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With these best friends, who needs enemies
It’s the Pitts
By Lee Pitts

As a Cub Scout it was my “best friend” who unintentionally informed the Den Mother that it was I who carved our troop number (205) in her antique mahogany coffee table. The Den Mother, who happened to also be my mom, promptly took away my new Cub Scout knife.

In high school my “best friend” accidentally in-formed the principal that I was the juvenile delinquent who threw the egg that splattered egg yolk on his daughter’s new dress. Later in life it was again my “best buddy” who, in talking with my wife, let it slip that her last birthday present from me had actually been a door prize at the grand opening of the new tractor dealership in town.

With “best friends” like these who needs enemies? I thought I had the worst best friends until I heard about the two best friends who were deer hunting when one of them shot a mountain lion. Now, attitudes towards our natural world have changed as more people moved from the common sense of the country to the madness of the big city.

Before the Sierra Club, Nature Conser-vancy and Greenpeace began to enlighten us and meddle in Mother Nature’s business some animals, weeds and fish were perceived differently than they are now. I remember as a kid going every year to a reservoir in the high Sierras with my grandparents to fish for trout.

One summer our vacation plans were altered because the Fish and Game Department agreed with fishermen that suckers were trash fish. So they drained the reservoir to kill all the suckers and then allowed the reservoir to refill before restocking it with real fish. Now that same agency is trampling on citizen’s rights in an effort to “save” those same suckers that they tried to make extinct.

Likewise, a couple decades ago mountain lions were seen as a threat to pets, livestock, kids and joggers. But after an intense public relations campaign lions are now a threatened species that must be protected at all costs. The problem is that not everyone got the memo ... like the best friend who shot and killed the mountain lion.

The hunter soon found himself shackled, strip searched and berated by the law enforcement officials who read him his rights. With the dead lion stretched out on the bed of the hunter’s pickup the lion killer’s “best friend” piped up and said to the officers, “I don’t know what the big deal is. It’s not like he hasn’t done it before.”

The problem is that rules change but some folks don’t. Like society’s attitude towards drinking and driving. Whereas drinking and driving is now a serious and life-altering offense, that wasn’t always the case. But drinking and driving is now a very serious offense. As it should be. There is nothing funny about drunk driving.

John changed with the times but not the cow buyer that he used to haul to a weekly cattle auction several hours away from home.

Once after a sale they stopped at a local watering hole to get a bite to eat before making the lengthy journey. Whereas John only had one glass of wine his cow-buying friend bellied up to the bar and painted his tonsils to alleviate any discomforts of the upcoming long ride home.

John wasn’t guilty of driving drunk but he was guilty of speeding and was pulled over for the offense. The highway patrolman and John had concluded their negotiations as to how fast he’d been driving when the officer seemed to take an interest in John’s cow-buying buddy who was NOT in the full upright position in the passenger seat. When the officer awakened the cow buyer he asked him what he’d been up to. The cow buyer sleepily pointed to John and with breath that would tarnish metal he said, “I’ve been drinking with him.”

I swear this is the truth ... the cop then put the sober John in his cruiser and had the drunk cow buyer drive John’s car and follow them to the station.

This farm news was published in the May 17, 2006 issue of Farm World.