Monday, June 20, 2011

Bent knees ... Both ways

I was talking to a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago at a picnic, and he asked me how in the world I wound up in the place I am at today... he was referring to my BBQ ventures and the success I have been enjoying .

Most of my friends know me as a  former hard rock miner, a journalist or a government affairs specialist. Not many people knew my hobby and passion for grilling and BBQ -- let alone my passion for brewing beer. A little more than a year ago that changed when my brother Bobby asked me to share some BBQ secrets on a blog he wanted to start... until then, I pretty much kept that stuff to myself. Sure, I blogged about it occasionally over the past few tears, but it was nothing really.

Well, as some of you know, Bobby and I took it to the next level and decided to enter into a season of competitive BBQing, and then that led to a crazy winter of cooking for friends and friends of friends, which then led to me securing some equipment, commercial kitchen space, a catering and vending license and insurance in an effort to make a little money at this thing ... and now that has become a little uncomfortable because now I have an investment to maintain -- or, if you like -- this animal to tame ... but, however you choose to look at it... it's both exciting and terrifying.

So, I answered my friend with an explanation of how I was feeling about everything and the best way to explain it was to refer to the forward of one of my favorite books: "Illusions" by Richard Bach. (I think I told my friend the passage was in "One" another great Richard Bach book, but I was drinking beer... which is an allowable foul because it was a picnic and I was cooking for fun, but anyway)... the forward starts out with Bach explaining how he felt like the book illusions came through the wall like animal grabbing him by the throat and refusing to let go until he put the words to paper.

My new business is doing that to me...

Bach goes on with hand written notes -- presumably an outline for chapters the book -- that detail a process of giving in and letting go to the forces of *whatever* and riding the current with grace and ease to wherever it takes you. In this outline process Bach creates a character who masters the process of letting go and becomes the Messiah who tries desperately to explain to his followers the simplicity of the process ...  the Messiah speaking to crowd uses the analogy of life in a river...

To make a long story short: the life at the bottom of a river clings to rocks for survival. It's a tough life yet survival instinct will hold you back if you give it all the power you can muster, but eventually all creatures loosen their grip to the rocks and get swept away in the current -- some at the beginning of life and some at the end.

At first it looks painful as the creatures are swept downstream banging violently against the rocks, but they are soon pulled into the current and away from all that and then it's just a matter of riding it out and taking on each new thing as it comes your way... (well that's what I took away from that forward years ago.... I was going to re-read the passage tonight, but one of my kids probably has my copy, and amazon only let me read so far without buying a new copy).

So what does this have to do with Bent knees?

I can count the times I have ridden a horse on one hand, but every time I did, the horse always tried to get the best of me... one time my uncle Larry put me up on a pregnant horse who wasn't too happy about giving me a ride, when I got on her she took off across the pasture like a scalded ape. I was bouncing so bad I was terrified... then I heard my uncle cry out "Bend your knees to absorb the shock" and I managed to do just that. My whole ride changed at that moment... I was in heaven and gliding across a pasture at lightning speed...

Well, that was until I realized that mare had bloated her stomach when we tightened the saddle, then she relaxed at full gallop, the saddle slid down and I fell off that horse and rolled for about 50 yards... as that accident played itself out I went from Bent knees for shock to Bent knees in prayer...

That's kind of where I am at right now... full gallop, full prayer and knees fully Bent... BOTH ways ;-)


  1. I have ridden horses since before I could walk, and I LOVE this story. I can really see your uncle yelling out, 'bend your knees son, bend your knees"!

    Don't forget when you are bending your knees to enjoy the ride :)

  2. Thanks Ali... that certainly is the challenge isn't it?

  3. I am watching your adventures in BBQ with pleasure. It is good to see a friend's idea catch fire. I thought we would always be newspaper reporters and still miss those days but I suppose if we had stayed, there wouldn't be time for your BBQ, or my books. One of these days one of my ideas will take off like yours did. Meanwhile I'm having fun trying different things I would never had had time for, "back in the day." Keep it up, "butt baron." See you soon.

  4. Jeff: I would like to ask you how things went over the 4th and what we are doing coming up. I am not on Facebook anymore but my number is 765-2049. I am always outside, and just had a visit from Toad, but call sometime this week and we can talk about past and present events. The stickman

  5. I wish I was closer geographically to cheer you on in real life! So proud of you for hanging on and paying attention to where life wants you to go!