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More Dogs on Main Street

Tom Clyde, Record columnist

The highlight of the news this week was President Bush pardoning two turkeys on the White House lawn. It is apparently a custom dating back to Harry Truman’s term, and may have been sort of quaint and amusing then, when a whole lot of Americans would have begun preparing their Thanksgiving turkey out behind the barn with an axe, rather than in the frozen-food aisle. It’s kind of lost its luster as a symbol of Norman Rockwell America. In fact, there are some awkward overtones to the whole thing. When the TV close-up comes on, it’s difficult to know which is the turkey and which is the President, for example. And Bush passing out pardons, given the corruption in his administration – well, I wish he could focus less on the offenses of poultry and spend a little time explaining where $800 billion has gone in Iraq while the troops are still without proper protective gear. These turkeys were guilty of something. Cheney had water-boarded a confession out of them earlier in the day.

Of course, we can be thankful that we only have another year of Bush. Only about 350 more shopping days until he bombs Iran. The Democrats in Congress are feckless as ever, unable to get their act together to stop this runaway train. We can only hope that everybody is able to jump free before it all derails.

The nation as a whole is so anxious to be rid of Bush-Cheney that the 2008 campaign is happening a year early. It’s like Santa Claus showing up for the Fourth of July parade. I’ve watched enough of the "debates" on TV to know that I don’t like any of them. I guess than anybody who is crazy enough to want to be President is crazy enough that they shouldn’t be trusted to manage a lemonade stand. My dream is that the two parties will have gone through this terribly long primary process so early that it all implodes. By next summer, when we should be looking at the election process for real, we will already be sick of the two major candidates. Somebody will push the reset button and we’ll start over. By then, they will have been going at each other tooth and claw for months, and we will have had enough.

Then, out of the blue, somebody fresh will come into the fray. I don’t care who it is – Michael Bloomberg, Jesse Ventura, Stephen Colbert – somebody really outside the system. Of course we need to quit reelecting Congress at the same time. We can dream.

At least it’s finally turning cold. There’s no snow to be had, but it’s cold enough to make it now. I got one last mountain-bike ride in earlier this week, a fast cruise around Round Valley. It was a spectacular day, warm and bright. When I got home, I washed the bike, lubed it all up for storage, and put it away. It’s still possible to ride – the ground is dry and frozen up solid now, but it’s time for winter to come.

I’m dog sitting for family members who are traveling over the holiday. In addition to my own dinosaur-sized mutt, I’ve got a niece’s border collie and my brother’s yellow lab. The three dogs are pals and get along great, which makes it pretty easy. But the collie is used to having a 4-year-old clinging to him, and thinks he needs to be held all the time. The yellow lab clings like a barnacle and would join me in the shower if I didn’t get the door closed tight. One snores, one sleepwalks, and mine yelps in her dreams. That wakes the others up, and they are on the prowl around the house all night. More dogs on Main Street would be OK, but a few less on the couch would be fine.

It’s always interesting how different each dog can be – who will drink from the toilet, who will walk on the hardwood floor and who has to leap from rug to rug to avoid the dreaded "click" of toenails on the hard surface. Mine is a grazer. A full bowl of food can sit there for days and she nibbles now and then. The yellow lab would eat a cement truck full of food and still be looking for more. No matter how I put their food out, the only sure bet is that none of them will eat from their own bowl if they can get a nose into somebody else’s. Not too different from the politicians, when you think about it.

It’s a little early to panic about the ski season. Thanksgiving is always kind of risky, and Thanksgiving is as early in the month as it can get this year. We’ve got to have hope that the snow will come. There’s another week or so before the bare hills are really unusual. But it would be good to have a little snow on the ground. Disasters caused by global warming in 50 years are one thing; having it happen by the end of the year is quite another.

The other day a friend said that everywhere he looked, he saw the end of the world upon us. He was only half joking, pointing to $100 oil, a war without purpose or end against an invisible enemy, toxic Chinese goods lining the shelves of our stores, stock markets falling off a cliff, global warming, and on and on. I was at the airport the other day, and was reminded by that creepily cheerful woman’s recorded voice that the Department of Homeland Security had set the threat level at "orange." Does anybody know what size toothpaste tube I can pack under "orange" conditions?

His comment was that, against that background of doom and gloom, he looked around where he lives, at his community and the natural setting, and none of the rest really mattered. We are lucky enough to live in a paradise. There’s a lot to be thankful for around here.

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 nearly 20 years.


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