March 2009
On the Edge of Common Sense

Lost Weekend

In the movie Long Kiss Goodnight, Samuel L. Jackson’s character practiced a habit of saying out loud to himself, "I’m putting my car keys on the dresser" "...on the kitchen counter" "...on the nightstand" as he laid down the object. It is a great mental mechanical memory device. It has worked for me but I don’t think I would have ever thought about saying, "I’m dropping my glasses in the dog’s water bucket."

Mule deer season opened on Friday. My son and I drove to Davidson Canyon. From the highway to the unimproved road we put my new purchase to the test. It is a 1997 one-ton, long bed, extended cab, four-wheel-drive diesel with 244,000 miles. It’s white. We call it the Polar Bear.

Pulling a 16-foot gooseneck with three horses we squeezed by, crashed through, crawled over, scraped under and climbed up the rocky trails that would have frightened a yeti! It is my own monster truck! We stopped, unloaded the horses and rode out. Within an hour we had slid up on six does and a buck. The chase ensued. We had purposely lowered the volume on our walkie-talkies so they would only vibrate and not spook the wildlife. As can happen, we lost contact. My son lost his walkie-talkie before he lost the buck! Tracking back was fruitless since we couldn’t call it, the walkie-talkie, I mean. We’d turned off the ringer.

At lunch we took a break.

"Where’s your other saddle blanket?" I asked.

We both agreed he had started with two. The country was so rough there was no point goin’ back to try and find it. We finished the day’s hunt, loaded up and came home. It was then I discovered my keys were missing and I couldn’t find my glasses!

The next day we changed country and hunted afoot. Again, we saw deer but no bucks. Back home by early afternoon I realized I couldn’t find my wallet or my hunting license. Which was humiliating since the one I lost was, itself, a replacement for the original, which I had also misplaced. Cost me $4.

Sunday I took a day trip back to Davidson Canyon with my GPS. I had the foresight to enter the location of where we had parked on Friday. Lo and behold I walked to within 10 feet of the keys! They were so grateful to be rescued they actually leaped up into my arms! Later I found my wallet in my other pair of boots. Hunting season was over so the license didn’t matter. I bought another walkie-talkie. As you might guess, one isn’t much good by itself and when I cleaned out the dog’s bucket...well, you know that story.

But somewhere in the Arizona desert is a pack rat’s or raven’s nest lined with red and black threads with a strip of fluorescent orange ribbon poking out. As to how it might have happened, I’d rather not discuss.

Baxter Black is a former large animal veterinarian who can be followed nationwide through this column, National Public Radio, public appearances, television and also through his books, cds, videos and website, www.baxterblack.com.