All of my life I’ve been hearing about how I need to get my priorities straight.
Heck I don’t even know what my priorities are, much how to straighten them out.

I decided that I would do some research and try to straighten them out, in the event they were found to be crooked.
I questioned my wife as to what priorities were, only to receive her ‘Good grief you’re about ignorant’ look.

After helping her get her eyes rolled back into the proper perspective, I decided it would probably be best to search elsewhere for the answer.

Walking out the door and deciding it was such a nice day I took a little drive, which caused me to pass right by the Over the Cliff Bar and Grill.
The Over the Cliff Bar and Grill  was so named because the special of the day was whatever fell from the cliff that hung out over the bar.

Inside, I was met by the bartender. A  tall wiry built fellow with several scars, tattoos and at least four teeth, his name was Lude,  I’m not sure if he was named that for the way he tries to pick up women or for his use of prescription medications, or maybe both.
The only woman in two states that could tolerate him for more than fifteen minutes sober or drunk was Lynette the barmaid, short order cook, waitress, part-time bouncer, and taxidermist, if things got to rough for Lude he would holler for her to take care of it.

There was many a time when I would walk in and see Lynette throwing a poor slob out with one hand while skinning a slightly flatter than usual possum with her other hand and teeth.
Lynette was the only person I knew who carried a recipe book with her to the zoo.

On two occasions I actually saw the softer side of Lynette. One was  when child had wrecked his bicycle in front of the bar.
“Splat!  A little tobaccy juice works wonders on scrapes like that, why my paw used to do that for us if’n a bobcat or something got a holt of us.” She would say raising her leg up so the kid could see the scars on her calf.

The other occasion was when a stranger informed her that she was the prettiest woman he’d seen in a while, which lasted right up until she found out he had just gotten out of prison, and the bar was his first stop.

As I found a decent barstool and sat down she walked up and slapped me on the back so hard my eyes bulged out about three inches from my face.

“Armadillo’s the special today.” She said with a grin.

“No thanks.” I replied, putting my eyes back into their respective sockets. “I just ate a few minutes ago.”

“Bet it wasn’t as good as my cooking.” She said.

Knowing when to avoid a confrontation is one thing betraying my wife’s cooking is another, I prepared myself for the lumps that were about to come, looked her dead in the eye and said. “Of course not, why you’re the best cook in the whole world.”

“Yep and you had all better remember that.” She said looking around the bar.

I learned never argue with any one that can skin an alligator, with a nail file while whistling.

“Well are ya just gonna set there with that stupid look on yer face or are ya gonna order something?” She asked.

“I’ll have a beer.” I said.

“You look like you’re in deep thought about something.” Lude said looking up from the magazine he was reading.

“Yeah I’m trying to get my priorities straight but I don’t seem to know what they are.”

“Priorities?  Boy that’s kinda deep.  Hey, Lynette what are priorities?” Lude responded.

“What the hell do I look like a damn dictionary?” She asked.

“Dang I haven’t seen her like this in a while, what’s she in such a good mood for?” I asked.

“Her sister that won the lottery is coming to visit and she’s supposed to be bringing her a big check. She’s been happy as a lark like that all day.”

“What was that thing she mentioned looking like?” I asked.

“Some kinda bird or something I suppose.” Lude responded.

“It’s a book ya idiots,” She yelled from behind a pile of animal skins. “Ya know the kind ya look words up and it tells ya what they mean. Aw hell, ya couldn’t spell priorities no how, it means stuff ya have to do by means of which is the most important.”

After a moment or two of deep thought, which culminated with my falling off the barstool, I realized that my first priority was to quit falling asleep on barstools.

After getting that one straight I decided to head for the house, and see what other priorities I could come up with.

After about fifteen minutes worth of thinking which as fate would have it, was the exact time that it took to get to the house from the bar, I decided that my first priority should be to clean out my tackle box.

