About Erik Dolson

Erik Dolson is a writer living in Oregon

To See New Posts

For the last several months, I’ve been posting at erikdolson.substack.com/ instead of here on erikdolson.com.

On Substack, my hope is to reach a wider audience and earn an income from my efforts. Substack makes management easy and is easy for subscribers. I spend more time creating and less time being a web steward. And, I see a little income. Most of my articles are free but a few — usually a little more personal — are available only to paid subscribers.

So, if you’d like to keep reading, head over to erikdolson.substack.com/.

See you there.

~ Erik

Canine Connection

By Erik Dolson

I’ve had a number of wonderful dogs in my life, going back to childhood. I’ve loved them, played with them, walked with them, taken them to the vet, buried them with tears flowing down my cheeks.

Consequently, I’m a little mystified by my response to all the dogs I’m now seeing everywhere, especially on the docks, coming off boats, in dinghies, on sidewalks. Not just small or medium-sized “boat dogs.” Full-sized, sometimes really large dogs. Today a St. Bernard.

And often now, more than one: today a pair of some kind of large “doodle” dogs were leashed to a man with short and very curly hair. I don’t think he appreciated my joke. Shortly after that, a black lab matched with a golden lab jumped from a couple’s dinghy. After they got everything sorted out to head into town, I asked if they traded which dog each walked. “No! This is MY dog. The black Lab is HIS!” I wondered if there were behavioral issues at play.

Anywhere and everywhere, all these dogs. People don’t want to leave their dog in the car any more, either, even with air conditioning. “Service Dogs Only,” is pretty much a joke. I think Home Depot has hired a canine effluent specialist.

Aside from wondering how much protein goes in one end and how much poop comes out the other, I also wonder if we are so starved for love in America that we have to buy a sense of connection.

Of course, people can spend their money however they like. And maybe I’m just imagining this canine cornucopia, like when I bought a silver Subaru and suddenly there were silver Subarus at every intersection. But I don’t think so.

Of course, if I didn’t live half my life on a boat, which complicates things greatly, there’s no doubt a Humane Society rescue would be sleeping on the floor at the end of my bed (“get down!”).

Slums of Portland

By Erik Dolson

On lush green fields in Portland’s Delta Park, children from around Oregon play soccer or baseball in crisp uniforms with parents cheering from the sidelines.

Just on the other side of a tall chain-link fence, men and women live in shanties of old pallets or particle board layered with tarps that flap weakly in July afternoon heat. Tents are pitched in a circle, burned out cars share space with derelict shopping carts, there’s even an inboard/outboard boat in this camp not far from the river.

But the camps are now seemingly everywhere, along every freeway, in every open space. How did Portland, once one of the most beautiful of cities, come to this?

It’s boiling hot close to the road where woman in a sleeveless top showing muscular arms walks from one hovel to the next. A man in long dark rags stomps across the intersection ignoring traffic lights while spewing rage at some hallucinated adversary.

A shirtless, emaciated, bushy bearded man chips a rock to the curb with a golf club while talking to another man on crutches: his foot is missing, his right leg ends in a shriveled stub just below the knee.

I’ve taken trains across India and Pakistan, buses through Iraq and Iran, jeeps across Afghanistan. I’ve seen death and worse, but now have to ask: how did Portland, the emerald city of my youth, become this third world nightmare?

On NPR and liberal media, they no longer talk of the “homeless” but of “houselessness,” in a futile effort to avoid the pejorative. Do we do good or harm with words that shade the truth? Do the homeless care what word is used?

Facts will catch up to words eventually, and the facts are ugly: These are slums where poverty, drugs, crime, disease, mental illness and hopelessness commingle in misery.

Squalor, with torn bags of abandoned trash if the trash is bagged at all, suggests that vagrancy laws have been suspended, to say nothing of laws to protect health. Where do residents of these slums piss and shit? Bathrooms in nearby stores are locked with a code available only to customers.

In the paper there’s a story that Portland is going to take $20 million of COVID money from the federal government to build tiny houses for the homeless. If bathrooms and showers are available, maybe that’s the best use of those funds. But who will be in charge of maintenance and repair, will there be standards of behavior, and what becomes of those who break them? Will they end up right back here, by consequence or preference?

