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Friday, October 7, 2005

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Being conservative - Like a man
living with a pregnant wife

I am amazed that I am still married. So are a lot of people.

I was amazed when I realized that this past August marked 14 years of matrimony.

More particularly, I am amazed that I have survived the past 8.5 months.

As many of you know, mom is set to domino with our third child in about two weeks.

While I am amazed to have made it this far, I have no illusions of surviving the coming weeks.

My longtime friend and bookie Virgil gave me the odds via telephone last night.

According to Virgil, odds are 2-1 that She-who-must-be-obeyed will actually end my life in a fit of rage brought on by 40 new pounds, a too-tight pair of pants and enough estrogen to kill a healthy bull elephant.

Odds are 5-1 that I will be maimed in a similar scenario.

Odds are 100-1 that I will spend at least one night outside during the coming two weeks (without a blanket).

Odds are 50-50 that I will actually make it into the delivery room in one piece. I guess the fact that SWMBO might want a driver is helping me out there.

However, the odds of me walking out of the delivery room are so low that Virgil would not relate them to me unless I was willing to place some money on the issue.

I anteed up. I put five dollars on myself living through the birth.

According to Virg, I could win $4 million on my $5 bet if I actually step foot out of that room of fatherly boredom and wifely abuse after the baby is born.

“Why the long odds, Virg,” I had to ask. “Shoot, didn’t somebody bet I would make it?”

“Nope. Apparently a picture of your big, pickle-jar-shaped head is on the Internet, and they figure it’s a good chance your kid will have your head.”


“So, toward the end, your wife is going to be trying to give birth and looking at your big square head and put 2 and 2 together and figure out why having your kids is like shoving a brick down a garden hose.”

“My head is not shaped like a pickle jar,” I replied.

“Yeah, whatever. Anyway, when your sweet wife is in agony and sees your big head - bingo, she is going to lose it and you are a dead man.”

“You got money riding on this, Virg?” I asked.

The line was silent.

My own bookie was betting against me. Wow.

So, basically I’m a walking dead man who goes home every night to a ticking bomb of a wife.

The only real question is how I’ll go.

“Lots of bets to place there, Smoke,” Virg said. “But it’s 10-1 that she’ll use a blunt instrument over a knife and 15-1 that if she shoots you it will be after she clubbed you to the floor.”

“Give me $10 more on the gun angle,” I told him.

“You got inside scoop on this, man?” Virg’s voice was excited.

“Let’s just say I know where the guns are,” I said.

So, here I am, a walking dead man, but still a man determined to have some say in my fate. Being a manly man, I decided to try groveling the other night.

SWMBO was sitting in her muumuu-tent thing that doubles as a nightgown watching television, rubbing her own back, rocking back and forth, murmuring to the baby to stop kicking her and sweating. It was a good day.

“I would do this for you if I could,” I said sweetly.

“I’d let you,” SWMBO said in that cold emotionless voice only a woman can muster. She never took her eyes off the television. Undeterred, I continued.

“Is there anything I can do for you?”


“What do you need, sweetie?”

“Light yourself on fire,” she said as though she were sending me for a glass of water.

After a few minutes I slid off the couch like a mouse hiding from a cat and scurried to bed. Maybe the best I could hope for was to die in my sleep.

Laying there, hoping the last sounds I ever heard were not the three, well-oiled clicks of my favorite revolver’s hammer being pulled back to full cock, I realized that life as a father at the end of pregnancy is no different than the life of a conservative in American politics.

Basically, you are doomed.

Think about it.

For a conservative, voting Democrat is like trying to father a child with another man. It’s just icky and won’t work anyway.

Voting Republican is really no better. Sure, George W., aka the Stick-Horse-Cowboy, and his gang will tell you they’re conservatives. But as history now tells us, these guys lie more than a guy on prom night.

So far they have made war like drunken Girl Scouts, spent like drunken Democrats, and appointed Supreme Court justices that make liberals want to get drunk and party.

Right now conservatives have to feel like I do at home - sleeping on the porch just hoping to survive another day.

Lucky for me, but bad for conservatives in general, all I have to do is survive. One day, my wife will not be pregnant, and in coming years I will be forgiven for my genetic propensity to father kids with big square heads.

Conservatives as a group have no such ray of hope to brighten their day.

Your View

Visitor enjoyed the 16th of September fiestas

To The Editor:

On a recent visit to Pecos, I had the delightful opportunity to attend the annual Fiestas Patrias at Santa Rosa Catholic Church.

In an era that finds one searching for an entertainment venue appropriate for all, I was pleasantly surprised to find an inviting family oriented weekend of absolute enjoyment!The ambiance of the fiestas reflected the warmth and good-natured hospitality that the Pecos community is known for. In the spirit of dedication and love for their church, parishioners and friends united together as one and created a night of great fun that included some lively Mariachi, Tejano and dance music, folklorico dancers, and a scrumptious variety of tasty foods, including my favorite, a delicious Philippine dish that consisted of a savory shish-ka-bob set upon a bed of “pansit” (a unique cellophane style noodle).

