A Texas pig tale

This story was told to me at the Spur by a friend from east of here. Names have been changed or removed to protect the embarrassable.

My friend told me:

I know you are aware of the problem feral hogs have been causing. There were only three deer taken this year on our family deer lease, the worst harvest in about ten years. Martin Chavez, who farms the same property we hunt, has been allowing one of his sons to trap the hogs in a big cage that fits on the back of his 2- ton stakebed truck. The kid then hauls the pigs twenty five miles to town and sells them for about 30 bucks for each– not bad work for a kid.

 Years ago,  my city cousin elected himself to be the spokesman for our group. After the unsuccessful season, he decided that the farmer and his trapping operation were somehow responsible for the deer vacating our property.  So, he called Chavez, and told him that since he, the spokesman, was paying for the hunting rights, all the animals, including the hogs, belonged to him. He ordered him to remove the cage immediately, or it would be destroyed and hauled off. The farmer reluctantly agreed to send his boy out to remove the trap.

 That evening, the self- satisfied hunter was enjoying a quiet meal in a big city about two hundred miles from the ranch. The phone rang, and he answered.  It was Chavez, the farmer. “Martin here. I sent my son down to get that trap and he just called to tell me it has fourteen hogs in it. Now you better get your ass down there and get your pigs out of my trap, else I’m calling the sheriff!”

 Perhaps my cousin will be more careful with his demands in the future.

Soliloquy

Matthew Makarewicz tipped me to the best barbecue in Kansas City last year, and I really wanted to revisit Nicholas Payne’s soliloquy from Thomas McGuane’s 1971 Bushwhacked Piano ,  even before he requested it. Now imagine two guys shouting it out in unison in Harvard Square in about 72, laughing so hard they are falling down, each trying to one- up the other– see a few posts below. Here you go, Matthew!

Payne has just been asked by his girlfriend’s odious parents, the Fitzgeralds, what he believes in. They have already condescended to him about “fun” and dismissed his recommendation to read Samuel Butler (“We have”; Payne: “Do it again.”)

“The mother told Payne that they had had enough of him. “We merely asked what you believed in, ” she said. “We had no idea it would precipitate nastiness.”

What I believe in? I believe in happiness, birth control,
generosity, fast cars, environmental sanity, Coors beer, Merle Haggard,
upland game birds, expensive optics, helmets for prizefighters, canoes,
skiffs, and sloops, horses that will not allow themselves to be ridden,
speeches made under duress; I believe in metal fatigue and the
immortality of the bristlecone pine. I believe in the Virgin Mary and others of that ilk. Even her son whom civilization accuses of sleeping at the switch…

“I believe that I am a molecular swerve not to be put off by the zippy diversions of the cheap- minded. I believe in the ultimate rule of men who are sleeping. I believe in the cargo of torpor which is the historically registered bequest of politics. I believe in Kate Smith and  Hammond Home Organs.  I believe in ramps and drop offs…

“I believe in spare tires and emergency repairs. I believe in  the final possum. I believe in little eggs of light falling from outer space and the bombardment of the poles by free electrons. I believe in tintypes, rotogravures and parked cars, all in their places. I believe in roast spring lamb with boiled potatoes. I believe in spinach with bacon and onion. I believe in canyons lost under the feet of waterskiers. I believe that we are necessary and will rise again. I  believe in words on paper, pictures on rock, intergalactic hellos. I
believe in fraud. I believe that in pretending to be something you
aren’t you have your only crack at release from the bondage of time. I believe in my own dead more than I do in yours. What’s more, credo in unum Deum, I believe in one God. He’s up there. He’s mine. And he’s as smart as a whip.

“Anyway, you get the drift. I hate to flop the old philosophy on the table like so much pig’s guts. And I left out a lot. But, well, there she is.”

Soon, perhaps, “The Shining City.”

Italian

I have specific tastes, and in shotguns they run to side by side English prewar (pre- Great War!) doubles, and certain classic American pumps. Generally I think current Italian guns are beautifully made, striking guns, but often overdone, if not as baroque as the products of contemporary Austrian houses. They do make a lot of practical over and unders, but I don’t  love that configuration.

So it was with no huge expectations that I opened a mail from Luciano Bosis about a new gun he had completed, and was thunderstruck. No. 623 is my favorite new gun in a decade or more, with over- the -top wood combined with lean, minimalist lines, and classic fine scroll engraving. The dimensions (below) are such that it would be a pleasure to shoot for most right- handed shotgunners.

This is a gun well beyond my pay grade, but, on the off chance any of my readers wants it, I asked Mr Bosis for its specs. If you are a serious contender, leave  a contact in comments and I will give you his email; or just Google up his site, and tell him I sent you.

Some specs (I can provide more):
“Queen” Model Round body 28 bore by Luciano Bosis (NEW gun)
Barrel length 29″
Choked 7 tenths and 9 tenths, equal to Imp Mod and Full. (Chokes can be adjusted).
Solid concave rib
LOP 15″

You will have to ask Mr Bosis for the price. “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it” may well apply.

