Beware Osama bin Laden, the Just-A-Minute Men return
When homegrown terrorists gave militia-types a bad name a few years ago, we almost disbanded the neighborhood militia out here at Clear Creek Ranch. But with all this Osama drama, we may reactivate – the discussion process anyway. Decisions are never easy or unanimous with our group. We are always tightly wound up, but never tightly banded together.
How could we be? These are the same guys who make up our road association. You remember that story (or have lived your own version): the pavers versus the non-pavers, and the payers versus the non-payers, and splinter groups demanding speed bumps, curbs and armed crossing guards. The neighborhood divided itself into separate seething camps of hostility.
Anyway, a few of us who get along and can read have been studying Internet sites that predict natural disasters for California during the next few years: earthquakes, tsunamis, mudslides, volcanic activity, pandemic bad hair days, not to mention all this Osama/anthrax/global warming stuff. Any cataclysmic event will send waves of ravenous refugees fleeing to the hills. Our hills, not theirs.
As if we weren’t recent urban transplants ourselves, and hardly superior. No discernible superfluous IQ points clutter up our meetings. Take the simple matter of naming our militia unit. The rag-tag dress of our motley crew ranged from a jogging outfit tie-dyed in camouflage earth tones, to a lure-bristling fly-fisherman, to some sort of 21st century electronic virtual-reality Viking warlord.
Given this uniform lack of uniformity, I suggested “Clear Creek Irregulars.” Which, I admit, sounds like we are in dire need of oat bran infusions. It certainly sparked a number of tasteless (but very funny) jokes about troop movements.
Everyone present had other, “better” names in mind, and the debate dragged on for hours. Nothing takes just a minute for these minutemen. It was a hopeless 12-way deadlock; each name got one vote. So we moved onto the next order of business: maneuvers.
Most of our maneuvering consists of parallel parking all our SUVs along one side of my neighbor’s driveway for a demonstration of his homemade cannon. It lobs bowling balls about 50 yards with reasonable accuracy, accompanied by a great deal of noise. Other than recoiling 10 feet with each shot, the cannon is not highly mobile, being a tube mounted on a truck axle with two flat tires.
So unless we can persuade Osama to hide in the craters, the bowling balls have formed, we may have to fall back on our armored division – an ancient backhoe – or our air force – a small squadron (squab-dron?) of homing pigeon/bombers.
Our first line of defense calls for chain-sawing down trees to disable easy access to our private road. The member living out nearest the country road is the logical choice to head up that project, but he only has a dinky electric chain saw, and his extension cord wouldn’t quite reach. We fell to bickering about whether or not to appropriate the funds to buy him a longer cord. He was lobbying for a portable generator too, in case “they” cut our power.
Of course “they” is PG&E, and right now they have their own band of slow-motion tree trimmers prowling around in those generic-looking “utility tree service” trucks.
Is another conspiracy afoot? Can the black helicopters be far behind? Our militia will be scouring the Web for clues.
Mike Drummond is a Nevada County writer whose column appears on Tuesday. You can write him in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945; or e-mail him at
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