By Glenda Price: CNJ columnist
There’s only one word to describe Old Stub — weatherbeaten.
He got his name years ago when a coyote played dead till he got to him and then bit off the end of one finger.
Stub’s blue eyes have faded from looking at the sky for rainclouds, and his skin is dented from years of blowing dirt. His nose is a bit off-kilter on account of a bronc kicked him, and his legs are stove-up. He explains that bow legs are from shoeing horses, not riding them. It’s holding all that weight on your knee while you work that does it.
His grandson, Justin, suggested they go to the health club in town. “It’ll be good for you, Grandpa,” he said. “It’ll get all your muscles back in shape, and you can soak in the Jacuzzi after.”
Stub didn’t want to spoil his grandson’s day by pointing out that his muscles were fine — it was the joints in between them that caused the problems. He didn’t ask what the heck was a Jacuzzi, either — figured it couldn’t be TOO bad.
After they got back home, Stub’s daughter brought some iced tea out to the porch and asked how it went.
Stub thought awhile and then said, “Dangedest place I ever saw. They put locks on little doors where they hang their britches. I guess people steal stuff if they don’t.
“Then they got all these weird-looking contraptions that people pull on and push on. They’ve got moving sidewalks that don’t go anyplace, but they walk on ’em anyway. Now everybody knows God didn’t intend for us to walk. That’s why we’ve got horses. And, anyway, if we don’t have a horse we can ride a mule — or even drive a pickup for Pete’s sake.
“They’ve got this swimming pool that looks all shiny clean, not muddy like a stock tank, but the water stinks. Justin says they put stuff in the water to keep down germs. Can you imagine?
“The last thing we tried was a round pool Justin called a Jacuzzi. People were sitting in there, and water squirted into it from all around the edges. That water smelled bad, too.
“It seems to me doing real work like digging post holes, flanking calves or fixing windmills would be a better way to build muscles — and do some good while you’re at it.”
Justin couldn’t hide a grin as Stub continued. “None of the people in the place talked to each other. They all rode those machines and then looked at themselves in mirrors on the walls.
“I couldn’t believe it.
“If it was to happen to rain you’d never know it on account of there ain’t no windows in the place.
“Then they got what they call a juice bar where they sell weird stuff — like carrot juice.”
Stub sipped his iced tea and thought awhile before he said, “I think I’m not going back to that place. Outdoors is better for me.”