As I studied my tackle box, I realized that I should make sure of which lures I used and which ones I didn’t. Wanting to be precise I decided to go fishing just as sort of a way to be sure of what to keep and what to discard into my other box. While making the long walk out to my truck I realized that I couldn’t go fishing without a fishing license, so I figured I would have to make a stop by the store on my way to the creek.

I cranked up my old Chevy fishing truck and drove slowly to the store upon arriving at the store I realized that my first priority should have been to fix the brakes on the old truck.  Luckily no damage was done to the telephone pole that I ran into while executing my emergency stopping procedure. By the time I had gotten into the store and had renewed my fishing license word had already gotten out about the phone pole, being a man of priorities I knew that I had to leave before the phone people got there.

Starting my old fishing truck I headed out for the creek after crossing two ditches, a backyard or two, and Old man Richardson’s concrete barrier fence, I arrived at the creek. As I winched my truck out of the creek I noticed the cable was a bit frayed so I thought that replacing it should be my first priority when I got home.

After an uneventful episode of fishing, I loaded up my gear and decided to head for home.  Upon my arrival I accidentally ran over the mailbox in front of our house. I wasn’t too worried about it since old man Richardson was having enough of a conniption about his fence and his nervous cattle that he wouldn’t notice his mailbox.

My wife looked at me as I walked through the door as if she were surprised to see me back alive again. She always looks that way when I drive my fishing truck.

“Where have you been?” she asked, in her usual I see I can’t collect on my insurance policy yet, tone of voice.

“I’ve been out getting my priorities straight.” I said.

Oh really!” She said with just a hint of sarcasm in her voice.

“Yep, and I’m going to start on them right away.”

“Well I hope one of them is fixing old man Richardson’s fence, where you ran through it a while ago.”

“Heck it aint like his cows ever come to this side of the pasture anymore.” I replied

“He does seem to have some weird cows.” She said sarcastically.

“Yes, yes he does” I agreed.

“Well I reckon while I’m fixing the fence I may as well replace his mail box too.”

“Why don’t you fix the brakes on that truck while you’re at it?” She asked.

To someone that doesn’t fish there is no comprehension of the true meaning of fishing trucks.

After fixing the mailbox, I walked over to the fence, it was actually a concrete barrier that for some reason only separated my property from the Richardson farm. Luckily the barrier had only been ran over and was knocked out of place by about thirty feet, so all I had to do was move it back in place, Unlike the last time when the barrier had disintegrated upon collision with the front of my fishing truck.

Old Man Richardson came strolling across his pasture just as I was finishing up with his fence.

I could tell just by the look on his face that his religion was wearing a might thin.

Why don’t you fix them brakes on that truck?” He asked. “And quit running over everything in God’s creation.”

“Well that is one of my priorities.” I said, I didn’t tell him I just couldn’t remember which one.

“My cows is so shook up they only give cheese these days.” He informed me.

“Great, I’ll take five pounds of cheddar.” I said trying to lighten the moment.

I would never have thought that a ninety-eight year old man with emphysema could run that fast for that long. After about a quarter of a mile he dropped the pry bar he was chasing me with, and after about another quarter mile he stopped running. Judging from the language he used, I think he dropped his religion right after the cheese remark.

After fixing the fence and the mailbox and helping get Mr. Richardson into the ambulance, which wasn’t a pretty sight.

“Boy that old feller sure puts up a fight when we try to get that straight jacket on him.
I guess he’s to that age when he goes out of his head farely regularly.
Talking bout flying trucks, anti aircraft guns, and neighbors from hell.
He also said something about wanting to skin you alive.”  Said one of the paramedics.

“He sure is a strange bird.” Said the other.

“He goes into these little tirades every now and then.” I said.

“Yeah we see he has a history of nervous breakdowns.” The first paramedic said. “You believe he told us his cows were giving cheese instead of milk.”

“Heh heh heh,” I laughed. “Everybody knows you have to make the cheese from milk, I think he just needs to get his priorities straight.”

I think I’ll make fixing the brakes on that fishing truck my first priority, right after I finish my nap.

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