GAVEL GAMUT By Jim Redwine

As this is a family newspaper I cannot recite the W.C. Fields (1880–1946) actual quotation about why he did not drink water. However, after spending two full days removing a winter’s worth of sludge from Peg’s above ground pool I side with W.C. My first clue as to the toxicity of the greenish, quivering mass clinging to the Walmart plastic liner was when my friend Paul Axton, who is a Department of Natural Resources officer, stopped by to retrieve the racoon trap he had loaned me. Paul smelled the acrid fumes rising from the pool and walked over to investigate.

“Jim have you notified the E.P.A. about this concoction? It may require Congressional oversight to remove this junk. If this gets into the wrong hands terrorists may be able to use it for untold mayhem.”

“No, Paul, but Peg has already ordered me to get in that knee-deep filth and prepare the pool for swimming. According to Peg, as the man of JPeg Ranch, the gods have ordained it is my duty. Peg has already cleared the disposal with the Health Department and the Department of Defense. Thanks for your concern; would you like to join me?”

“Gee, I would but I told my sister, Judy, I would help her with her racoon problem. But feel free to call me any other time.”

In past years Peg has just bypassed my reluctant involvement in removing the winter’s accumulation of dead organisms, crop dust, and floating debris. However, Peg thoughtlessly fell off the ladder when she started to clean it last week and re-injured the knee she broke skiing 22 years ago. She claims it hurts and Dr. Matthew Lee took her side and ordered her on bed rest for two weeks. To make matters worse, Dr. Lee then sent her to an orthopedic surgeon who agreed.

I gently reminded her she had skied on down a huge mountain in Utah when she broke her leg and maybe she could just ignore the medical profession’s opinion and the pain. I cannot repeat her response due once again to that family newspaper thing.

Anyway, my weekend was filled with two days of shop vacs, mops, Clorox, white vinegar, long handled brooms and water hoses. It was so gay to watch globs of unidentified multi-colored crude having the consistency and smell of the contents of used diapers ooze off the plastic floor through the vacuum, into the bucket then hoisted over the pool wall into the yard. My guess is every varmint within miles will think a grand smorgasbord has been laid out for them. Of course, the grass immediately began to wither and turn yellow.

Well, Gentle Reader, I know Peg’s injury and its unfortunate consequences may concern you, but, do not worry, I’ll be alright.

For more Gavel Gamut articles go to www.jamesmredwine.com

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