Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Camels in Texas

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. Maybe. Maybe not. Being an avid fan of Stephen King, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Terry Pratchett, I’ve read some pretty strange stories in my days. Cars and dogs that think; elves that are immortal; hobbits with hairy feet; and a flat disk of a world that rests on 4 elephants standing on the back of the Great A’tuin, the cosmic turtle, that swims through the Multiverse – now, that’s strange.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some really strange, but true, things that happen everyday. Check out Lady Gaga or Terrell Owens or the Michael Jackson media madness if you don’t think that things can get more than strange without any help at all from a writer’s over-active imagination.

But for my money, if you want to ring the bell on the carny-of-life strange-o-meter, mix up a frothing batch of truth in the ol’ brain blender and let the fiction of the human imagination garnish that potent concoction.
And what better place to find those basic ingredients of truth to blend up in your strange-power drink but on the road, right here in the good old US of A.

For example, I was driving on US Hwy 287 in Northwest Texas. Two eighty- seven is the venerable old North/South trail that runs from Mexico to Canada, and straight through my hometown of Loveland, Colorado. Somewhere between Denton and Wichita Falls, as I was fighting off the Sandman and trying to time my phone calls so that they start and end at the top of the hills near the cell towers, I looked out past the tumbleweeds and saw… Camels?
Camels! And I think, at first, that’s cool. I mean, how often do you get to see a flotilla of the ships of the desert except on the Animal Planet network?
Then I think, wait a minute. What’s a hump of dromedaries doing in West Texas besides eating cactus? And whom do they belong to? Do they (whoever this mysterious “they” are) milk them? Raise ‘em for hump steaks? Maybe they’re going to be used to attack the last battalion of the Texas Rangers. Sheiks with scimitars vs. Pecos Bill and his Remington sharpshooters. That’d be cool.
Are “they” a terrorist cell preparing for a Lawrence-of-Arabia-type assault on Fort Worth? Or is it just another Texan’s Big-Money dream? You know, a buy- me-some-goldurn-camels-and-the-world-will-beat-a-path-to-my-door kind of venture. How did they sell that business plan to the Farmer’s Market Bank and Trust?
Maybe it’s an oil-rich sheik who bought a ranch and wanted to just feel at home. Or, he’s keeping them for a dowry for a political marriage between his daughter and the local Oil Baron’s son. Cement that oil deal with camel’s blood and “I Do’s” and create a whole new monopoly for the 21st century.
Could be it’s a cult-ish environmental group that believes global warming will force us to have reliable, drought-resistant transportation when civilization falls apart and they’ll be ahead of the curve.
Could be just a Kuwaiti traveling carnival. Complete with djihnies in dime-store toilet water bottles and girls with veils that make them appear alluring when they really are not quite as pretty as the camels themselves underneath it all.
No, wait, it’s some savvy entrepreneur with the insider knowledge of a soon-to-arrive resurgence in camel-hair coats and he wants to be ready to flood the market.
Help! Stop me before I hurt myself!
You see what I mean? Once I get going, it’s hard to stop. So what about all that craziness I’ve seen traveling the byways and the highway? More to come...


Anonymous said...

Well, Pops on the Ridgetop- what an enjoyable story. I too see the crazy in life and can't wait to hear more! ;) C

Anonymous said...

hey bro - i always liked that one. is the lone shoe story around here somewhere? i just got here and this is all i've read so far.

(it's not letting me choose a name, so i guess i'll be anonymous. except to you.)

Anonymous said...

Excellent Ron, you Texas friend Tom knows just what you mean. I've seen the camels also and believe me, it's not at all unusual in Texas. Maybe that's the most unusual part.
Take care!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe Gary Grimes decided to turn in his Alpacas' for some low milage Camels? Right now I am hosting a colorado cannine Challenge frisbee dog contest at our hotel? the World sometimes goes to the dogs :) I have travelled that route myself with tom and they must have been lying down that day.

Ron Cushing said...

I wish I knew who made these comments. Looks like Tom Drinnen for one, but who else is out there in Texas?
If you click the button by "Name/URL" under the CHOOSE AN IDENTITY heading, then you can put in your name (the URL is optional, so don't worry if you don't have one)

JAR541 said...

If I'm not mistaken, and it would be a mistake to think I am, camels lived on this land mass long before humans arrived. They expired long ago. Also, early in the history of America someone brought over camels from Africa as an aid to colonizing the SW. Your Bro.(in law).

Pops on the Ridgetop said...

And if camels could have survived anywhere over all those years, it would've been in the wilds of Texas!