Maybe life on the streets should be hard and awful and financial support for small businesses might produce more good for the welfare of all.

In the New York Times, an opinion writer quotes those who say the best way to end poverty is to give everyone money, and there’s a story that some in California want to provide everyone a livable income, whether they work or not.

I see problems in providing an income to those who don’t contribute, income taken from tips of a waitress working late down at the cafe on the dock while her two kids are put to bed by their grandmother; from wages of a mechanic whose arms strain over his head to attach a muffler in the heat of this morning; from salaries of guys hauling car parts from the warehouse in back to customers in front.

Oh, only the very rich will pay those taxes? That’s not been successful so far: the rich claim they provide jobs that are the true solution, and taxing them will only make everything worse.

Everything is worse. Commerce in the neighborhood is dying. The Chinese restaurant and Elmer’s both shut due to degradation of the neighborhood. Long lines of the desperate with 50 gallon bags of cans to be weighed and turned into cash nearly block the entrance to the big box hardware store. If this weren’t the closest sales-tax-free store for taxed Washingtonians just across the river, it might be gone too.

Taxes needed to run the city are disappearing, at least from this once prosperous place where the city won’t spend on roads or bridges. Speaking of which, “Help Wanted” signs are everywhere just down the road. Those who might be helped by having a job don’t seem to want one. But it’s probably more complicated than that.

Recently there was talk of turning Portland International Raceway, just across the slough, into a giant homeless camp. Did those who made the proposal consider the consequences of turning a faucet flowing hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars into the community instead into a sucking storm drain of cash outflow, leaving even less income to pay the bills?

But instead of blaming Democrats for acting as if no one is accountable for self-destructive behavior, or Republicans for turning their collective back to social services that could at least help those who want help, I struggle for a solution.

And I fail. This horror slithers toward disasters seen elsewhere. San Francisco to the south and Vancouver, Canada to the north prove it’s possible to do wrong things for all the right reasons.

Human shit on sidewalks where pedestrians step is more than unpleasant, it’s a path to an outbreak of major disease; COVID rampant in ghettos beneath each overpass will cause universal suffering when a new strain evolves superior to our antibiotics; needles left behind in the bathrooms of MacDonalds or Starbucks prick careless children we’d really prefer to have more childish concerns.

Is this collapse the inevitable result of conservative liberty wed to capitalism? Are we to assume those in the camps have the liberty to fail as well as succeed, everyone gets what they deserve, it’s not our problem as long as it’s far from the sensitivities of those who have more and suffer less?

Or is the horrible human misery the inevitable result of the liberal desire to replace church and family with state efforts inadequate to tackle problems that are at the same time so huge and yet so personal?

Is it “a houseless problem,” or are there hundreds of different stories of how and why this happened to each and every man and woman in these camps? A “fallacy of scale” may be at work here. Actions successful on a small scale can have the opposite effect when applied to populations, and far from what we hoped. Sometimes, we disable when we enable.

Just as there are many events behind every story, there may not be a single solution.

Okay, shipping our jobs to China while corporations buy up all the housing and turn it into rental property that costs more than many can afford is perhaps a little … short sighted. But it’s too late to change that now.

Now, this isn’t just a “houseless” problem we’re dealing with, but slums where predators and prey live a nightmare of mutual need and despair. Even as wealth concentrates in gated communities, we all still suffer from this decline: Loss of a loved one to gutters of mindlessness, loss due to the blight on our cityscape which has an impact on us all, emotional and ultimately financial when income generating companies leave or pass the city by.

But here and now, how do you create change when you can’t offer hope to the afflicted and there’s no penalty for those willing to live with nearly nothing?

Do we scrape blight from our intersections with backhoes and buses, “cleansing” our community by loading the outcast up and transporting them to camps of used RVs in the woods or deserts where, hidden from our eyes, they sink deeper into what will essentially be human landfills?

Or do we give every man and woman $1,500 or $2,000 a month to spend as they want, “buying” them out of poverty? Will that even work, or should we just send most of that money directly to drug cartels in Mexico?

At some point, together we must make the decision about what our “commons” will look like. And we must be honest. Our environment not only represents who we are but goes a long ways in creating who we will be.

