Follow Me to the Senior Center High Crimes and Misdemeanors

By Carl and Jo Ann Hauser
When you are over sixty, it seems like you are always going to a doctor or a dentist. Unfortunately in the last few months I’ve had to make several trips to the dentist’s office. If you haven’t been for a while, they’ve made some changes. One office actually had no magazines in their waiting room; instead they had a large video screen explaining all the wonderful things they could do for you and your smile. They also have small video screens in their exam rooms. So with nothing better to do than contemplating my impending doom, I started reading my chart posted on the screen.  As I got to the bottom in small print it said, “Pleasant adult male.”  Now if I hadn’t had my eyes fixed a few weeks before, I wouldn’t have been able to read it, and maybe I wasn’t supposed to, but there it was . . . “Pleasant adult male.” So then I started wondering how many categories they had for patients, and were there better ones like, “This guy’s a stud” or “She’s really cute.” Were there bad ones like, “She’s a screamer,” “Grumpy old man,” “This one’s a crybaby,” or “She bites!” I didn’t get any exciting categories; I got “Pleasant adult male.” And to think I used to be known as “Mister Excitement.”

Now, this month’s topic is high crimes and misdemeanors, and I’m guessing that in most states if someone stuck their fist in your mouth (like a dentist), it would be at least a misdemeanor. Doctors are always ordering you to take your clothes off, so if you are over sixty that would probably get you charged with indecent exposure. But we won’t be talking about these crimes. If lying was a crime, almost all politicians would be locked up. You know, like Bill Clinton’s, “I did not have sex with that woman.” Or Bush the first’s, “Read my lips; no new taxes.” But we won’t be talking about these high crimes or misdemeanors either.

The criminal element I want to talk about is pervasive in our little town. These deviants, these juvenile delinquents, roam our streets at night, pillaging and looting birdfeeders. Other towns have gangs and taggers; we have dumpster bangers in fur coats. That’s right these mischievous omnivores are commonly known as the Cloudcroft bears (not your children, the real bears)!

My first encounter with bears was when I was about twelve. We took a vacation to Yellowstone Park in the early sixties. As we approached the entrance to the park, there were about twenty cars lined up, and there was literally a bear for every car. The park ranger was collecting his fee, and so were the bears! You would roll your window down just far enough to hand them an apple, a Twinkie, or whatever was handy. Thirty years later Jo Ann and I decided to take a trip up north to Glacier National Park, which, by the way, is just beautiful! We quickly found a place to pitch our tent, then wandered up to the ranger station for information. Posted on the door was a sign that said, “364 bear maulings, Don’t feed the bears!” Now the sign didn’t say if the 364 bear maulings were since the park opened in 19-aught whatever, last year, last week, or yesterday. I began to have visions of a furry arm reaching into my tent in the middle of the night, dragging me off, kicking and screaming. So we quickly ate a meal at the snack bar, then hosed each other off. I ordered my wife not to eat another thing that night (that went over well!). We broke camp at the crack of dawn.

Now about twelve years ago, my sister-in-law Cora, and her husband Al, who live in Michigan, decided they wanted to come West for their vacation. So we had them fly into Denver, where we picked them up, and took them on a seven-day, whirlwind tour of our great Southwest, ending in Cloudcroft. If you have ever ridden in a car with Jo Ann and me, you know she’s always telling me what to do. Her sister Cora would be like Jo Ann times ten! So after being on the road for a week with two women telling me to slow down and turn this way or that, Al and I were ready to tie them both onto the roof of the car! The last night of our trip we spent in a beautiful log cabin in the heart of Cloudcroft. One of us had the brilliant idea of leaving a half-eaten cherry pie in the nearby dumpster, in the hopes of getting a glimpse of a bear. For the purposes of this article, we will blame Cora. Sure enough, within twenty minutes this big black bear came ambling by, passing within thirty feet of where we were all standing. Glancing at us momentarily, he never broke stride as he headed for the dumpster. Meanwhile the four of us, cameras in hand, were all frozen in our tracks (we did not get one picture!). The bear flipped the lid, leaped into the dumpster, and began his feast. Not more than a few minutes later one of the sheriff’s deputies showed up, and began to have a conversation with the bear. It was kind of like being in Jellystone Park, watching Yogi and the park ranger. The conversation was kind of one-sided, and for a minute I thought the deputy was going to have the bear put his paws up against the dumpster, while he patted him down. After several minutes of conversation, the bear went on his way, pie in hand. Bears can be dangerous and unpredictable, so the obvious moral of the story is . . . Don’t feed the bears! However, the alternative message could be “How to keep those pesky in-laws from visiting you in Cloudcroft.”

Bring a picture of your favorite in-law to the Senior Center, and we’ll help you make a Wanted Poster. For example “$5 Reward for Information Leading to the Arrest and Conviction of Cora Mae, Suspect in Plot to Feed the Bears.” Now, you don’t want too big of a reward, because you don’t want anyone to actually find them. Place your Wanted Poster on Facebook, and have a relative-free summer! At this point Jo Ann wanted me to say, “We love you, Cora. Really!”

It would be a high crime if we failed to mention the Holloman Air Force men and women, and all they and others did for so many up here on the mountain on the United Way Day of Caring. They were such a blessing for all of our Seniors; they seemed to have a specialist for everything: cleaning and grooming yards, painting decks, changing hard-to-get-to light fixtures. Whatever our Seniors asked, they did with a smile. Thank you, United Way and the men and women of Holloman!

Make a reservation to join us for lunch on our new patio by calling 682-3022 before 9:30AM. Meals are served Monday through Friday from 11:30 ‘til 12:15. Call the Center to sign up for a trip to Alamo on Monday or Tuesday for shopping and lunch out. Come with your friends to play a game of Mexican Train or Farkle. We play party bridge after lunch on Thursdays. Exercise with Gail on Tuesday mornings at 10:00. Have your vitals taken Friday before lunch. Check out our website designed by Marty Ware at Oh, in case you forgot, Don’t feed the bears! We love you, Cora. Really!

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