1. Lying flat on my back in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in Phoenix at 2 a.m. I passed the carafe of Chablis to my reclining colleague who looked at me and said, “Pardner, I don’t think you’re executive material!”
2. Mud wrestling with Hurricane Charlotte in San Juan Capistrano. It was there I lost $110 on a frog named Montezuma in the big frog-off.
3. The tobacco-spitting contest in Pasco where I placed third. As Tom Hall would say, “I used to couldn’t spit over my chin; now I can spit all over it!”
4. One o’clock in the morning; Saturday night, when I locked the key in Red’s Cadillac outside the Schroeder Dance Hall. I had to call a locksmith from Victoria. It was a long ride home.
5. Dancing with Mike at the Hotel Nevada in Ely. I still have a scar on my arm from waltzin’ into a rock wall when he changed leads.
6. The trip from Sioux Falls to Platte with Diane, Konni and JoAnne. They tanked up on cervesa before the trip and had to make a pit stop in somebody’s cornfield along the way. I stood guard and they scattered into the cornrows like quail.
7. Snorkeling in San Carlos Bay with one-armed guide named Onofre. We speared three lobster, two carp, one scorpion fish, a Tecate can and one swim fin.
8. Falling asleep on the red-eye Big Sky Express from Miles City to Billings. Everybody disembarked including the pilots and they pushed the plane off the runway. Fortunately one of the mechanics left his lunch in the cockpit and found me.
9. Trying to ski between the legs of an unsuspecting bunny at Angel Fire and getting my nose hooked in her ski clothing. I looked like a B-52 refueling in mid-air.
10. Spending the night in Bennett, Idaho, getting my haircut in Wellington, Kan., getting caught in blizzards in Antonito, N.M., and Fairmont, Minn., singin’ with Teense in Saratoga, team roping on Dude, canoeing the Sac in Missouri, Amtracking the 6 a.m. Pioneer Flyer out of Hastings; easting ravioli in a Chinese restaurant in Regina, cabrito in Stockdale and barbeque in Pendleton; seein’ Mt. Rushmore, the Mississippi, Mt. St. Helen’s and Ft. Morgan in the spring.
Lookin’ back, I’d say it’s been a pretty good life so far.
Baxter Black is a cowboy poet, former large animal veterinarian and entertainer of the agricultural masses. As he puts it, “he has a narrow following, but it’s deep!” He resides in Benson, Arizona. Additional information about him can be found at baxterblack.com.