It may be harsh, deciding that “tough love” is required to aid those who have been cast away like the trash that surrounds them, even if through no fault of their own.

We may need to be generous, with minimal levels of health care and financial support available, if for no other reason than health and peace are everyone’s concern for as long as we share the air. Maybe we need to do more.

The onramp to Interstate 5 North closest to Delta Park takes a long time to climb during rush hour. Cars inch along, moving forward in a crawl just to stop again as the stupidly inadequate Interstate Bridge over the magnificent Columbia slowly empties the city of Portland in the sweltering afternoon.

Beggars from camps on the freeway side of Delta Park station themselves to collect money from stalled travelers.

Looking out of my air conditioned truck, my companion says, “You know, if they ever got their act together, they could just rush these vehicles, break the windows, take our stuff, kill us all.”

How close have we let our city slide toward that apocalypse?

A matter of moments

by Erik Dolson

It’s odd to me that after one and one third minutes of racing against cars pounding down a straight at 160 mph to a sharp right-then-left-then-right set of turns, followed by nine more corners over two miles of track, the difference in lap times between drivers can be measured in hundredths of a second.

But in racing, little things add up. Advantages compound, mistakes multiply. A long time ago I learned something can be necessary but not sufficient for an outcome. In racing, skill is essential but rarely enough.

Things barely measurable can make all the difference. How much does the air weigh that takes a tire from 20 to 25 pounds pressure?

I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that over-inflated tires feel greasy when heat from working against the surface of a hot track takes them to over 32 pounds of pressure instead of 29, causing a driver to lose confidence that the car will stick in a tight turn. It’s hard to drive to the edge without confidence, justified or not.

In a tank of oil 17 inches tall and nine inches in diameter, what is the oil level halfway through a 1.5 G right hand turn and how much oil accumulated in the valve cover on the left side of a V-8 block through that turn?

I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that when low oil pressure warnings flash for an engine that cost about a third of your disposable income for a year, they are not ignored.

How much water does it take to stay hydrated when the air temp is 100 degrees, you wear a quilted suit for fire safety during a race and when someone takes the temperature of the asphalt, it reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit?

I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that when the waitress at the Mexican restaurant offers you a refill on a very tall glass of iced tea, you say yes without even thinking that the second glass means you will be awake until 3 a.m. and return to the track the next day bleary from getting only three hours of sleep.

While tossing and turning for those sleepless hours, you wonder how long it takes to shake the rust accumulated from driving in only one race in the last two years.

I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you that three races and two track days are not enough to find the groove. Or maybe admit that there comes a time when no number of races, or hours on a race track, can restore the edge needed to carve a couple of seconds, even a couple of tenths, off a steadily increasing lap time on a very familiar track.

When does one know the right answer to a perennial question is “enough is enough,” instead of “it’s never enough?”

I couldn’t tell you, but I can tell you the question is no longer philosophical.

Now’s Not Then

By Erik Dolson

Over coffee, The Editor introduced me to a new word: presentism.

We were trying to make sense of current debates about the teaching of racism, and revisions to American history. History is an arena of The Editor’s expertise. He pointed out that “presentism,” the evaluation of “past events in terms of modern values and concepts,” is recognized by historians as fallacy.

I’d not encountered the word before, and think it’s an important one.

Presentism is a filter through which one interprets the world. Like other biases, including racism itself or anti-semitism or sexism or a number of others, presentism inhibits understanding. It also invites backlash when cultures collide, as they inevitably do in a dynamic society.

Few in any battle are willing to give up their sword, and presentism has been weaponized. Which is why I point out that presentism cuts both ways. If self-inflicted wounds take longer to disable, they also take longer to heal.

Let’s cut through the abstract and invite a downpour of disapproval.

The founders of America owned slaves, and slavery has done unspeakable harm. Native Americans suffered genocide. Chinese railway workers were regarded as disposable. Women have been and are used and abused via imbalance of power. These horrors ripple through time into today’s world.

But as we accept these truths, we must also remove the filter of presentism to acknowledge these actions were not always illegal or even immoral in their time. Of themselves, they do not lessen the greatness of men and women who founded present day America with all her contradictions, nor the bravery of those who traveled west by covered wagon seeking opportunity, nor the vision of those who financed railroads.

