I’ve written about my son Mike Blakely (mikeblakely.com), before, who is a singer/songwriter/western novelist, not to mention a nonchalant, bon vivant gallivant…and man about town. What that means is that he has followed the family tradition of avoiding conventional employment. He recently was invited by a large corporate firm to accompany some VIP clients on a wild river rafting “bonding experience” in Utah. During the day they shot the rapids and at night a gourmet chef prepared meals while he and another musician entertained around the campfire and sipped tequila until bedtime or sunrise, whichever came first. The area was so remote and the one-way water so swift that the only way out in an emergency was several days downstream or straight up out of the canyons by helicopter. But what could go wrong? The second day they found out. A lady accidently stepped on a rattlesnake’s head. At least they think it was accidently, hardly anyone does this on purpose anymore. The snake rattled which startled her and she jumped off but continued to run in place without progress. The rattler then struck her ankle and injected some venom worse than the brand of Tequila they had been drinking. A chopper was called on the emergency phones the rafting company carried and she was airlifted to civilization.

The next day a light sprinkle driven by a cold wind raced down a canyon where they had just pitched camp for the night. Another young lady fell on some slippery rocks and broke her arm. They wanted to send her out by chopper too but she was a tough one and said put a splint on it and let her finish the trip. They called and talked to an EMT about it. “What’s the prognosis?” asked the former Navy Seal Medic. The guide said, “She broke her arm in three places.” The EMT specialist said, “Tell her to stay out of those places.” 

You get no sympathy from a former Navy Seal. He OK’d the use of a splint and told them to call if the pain got too bad and they ran out of Tequila. She made it home without a whimper.

Recently Mike was invited to entertain at a Dove Hunt in West Texas, again around the campfire, this time with Johnny Gringo, a fellow musician. This hunt was attended by George W. Bush, Laura Bush, and Carl Rove. Joe Biden was busy. It turns out Carl Rove is quite the entertainer, with stories that regaled the guys and gals around the campfire. He says the secret service wouldn’t let Cheney hunt with them. Instead they sent him to another county and even disarmed him to protect other hunters. Cheney still managed to snarl down his limit.

Such is the life of the modern day troubadour; wine, women and song. In my day we had to be content with Metrical, same old gal and Sing Along With Mitch. 

Doc Blakely is a humorist and motivational speaker who now resides in the Hill Country after living in Wharton 47 years. For more information, visit www.docblakely.com.

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