A Prelude to the Prairie Sagebrush Awards for 2010

A Prelude to the Prairie Sagebrush Awards for 2010

[The full collection of posts will be posted on my blogging anniversary, June 27, 2010, but I thought you might like a prelude to the collection.  I won’t start counting the comments for donation purposes until June 27, 2010.]

Well, here they are, the best posts of my blogger friends!  The Prairie Sagebrush Awards for 2010!  I have picked one post from each of my blogger friends I have known for several months.  The criteria for selecting the post is based on narrative unity, coherence, literacy, specificity and emotional appeal.  These selections I’ve made are full of haute prose, local color, personal intensity and revelation of character.

For each reader comment (one comment per person), I will donate one dollar to a Wildlife Corridor fund in Texas and New Mexico ($500.00 limit).


Stark Raving Zen on “Joy of Barbed Wire.” Kristy Sweetland lives in Raton, New Mexico.  Her blog, Stark Raving Zen, concerns her personal odyssey to the land of enchantment.  She and her husband go frequently out into the back country of New Mexico and have written and photographed numerous posts about small towns and wildlife.  Kristy’s writing is quite serious and she has embarked on a new career in psychology.  Yet, even in her serious writings and musings, a streak of comedy breaks through, as you can read below.

After two months of living here I have to admit that every now and then I find myself going absolutely bonkers. I can’t find fennel in any grocery store. I can’t eat sushi unless I’m willing to drive three hours to get it. There are no book stores or vegetarian markets. We are in the middle of no…where….

I asked a town veterinarian what one does in case of an after-hours pet emergency, recently, and he said, “I’ll answer my phone if I’m around….” Not exactly reassuring. Then I went to a Raton theatre production, and there he was up on stage, acting his finest Bob Cratchett. All I could think of while I sat there in the dark, was Finlay [pet dog] at home one night bloating up or something, while our vet twirled Tiny Tim above his head. New Mexico is no place for the neurotic, that’s for certain. And where it comes to pets, they just don’t get any more neurotic than me.

Last night my husband and I went out for a big night on the town. We chose a new restaurant to try which had been written up in Frommer’s New Mexico travel guide as a must-stop. It was the most bizarre, borderline disturbing experience I’ve had in quite some time. All I wanted was a cheese enchilada. It seems, however, that you can’t get a cheese enchilada at this fine establishment sans sea of pork or beef sauce, which I don’t eat. Rather than work with me a little, I mean, I would have eaten it with nothing but salsa on top, this surreal waitress simply informed me that I “couldn’t order the cheese enchilada if I didn’t eat beef or pork.”  So I settled on a really mediocre substitute, when what I should have done is just gone elsewhere. But then, had we done that, I would have missed out on overhearing the life drama of some other patrons sharing our dining experience that night.

A rancher man, complete with western shirt, Wranglers, and an alabaster ten-gallon hat, sat with his wife and teen aged son. The kid had the typical wry, smug aura of an 18 year old, who had recently found himself in some trouble with the law. Though it was not certain what he had done, it was clear that he felt no remorse for it, and that nobody had been harmed in the infraction’s making. He thought it was funny. The rancher dad… didn’t seem amused. But when the kid shook his head, suppressing a laugh, and said, “I don’t know! All I remember is lights flashing on me, unable to move, ’cause I was all wrapped up in barbed wire. It’s not like I could run away.”   They finished their meals and stalked out, leaving Aaron and me to quell wild laughter, as much as we tried to rise above it.

So looking at the silver lining here, had I gone to another restaurant which would have served me the cheese enchilada I craved, I would have missed out on this classic western story. I mean, the visual of some kid wrapped up like a barbed wired burrito while attempting to roll away from the local sheriff, flashlights and cop cars illuminating the scene of the hilarious high-desert crime is worth any poor dining experience isn’t it? I can see the police officer, walkie-talkie in hand, mumbling back to headquarters, “Found the perp. No need for backup.” Could I get that kind of priceless voyeurism in Minneapolis? I think not. So when I start to focus on the human experience in Raton, those everyday things that this part of the world doesn’t provide, I need only switch my focus back to the understanding of what it does provide. Rich experience, the free flow of writing material, the natural world in abundance, and the opportunity for me to grow, despite the dearth of fennel, book stores, and sushi.

(Stark Raving Zen, “The Joys of Barbed Wire”)


Next:  The Block, Teresa Evangeline, Evangeline Art Photography, New Mexico Art Photography and more!


Filed under Prairie Sagebrush Awards 2010

5 responses to “A Prelude to the Prairie Sagebrush Awards for 2010

  1. StarkRavingZen

    Jack I guess you found it! 🙂 I came here to give you the link and found it posted. I’m glad you liked this story and it gave you a chuckle. You’re a good man. I feel really honored to know you and your beautiful writing.


  2. Evangeline

    Thanks for the great story, sometime the out of way locations are best for stories and pictures

  3. This is about the time I jumped into Kristy’s blog and was hooked. She’s a very special gal and I’m so glad she’s a part of our blogging community. Good choice, Jack.

  4. Kittie Howard

    Perfect! Kristy’s got so many absolutely fabulous posts, but this one is a favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it again. Oh, but Kristy’s a beautiful gal who touches the soul. Her posts are a treasure!

  5. Kittie Howard

    Jack, if you have a chance, please go to http://www.atasteofdenmark.blogspot.com as Thyra has a fab post on Highland cattle in Denmark, via Scotland, I think you’d enjoy. News on, gotta run. Kittie

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