I always said my city-bred-and-born kid couldn’t hit a bull’s booty with a handful of beans, but never, in my wildest dreams did I think his good-for-nothing redneck dad would try to turn him into an elk hunter. AND, I figured even he—the ex-husband, I mean—wouldn’t be so dim-witted as to try to teach him sharp-shooting in Yellowstone National Park. Evidently some things, like stupidity, have no limits.
The way I found out about it was when I got a call from a Yellowstone Park Ranger. When I saw “Wyoming” in caller ID I wasn’t going to answer but then I remembered Jimmy, my son, was on a trip out west somewhere for his summer with Doufas—I mean Jared, Jimmy’s so-called father.
Anyway, I’d just returned from HEBs and was packing away groceries when the call came.
“Ma’am, is Jimmy David Marshall your son?”
“Yes! Oh my gosh!” I freaked out. “Is he hurt? Is he in the hospital? Tell me what’s going on!”
“No, ma’am, he isn’t injured, but his father is in custody, and you need to come and get the boy.”
Of course I drilled the Ranger about what was going on, and it turns out, Jared, the idjit, had given Jimmy a shotgun. He said they were in the Wild West and they would have to kill their own food. So Jimmy, all ten years old of him, took a shot at the backside of a bull elk, which, within the confines of the Park, is frowned upon as you might imagine. Fortunately the Park Police weren’t as IQ challenged as Jared and took him to the Yellowstone City Jail as the custodial parent.
Unbelievable. No, really. This was unbelievable.
I asked the Ranger if I could talk to Jared. He said he’d arrange for him to call me. So far he had refused to call me, but the Ranger said he would persuade him.
“You moron,” I screamed, when he finally did call. “How on earth did Jimmy get into the Park far enough to even see an elk?”
“Wull,” he mumbled. “We was just sight-seeing in my Jeep. I didn’t know the kid would actually try to shoot something. We was just play-acting about being in the Wild West.”
“Now what am I supposed to do?” I really couldn’t imagine how I would get from Oatmeal Texas to Yellowstone National Park. “Are there flights that go there?”
“How am I supposed to know? You have to get me out of here. There are court costs and all kinds of fines—this is a federal crime, you know, and I’m not even the one who shot the gun.”
That did it. He blamed the kid.
After some more of my detailed clinical diagnosis of his mental capabilities, I told Jared I would notify Monica, his current squeeze, and inform her that if she wanted him back she would have to send by certified mail the required amount of money, and then trust him, if she was so inclined, to drive his sorry behind back to wherever she wanted him to be.
I’ll spare you the details of the long trip out there, the costs involved, and Jimmy’s tears as we drove away. Suffice it to say, Jimmy and I had several long heart-to-hearts during those more than 1390 miles. I tried to be nice, but my son is quite intuitive and may have picked up the slightest notes of disrespect for his dear daddy.
Maybe Jared will get out in time to take Jimmy for the summer. Next year.
Photo by Carl W. Soerens