The hot weather of late summer did not deter the spirit and camaraderie of this lively community. As the adults enjoyed a cold brew and a plate of meaty gorditas, the kids frolicked about on a giant inflatable slide, a Ferris wheel, and everyone’s favorite jumping balloon “el brinca, brinca.” The weekend celebration climaxed to and ending that included the coronation of the Santa Rosa fiesta queen.

It is quite evident that a lot of time, commitment, dedication, and good old-fashioned hard work went into the planning and execution of the fiestas. Kudos to Fr. Manuel Munoz who superbly assembled the entire celebration! The gift that Father Munoz possesses to spiritually unite a community as one and promote such a unique event, merits praise and recognition. The fiestas demonstrate what a church and its parishioners can create under a dedicated and strong leadership, a concept not seen in my city parishes back home.

Pecos may be a small town but it’s filled with big ideas and moreover, big hearts. I look forward to earmarking this annual event on my calendar for next year. MARIO A. ROBLES
El Paso, Tx.

Community thanked for support

To the Editor:

On behalf of my entire family and friends, it’s an honor and privilege to be able to thank you and Reeves County (especially Balmorhea and Pecos) for all the kindness, support and assistance you provided us during our escape from Hurricane Rita. It amazes me how during the worst of times, there are people like you all that still go out and beyond your normal responsibilities to help strangers in need. Coming from Houston with the population close to four million, it restored our faith that there are still so many great people out there simply because they choose to be.

Our return to Houston was pleasantly less exciting compared to our escape out. Total, it was a little over nine hours, but traffic was moving and there were plenty of gas stations and restaurants open along the way. Much different from the 21 hours it originally took us to get from Houston to Balmorhea on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2005. In fact, 11 hours of that were spent in bumper to bumper traffic on Interstate 10 from Hwy 6 in Houston to the City of Columbus. Gas stations and restaurants were closed. Stalled cars littered the interstate road. Some places, I hear, were even charging people just to use their restrooms.

Since returning Monday afternoon and completing some minor clean up and repairs, we’ve listened to a few fellow citizens state to the media that since the storm miraculously missed Houston, the evacuation was not necessary and not worth it. Based on our experience, at least 38 people including myself will have to disagree. Sure the damage was minimal. Sure the almost 70 mile bumper to bumper traffic from Houston to Columbus on Interstate 10 was long, unpleasant and HOT. But as for my family and friends including myself, that chose to evacuate, we experienced something that’s just plain wonderful. The increased bond between family and friends and the unending kindness, love and assistance from everyone in Balmorhea, Pecos and Reeves County.

It’s ironic that barely two weeks prior, all of my family and friends were donating items and volunteering their time to assist the Louisiana evacuees of Hurricane Katrina. We tried to put ourselves in their place, making our decision to help that much even easier. Little did we know that the return was just around the corner. A good lesson to remember. What goes around comes around. And goodness and mercy certainly came around.

Balmorhea, Pecos and Reeves County as a whole may be small in size compared to a city like Houston, but you have some great people there. Charles Eisler, owner of Country Inn Motel was so much more concerned about our safety and comfort that he simply donated all the motel rooms we used. With a total of 38 adults and kids, that was such a wonderful donation and blessing. Thank you Maria Rodriguez, Esmeralda Torez and EMT’s Hazel, Barbara and Teri for contacting us and checking on everyone’s health and well being. During our stay we were able to experience Balmorhea State Park and even enjoy some wonderful home cooked meals away from home courtesy of the citizens of Balmorhea. We are very grateful to Balmorhea ISD, it’s staff and all the volunteers for opening the school cafeteria in order for us to enjoy our meals with dignity and comfort. Your facilities were great and very clean. Everyone we met were compassionate and understanding and we honestly made some great friends along the way. The weather was wonderful, the pace was much slower than we’re used to, but certainly less stressful. It took a little while for us “Houstonians” to get used to people giving friendly waves as they drove by. We didn’t think anyone did that anymore. Thank you Mayor Ruben Fuentez, City Secretary Maria Rodriguez and all the people of Balmorhea.

Ricky Herrera, Emergency Management Services Coordinator, seems like such a long title, but you certainly did a wonderful job. We are grateful for your assistance and providing us with updates regarding the situation. Thank you, the Sheriff’s Department and everyone responsible for the donations of diapers, medicine, clothing and even gas vouchers. It was unexpected and a tremendous help.

You all have made a possible tragic experience into a wonderful one. Everyone went above and beyond to help us feel comfortable. We are forever grateful. After our experience in Balmorhea and Reeves County, leaving was emotionally tough for many of us as well as of your volunteers. We’ve formed some bonds that never would have happened if not for Hurricane Rita. We are glad to be back home and look forward to our next visit. Especially since it’ll likely be under much more pleasant circumstances. Sincerely,
Paulo Ortega (Eisler)
Inventory Accounting Assistant
Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.

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