#412, June 4, 2006
WILDCAT, West Va.: I’ll tell you in a minute about where I am. But first, this argument in Washington over marriage is why coming to a place like this for a weekend is a good idea.
Democrats say, why aren’t you debating the war in Iraq, oil prices and nuclear power for Iran?
Republicans say we’ll be glad to talk on those topics, plus the economy, Mexican fences, and even Barry Bonds home runs.
Democrats say, why bring up marriage just before the election?
Republicans say, it ain’t our fault. Everything was going smooth on the marriage front for over 200 years, there was more marriages than divorces. Then some judges decided we needed even more marriages, probably so we can have more divorces, and that’s what brought it to the front burner.
So, I’ll let Washington argue marriage, and I’ll stick with divorce (see below).
Onto the important news of the week, we want to congratulate Canada on stopping those terrorists before they could blow up anything. It appears that 17 of them each went to the local farm co-op and bought a bag or two of 34-0-0, and when they piled it all together it added up to 3 tons of ammonium nitrate. They were in cahoots with 2 men in Atlanta, and have you noticed, no one has complained about the CIA listening in on their phone calls?
Well, let me tell you how to find Wildcat. You start out in town (which most of you would call civilization), and after a few miles on a state road you turn onto a narrow blacktop. You pass a house once in a while in a clearing, but mostly you’re surrounded by trees. Big, tall trees. Then after a few minutes you turn onto a gravel road and head up a steep hill. Just when you’re thinking the best you can hope for is a tent suspended between trees, you come out of the forest into the open. And you’re surrounded by freshly mowed hilltop meadows, clean pastures, fat cattle, a modern farm house, garden and barns. When you gather in a couple dozen family and friends, now THIS is civilization.
This particular Wildcat is in West Virginia, but every state has one. It’ll have a different name, and look a little different, but it’ll have the same feel.
The thing about West Virginia is it has a number of “Wildcats”, and one of them is called Pickens. It’s in the mountains, maybe 50 miles away as the crow flies. I read in the paper where their school’s graduating class had a valedictorian and a salutatorian. That’s all. Two seniors. Only 42 in the whole twelve grades. You can find cul-de-sacs with more than that being home schooled, but these are gathered in from miles around. They get 200 inches of snow in Pickens, and I bet they miss fewer school days than some towns with 10.
If I’m ever invited to give one of those commencement speeches Pickens is where I want to go. When it’s my turn, after all the pomp and circumstance, we would pick up our 3 chairs (me and my audience of two), go sit under a shade tree and chat a spell. It would not go down in history as great oratory, but we would each remember the occasion and how we felt.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“I maintain that it should cost as much to get married as it does to get divorced. Make it look like marriage is worth as much as divorce, even if it ain’t. That would also make the preachers financially independent like it has the lawyers.” DT #562, May 15, 1928
“The biggest thing in legislation nowadays is the different States’ race for the divorce business. Arkansas guarantees a divorce in three months including room and board. Nevada heard about it and called a special session of their Legislature and says: ‘We will give you one in six weeks, and if any other State goes under that time, we will give you a divorce, marriage, and another divorce all for the same time, and price. In other words, that’s our business. We have built it up to what it is today. If there had been no Reno, you would still have been living with the same old gal.'” DT #1444, March 10, 1931
“(Nevada) is a funny colony, and it ain’t funny, it’s sad. But there is many a heartbreak here, and lots of children, that’s the tough part. Divorce ain’t so bad I guess when it’s only the participants suffer, but it’s sure tough on the children. Well anyhow it’s a great Industry, and I guess about the only way to stop it is to stop marriage.” WA #404, September 21, 1930