Not to look at who we are today and where we came from with honesty is to perpetuate falsehoods and inhibit the understanding needed to fight injustice against which we still struggle. But presentism is a deliberate selection of facts that ignores the whole truth. Presentism is not a more accurate telling of the admittedly incomplete “American story.”

Saying they were not crimes in their day does not minimize the horrors of slavery, murder and mayhem, abuse. Bringing to light the events and impact of bigotry and rape does not lessen what America, and the revolutionary (then) concept of individual liberty, has done and can be.

It’s often quoted that “history is written by the victorious.” If now we recognize America was founded by both the victorious and the vanquished, that the history of America is the history of all Americans, we also must recognize it is a complicated history and within it are tragedies and triumphs that impact all Americans today.


By Erik Dolson

Recursion may be the most unrecognized force in the universe.

Oh, it’s not a force, in that it can move objects or kill men. It’s a process, or a description of process, that we fail to appreciate. Possibly because it makes things impossibly complicated in short order.

It’s the same reason we talk about things, instead of waves. Things are an abstraction that makes it possible to communicate. Waves are so many things at the same time, depending on where speaker and listener stand. Change location of one or both, different moments are seen by each, we have to start over.

But recursion is very simple too, on first encounter, when reduced to a simple equation. But if the results of that are limited, they are also unpredictable, responsible for the patterns of trees, the billowing of clouds, the infinite length of the shore of this bay, the coherence of lasers and the arabesques of chaos.

Today I think of it as men having an impact on the environment that in turn affects their legacy. Applied to evolution, recursion explains the incredible speed by which the blossoming of intellect changed humans themselves as they changed their world. From camp fires to the persistence of hope, bigotry, and power.

Recursion captures the essence of why any system is incomplete or incoherent. Possibly why a quantum can’t quite be nailed down because, by the act of looking, we alter that which is in view, which alters us, which alters the viewed, which alters us.

There is no true escape from the fact of recursion. Any attempt is incorporated into the next iteration, alters our destination. Instead, as we have for millennia, for utility if not sanity, we set limits to the conversation, declare a start point and exclude that which changes too little or too late, even if those exclusions eventually change everything.

Even how we think about recursion. Ha!

It’s Just a Box

by Erik Dolson

Four years after he died, I scattered the last of Jimmie’s ashes in a small cove along the Oregon coast of the Pacific Ocean on a rare sunny and warm April day. Four years after he died, and again I cried.

They lied, those who said time heals all wounds. Late in life one realizes that’s just not true. We each carry wounds, mostly as scars perhaps but some still raw and bleeding, into our own grave. Acceptance for those fortunate to find it is in learning to look directly at the lashings, lacerations and lesions without flinching or turning, if not running away.

And without wallowing by spending these precious moments we have left trying to recreate memories burnished by time but that will disappear as soon we close our own eyes one final time.

I carried Jimmie’s ashes on my boat for nearly three years in the zippered plastic bag rolled in pink bubble wrap stuffed into the small stout cardboard box in which they were sent. The box was the size of a large paperback book of about 400 pages, not nearly enough to describe the impact he had on all who knew him.

“Pink bubble wrap? Like I’d be easy to bruise?” he’d chortle, and we’d beat that idea to death for an hour or so.

On the boat the box sat on a shelf above my closet next to the foot of the bed. I didn’t see it every day as it burrowed over time under hats and gloves while waiting for me to carry it to places I’d decided he’d like to return as if the ashes would bring him back like homing beacons, or remind him of this world.

“Homing beacon? Homing bacon would be more effective,” he’d say as I took a sip of morning coffee and I’d choke to avoid shooting a blast of brew out my nose.

Twice I left small spoonfuls of ash against the warm wall where we sat in Victoria basking in a sun that hung suspended for hours in an afternoon sky and waiting for at least twilight to head out to dinner at an Indian restaurant in a city I would know far better after he was gone. I set ashes adrift in a small paper boat with a sail in Blind Bay on Shaw Island where he took my daughters out to catch crab, and I spread a couple of spoonfuls at the Head of the Metolius knowing the waters that sprung from the earth there would eventually take him through Portland where we’d both been in our youth but never met.

