Hopscotch Playing in the driveway

    Hopscotch has been around a few hundred years, and hopscotch on driveways used to be a girls game in our neighborhood when we were growing up. The game takes balance, co-ordination, and planning, doesn’t cost anything to play, and has variations of how you can play a game. You Tube has videos of kids explaining how to play the game, with demonstrations, and, now, it looks like it could be fun for anyone. This chalked out game board on the next door neighbors driveway won’t last long in the sun, and a light rain will wash the lines, colors, snails, and hearts away. Still, chalk isn’t expensive, and the little drawings on the driveway are priceless reminders of how short childhoods are in our super charged modern world where kids grow up way to fast ahead of their bodies and minds, and get caught in adult nets quicker than you can jump from one square to the next on this driveway. The neighbor’s grand kids were playing yesterday afternoon, visiting with their grandparents who were ” social distancing ” in the garage.tossing their markers into one of the squares in front of them, then hop, skip and jumping to the end of the game board, jumping and turning at the same time, then going back to the beginning,stopping  and picking up their marker, then jumping safely home. I have watched some videos and plan to try the game when no one is looking. Getting a seventy plus year old body to do a game made for kids is never a pretty sight.

Birdie Boobie Only the week's worst golfer gets to have this bird

    The tradition in the group of ” eight “, or the group of ” twelve, ” is that if any team gets a birdie on a hole, everyone takes a sip of ” Fireball “, a cinnamon flavored liquor. If birdies are flocking to your team you win the match, get a free beer from the opposing team at the end of eighteen, and get a little tipsy in the bargain. If you or your partner don’t make any birdies you each get to take home a special ” birdie ” trophy, and keep it till the next time the group plays. Created by Miles, an airline pilot, this birdie is what I got over a month ago, and still have, because we haven’t played golf in a month. Some people in the world get the virus, some die from the virus, some lose their job or business, some can’t pay their bills, others can’t go to school, some people go crazy, and then there are us golfers who can’t play golf. What doesn’t make sense is that in neighboring states guys can still play golf?  There isn’t much consistency in this virus whirlwind about the number of rules you have, the way you implement the rules, and how long a Governor, or country, keeps their rules in place. This ” Birdie Boobie Prize ” will hopefully find anther dugout to hang out soon. Brought down by a Titleist 4 golf ball some idiot hit wrong, he isn’t much of a conversationalist. I expect he is as tired of me as I am as tired of him. Next time on the course, I’m going to make sure I shoot a birdie, or make sure I have a better partner.  Some days, birdies are really hard to come by.

In the Clubhouse Official PGA Birdhouse

    Golf is the kind of sport that doesn’t appeal to everyone.  First, the idea of hitting a little round ball, on a tee, with a stick, seems silly. I mean, the ball just sits there. It isn’t coming at you like a football pass, or a baseball pitch. The only times you touch the ball are when you tee it up for a drive, mark your ball on the green so someone else won’t hit your ball when they putt, or pull it out of the cup on the green, after you putt out. Second, there are all kinds of rules, depending on who you are playing with. Don’t tee the ball up in the rough. Don’t improve your lie. Your club can’t touch the ground in the traps. If you hit out of bounds, or in the water, there are penalty shots.  Rake the trap when you are done with your shot. Don’t talk when someone else is swinging. Don’t hit into the group ahead of you, even if they are old and crippled and disastrously slow. Don’t throw sunflower seeds on the green. The list of rules is extensive. Third, the equipment is sometimes expensive. Wood shafted clubs are not used any more and there is a lot of technology in designing clubs that make it easier for non professionals to ht the ball straighter and further without having to go to the range and work on their game. Fourth, you have to look like a golfer to play like a golfer, with a pair of golf shoes, a golf cap, glove, a clean pair of shorts or slacks, and a nice cotton or cotton polyester shirt that gives you free movement of your upper body. Fifth, golf is played in all kinds of weather, and wind is a weather condition that sends most golfer birds into the clubhouse. Sixth, golf is a social sport and is usually played in groups of four, with lots of time to socialize between shots. In point of fact, getting out of the house and joking with the boys saves more marriages and relationships than it destroys. This Official PGA Birdhouse is another Charlie creation, and I can see it hanging in a tree just by the eighth tee, swinging gently in a pine tree with the occupant watching us chili dip an iron on this par three into the front bunker. There are enough downsides to golf, that I can see why more people don’t take up the sport, or stick with it. This, us addicted golfers, always say, is great. There is nothing worse than not being able to get a starting time.  

Hippo at Play Albuquerque Zoo

      At the Albuquerque Zoo, there are plenty of animals; birds, monkeys, a tiger or two, penguins, giraffes, jackals,zebras. They are well cared for in their little enclosures and we can stand at a rail and admire their coloration, adaptations, behaviors. There will come a time when the only animals we will see will be in zoos, but there are still places in the world where animals spend their days and don’t ever see a human. Pushing the ball just ahead of its huge mouth, this playful hippo walks in his pool because these river horses don’t really swim, but walk along the bottom of rivers or pools, as they hold their breath under the water. They are speedy and quite dangerous in the wild. Until Scotttreks does its next safari, these zoo animals will have to do. If I were to organize a parade, this star of the show would have to be in front. While turtles are cool, hippos, looking ungainly and mis-proportioned, steal this show with quite surprising grace, and playfulness.      

