Burgoo, Elk and Osteoarthritis Knees
I recently heard the comment "If you don't take great risks, you can't make great gains." I suppose that ought to be tattooed somewhere on my body if it isn't already! Not long ago, I received a call from a cowboy I had photographed two months ago in Cody, Wyoming. He happens to be a custom designer of unique furniture for ranches and cabins. He called because he was delivering some of his work in this part of the country, and was also going to have a booth at Utica's annual Burgoo Festival. We had talked on my trip about utilizing some of my nature photography in his designs and this was a perfect opportunity to talk further. Well, first off, we had to find out what Burgoo is. According to the Utica locals, who REFUSE to eat it, it's a famous stew made from road-kill as well as lots of vegetables. Well now, doesn't that just sound yummy??? Actually, it's a stew made with lots of veggies, secret seasonings, and a variety of wholesome Department of Agriculture approved meats!!! Hmmm---sounds safe enough! I was more concerned about trying to walk in and around the reported influx of about 30,000 people who show up for this.
The continuing challenges of walking quasi-normal with all of my artificial joints and implants can be discouraging at times. It probably didn't help my body that I had untangled my dog's lead on a very wet deck at 3:30am the other morning and fell on an arthritic knee when I re-entered the kitchen. I will admit that I didn't even swear, because it hurt too much. So, I rescued my well-pottied little dog and we returned to bed. I thought I was just a little "banged up" until I turned in my sleep and felt as if I was being stabbed!! I'm sure many of you can relate to the pain. This time, I rushed (well, actually limped) into the specialist and, of course, my "regular" guy was out of town. The specialist informed me that the pain was caused by the fluid underneath the kneecap from the trauma. Okay, so now what? He told me to go home, ice the knee, take ibuprofen, and- the kicker- don't walk for 2 weeks!!! Do these people actually live in a real world? As I left the office he said, "By the way, you do know that you have severe osteoarthritis in both knees, don't you?" I just smiled and quickly left. I thought about hitting him, but I figured I'd hurt something else on me instead!!!
Luckily, at home, I only had a few (30-40) more photographs to custom frame as well as a few hundred more photographic greeting cards to assemble, label, and box before my next show at my bank in three weeks. This seemed like a no problem; sit on your bottom type of work. However, I can't seem to accomplish much of anything sitting down, probably because the doctor told me to! My motivation for working harder than ever right now is based on the amount of money I need to raise for my flights and housing expenses while I am living in a small rural village in Tanzania, East Africa next summer. I will be working as a volunteer teaching English as well as helping set up a small cottage industry. I'm thrilled, excited and VERY determined to meet this goal since this is a favorite part of the world for me, and it will incredible way to celebrate my 65th birthday.
So, I bit the proverbial bullet, took my Advil and drove to meet Maurice in Utica. Yes, there were at least 30,000 tourists there and I'm surprised Illinois didn't tilt from the extra weight. I arrived early, but so did others! I found a parking place and limped my way to my friend's booth. People were polite, but I'm sure that you all have found that walking in that kind of situation on uneven ground with tons of people can be potentially SCARY! I found my friend, and we were both pleased to find that the photo work I had just happened to bring along framed and ready to use provided awesome compliments to his own skilled work. I left with an order from him for more of my work to be picked up in two weeks and limped off into the customary sunset. OH GOSH, I forgot to get my helping of Burgoo...there's always next year!!!!!