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The Writer's Page April 5th, 2007

A new page in The Paper that offers a forum for area writers to display their work, to offer commentary, and/or criticism. Submit work by email, photo art will be considered (we prefer jpg). This will be an occasional feature, scheduled when the editor feels there is sufficent material with which to work and sufficient space to publish. No phone calls, please.

Birth and Spring
by diana linkous

At last, I sat birth watch last night, and though it was quite a
struggle for the maiden mare, things turned out well.

She was restless all night, pacing her stall and pawing, turning to look at her back end. She's not an easy mare to get along with anyway, tends to bite when you approach to put a halter on or anything, though sometimes she's a bit nicer. Just doesn't like to be touched. She was a pretty fair race horse, won about 11 races, so Leonard bred her to Go For Gin, a big time winner. This would be her first baby.

Leonard and Pam were at the barn before I was, since they had a baby monitor strap on her and could hear her pacing from their house.

Around 1am she laid down and began to push, and by 1:30 she had the two front feet out but seemed to get stuck there. By 1:45 the two front feet and the nose of baby were out, and she got up, pacing around again. Since it was her first, things were pretty tight in there, and she was tired to begin with, since she had been on her feet for almost two weeks, refusing to lie down for a rest.

She finally laid down, but she got "cast"... was lying so her feet were against the stall wall, and a horse can't get their feet under them when they are in that position. She began to push again, and baby was out a
little more, but she began to struggle to get up. It was scary ... part of the foal hanging out of her and she rolling and banging against the side of the stall, and sliding closer to the back wall with her hind end ... could have crushed the foal.

Finally she got to her feet and moved around. Leonard went in and snapped on the lead rope and led her around so next time she'd lie down, it would be in the middle of the stall. Just before 2 am she laid down for the last time and began pushing hard, and finally out pops baby,
breathing hard and all his parts in place!

It was a boy, just what Leonard wanted. It has 2 white socks, on the hind feet, and a big splashy star on his forehead. Momma was exhausted and just lay her head down to rest. I rubbed the baby to stimulate him, as she should have been licking him at that time. Leonard got a towel and dried him off - it was about 48 degrees, though in the stall it was warmer. Little guy made a high pitched nicker a couple of times, and we could see momma's ears prick up. By 2:30, she was calling to him, and
Leonard was helping him in his struggles to stand. Momma stood up and knew she had something special, but still wasn't sure what it was or what to do. She was licking herself, that lick instinct kicking in.


Finally, baby was able to stand on his own, though he was walking into walls at this point. They can't see very well, and depend on smell to find momma and the tit. At last, momma walked over to him and they began to connect. I ducked in and stuffed all the placenta into a bag, so the vet could check it out.

Now the problem was nursing. Baby had a very strong suck reaction, his mouth open and his little pink tongue curled as he tried to find something to nurse. The scary part now was the new mother with her very very tight bag, hard as a rock and painful to touch. Leonard called Dave, the former owner of this farm who lives just across the fence ... Dave has been breeding horses for some 17 years.

Well, to make a long story short, Dave gave lots of good advice, went to momma while she was being held tight by the lead rope and milked her out a little, gently. The foal would be butting into her bag, so it was still a toss up whether she'd kick the foal or not when it finally found the nipple. As it turned out, she did kick a few times, but never directly at the baby. Of course, it took him 20 minutes of trying in the generally right area to actually connect with a tit.

Whew. I got to bed around 3:30am and couldn't sleep. Leonard and Pam were with them till around 5am, making sure the mare got the whole picture and didn't take a whack at baby as he grew stronger and pushed harder at the source of all goodness.

I just went out to see them about an hour ago, and the vet was there, pronouncing all is well (for now). The next 48 hours will tell. I think it's going to be fine. Little boy is already licking the salt block, experimenting with everything. He is a very good looking colt, and very strong. Big too, like his mom. They'll stay in the stall for another couple days (it's a double wide) then go out in their own pasture. The kid is already kicking up and bucking just from feeling good.

mareAhhh spring.

Sidenote: of course all of us forgot our cameras. Drat.

The characters in the above scenario: Leonard and Pam - farm owners. Me (Diana Linkous) - farm resident.
The mare: Replinka. Foal: not named yet.

