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"Shorts, Outtakes and Rants"

Most weeks I write a column for my paper; occasionally my daughter writes one. Usually they're focused at local issues, but every now and then I come up with one that I think Spearfish Lake Tales readers would find interesting, so I post them on the Spearfish Lake Tales Message Board. Since I've been neglecting "Shorts, Outtakes and Rants" recently, I decided to repost a few of them here, like this one. I hope you enjoy it! -- Wes

August 2016

Well, the City-Wide Garage Sale weekend is over with for another year.

I came in this morning all primed to write a column about my garage sale frustrations, most of which revolve around a china cabinet that my wife just had to have but is much too big for the place she wants to put it, will require moving about a third of everything in the house in order to find a place for it, and which involved four separate trips to town to get it home, not to mention numerous phone calls trying to find someone with a truck big enough to haul the thing on a Saturday afternoon and then trying to find extra hands to help unload it. But it's a bargain, I guess.

My wife says she'll have everything done by next weekend. To keep the peace, I refrained from voicing my mental opinion (which involves airborne swine) about whether that will happen.

Then, this morning I got an e-mail from a friend of mine. He's English, but has a summer home in rural France, which seems to be a low-cost alternative for Englishmen who want a cheap vacation hideaway at the expense of having to put up with the French. Of course, there is a long-standing antipathy there going back centuries; a Michigan fan having a summer place in Ohio and having to put up with all the Buckeye nuts would be comparable but rather more harmonious.

Now, of course things are a little tense in France these days thanks to a number of recent terrorist incidents, and in a recent e-mail to my friend I commented that I hoped things were going peacefully for him. I got a reply back from him that tells me that the more things differ, the more they seem the same:

"Well we did see some minor excitement yesterday, Wes. We went to Gensac for a concert and there was a vide grenier on. This is a sort of street market, much beloved by the French and literally translates as 'emptying the barn.' In this case the centre of the town was closed to traffic and four or five streets, all quite narrow, were lined with stalls selling all sorts of things from junk that no one in their right mind would want, to some good (expensive) antiques."

Yep, that sounds familiar, all right. There was a lot of that around town this weekend, although somewhat more spread out. My friend went on to relate:

"A naughty man driving a Mitsubishi 4x4 blasted through the barrier, knocked down a stall and turned into the next street before people stopped him. There were stall holders chasing him on foot, beating on the car windows. Some quick thinking people at a street cafe pushed a load of tables and chairs into the road in front of him, at which point he did stop.

"Two gendarme wagons eventually arrived. He was arrested and his car driven away by a gendarme. I can only assume that he was drunk but I had no intention of getting too close to the action in case it turned nasty."

At least the garage sale here in town didn't have that kind of excitement, or so the police chief tells me. "Just a couple of minor fender-benders," he reports.

My English friend added, "I will now get on with a bit of work at my desk but there is a hornet buzzing somewhere in my study. I can't see it yet but have an air pistol by my side. A CO2 pistol, fired at close range without a pellet or BB causes instant disintegration of a hornet with no risk of getting stung!"

Hmmm . . . I hadn't thought of that one. I have to wonder how well it would work on the irritating flies that come into the office when I leave the door open to take advantage of the nice summer weather. Unfortunately, I didn't see any CO2 air pistols out on tables at any of the garage sales I visited over the weekend, so I guess that will have to wait for the city-wide vide grenier another year.

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