Rich Bachelor and I are back from our long, long journey, upon which I learned a lot about water, and Rich learned something too. I mean, he certainly might have. I don’t want to imply that he didn’t learn anything, and yet who knows. It seems likely that he did, anyway. He probably did. Let’s just say he did. Or perhaps didn’t, depending.
Out of a six-hour class on water rights my small brain and I have retained the following information:
Ranchers are very concerned about water rights. (And rightly so, I add, before anyone gets offended.)
Ranchers don’t like environmentalists.
Ranchers don’t like fish.
A few other things, such as how, if you don’t know a lot about water law, you should probably shut the fuck up about it. The “you” in this case being me. Hello! After the class, Rich and I found ourselves in a bar where I was forced to argue about water rights with a man who also forced me to drink what he was drinking, a Peggy Sue float. (Baileys, French Kiss vanilla liqueur, cola and cream.) To paraphrase Mr. Samuel Clemens, Peggy Sue floats are for drinking, water’s for fighting. To paraphrase the man I was talking with at the bar, Peggy Sue floats are for drinking, beer’s for making girls’ titties fat. Whatever, dude. This was not an argument I could win, obviously. I was totally outclassed.
Another thing I learned from the seminar can be summed up in this story, told by the seminar-giver, after a few of the attendants said they were ranchers from the nearby community of Ranchington:
Oh, Ranchington. I have a funny story about Ranchington. I grew up in Townsburg, which is about 40 miles north of Ranchington for those of you who don’t know, the oldest of six kids. My younger brother put himself through college by working for the BLM during summer vacation, so he came back to Townsburg every year and lived at home and worked. One year, he went to a dance at Ranchington [meaningful pause] wearing sandals. [The room erupts in laughter.]
Yeah, he came home that night looking pretty beat up. [More laughter.]
Ha ha ha. Ranchers hate mandals!
Being out of Saskatoon and in the mountains/desert made me a bit homesick for Remote Mountain Village. For comparison’s sake, here is a photo of the land around where I lived for six years, before moving to Saskatoon:
And here is a photo of the land nearbouts to where we were driving last week:
“Nearbouts to where we were” sounds odd to me. I think it should be “nearbouts to where we was driving.” But I’m no grammarian. Anyway, to me they seem damned similar, and it kind of made me happy to see something in the same vein as what I used to see every day, as recently as three years ago. It also made me homesick and sad and a bit emotional. Oh, the beauty! Why did I leave? I spent most of our third day on the road trying to convince Rich that we should move to the eastern part of the state and open a bar, where he would deejay and perhaps play with his band (which he would also have to form), while I stay home and work on the thug dog ranch.
I must mention also, in public-service-announcement fashion, that the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City is ridiculously nice, with good food and friendly service, in a lovely setting, all for not a lot of money. I always love it when some far-seeing person decides to restore a landmark building (set to be demolished) to its glorious past, and that’s what the owners of the Geiser Grand have apparently done. It’s an amazing piece of history, and it’s a beautiful hotel. No complaints at all. It was a lovely end to a gorgeous trip.
More soon. I promise.