Monday, March 19, 2012


   Although Osterhout is almost purely Dutch, I do have Irish blood coursing through my veins on both sides. It's mainly the Protestant "Orange" variety. Family rumor has it one grandmother was arrested for waving an orange flag during a St. Paddy's Day parade in Newburgh and another distant matriarch was burnt at the stake back in the old country, for being a witch. Probably one of the first artist Ostis. So it only seems right that I celebrate March 17th in some way. The problem being is I see this holiday as something akin to New Year's Eve- for tourists. I don't dye my beard green (or orange) and spend 12 hours at Dutch's getting plastered. Leave that to the lite weights. What I do is every year make a leprechan catcher and try to grab one of the little fuckers. Sometimes it's as simple as a box held up with a stick, with a string attached. A bottle of Guinness or a U.S. work visa is always good for bait. This year I was rooting around in a bungalow colony and I came across what looked to be the real deal- an actual catcher. It was a large screened, funnel shaped object with a handle attached. What else COULD it be?
    Now the deal is it's like the rut- not just March 17th, but a week or more either side of it can land you one. I've seen 'em, but never been able to get ahold of one. This year was different. Of course it helps to be drunk. For some reason this seems to bring the little fellers in. No problem. Last night I emptied whatever alcohol was laying around the house into my mouth, shouldered the catcher, and went out into the globally warmed, star lit night. Perfect weather for the hunt. Trouble was the luck 'o the Dutch just wasn't with me. I caught Spooky Cat, two opossums, and what looks like poison ivy-  but no little green man. By midnight I'd given up. I crawled in the nest and slept like a baby.
   Then around dawn I heard scratching up on the roof. Years ago I'd been plagued by flying squirrels coming and going in my eaves like drunk disco divas. It was the same obnoxious, inconsiderate slamming of doors and toenail scrapping I'd experienced before. But then I thought......maybe....... I crept down the ladder, located my catcher, not even bothering to put on my pants.....opened the front door and....goddammit if there wasn't what I'd spent the night hunting. The catcher swooped down on his head and I HAD HIM! I couldn't believe my luck. Then I looked out across the lawn and here came Ray Gilkey, purring like nothing had happened. Around 10 am the phone rang. It was the tax assessor informing me that he was lowering my assessment $20,000. The day is young. I set the LGM on the deck and counted my lucky stars.  This could turn everything around.      


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