We didn’t meet until the last third of our lives but our paths had braided across time since childhood as if we were supposed to meet often but had never quite made it to the same spot at the same instant. He was always late, damn it, but that’s probably good for all concerned and many would have had reason for concern had we teamed up in our teens or 20s before we each quit drinking.

The box came back with me to Central Oregon for the Metolius scattering and the trip to the coast last week. I thought about just sending the last of him in the box out to the waves but knew he’d object to being cast off as pollution. So I emptied a cloud of ash onto a patch of sand a wave had just washed clean and waited for the next to take him away. It took a while.

“Might be hours if the tide is going out,” he’d say, “but it’s okay,” as if it weren’t and I could have put a little more thought into this small ritual. But a long tongue of foamy ocean finally ran up the sand to lick rocks at the back of the cove and swallowed the light gray ash.

But now I had the box with plastic zipperbag and pink bubble wrap. I couldn’t just toss it into the trash in my hotel room, it had faithfully carried Jimmie for thousands of miles.

“I’m kind of done with it,” he’d have said, and we would’ve talked about our bodies as cardboard boxes with pink bubble wrap inside rolled about bags full of love and courage and ideas and dreams and lives so full we’d always want more, and then more until we were no more.

Would that I could have stolen an image from one of his favorite metaphors about wooden boats and sent him forth in the hallowed hollow of a singing violin.

Instead I brought the box back to my home and set it on rocks and then on fire in view of the mountains we’d wandered, together and alone, or with others we’d loved during the minutes we were allowed and I watched it burn until a wind sighed through the pines and spread the last of ash far and wide.

The Geese

by Erik Dolson

The geese are back. It’s spring, there’s two of them. For all I know, it’s a different pair from last year, maybe even from last week. Hard to I.D. a goose.

But I choose to think it’s a returning couple. I doubt they’ll stay. There’s no island in my pond, so no safe nesting and too many coyotes with easy access. They just drop in once in a while to graze on vegetation growing on branches I threw in the end of the pond farthest from the house.

I like their routine. After landing with a skidding splash, they swim the perimeter to see what’s what. When they feel safe, the larger one (may I assume it’s the male?) climbs up the shallow bank and stands watch while the smaller one feeds on greens below the mirrored surface.

After a while they switch, he goes in the water and she stands guard. With longer legs, he seems to run in place once in a while. I think he’s scraping vegetation off the branches below. Then his head disappears and his butt rises up, like one of those wooden bobbing birds  you sometimes see in restaurants.

Then, they switch stations again.

Eventually, they’re both on the bank. If talking, I can’t hear what they say. But then they turn and face the mountains, squat slightly, then rise up and their wings unfold in unison and they are off flying, carving gracefully in the sky a synchronized curve, wordlessly sharing the same direction.

Dear Governor Brown;

Dear Governor Brown;

My name is Erik Dolson, and I live in Sisters, Oregon. I’m writing to suggest an alternative to current COVID restrictions.

First, however, I need to declare my interests. I own a building in Bend that houses a popular restaurant, currently closed. I am also an avid “gym rat,” a member of the shuttered Sisters Athletic Club and, until last week, the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland where I was a member for more than 65 years until degradation of that city made my return very unlikely.

I also have background that may or may not carry weight. I served on the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners for four years at the request of Gov. Kitzhaber, published a local newspaper for 25 years, served eight years on the county planing commission, three years on the local school board, and graduated with a degree in philosophy for whatever that’s worth (not much without a law degree, it turned out). I bring these up to show that I also participate, and don’t just carp from the sidelines.

My concern with the most recent COVID restrictions is that they don’t sift with a fine-enough screen. The Sisters Athletic Club had a rigorous sanitation program, and to the best of my knowledge has not caused a single case of COVID. In fact, I’ve been told that no athletic club in Oregon has been the source of a “spreader” event.

I believe athletic clubs are a key factor in maintaining my health and that of others in my age group (70+), especially now that 6 inches of snow on the ground makes it tough to run safely on the local trails. If a case of COVID can be traced to an athletic club, by all means, shut it down.

