More Dogs on Main Street
April 24, 2009
You’ve got to love this spring weather. Even with a stormy weekend in the forecast, a couple of days near 70 just give you hope that summer will come. I went out in shorts the other day. My legs were so pale that they had a kind of blue-mayonnaise look to them. It took all of about 10 minutes to get more sun than was comfortable, but it was worth it.
I’ve been inventing things to do outside. It’s still a little wet to do anything meaningful on the ranch, so I’m riding my bike, joy-riding on the old Farmalls, and just soaking it in. If I squint really hard, I can see a hint of green in the fields. It’s surprising how much greener things are in Park City than out at my house.
I saw a potgut earlier in the week. There aren’t many potgut squirrels left in the Park City area. Out at my house, they run in cycles. Some years they are everywhere. This year there aren’t so many of them. They come out of hibernation in mid-April, almost exactly on tax day. The red-tail hawks show up within a day or two of that, as if somebody calls and lets them know the buffet is now open. The squirrels will gorge themselves until about mid-August, when they get so fat their feet won’t reach the ground. I don’t know if it is technically hibernation or if they are simply high-centered, but they vanish by late summer. After that binge, it takes about eight months to sleep it off.
I’ve been shopping for a used flatbed trailer to haul stuff around the ranch. The online classifieds ads are a window into a different world. Lehi and Saratoga Springs are apparently the hotbed of used trailers. Based on the ads, everybody in Lehi has a used trailer they want to get rid of. A lot of them want to barter their excess trailers for other stuff. A surprising number of them want to trade their trailers for guns. I actually met with a guy who wanted to trade a trailer for an AK-47 assault rifle. He said he would take cash but was obviously disappointed that all I had to offer was paper money. I drove down to Lehi to look at the trailer. It turned out to be junk, with tires worn in a scalloped pattern that just screamed "bad wheel bearings."
The seller seemed like a reasonable enough guy, in his early 30s. His wife and a couple of kids were in his truck. He had been in the business of doing cement flatwork driveways, sidewalks and curbing. There’s not much of that happening anymore, and he was liquidating the tools of his trade and stocking up on assault weapons. It was all very matter-of-fact. If you’re having trouble paying the mortgage, stock up on guns. The cement-finishing business gets slow, ergo it’s time to become an army of one, just in case you need to shoot your way out of Saratoga Springs. On the whole, it was just a little creepy. The ad showed the trailer sold the next day. I didn’t call back to see whether he took cash or artillery.
So I guess things could be worse. The Promontory development was auctioned off by the bankruptcy court last week, and there was only one bidder. Not even the lender could scrape up the cash to buy it. The loan had been sold, so if they bought it, they actually had to come up with cash instead of just canceling the debt on their books. The original developer ended up buying it back for about 10 cents on the dollar. A year or so ago, somebody thought it was worth enough to secure a $350 million loan. Now they are lucky to get $30 million. Something about that whole deal smells, and I don’t think it has anything to do with the sewage treatment plant that graces the entrance to the project. But I guess the spa is still operating, and that’s all that really matters.
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Another odd story of the week is the idea of Texas seceding from the union. That was a big deal at the Fox News Tea Parties in Texas, and the governor of the state seemed to think it was OK. He never actually said the word "secede" but made it clear that he kind of liked the idea of Texas as an independent nation. Personally, I think it’s a great idea. Texas needs to take some responsibility for giving us George Bush. Succession is really the least they can do. An independent Texas would solve some of the border issues with Mexico, or at least make them somebody else’s problem. It’s a big state with a lot of roads the feds maintain. It’s prone to expensive hurricane damage, and they talk funny down there. If they would take Oklahoma and Louisiana with them, I think we should go for it.
Tom Clyde served as Park City attorney in the 1980s and is the author of "More Dogs On Main Street." He has been a columnist at The Park Record for more than 20 years.