Powell, WY


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Doug Blough

My love affair with old song lyrics knows no bounds. My empathy for those too young to have ever tapped toes to a Guess Who beat is limitless. If I can help in some small way, then as Simon and Garfunkel offered, “Like a bridge over troubled waters, I will lay me down.”

favorite Simpsons character is Sideshow Bob, a cerebral, spike-haired convict obsessed with killing Bart for sending him to prison. Sideshow has a recurring habit of stepping on rakes with the handles smacking him in the face. Once at a rake factory, he must have stepped on 20 in succession, muttering under his breath each time.

Many have urged me to write a “bad-luck biography” of the unlikely, maddening events that transpire in my life. And I would, but I’m convinced everyone just assumes I make this stuff up for laughs.

good song lyric is worth a thousand pictures. Particularly those of my beloved golden-oldies that can suddenly grab me, shake me, and throw me right back into a distant place and time I was fairly certain I never wanted to visit again. But once the melodious transportation is complete, I’m almost happy to be sad again.

You may have noticed I love plagiarizing old song lyrics. I’m a reasonably adept wordsmith, but often no words say it better than my favorite songs. Last month, lyrics from “She’s in Love with a Rodeo Man” testified to the longevity of my old dog and old truck. The tradition continues …

have to remind myself that writing is a gift, just like those of an accomplished musician, artist, or a mime. I had been taking this gift for granted when that irrepressible, uplifting family, the Simpsons, again brought perspective. This time it was via rascally Bart, encouraging little sister Lisa not to give up on her own journalistic bent.

To my surprise, a lot can be learned at a farmers’ market. I rarely go to these open-air, health-food festivals, but last Thursday I thought I’d “kill two kidneys with one stone” as they say. My brother, Jess, called to say his wife, Marti, had cooked me a lamb roast and they were coming from Powell to the farmers’ market. Hey, I’d have met them at the city landfill for free, cooked food.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, sharks are munching limbs like M&Ms. At North Carolina beaches, there were eight unprovoked shark attacks in June — two at one beach where a teenage boy and girl both lost left arms only 90 minutes apart. It’s gotten so bad a man was arrested for yelling “shark” in a crowded theater.

Today I honor two grand old dames who help make me complete: my dog and my truck, whose deaths have been greatly exaggerated. The ’78 Ford F-150 and 14-year-old Trina are both long in the tooth and piston and both recently spent time in the repair shop. Some have suggested putting both of them down, but as long as they’re both eagerly and cheerfully firing up for the next ride, the borrowed time will continue.  

With the precision of a special op, Memorial Day completed its mission and retreated into obscurity until called on again. Many uninformed Americans don’t even know this holiday’s origins, but that’s what I’m here for. Educating the masses isn’t just my job, it’s my duty.

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