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Front Page » September 19, 2006 » Opinion » The Wasatch Behind: Butch Cassidy writes again
Published 2,992 days ago

The Wasatch Behind: Butch Cassidy writes again


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By TOM MCCOURT
Sun Advocate Columnist

Dear Uncle Spud,

Just a note to let you know that me and Sundance are doing okay. We've been working as river guides all summer taking tourists down the Colorado River in those big rubber rafts. It's been a lot of fun, but we're getting too old for some of that stuff. I had to put suspenders on my swimming trunks to keep them up, and Sundance kept dozing off while going over the rapids.

We had a few other problems too. Old Sundance flattened three rubber rafts before we could get him to take his spurs off, and I had to take him aside and explain that a pair of swimming trunks is not a good place to try to conceal a long-barreled Colt 45.

And then, because of our ages, we had a little trouble getting the jobs. The guy who owned the company wouldn't believe that all of Sundance's wrinkles were bathtub skin caused by years of running the river and being wet all the time. And he said Sundance was too skinny to pull an oar anyway. So I stuck an air hose in my partner's ear and showed the guy that old Sundance is bigger than Hulk Hogan when you blow the wrinkles out. We got the jobs.

But, with cold weather coming on, we quit the river running business last week and went to Moab for the winter. We let our hair grow long and shaggy in the wintertime and everyone thinks we're a couple of burned-out old hippies instead of notorious bank robbers. Moab is full of wilted old flower children and we fit right in.

Last year we had a great winter vacation. It started when we decided to be ski bums in Park City. We had heard a lot about ski bums, and it sounded like a great way to spend the winter and make a little extra money. But we should have realized we were on the wrong track when we were the only guys to ride a boxcar into town. Most of the other ski bums came in limousines or Ferraris.

Our ski bum disguises were bad too. We wore old, ragged coats and overshoes with holes in them, and we put wool socks over our hands as we held our tin cups out to the people getting on the ski lifts. The other ski bums didn't have tin cups. They wore Gucci ski outfits with designer sunglasses. We looked a little out of place.

We had a good time at Park City, but we didn't stay very long. We had been working the lift lines with our tin cups for only a few minutes when the security people showed up. They were real nice and offered us a ride back down the hill. In fact, they took us to town and bought us bus tickets to Mesquite, Nev. They said it was warmer down there and we would be happier panhandling drunks staggering out of the casinos. It was true. Those Park City security people sure know their stuff.

However, after only a few days of hanging around the casinos with our tin cups, the security people in Mesquite bought us bus tickets to Cameron, Ariz. They said lots of people pass through Cameron on their way to the Grand Canyon, and most of them don't want to be weighted down with pocket change when they lean over the canyon rims to take pictures.

We had been in Cameron for only a few days when the Arizona Highway Patrol bought us bus tickets to Moab. They said Utah is full of nice people and our cups would surely runneth over if we sojourned in the Land of Moab. It was true. We were in Moab when we hired on as river guides.

And so, if you want to come and see us this winter, we'll be hanging around the espresso shop, eating bagels and discussing the horrors of global warming and the merits of wolves in the wilderness. We look like all the rest of the natives, except that we have our collars turned up so our red necks don't give us away.

Stop by and have a Latt� some time.

Your Friend,

Butch Cassidy


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