I make the same argument for restaurants in my building and community. It’s not difficult to separate guests by more than six feet and mandate that servers and kitchen crew wear masks and gloves. We can increase air changes per hour, even here where it’s 22 degrees as I write. I do not know of a restaurant locally that has been associated with a case of COVID.

I understand the worry of “shutting the gate after horses are out,” but it’s possible we’re shutting the wrong gate on the wrong barn. Ironically, the only “spreader event” I’m aware of in Central Oregon occurred at the hospital in Redmond. COSTCO had seven employees who came down with the virus, and Hooker Creek Sand and Gravel had eight, I believe. These businesses are responsible for these outbreaks. Don’t restrict those which implemented safe practices.

Thank you for your time to read this, and your considerable efforts on behalf of the people of Oregon.

Erik Dolson

Rollin’ Coal

By Erik Dolson

“Watch this,” I said to Dani as we waited for the light to change.


“Out your side mirror.”

When the light turned green, I put the accelerator down just enough to put the Prius in the lane next to us about ten feet behind my exhaust pipe. Then I hit the switch and the pushed the accelerator to the floor. A huge black cloud of unburnt diesel blew out of my Ram pickup and wrapped the Prius like a blanket.

He must have hit his brakes, because he was a quarter mile back before I saw him nose out of the soot.

“Ha! Look at that sorry sucker! Buried him!”

“Why’d you do that?” Dani asked, and I knew right then this conversation wasn’t one I wanted to have. That said, I got a right to my opinion, and what with everything that’s been happening, I was ready to stand up for it.

“Because he was a liberal. Didn’t you see the bumper sticker?”

“An American, just like you.”

“Not a very good one.”

“Who made you the judge of that?”

“Okay, look. I was just trying to have a little fun. What’s wrong with that?” I hoped a change of subject would get us back on track. Usually these trips into town are a good time. We did spend a little more money at Costco than we budgeted, though, and the place we usually have lunch that’s a lot better than what we can find between the bluffs three hours out where we live was closed because of the COVID bullshit.

“Pollutes the air.”

“There’s plenty more where that comes from.”

“Until there isn’t. Then what?”

Dani isn’t usually like that, but she does get a little up on her high horse when her sister comes back to town. Sandy’d been at home for almost two weeks, because of Christmas. I’d kinda hoped that she’d stay in Eugene this year, because of the bullshit COVID scare and all.

“Aw, Dani. Look in your mirror. You can’t even see the smoke any more. Much.” I couldn’t help it, I grinned a little. Rolling coal on liberals does that for me. Danielle heard the smile in my voice. She knows me pretty well.

“The atmosphere where most things live is ony three miles thick,” Dani said.

“Oh, yeah, I forgot Sandy’s back in town,” I said, pretty clear about where I thought Dani had gotten her information.

“You don’t think I can have my own opinions?”

“I didn’t say that. Don’t be putting words in my mouth.”

“That was the thought in your head.”

I would have been better off just denying that, or keeping quiet, but Sandy coming home and disrupting things rankles me a bit.

“I just think Sandy doesn’t understand the world as it really is.”

“She’s seen more of it than you have.”

“Partly on my nickel, too.”

Doesn’t matter to me if Sandy was the best student in our high school when she graduated, or that she’s smarter than me, or that she got a full scholarship to college. It’s partly on my money after all, being a state school. But of course, I don’t get any say in how it’s spent, otherwise Sandy would have a very different view of the world, I’ll tell you that.

Dani just started looking out her window. It was going to be a long drive home. In the mirrors I checked the tarp that covered the groceries in back, the ShopVac and supplies I got at Home Depot for the shed that Glen is helping me build. It was all secure, I know how to tie a proper trucker’s knot.

It wasn’t just the Biden/Harris bumper sticker on the Prius, and I didn’t tell Dani the whole truth when I said I rolled the coal just for fun. I listen to the radio when I go out to feed in the morning. This morning some smart-ass from the city was saying that increasing the price of fuel was one way to slow down global warming.

He has no effing idea what that would do to me. It would mean a higher price to run my equipment, it would cost more to drive into town to spend my money that I’d have less of, cost more to drive into the hills for a beautiful sunset, or down to the Crooked River to fish.

This is my life! Doesn’t matter to him, he lives in some city and takes the bus. He doesn’t pay any part of the price. That’s the thing. He don’t pay the price.

