Betunada & the Wombats of the Desert (“old” post — August 2009)


Do YOU ever feel not tired?  Good! (if the answear wuzz yess).  Seems my personal energy-quotient ranges from very very tired to a sort of energy-limbo upon which the shadow from the Tired Tree is soon to be cast.

Sometimes, like a couple Satyrday nights ago, I go out of my way and lock on, acquire, a goodly dose of the fruit of the Tree.  It has been about six months since I pretended to play hockey.  So … the arena had a pick-up game then.  I have been waiting for the first opportunity to actually put on and try out all of my equipment.  Yes, I finally have all (or so I thought * ) of what I need to play goalie — having never worn the “upper” protection out on the ice.  I still needed help getting dressed (could not get the jersey on, and had trouble with practically everything else.  Hey!  It’s been over 6 months since I did this goalie thing).  Also, there was a sort of lame-accomplishment-pioneer (?) aspect –>  I think I’m the first over-60-year-old to be a goalie there.  (Locally, there are more than just a few excellent 60+ year-olds — but they’re “out” on the ice).

*The other goalie who played, one of the local college team’s G-men, said that I should consider acquiring goalie-breezers.  Goalie breezers?!  Well, I didn’t know until I had played a season-&-a-half that there were goalie skates.  And I might eventually get a real ICE-hockey goalie helmet — though the college guy said he’d GIVE me a spare he doesn’t use anymore.  Hmmm…

Next morning it felt like my left heel had a chipped bone, or a bone bruise.  Really painful to walk.  That, coupled with a nagging knot in my right hamstring, plus the congestion from the flu which takes weeks to finally go away, results in pretty much the physical (let’s NOT start in on the mental) mess which is me.  Sorta normal.

And the pick-up game the following week, a college player gave me some breezers.  Much nicer and newer than Tom’s old ones I’d been using.  And this was yet another game with only one other goalie, a fellow who is also trying out for one of three spots on the college team.  He was not as sure as the fellow last week that he’d be on the team, but after the game I tried to assure him that he would be.

Which is to say:  compared to the previous week, my statistics were much worse.  Last week, at one point I had three times more saves than goals allowed (yes, I know, that in the NHL if your GAA is less than 90% you probably would be kicked down into the minors, and THAT’s against NHL players! — but heck, consider there’s ME and a bunch of local NHL wanna-be’s…).  The last week I was lucky to barely have more saves than goals allowed.  The reason is … the local college team was to begin it’s try-outs real soon after this pick-up game, and I think some of the coaches suggested to new/unknown players that they should participate in tonight’s “pick up.”  The coaches sat in the stands, evaluating.

Enough about me.  You?  Are you basically just waiting to grow older and die?  THAT could be the one-sentence summary of where I’m at.  Oh, I’d like to think I actually aspire to various avenues of continuity, but I’m probably just kidding myself.  Results in the same thing.

(Actually, I don’t really dwell on, or believe the previous paragraph.  But it makes for the frolicking, fun-loving, predictable conversation from me that my work-mates and the occasional social contacts have come to expect.)

Wedding day for the son, Tom, until recently seemingly somewhat far off in the future, has popped up bobbing in the waves about a month from our bow.  The daughter, Rachel,  and her guy Benjamin (together are they “the Rachamin” or “Benchel”?) seem to have settled into their present lives — still planning exotic trips and ventures and ad- and mis-ventures, of course.

I had something happen a little a couple weeks ago which was a first:  I don’t think I have ever had a ‘normal’, ‘adult’, open and sincere conversation with any of my youngest brother’s (and his wife’s) kids.  Well, if I personally am capable of the ‘adult’ flavoring of conversation… never-the-less, the youngest of the three encountered Betty and I in the big-box electronics store.  He initiated contact (Betty said she wouldn’t have recognized him) and we ‘caught up’ on stuff for perhaps 20 or so minutes.  Maybe it was 15.  His girlfriend was real pleasant, too.  I think I’ll start referring to him as his real name.  Maybe he inherited some of the non-prevalent genes and aspects of that side of the bush.

Did I?

Should we talk about work? and yes we should, ’cause, as I have probably stated in prior posts, Betty and I would be having a much more interesting life right now had I not, more-or-less (actually “more”) resumed my prior job.  Serendipitous.  Timely.  Oh, someday we’ll intimately KNOW ‘want’ and ‘deprivation’ (other than the deprivations we suffer from and Lord forgive us ’cause we don’t know it!) and ‘real hunger’.  and thirst.  and sadness.  cheap hangovers.  more sadness.  self-pity.  envy.  coveting the neighbor’s ass (wait!  i already do that!).  well, i don’t really WANT any donkeys.  we had one once.  it was okay.

Work actually is interesting, and a continual challenge.  And, after about 5 months, the commute is getting a little bit … tedious.  It’s like I work 10 or 11 hours a day, but it beats the alternative.  Recent local newspaper headlines said that there’s more than 9% unemployment in River City!

I spend a little time on the job checking personal email and thinking about beer.  Not quite like being home, but I get pulled that way real easily.

So what about Betunada’s wombats?  of the desert, no less.  I don’t make ’em as often as I could, but the average is one or two a month.  The Benchel sent a pixure of a New Zealand wombat.  I should have done a wombat in Mexico (¿ is ‘wombat’ ‘wombat’ in español?).  Instead I made a dead guy in the jungle out of rocks, a hat, and two tennis shoes.  Someone (or something) later came by and dis-assembled it.  Picture available upon request (of the pre-dis-assembled dead guy).  I haven’t really said anything about the wombats, have(n’t) I?

The first wombat I “did” was many years ago.  Betty and I had gone cross-country skiing with a few of our ‘mates and after a while we were separated.  B ‘n me were on our way back to the car when I stopped to survey an open gently-sloped expanse on the hillside across from the ridge we were on.  And so … with Betty surveying from the spot where I initially stood, I skied down and across the valley, making a single-track line on the hillside opposite.  I tracked-out the word “WOMBAT” in the snow, and she would shout out what parts of the word needed more legibility.  I skied back out on the initial under-line and we went home.

That night our ‘mates phoned us and I answered saying “wombat.”  I heard a laugh and whoever called apparently turned to others in the room and said “yes, he did it.”

Gus Rilfillan called a week ago, 10 p.m. wednesday nite.  He said he ‘had to’ call as he was about to attend a Freddie MacGregor concert.  He and I and our families listened to F M many years ago at a Sunsplash Tour on the Hopi Reservation.  Gus took pixures of Freddie and I, and Freddie and my daughter.

Encountering a schoolmate of mine on a routine random desert walkabout a couple Sundays ago:  Betty and I responded, so to speak, to an ad in the real estate portion of the paper and drove out south(east) of Palisade to survey a proposed large-acreage development.  Horse Mountain Ranch.  We figured we had to get the dogs out on a ramble, so the proverbial two birds with one stone, or one truck-drive.  The only other party out there was a guy (and his friend) who was a frequent customer at her store, back in her “store days.”  And he graduated from the same h.s. as I, a year earlier.  I remember him as a drummer in the school band.  We talked and reminisced and he drove back down the road while we walked, me limping ‘cause of the suspected heel-bone spur.

Do you ever feel doomed?  Even slightly?  Seems that for me there’s an almost continual undercurrent of that.  Goes against what I’d think would be/should be whatever I should be integrating from reading the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  Oh well…  what does “against the day” mean?

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