Petco? PETCO?! I don't need no stinking Petco!

Step 1: Finding the antler...

Step 1: Finding the antler...

Are you in the band of weather streaking across the middle of the country from Texas to Iowa? Wow—we're expecting eight inches of rain where we are in southeastern Oklahoma.

I wasn't planning on coming here this soon. The idea was to continue southward, but this storm forced a detour. Not that the detour did any good, as we are smack dab in the middle of the storm and expecting eight inches and have to be ready to evacuate (for the second time in a week), but that's what happened. On top of everything we're on a creek bank. Not a problem, though, as we can easily reposition if necessary.

When you leave Arkansas westbound through the Ouachita Forest, there comes a long rise in the road that tops out and then drops to reveal a vista that is as Western as John Ford movie. I hereby decree that that is the point where the West begins, though there has been a lot of debate about that in the United States. Debate no more. That's where it is. There is a long view with sprawling mountains in the distance, huge pastures filled with longhorns. There's nothing like that in the East. Fences are miles of barbed wire—twisted tight with weatherbeaten old sticks—and with old telephone poles and railroad ties at the gates. None of it can you see in the East, even if the East is 15 miles from here. There is a pasture full of buffalo. Roo barks at them once in a while. And at a stop sign in town, I noticed a sign in the building next to us, formerly a bank that Bonnie and Clyde knocked off.

Somehow, we unexpectedly found ourselves on an enormous ranch. How huge? We walked for two miles this morning, during which Roo swam in two lakes, before we had to turn around.

On that walk, Roo found an antler. I stopped giving Roo deer antlers a long time ago, when I read about how they have broken the teeth of many of dogs. They're also ridiculously expensive. A six-inch piece of antler can be $15. The one Roo found today, if chopped up, would probably be $150 on the Petco shelves. Well, of course I had to let her have this one. It's the only deer she's ever brought home, though she's tried for many others.

Step 2: Check it out...

Step 2: Check it out...


Step Three: Thanksgiving feast, Retriever style.

Step Three: Thanksgiving feast, Retriever style.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!