Happy Birthday Mary!

Just got up this pic of my mother, taken last week a bit south of Boston where she lives, near most of my family. She turns 89 today, and I think she looks pretty damn good, especially for the mother of nine individual and often difficult children (I am as you might expect the oldest). Karen and George Graham, my sister and brother- in-  law,  who see her most days, are frequent commenters and occasional content providers, so I suspect she will see this sooner than later. So: happy birthday Mary Therese McCabe Bodio, and may you enjoy more yet.

1911 with Gos

.45 Auto Colt 1927 Argentine, not to be confused with the Baliester Molina which was not a 1911, not designed by John Moses Browning, and not approved by Colt. This one has only the modern additions which actually contribute to function. It has a nicely worn finish, a good trigger, and is tight as a new gun for accuracy, but feeds all ammo effortlessly, from military ball to Hydra- shocks. New grips scrimshawed to Japanese Goshawk design, custom work by Hogue Grips. Special thanks to Rosalie Joyce there for her help.

Quote

From Samuel Beckett, his code, said well other ways too. But I like this one’s Zen stoicism:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail better.”

Gosses and Gyrs, again…

The “what hawk?” conundrum is invading my house in the form of art to be framed. I always need more walls but the supply of frames is well exceeded by the rate that art comes in. We now have an almost surrealistically large male Gyr turning his head in greeting, photographed by multi- talented Albuquerque friend Marty Stupich at Matt Mitchell’s breeding facility down in the Bosque, and a neo- primitive but striking watercolor of a Gos by Sydney Vale, sent to us by “Johnny UK “, who lives in Vale’s and his native Norfolk. The Japanese Tokugawa shogunate screen images are already framed and so do not worry me apart from figuring out a hanging schedule, nor does the (one of four or five) Nepali folk painting visible behind. But there may be twenty paintings stacked vertically behind, and our walls are not uncluttered. More WALLS please.

Achmed, my Kurdish driver in southeast Turkey seven or eight years ago on our tazi search expedition, would sometimes carry out screaming debates with his cousins, banging on the walls and making Italians look as sedate as Unitarians, then turn to me and say with a beatific smile “The Kurdish problem is not yet solved!” Nor is The Conundrum (see post below). Paul has all reason on his side, but several people including Libby (who has the most important vote), and some who offer me help, really want a Gyr. “Is not yet solved”, though it must be said it is a win- win proposition…

Snow

“The mountains paralleled the valley and the snowy peaks were extending with fall to the valley floor.”– Thomas McGuane, Nobody’s Angel

Which is at least visually appropriate for this view looking South on Main street to the Magdalena range, which rises from 6500 feet at the village to almost 11, 000 (10, 782 I THINK) within a few miles of my house, behind my back as I take this…

But it isn’t the quote I am looking for! I have for years paraphrased a McGuane quote about the mountains looming almost threateningly closer to town in winter. But I have searched first “Heart of the Game”, then the rest of An Outside Chance, Keep the Change, Nobody’s Angel, Something to be Desired— I am SURE I have been quoting it long enough that it isn’t in a more recent book–! Quite possibly I have missed it in one of the above. If any of my scholarly friends can find it, there or elsewhere and if I am prematurely senile somewhere in another writer’s work, I would be obliged. I thought of it when I took this pic this morning and have been looking, distracted by so many familiar and forgotten passages, that I need to get my blogging done and get back to life. Thankfully, no deadlines looming!

Update: I read the mad soliloquy in his 1971 Bushwhacked Piano for the first time in years, and laughed aloud. Anybody else remember & love it? If I get enough votes I will print it all here. When my friends and I were in our twenties in New England we could recite it, and competed. I can see Chris striding across Harvard Square, seeing me in front of the Coop, and bellowing “What I believe in? I believe in happiness, birth control, generosity, fast cars, environmental sanity, Coors beer, Merle Haggard, upland game birds, expensive optics, helmets for prizefighters, canoes, skiffs, and sloops, horses that will not allow themselves to be ridden, speeches made under duress; I believe in metal fatigue and the immortality of the bristlecone pine…” And as he joins me, we chant the whole damn thing together, flinging out our hands, gesturing, getting really strange looks. This is about 1972 or 3, a time when certain kinds of bad behavior are becoming ordinary. But this has a different ring. “… I  believe in words on paper, pictures on rock, intergalactic hellos. I believe in fraud. I believe that in pretending to be something you aren’t you have your only crack at release from the bondage of time…”

A mere taste. And if this meme takes off there is always “the Shining City” from 92 in the Shade: “I will behave badly”.

Pigeons

The rarest living pigeon, the tooth- billed,  has been photographed in Samoa.

It is better than the previous image, from Wiki, though still hard to interpret.

These are the only photos, ever, as far as I know. I would be happy to know I was wrong. Here is a nice Gould, not from life.

Its nearest relative might be the extinct dodo . I have just finished an essay for Living Bird on the most enigmatic & iconic un- pigeonly pigeons.  In it, I conclude that this Mogul version done in 1625 is the only one drawn from life.