Just looked in on them... he was lying down sleeping, and she was standing over him, occasionally putting her head down to smell him. I can tell every time he nurses, because she makes a little squeal of pain. But I don't hear any rustling about, or kicking the walls. She's learned patience.


Learning (Yearning) To Bowl In Your Old Age
by Charlotte Dale

Okay, I agree that age can create a “late bloomer” attitude, and when I took up bowling, I thought this was not such a difficult sport and given time and practice, I would prevail. However, after working at it for five years with the Rancho Vallecitos Hot Shots, I have a serious need to vent my frustration.

The word “malcontent” describes someone who is not happy with current conditions and the word “masochist” describes someone who receives gratification through self-inflicted pain. These two words perfectly describe the “wannabe” bowler.

When I first started bowling in this senior league, my only goal, the virtual Nirvana for a new bowler, the one I thought would bring me complete happiness and satisfaction, was to simply break a hundred. The next year, my only goal was to bowl a little better than that, and so it was with each passing year. I was never really satisfied with the status quo and was ALWAYS wanting just a little bit more. This perfectly describes a “malcontent”, and that would be ME, and more than a few other bowlers I know.

Oh sure, the “bowling fairy” would throw me some incentive now and then, with an occasional good game, one over my average, maybe even a rare game of 170, or 180. I’ve even experienced something close to “Nirvana” with a game of 194! Surely, a person who can deliver a game like that should begin moving up the social bowling ladder.

But nay; nix; nada; forget it! It ain’t gonna happen! Sure as you think you’ve mastered it, one of two things will happen! You will be thoroughly humbled with a game (or two or three) of “around 100”, or, if you’re a high average bowler, you’ll have enough bad games in a row to drop your average, causing something close to cardiac arrest or at the very least, severe depression!

Our team has been to the top, just two years ago. We got all the accolades, the trophy, our names engraved, etc., etc. But, with all the good stuff we gained, we lost our big and very helpful handicap. Now, in order to change our status as the “mother of all basement dwellers” (better known as LAST PLACE), we need to become....what is that word (and condition) that escapes me?—oh yes, “consistent.”

And that brings me to my second point with regard to all of us being “masochists”. We come here every week, lugging all our own equipment; the special shoes, the hand-picked engraved and fitted ball, perhaps a wrist support, the cleaning cloth, maybe even a cute little bootie, and, of course, the check book. Because, not only do we have a small fortune invested in equipment, we have to PAY for this emotional upheaval!

Oh well, all of us would have to admit that we made the choice to get into this frustrating game where we do a lot of smiling on the outside and crying on the inside! But we can, and we do draw comfort from all the other equally frustrated folks cruising along in this same boat! No doubt about it—misery loves company or so it seems as we keep coming back, week after week, trying to improve while we entertain the delusion that one day we might actually master this game.

It’s also comforting to realize that the intense frustration is usually offset by the fun and friendship provided by the many really nice people in our senior league—all of my fellow malcontents and masochists!

Charlotte Dale

You Louse!
by James R. Pontious

Calling someone a louse is a nasty epithet to call someone you really don't like. Did you know that Homo Sapiens are the host for three different varieties of these little imps called lice? The head louse lives in the forest of fine hairs on the human scalp. The body lice hides in your clothes and our friendly pubic lice likes to set up house keeping in your pubic hair.

Scientists have researched the little devils DNA and discovered that human head lice are related to the chimpanzee louse and the human pubic lice are related to the gorilla louse. Now what does this mean other than lice like to feast on a warm blooded mammal?

Scientists estimate that the human pubic louse and the gorilla louse shared a common ancestor about 3.3 million years ago. So using a little deductive reasoning, scientists figure that 3.3 million years ago humans lost their body hair which explains why pubic lice and gorilla lice are related. Humans lost their body hair and the louse adapted to their new environment by relocating to the crotch.

Makes your day, doesn't it? Figure that humans were a hairy ape 3.3 million years ago but after losing our hair we still are a target for those pesky louse that make our crotch itch!

Now I can just hear all my Born Again friends screaming to high heaven that we did not evolve from a hairy ape. Well the jury is still out on that controversy but for the record if human pubic lice evolved from the gorilla lice it falls within the realm of possibility that humans evolved from our hairy ancestors as well. After all human DNA is 99.6% the same as a chimpanzee or bonobo.

That's all for now, for I have to go scratch where it itches.







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