Golf Course ducks UNM South golf course water hole

    The UNM south golf course is a championship course. It has ankle deep grass in the rough, tricky greens, deep traps, rolling fairways and a few doglegs that would make a dog blush. You wouldn’t want to walk this course unless you were a mountain goat and a masochistic one at that. The greens on all the holes have multiple breaks and the greens keeper always puts the pins where you would expect with someone who fights with the wife a lot. On the back nine there is a short par four dog leg to the left that wraps around a little pond with a huge cottonwood between the edge of the left fairway and the pond. Long hitters can try to fly the cottonwood and drive the green while the rest of us mortals lay up to the right and have a wedge shot into a small tight green guarded by a big trap.  The pond is shaded by the cottonwoods and a gaggle of ducks live there. When we golfers drive our carts down the fairway, the ducks waddle out to meet us and sample treats we bring from home.  Growing up with ” Donald Duck” makes ducks seem approachable though we know these guys have a dangerous bill. If the ” Donalds ” get really bothered they usually turn back to their lake and paddle out to the middle where they can safely weather people storms. Today, we give them treats and they stay out of arm and golf club reach. We all hit our approaches to the green but no one makes their birdie putt. Walking off the green, we can hear the ” Donald’s” quacking like television sports announcers. Whether they are ” cute” or a ” Nuisance” lies in the eyes of the beholder but they make a tough day on the course a little less disheartening.  

River Rafting Near Creede, Colorado

    The Rio Grande river is running high and fast with a bigger than normal snow pack this last winter. It is July and there are still big rocks in the middle of the river that you still can’t see the tops of. Along the river’s edges, rafters have parked their vehicles in turn off’s, pulled on orange life preservers, boarded inflated rubber rafts and edged into the cold water, eight to ten people a raft going for a bumpy joy ride down stream.. For several miles their hired river guides maneuver them safely through the white water, and the rafters, excited after the trip, have an experience to talk about for years. This area used to have hard rock miners leading their donkey’s to drink from this same river before they would start a new mining hole high up in the side of a mountain. On Saturday night the prospector’s would clean up, as much as they could, and go into Creede to gamble, chase women, fight, and brag about their prospects. Riding the river would have been seen as something only crazy people would do. Riding rapids is what we are all doing these days in our Excited States of America.. These river guides are making more money than those hard rock miners ever dreamed of making. It only takes a few crazy people to change the way an entire world looks at things..  

Holding up the World Angels, golf balls and the World

    Cherub’s are winged angelic beings who attend to God. In traditional Christian angelology they are angels of the second highest order of the nine fold celestial hierarchy. It is difficult to know which task is the most difficult for this cherub – holding up the world is critical, but being God’s golf tee is also important.  The world, in God’s club house, is his best golf ball. It spins through the heavens like a well struck putt, following a perfect arc all the way into the cup. When God makes a fifty foot downhill, severe break to the left putt for an eagle, the heavens all rejoice and cherubs are the first to clap their wings. God never makes bogeys and the cherubs attending him don’t need to tell Him how great he is, or suggest a seven iron when he chooses an 8. This collection of objects on my living room wall keeps me humble, reminds me,when I look deeper,that there are forces holding up our planet that I should know better. It makes me feel better knowing that world’s creator plays the game of golf. Golf, often called the sport of kings, has a much higher ranked fan than me.  

Albuquerque’s E scooters Albuquerque's newest transportation

    Albuquerque has just introduced E-Scooters to the Downtown Civic Plaza, Nob Hill, Old Town, and, eventually, other well frequented locations in the city. These scooters are lined up across from the Albuquerque Museum of Art, chatting up a storm and telling scooter jokes. Two ladies, I talk too, say the scooters are fun to ride but you need an App on your phone to use them. There are about 750 of them, to start, and a private company, Zagster, has exclusive rights to promote in our city. The scooters are available from seven in the morning till seven in the evening, have tracking devices installed, go 15 miles per hour, and cost the operator a $1.00 plus fifteen cents a minute to rent. The rationale is to address climate change, provide other modes of transport the younger generation will like, encourage people to get out, eliminate traffic in high traffic areas. and make money. One of the big concerns of the Albuquerque Police Department is people driving these scooters while intoxicated, something that has already happened. One of my issues is grasping how large American bodies are going to balance on these small running boards while going fifteen miles per hour with just hand brakes? If the city was serious about climate change they would just make us walk in a transportation free zone. Riding at your own risk, these days, has to be in all of our plans of the day. We have come now to a place, in America, where adults dress and do what kid’s do,  

Turtle Rock Albuquerque's Embudo Canyon

    Indian School is an east- west Albuquerque boulevard that ends at the Embudo Canyon Open Space at the far east side of the city.. The parking lot, at the roads end, is the beginning of a city Open Space area that moves into the Cibola National Forest Wilderness. The nature walks and trails, at the cities edge, open at seven each morning and close at seven each evening. If you are bold, you can hike back as far as you want into the wilderness and camp out all night under the stars.  Along our normal hike, Alex and I stop to catch a breath and catch our bearings. Along the trail  is a huge city deep water well enclosed by a chain link fence and guarded by government signs showing statutes that warn bad things happen to those who trespass.Wildlife has hidden itself but you see signs they are close by and paying attention to our progress. By the time Alex and I finish our route,more parking spaces have opened up and the lot is looking empty. It is funny, to me, to see signs putting Open and Close times on a Wilderness and metal gates locked to keep people out at night. Starting my car and heading home, I’m very sure no one that lives out here gives a damn about our human time. Wilderness time and people time use different watches.  
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