Aye, it’d be one Scottish casino | TheUnion.com

Aye, it’d be one Scottish casino

We usually market the Clear Creek Ranch calendar as our fall fund-raiser. Finances are tight. The problem with past calendars has always been the photos.

For authenticity’s sake, the pictures must be snapped here at the Ranch, where the chaparral-strewn scenery tends to blur into a sameness. A human figure engaged in “ranch-like activities” would add variety, but my wife is camera-shy.

Luckily, the time-delay feature allows me to act as both photographer and photographee. Still, calendar sales have fallen precipitously in recent years. So I latched onto a new trend, the nude amateur calendar. The question was, how to do it “tastefully?” Overexposure took on a new meaning.

I could justify “skinny-dipping in the pond” for the month of August. But then there is the painful issue of bikini-waxing, and the strategic placement of the kindling for February’s “bringing in the firewood” pose, not to mention the threat of slivers.

I considered using the Ranch livestock to obscure my essentials but was warned that PETA or some anti-interspecies sex group would launch a protest. Perhaps if I hired a “stunt” double, or wore black socks and a Lone Ranger mask to obscure my identity.

The Lone Ranger idea provided no silver bullet solution, but it did send me off on a profitable tangent. Lone’s co-worker, Tonto, was a Native American. And what are Native Americans famous for these days? They no longer hunt game, they provide gaming. The Clear Creek Casino began to take shape.

Our Ranch New Age Meditation Center (formerly a barn) is under-utilized. Converting it to a gambling hall was a simple matter of stenciling craps layouts on the prayer rugs. While the mantras are different, endless hours of slot-machining induces a similar trance-like state. Not to mention enlightenment, as in, “My pockets feel lighter now that I’ve lost all those rolls of quarters.”

The big hurdle was qualifying myself as part of a distinct Native American tribe. Technically, being born anywhere in the U.S.A. makes one a native American. I can trace my Drummond lineage back seven generations to a farm house in western Pennsylvania. Many of the 127 other people who unknowingly acted as my fractional ancestors from that generation were sprinkled around the colonies, as well.

I focused on the Drummonds, because one of them definitely waved bye-bye to his Scots CLANSmen and shoved off for (or was shoved off into) the New World. A clan isn’t all that different from a tribe. Common ancestors, unique way of dressing, that sort of thing. African-American erstwhile Olympic sprinter Jon Drummond might provide me with an African tribal connection, as well. (He’s such a whiny crybaby, he HAS to be related to me).

But until the prince of wails comes through, the Ranch casino motif is plaid. The dealers and barmaids are covered with it. Granted, a tartan kilt isn’t quite as eye-catching as beaded buckskin breechcloth, but no animals were harmed in its production. Providing the sheep shearer didn’t have a dram too many on shearing day.

And a properly worn kilt does not bring up the pesky waxing issues that a skimpy breechcloth might. Important on those days when the barmaid doesn’t show up and I have to sling drinks.

How can the high rollers resist? Weak drinks, loose slots, and a nightly caber-tossing exhibition down by the woodpile. Taste (and after-taste) a wee bit of Scotland at our “All Haggis, All The Time” buffet.

Don’t forget to book a return visit. Put it on your calendar. I’ve got a stack of 2004s I’m letting go cheap.


Mike Drummond is a Nevada County writer. You can write him in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945; or e-mail him at miked@theunion.com.

His column appears every other Tuesday, alternating with Gina Gippner’s column, “Just Mom.”

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