A lot of adventures over 10 years
Miss Trixie reminded me today that this is the 10th anniversary of my starting to write for the Valley papers. Since that time, I became syndicated, and it allowed me to meet many good people — and a few not-so-good ones — across the country. It's been a wild ride sometimes as you have traveled along with Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie on all kinds of adventures from the headwaters of the Rio Grande river to the outlet of the same into the Gulf of Mexico. Not a few people have told me that “it seems like a lot longer” when I told them it was my 10th year.
But regardless of the naysayers I have enjoyed the ride. I had some big shoes to fill as I took over the space where Ernie Wilkinson shared his exploits from wolf trapping to grizzly bear control to Walt Disney wildlife specialist. But as happens, Ernie got old enough that he decided to give up writing weekly and I was fortunate enough to be able to follow in his footsteps, at least partially.
Miss Trixie was on board at the time I was thinking about writing, and she voiced her concerns that Ol’ Dutch would get writer's block. She did have a lot of experience with ghost-writing best sellers so knew something about when writers simply can't think of something interesting to write. Of course, back then, she had not been around Ol’ Dutch long enough to know just how full of it I am.
Now here I am, some 500-plus columns published, and I started thinking about all the places and adventures we took you.
From one of the first columns about our first date bear hunting you learned about just how romantic Ol’ Dutch is. I took you along for when I fell in love with Miss Trixie, which included peeing in the woods and catching nightcrawlers, not at the same time, of course.
And on a subsequent date, I had sprung for free tickets to the rodeo which allowed you to see frugality in its best form. You were there when we talked about not liking your given name and to experience firsthand my transition to Ol’ Dutch and the creation of Miss Trixie in all her glory.
You got to watch as this Yankee toured the South, the birth of granddaughters, hunting adventures in various places, and Miss Trixie having to deal with Ol’ Dutch daily. Mardi Gras, every Holiday imaginable, and even some short poetry penned by Ol’ Dutch himself. Most of you stood amazed each week that Miss Trixie stayed with me but soon you all learned just how patient and kind and considerate — not to mention handsome — that Ol’ Dutch is and then you understood her hitching her caboose to my train. Or something like that.
I often took you to church with me to see just how funny people can be and more than a few times to bars for the same. Which is funny as that is where Jesus Himself hung out and was hated for it by all the preachers of the day.
We perused the Internet and found not a few scams along the way there. We fell back and forward with time changes, had a Christmas goose and even survived Covid plus the Ebola scare, with a healthy dose of humor. Birthdays, droopy drawers, knocking a tooth out by falling, found out that I don't like my potato buttered by a funny waiter, fished, and hunted, birthed calves, butchered the same, and generally had a big life.
The Taoist Book of Life says that “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” and I can attest to that fact as this journey began with a single letter typed on a page and before I knew it, I had traveled a great distance.
Thanks to all of you faithful readers out there who have stuck with me through thick and thin and laughed along the way at Ol’ Dutch and Miss Trixie.
And if you are facing some decision that seems daunting, take heart that if you will simply take the first step in your journey, soon you, too, will be far down the road to success in whatever you choose.