooked on a stick over an open camp fire versus the kind boiled in water on the stove.

There’s an essence to some things in life.  Just like you don’t need a $5,000 custom-turned bamboo fishing pole to catch fish, either.  A $100 rig will catch as many fish.

Yet the common thread – and I don’t know that I communicated it well to the Major, or not – is that humans are joyous, fun-seekers, and simpler is often better.  I knew as much from when we grew up, riding bikes around a church yard to see who could make the circuit faster. Idiot repetition is great fun.  Why those playing cards clothes-pinned to our wheels made as good a noise as any Honda 50 and saved us both a bundle to boot.

It’s never so much about a winning – and that’s true in spades in golf.  It’s more about the joy, fun, and camaraderie of the game, the sport, or the hobby.

You see it everywhere when you go looking for it, too:  I don’t care what the hobby is, in most you can have as much fun with $1,000 as you can with $200,000.  I cut my son some slack on sky-diving gear…there’s thrift and then there’s stupidity.

Take ham radio, though:  A used radio off eBay for $200 and a $50 bucks for antenna wire and cobbled up insulators from Lowes or Home Despots can result in as much pleasure as a $25,000 tower, radio and humongous linear amplifier.  I keep both at the ready…depending on mood.

With a three-day weekend just ahead, this kind of thinking is the core of living…and the stupid LameStreamMedia never talks about this real stuff.

I don’t know if this is something that arises from people driven to specializing in something – like golf courses – or what?  Or maybe we’re just driven by our nature to Bigger Better by some cultural genetic defect.  What got us from Mud Pies to Pyramids, anyway?

Back to the first tee:  I’ve never made a 40-foot put in my life.  Nor, come to think of it, a 30-footer….or truth be told even a 15-footer on a terribly varied green.

This raggedy-ass golf course is  just like 10 watts of ham radio can be as much fun as 2,000 watts.  I don’t need a 100-foot green so the 15-footers should be as much (or more) fun as those $40,000 greens.

Then again, how many golf courses will let you carry a 12-gauge in your bag?  Only one that I can think of…

Just a theory mind you, but going through life I’ve always worked on optimizing the “Happiness Equation.”  Cost-per-smile and cost-per-good memory is what matters.

I seriously doubt the early games of golf were played on surfaces as good as what I’m aiming for here.  And those must have been fun or the sport would have died out long ago.

But we shall see…

Elaine’s got plans for something unique in the way of a new approach to sports, too…so drop by Monday and I’ll fill you in as details become available.

Write when you get rich (or manage a hole-in-one),