Same with that guy driving the Prius, or that Musk who is building all those electric cars. I can’t do my work out of a Tesla. They say people will charge it at home, and that most people don’t drive more than 30 miles a day.

Maybe if you live in the city, but hell, I have to drive 30 miles just to buy the diesel fuel to put in my truck, and if I’m hauling feed or mending fence, I make that trip three times a week and it already costs me more than $100 every time.

That’s why me and a few of the guys went down to Love’s truck stop just outside of town last week, and parked our trucks in the recharging spots saved for those electrics. Then we piled into Fred’s truck and went to the 86 Corral, played some pool and had a few beers.

Man, those Tesla people were just all besides themselves when we got back, it was the funniest thing I’ve seen since high school when we boxed in Fred’s truck with ours so he couldn’t pick up Lynette for their date. Man, he was pissed for two weeks!

When the price of fuel came down, it was good for us, our families. And America went from being at the mercy of those sand dog Arabs to shipping oil everywhere after fracking unleashed the flow. Kept our prices low and made America great. What could be wrong with that?

Besides, global warming is just another hoax, like the damn COVID virus. Well, they’re real and all, but global warming isn’t caused by people. We’ve had warm spells before, then they’re followed by ice ages! And the COVID is just like a cold. My friend Glen, guy helping me with the shed, is a builder. He had three guys out last week and said they were feeling great after two days and would’ve been back at work but have to stay out 14 days because of the quarantine stupidity.

Glen said the price of lumber is up four times, he heard it’s because liberals want to pay guys at the mill not to work!

That’s a hell of a solution. Men who can work miss out, lose out on wages, those who don’t want to work don’t have to, and Glen has to run his own backhoe setting forms for a new foundation.

Besides, it would be a whole lot better if we all just caught the virus and got better, became immune, and it would have been a whole lot less expensive. I bet we’d have a real Christmas this year if we’d all had the virus by the 4th of July.

Don’t even get me started about my guns. They can’t have them, and they’ll make me into a criminal if they say I have to register them. I believe in the Constitution, and I have my rights.

See, that’s really the thing that started this talk with Dani. The Constitution. Those socialist slime balls stole the election. They’ve been planning it for a lot of years, and are using COVID and global warming to weaken America. It’s a plot, and the Russians and the Chines are involved. They took our jobs, and now they’re taking what’s left.

They’re taking away the America that we built and giving it to people in cities who don’t want to work, I won’t say who but you know who I mean, and to Mexicans who just come in to our country to get better health care than where they come from, and send all their babies to our tax-funded schools.

Why is it that what my grandfather and father and me built, our mothers too of course, is being given away to people who don’t deserve it? It’s more than not fair, it’s illegal.

That’s how they stole the election, too. What happened in the cities. The Latinos. Trump had more votes than Obama ever did, more than that bitch Hillary if you just count legal votes, and Trump lost? Explain that to me. They stole it, and have been working on this since Trump was elected in 2016! Socialists and the deep state have been hatching a plan to steal the election, and to cover it up so perfectly that even Trump judges would be forced to go along!

So that’s really why I put that Prius in a cloud of American-made diesel smoke. Because that S.O.B. liberal thinks he won, and it’s my job to show him that this isn’t over, not by a long shot!

At the end of our one-mile driveway, Danielle and I pulled up to the house. We’d gone to Costco last, so groceries were in the far back of the truck so we could unload those before the building supplies.

“Hey, I’m going to help you unload the truck and then head on over to Mom’s,” Danielle said.

“You going to spend the night over there?”

“Yeah, Sandy’s headed back to school pretty soon, and I’d like to spend some time before she leaves.”

“You coming back afterwards?” I hated that I couldn’t help myself from asking. I hated that it took Dani too long to answer, even though she said all the right things.

“Yep. Because you’re you, and for all that, I love you anyways and probably always will. I’ll be back tomorrow sometime after church.”

“It’s just not the same, Dani. It’s not the same as it used to be.”

“No, it’s not. But it never really was.”

She kissed me on the cheek, then slid out her side of the Dodge. We took the groceries into the kitchen together without saying much, and she put them away while I unloaded the rest of the supplies down where I was building the shed.