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By Gael Montana
Tedious Salt & Pepper Panther
We dodge and duck the inevitability of the ever-looming 'Golden Years' but they will prevail upon us all and, these days, the 'gold' (or lack of it) is the operative word. My husband and I listen patiently to pundits spew invaluable advice on how to manage the eventual bankruptcy of old age, but they all seem to miss our personal mark, somehow. 'Keep that chunk of money in the bank', 'put it in the market and let it 'work' for you!', ‘bury it in the yard’, blah, blah, blah, ad nauseum.

Ok…WHAT chunk of money are they talking about? The one we spent on organic vegetables last week? Everyone knows organics keep you healthy for many years, as opposed to the genetically engineered ‘freaktables’ that have human/sheep/alien genes in them. But what good does that do if you can’t afford to get old? The huge corporate farms are striving to develop produce that will tell them when they need water & fertilizer then pick themselves and walk to market on their own.

Back to the alleged ‘CHUNK of money’ that has, over the years, become somewhat of a sliver: we worry over what to do with it and how to supplement our waning years so as to have lots of fun and frolic without the worry of complete financial collapse. Raise a flag, we’ve finally figured it out! It's really pretty clear-cut and easy. Collapse early and avoid the rush!

Here’s a basic five-point plan…
1.) Get a shotgun, a bunch of rock salt, a few boxes of fine wine and a rocking chair for your starter portfolio.
2.) Secede from the Union, ASAP. You can probably find a lawyer among the 75,000 on TV advertising their expertise in getting everyone out of everything. If you are convincing in pointing out the veracity of this strategy there should be no problem retaining him/her.
3.) Declare war on the U.S.
4.) Surrender immediately.
5.) Go on foreign aid.

You'll be set up for life, get your barn re-built and, if you're lucky, they'll even build a wall around your place!

We actually figured all of this out in Luckenbach with the wise guidance of Hondo Crouch back in or about the summer of 1974. Sadly, by the time we all took turns buying one another a beer to celebrate our breakthrough, we forgot to implement the plan. It was a wonderful idea then and is probably even more workable, now. I'm not sure exactly how the rules of engagement would shake down, but chances are they would be much more fun than they are terrifying. I'm thinking banjo music for an anthem and an organic cotton shopping bag on a cedar tree for a flag. Keep it simple so as not to cultivate needless worry.

Ok, so maybe that's just a little simplistic (ya' THINK?!) but the concept is definitely do-able. We guess secession is not the answer but riding our horses in smaller circles could be. Staying home and spending our energy on our own little nests will still yield the best return, save gas and make us SO much happier! It’s a pretty good bet we’ll be too busy to be telling everybody else ‘what’, as well. There's definitely something about the instant gratification of tending your own garden that makes the world a little brighter every day. My greatest joy is walking out our door in the morning to see the new flowers, herbs and leaves in the Spring...everything so happy and green. Picking a fresh tomato, a new shallot & a leaf of basil for breakfast and eating it in the clear morning air is indescribably delicious in every way. On the other hand, dragging a bag of tasteless, 'on the vine' tomatoes from the grocery store, storing them for days then trying to salt them up for juice is just plain trying. Trying TOO HARD, in my book. Here we are in an area that has at least nine months of growing season and we're paying more for vegetables than we are for gas.

Back to the point...we'll have nice fresh vegetables and time to tend them when we're not burning up the highways & stressing our nerves to make enough money to buy our food along with the gas to fetch it home safely from miles and miles away. There won't be weird stuff on or IN it, and we can feed the overage to chickens that will give us eggs and meat for our trouble. There's enough venison on the hoof to keep us in meat from now on, and I daresay a pig in the smokehouse is no problem either. Hogs are quite busy in our area, still. Squirrel dumplings? YOU BET! There's enough forage-able food and medicine in these old hills to keep us engaged in healthy pursuits for all of our remaining years. So, there's our plan. We’ll try to stay busy and healthy and connect with the world we live in on it's own terms instead of some nebulous ‘style-plan’ from some trendy magazine. Take care of the land & it will take care of you.

Not a 'liberal' view, not a 'conservative' view...nothing new or partisan about it. It's just a truth we cannot deny. If you think poison in and on our food is working, check it against the graphs in the medical community. It’s pretty frightening what kind of odd spikes are showing up in our health profiles; particularly in the good old USA. Monsanto, in their ever generous attempt to feed the world, has now developed beets that resist it's own, deadly, 'round-up' systemic poison, which means we'll have sugar full of round-up...OH JOY. I think that translates into poisonous systemic poison, a shoe-in award winner at the department of redundancy department. Meanwhile, if you plant your crops from your own seeds, harvested from the vegetables Monsanto developed, they’ll burn your crops out. Not so friendly now, Bucko.

Ok that's it...either you get the picture, or you don't...but we figure dirt to be our best bet for a lasting investment. Plus, it's a place to be planted when you take that last big step off the edge. It's a very modern 'win-win', 'no-brainer', 'sound-byte' kind of thing and we like the idea of minding our own business and alleviating the burden from others of minding it for us. I guess it has to do with getting old and in the way, but being home at last is the thing we aspire to in the end. It just takes a little mercy and a lot of patience.

Copyright Gael Montana

'The View from Under the Bus' May 26, 2008 Column

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