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February 27, 2020: The Lone Chigger

It started out as an ideas day. Groan. Clearly, El (sister) is not used to my having them. I tried to remain low key when I felt inspiration coming on, but it was near impossible. Gosh, if I was a coffee drinker, I’d have sent her running far off, to a distant planet.

Here goes: being in motel rooms always gets me to thinking about bed bugs. Pete always hangs his clothes up and never drops anything on the floor – me, this idea is great in theory but not possible to put into practice.

Anyhow, as I was showering, El began working on this nifty computer game where you combine seven letters in various ways. If you come up with x number of combinations, you attain genius status.

 It was an ideas day
It was an ideas day

I emerged from the shower and she asked “how do you spell chigger?” I yelled out “c-h-i-g-g-e-r!” and then galloped around the room, proclaiming that I was “the Lone Chigger.” El, ignoring my too brief creative outburst, then said that chigger would not work as a qualifying word because the listed letters did not contain an E. I just continued to laugh at my own wit, which is something I am used to. I do it at home a lot too.

Next, we head over to the main building for our long awaited and much anticipated continental breakfast. El was right, the spread was very good. The eggs, which seemed like they were made in a mold, were somewhat funky, but the hardboiled eggs were quite good. And they had put out chewy cinnamon bagels – my all-time favorite.

We sat down and were joined by Phillip, who was in town, an attendee at the (no kidding) fisher poet gathering. We introduced ourselves and I told him with a very straight face that I was Alys from Alaska – and more specifically, from Kodiak Island where I worked on a crab boat. I was going to tell him that Eleanor was also from Kodiak Island, but she very quickly said that she, my sister, was from Portland, Oregon.

Now, I well know that telling lies is like digging holes in very deep sand. It’s a very satisfying activity, but of course the hole eventually implodes. I kept the hole from imploding by continuing to ask Philip questions. I think his own hole was imploding – he said that he was working on an article for Science Magazine on buoyancy and motion in salmon – right – little of what he said jived. But who was I to say? I have never been on a crab boat and cannot tell the difference between a gillnetter and a seiner.

Well, fortunately, Philip’s lie trumped mine; otherwise, I would have been in dangerously deep water without a life preserver.

We left the room after eating, with no talk about our all meeting up again. I actually had no interest in attending the day and evening’s events. I would of course attend the Cowboy Poetry gathering in Nevada because they would have liked to hear about the Lone Chigger.

I did not articulate it to Eleanor, but I thought it was probably a good thing that Pete had not been with us at breakfast. He would have told both Philip and me to fess up.

That was it for my ideas day. It’s probably a good thing that my sister is a realist. And it’s to her credit that she, who is a coffee drinker, is well able to keep both feet on the ground. We got back to the motel room and she worked on the puzzle for a few more minutes – very impressive, she made the genius category. Me too, since I gave her a much-needed assist. I came up with the word arroyo. As in, The Lone Chigger rode hard across the sand packed arroyo.

Next: 58. 2/28/20: Going Viral

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