Desert Musings: Doves, Ties & Vets

Posted: Thursday, January 14, 2010 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
Comment | Trackback Bookmark and Share

It’s so quiet in our neighborhood here in Fountain Hills that a MOURNING DOVE woke me up today.
Actually it was a whole flock of mourning doves perched outside my window singing that mournful rhythmic woo..woo, woo-woo-woo song.I used to be able to configure my hands in such a way that all I had to do was blow between my thumbs and out came a pan flute sound; a perfect dove impersonation.It never failed to impress friends and family but, alas, for some reason I can’t any more.(Where did that extra flab between my thumb and forefinger come from?) Anyway, it’s a sound that reminds me of spring back home.However our South Dakota mourning doves are much more courteous. They usually politely wait until another dove has completed his woo woo song before blurting out their own.
Not here,  Instead of pretty perfectly-pitched solos, about 20 of them start wooing  in unison at the top of their little lungs which sounds like a concert performed by the tone deaf chorale.
I tried to take a picture of them but as soon as I pointed my camera in their direction, all but one, scattered like Tiger Woods’ golf sponsors.
In the west, they’re sometimes called Turtle Doves. Maybe that’s why this one was so slow to skee-daddle.
 
Today Linda and I have decided to be lazy. She has books to read and I have been neglecting my writing duties. Okay, you’re right, declaring a lazy day isn’t much of a stretch for us but since the car is running okay now, we have been scurrying off on adventures to places we haven’t been to in years or at all.
The other day we drove over to Pinnacle Peak..an area about twenty miles or so from us that is quickly filling with wealthy retirees who love big houses with grand views and lots of golf courses. It also has a pretty unique spot called the Pinnacle Peak Patio which has been waging war against vegetarianism for over fifty years. The place is huge..able to seat three thousand people or more inside or outside and serve them giant slabs of red meat grilled over several mesquite fires.
The Patio..as it’s called.. was empty the afternoon we showed up and smelled like a half century of sawdust, dead smoke and spilled beer. But the most noticeable features are the thousands of neckties hanging from the ceilings and business cards stapled to every square inch of wall space.
We sauntered up and ordered a drink and, even though he’s told the story of the neckties a thousand times to tourists, our friendly barkeep was more than willing to share it one more time for us.
It turns out that in 1957, the owner wanted a steak house that was different from those high falootin’ places down in Phoenix..so he instituted a no necktie policy for patrons and promptly (so the story goes) cut off the tie an unsuspecting customer and, to make his point, hung it on a rafter for all to see. Well, the customer was a good sport about the whole thing and even gave the owner his business card to hang up their beside his bisected neckwear. That was 1.1 million ties ago..which also may account for part of the odd aroma inside.
 
I’m back playing golf on Wednesdays with a bunch of guys I met 4 years ago at the American Legion Club in Fountain Hills. I was a guest of our daughter’s neighbor who introduced me around. Because it’s a fraternal club, it’s immune from the statewide ban on smoking and these vets and their wives and girlfriends LOVE to smoke.
It doesn’t take long inside for me to feel like I’ve started again without taking a single drag. I do bring along a little Black & Mild cigar on occasion just so I feel like part of the group.
But who cares? These veterans earned the right to smoke in their own club if they want to.
On the golf course yesterday, one of those vets..a giant of a man by the name of Lee who wears a USMC cap and chews on an 8 inch long cigar all day..was on the tee box when two helicopters flew over. Lee turned to his pal and fellow Vietnam Veteran, Mike, and said, “That sure brings back a few memories eh pal?”
 
So, let ‘em smoke and drink and cuss if they feel like it.
These guys have worn the uniform and served  this country with honor and I’m honored they let me hang out with them!

Leave a Reply