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Tuesday, July 18, 2000

Smokey Briggs


By Smokey Briggs

Put a little adventure

in your life

I took the family camping over the weekend.

Camping is good for the soul.

For starters, it provides excellent opportunities for contemplation.

Saturday night I got plenty of contemplating done. My beautiful bride and perfect offspring had already retired to the tent so I climbed up a nearby hill and plopped my contemplation muscle down on a big rock.

There was a breeze on top of that rock in direct contrast to the small cactus-free zone the tent was pitched on so contemplating looked pretty good. A nearly full moon gave enough light to read by and the overall beauty and magnificence of Big Bend was staggering. So was the temperature.

So I sat and contemplated.

It occurred to me, there on that rock, that one of the big problems we face as a species is one we have created _ a pure lack of adventure.

Adventure, of one sort or another, has always been mankind's companion. Somewhere, deep inside our hearts and minds, there is a need for adventure.

Kids might not be so captivated by crime, and drugs, and other things illegal, if the rest of their life was not boring.

Whether we like it or not, crime does provide a certain amount of adventure. If you fail (get caught), there is a very real penalty. There is a thrill involved in doing something while others try to keep you from doing it.

Much of the adventure God packed into this world has been banished by our ancestors.

Even before man was man (if you subscribe to Darwin's theory in some form) his life was adventurous. Of course back then, the threat of being eaten by all the well-equipped predators was the source of adventure.

A couple of near misses by lions, wolves and giant snakes would probably take care of the most adventurous soul's need for excitement. Even a generation or two back survival required more skill, more luck, and more work. Life simply demanded more, and in the process, adventure was abundant.

I am convinced that man has an innate need for adventure of some kind. For a challenge. For something that makes success uncertain when success matters. To some degree, that challenge must be physical.

The challenge of a spreadsheet, no matter how fraught with peril and evil, just doesn't cut it.

Walking up a rattlesnake, four hours from any medical attention, in the middle of the Big Bend… well, that's adventure. It is also good for your aerobic conditioning all though I'm not sure how to categorize that little bit of exercise in my workout journal.

"Five minutes sprinting while screaming," is the best I've come up with.

When I fell in a heap into the thorny arms of an ocotillo cactus with my chest heaving for oxygen, I knew I had quenched my thirst for adventure. At least for the time being. All that was left to do was stop the bleeding and treat for shock.

As I sat on that rock and contemplated, and worked at picking the thorns out of my hands, I realized that the world would be a better place if more folks went camping.

There is no small amount of adventure packed into a good family camping trip. You simply need to tailor the trip to the amount of adventure you need.

Here are a few guidelines:

• Always take the family. Take cousins, aunts, and brother-in-laws if possible. The more relatives, the more adventure.

• Take lots of shovels, rope and come-a-longs.

• Always choose the roads marked _ 4-wheel-drive only.

• Never take a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. 1973 Impala station wagons with leaking radiator hoses add to the adventure aspect. Air conditioning is another adventure-ruining luxury. So is soap.

• Have your two youngest kids help you pitch the tent.

• Never bring mosquito repellent. It ruins the atmosphere.

• Camp during hunting season. Take a rifle and don't bring enough food. Disable the wagon deep in the national forest and make your family depend on your hunting skills, or their gathering skills, for food. The looks on their faces on day 4 when you drag a deer carcass into camp will beat any Christmas smile you have ever seen.

• Camp the desert in the summer and Montana in the winter.

• Only bring one roll of toilette paper.

By following these simple rules, you can have a very adventurous trip. By the time you return to the mundane world of computers and air conditioning, your body's natural desire for adventure will have been fulfilled for a time.

So will the kiddos.

School and homework will sound fine. And when hoodlums tease them for being sissies when they won't use a little dope, they can pull up their pants leg and show them where the rattler bit them, or where dad slipped with the hammer while driving plastic tent stakes into pure rock.

Or, they might just jab the offending oaf with a sharp stick like they learned to do while hunting lizards for breakfast.

So take the family camping. It's good for everybody.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Smokey Briggs is the editor and publisher of the Pecos Enterprise whose column appears on Tuesdays. He can be e-mailed at:

Your View

Tarzan visitor enjoyed Pecos hospitality

Dear Editor:
A few weeks ago, I set out from Tarzan, Texas to go to the big city of Pecos. I was surprised at the courtesies afforded me especially at the Oriental Musuem. I spent four hours in the place and can't remember when I enjoyed anything any more that seeing the OLD WEST right before my eyes. I had a good evening meal at the Truck Stop on 1 20 and then went to church in the town.

You folks have a lot of history to be proud of and also some that a church going feller would not like to see take place again.

This letter to the editor is just to say, thanks to all of you Pecosites for putting up with a Tarzan resident.

lncidentally,our berg was named after the jungle character of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Been left up to me it would have been called Weissmuller cause he was the only real Tarzan. There are 11 souls in our city and we generally always know when someone leaves.

I like it like that.

Tarzan, Texas

Unfortunate mistake is a girls worst nightmare

Dear Editor:
This unfortunate mistake has been a girls worst nightmare come true. Being a believer in Our Lord Jesus Christ, I have drawn my strength and healing to cope with this event in my life. The peace and understanding God has given me has enabled me to forgive the "error" that was made and the overcome and rise above.

I thank my loving family and friends for their unconditional love and for supporting me through this experience.


Local sheriff's dept. deputy resigns

Dear Editor:
The intent of this letter is to inform you of some of the reasons for my resignation from the Reeves County Sheriffs Office. I have been a loyal, dependable employee for 7 1/2 years. I work with a department that is as well trained and efficient as any in this area. The following are some of the reasons why I must now leave not only this department, but also Reeves County.

1) The current Commissioner's Court has decided that only one department, the Reeves County Detention Center, is worthy of their support and attention. I believe that Commissioners Tarin and Rayos are concerned about the entire county; they are consistently out-voted by the rest of the Commissioner's Court.

2) The Reeves County Sheriffs Department has been consistently underpaid and poorly equipped because of budget constraints from Commissioner's Court. This department is necessary according to state law and is the only way that the Detention Center even exists. The Detention Center is legally only an extension of the County Jail. The two departments should have the same pay scale. The employees of both departments are all working under the authority of Sheriff Gomez.

3) The morale of every county department, with the exception of the Detention Center, and Judge Galindo's office, is extremely low with employees actively seeking jobs elsewhere. The last publicly announced pay increase at the Detention Center caused four Reeves County Jailers to apply at the Detention Center and also started most Deputy Sheriffs to start job searching elsewhere. Conum'ssioner's Court has repeatedly stated that they must pay good salaries at the Detention Center to retain qualified personnel. However, they refuse to pay adequate salaries to keep qualified Sheriff s Department personnel. I hope that the citizens of Reeves County are aware that their Conunissioner's Court places a priority on Federal prisoners and is not concerned about the life, safety, and property of its citizens.

In conclusion, I wish to say that I am saddened that a county with so many good people are led by leaders with only one vision. The Detention Center is a wonderful achievement, but should not be the expense of the rest of the county. Commissioner's Court must wake up, select other visions, and help this count retain its skilled people in every department. The employees of the Reeves County Detention Center are deserving of their salaries, but other county employees deserve to be paid well also.


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