More Dogs on Main Street |

More Dogs on Main Street

Tom Clyde, Record columnist

It’s not often that Park City misses an opportunity for a party, but once again Pioneer Day has come and gone, largely unobserved here in western Summit County. It was a big deal everywhere else in the state, and Fiesta Days in Kamas provided an action-packed week of rodeos, dances, a parade, and the demolition derby.

I always remember years ago, when I was working at City Hall, getting a call from the city manager, who was not from here. It was the middle of the week and she showed up for work to find the building locked, the lights off, and nobody there. She called to find out why nobody was at work. "It’s the 24th of July," I said. She looked at her calendar and, yes, it was indeed the 24th of July. "So?" Well, some things are hard to explain, but as holidays go, Pioneer Day is just one notch behind Christmas.

Before I go to bed, I make the list of things that need to get done the next day. Seemingly simple tasks have a way of turning into logistical nightmares, with parts for one project available only in Lehi or Springville (and too big to consolidate into one trip); a weed sprayer the county lends out that is based in Wanship and only available for checkout between 3:05 and 3:17 on odd-numbered Wednesdays. So it’s a constant process of trying to coordinate schedules where there is somebody else around who can me help lift something heavy, and avoiding trips to Utah County.

Of course, it also is something of an exercise in futility, because no matter how carefully the plans are mapped out, nothing ever goes according to plan. Cows get out, ditches quit flowing, dead trees fall across the driveway it’s always something. Lately, it’s been a beaver. There is a pond between my house and my sisters’ place next door. Through more than 50 years, it’s been pretty unusual to have a beaver in the pond. They are all around the area, but for some reason they usually leave the pond alone. But we’ve got one now, and it’s as busy as Obama.

Every morning, it has dammed up the outlet to the pond, forcing it to overflow in a different location that happens to put the flow of the stream through my barn. So each morning now includes a half hour of wrestling with woven sticks, grass, and muck to remove the beaver dam. For a couple of days, it would rebuild it before noon. Now the river has dropped enough that the stream flow is slower, and it’s settled down to only a nightly rebuild. Still, I’ve pulled about a cubic yard of muck out of there in the last week or so, and my yard is swamped. The clear-cut of the forest is beginning to show. There’s no question who is winning, and it isn’t me.

I called in the experts. I got the number of a licensed trapper from my brother, who got it from somebody else, who got it from Jim Bridger or a wise Latina woman. I called the guy, and got him on a cell phone, standing in some beaver pond checking traps. There’s something just wonderful about calling somebody right out of a James Fenimore Cooper novel on his cell phone. As we wrapped up the call, I asked if he needed to write down my number, and he said it was already stored in his i-Phone. He’s probably got the beaver sonar app downloaded. We’ve got the traps set, and with any luck at all, the beaver will soon be on his way to a better place like hanging on the wall of some log castle in The Colony.

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The Senate confirmation hearings on Wise Latina Woman/Supreme Court nominee Sotomayor didn’t even rise to the level of good satire. Her confirmation was never in doubt. But the Republicans threw the obligatory tantrum. They accused her of "empathy" and then delayed the vote for a week. Just because. That’ll show who’s in charge. Then they have decided that obstructing health-care reform is a worthy goal. Their big fear is that the Obama plan (which is really a broad outline with the details coming from Congress and/or lobbyists) is a threat to the insurance companies.

You’ve really got to hand it to them. Only the Republicans, the party of the Christian Right, could turn empathy into a character flaw and stand firm in defense of insurance companies that cancel coverage for people who get sick.

If they really wanted a reason to deny her confirmation, they might have questioned why half of the Supreme Court should come from about a 15-mile radius of New York City, or have all attended the same Ivy League colleges. A wise Latina woman is one kind of diversity, but so is somebody from South Dakota.

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.