Rod Miller: Old Men, Fire and Politics in the Big Empty

The herd had stampeded during a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. They scattered so severely that Rimrock, the night rider, dragged into camp to say, "They’re out there in little bunches. Some bunches have three or four in ‘em, some bunches have a dozen. But there are a lot of bunches out there than don’t have any in ‘em.”

RM
Rod Miller

August 27, 20234 min read

Rod miller headshot scaled

The herd had stampeded during a thunderstorm in the middle of the night. They scattered so severely that Rimrock, the night rider, dragged into camp to say…”they’re out there in little bunches. Some bunches have three or four in ‘em, some bunches have a dozen. But there are a lot of bunches out there than don’t have any in ‘em.”

So, we called it a night. Cookie made antelope etouffe’ with mushrooms he found underneath old cowpies. Everyone was hungry, and had seconds.

Around the ol’ campfire, the crew started talking politics. 

Shorty said, “Seems they all want an old man for president. One of ‘em is so old he paints his face orange and is goin’ to jail. He has the teensiest hands, and I don’t think things’ll go well for him inside.”

Hackamore, the buckaroo, chimed in, “And all that other feller does is stumble around and drool on hisseelf. My old uncle acted like that right ‘fore he died. The chickens ate his eyeballs before Aunt Nell could bury him.”

“What is it about these ol’ codgers that folks want ‘em to be president?” Cookie asked, licking sauce from his spoon.

“Well, first off”, Rimrock said, “they ain’t gonna steal yer girlfriend.” He belched and continued,

“And they won’t stay up late getting’ theyselves into mischief.”

Our trail boss straightened up, stirred the fire and offered, “The older I get the better checker player I am. We could use a good checker player in the White House.” His flinty eyes made a turn around the campfire, and he said, “But I don’t wanna hear any o’ you sonsabitches callin’ me old.”

“It sure ain’t like old folks is more trustworthy”, said The Kid, “Hell, the banker in town is crowdin’ eighty an’ the old bastard’ll still rob you blind if you give him half a chance.”

Hank rolled a cigarette, struck a match on his belt buckle and blew out smoke when he said, “What is there, like three hunnert an’ fifty million of us in America an’ these two dodderin’ ol’ farts is the best we can do?”

Hank’s pointed question plunged us all into silence for a bit. Its hard to argue with numbers and you could tell from the faces around the ol’ campfire that he’d struck a nerve.

The Kid offered, “Hell, its always old men who start the wars an’ they always send young kids to fight ‘em. Seems to me if old men cause a war, it oughta be old men who should do the dyin’.” Stetsons bobbed in the circle of firelight as everyone nodded in agreement.

Shorty piped in, “An’ its old men who own all the companies in America. They already have all the money and power. Seems to me they just wanna be president too so they can protect their own bankrolls.”

“Hell, year!”, was the chorus around the fire, “That’s what I’m talkin’ about! What he said.”

“I blame the television”, said Hackamore, “that’s why we have so many old codgers runnin’ things.”

“Its the internet’s fault. It keeps young ‘uns under the old folks’ thumb.” Rimrock added. “It sucks ‘em in so they ain’t payin’ attention.”

Some anonymous voice from the shadows growled, “Its the Russians, or one o’ them commie outfits. That’s who we need to blame.”

Cookie had all the crazy talk he could stomach, so he poured coffee on the fire and kicked dirt on the embers. “Go to bed you knuckleheads”, he pointed to the bedrolls with his spoon. “If you wanna blame anyone for this mess, blame yer own damn selves.”

Share this article

Authors

RM

Rod Miller

Political Columnist