By: Bears Butt

Some mite call this here story “Butt Luck”, but I prefer ta call it “Hunters Skill”.  Either way we done seed a lot’o Willow Creekers, give up a heap ‘o plews provin they cud out shine the old Butt and the young Hunter.

Started out sum time back, when the tribe chief in charge ‘o fair huntin got wind that the Willow Creekers seemed ta always fill theys meat pole, when they set out late in the season.  So, the chief say, “Let the Creekers know, frum this day forward, they got ta hunt when the leaves be still on the branch an snow has yet ta fall on the mountain”.

So, we bein the kine what want no bad feelin an ta keep our hair—we do what the chief say.

Round camp, we wuz beside ourselves and others talking an jawin.  Pert neer cited, cuz we done seed a heap ‘o buck mulies just fer dark.  Tamorrow we gonna fill dem meat poles fer sure.  Fer sure nuff ta lay hard got plews down as bets!

Now fer a mountain man ta bet a plew takes sum doin an they be a heap ‘o rule makin ta keep it fair.  Our rules is simple, cuz we get cornfused easy:  1. Five plew entry.  2. If you shoot an don’t bring home no meat an if ya want ta stay in the bet, cost one plew per shot more.  3.  Biggest buck, by horn count plus widest spread takes all the plews.

Purdy simple!  An the plews hit the ground an the stack got really high in the lite ‘o that fire. Fer the Butt, it were one purdy site, cuz the Butt most general takes the plews on regular time.

The next morn’in found the Creekers scattered  an  shootin, it were great fun an at the evening sounds of the crackling fire, the sounds of voices wuz sort of still.  Long faces gazed into the fire, sort ‘o sad like.  They wuz sad cuz ‘or at the meat pole hung one mighty big muley what ‘ol Bears Butt done brought in.  One more in a series of one shot hunts.  The boys wuz sad an more plews wuz added ta the stack fer missed shots.  Butt wuz happy!

As the days went on fer the time we had, lots ‘o shots wuz made an lots ‘o xcusses wuz made fer poor shots er missed oppertunitees, but bottom line, they put more plews on the pile—at leest fer the Butt, it wuz gud!

Now, one  umungus,  Hunter wuz tryin hard.  He done seed lots ‘o muley bucks an came close a time  er to, but no luck.  As the days pergressed he sometimes dressed ta look like a tree!  Other times a bush—he wuz a site sure!  ‘An as skill an luck wud come tagither, on the last day in the woods he finally put a big muley on the pole next ta Butts!  It wuz joy an celebratin that nite shore.

The next morning as  we packed up the lodges an hooked the horses ta head out—we had sum serious business ta figure which one wuz taken the plews.  After kwite a time a meserin,  an lookin , an meserin agin, they finally called out a “Zact Tie” an me and Hunter split up the plews “Fity Fity”.

Fer shore as I be sittin here tellin this here true story, the Willow Creek boys is out gatherin more plews fer next hunt!  Me?  I be joyin my half uv last years stack an they sure is nice!  Thanks boys, an member—don’t aim at dem antlers!!

Bears Butt

Oct-Dec 1999

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

No brag just fact!  Mount’n men never lie!

We wuz at sort ‘o a rondeevoo  cuz we met up with another bunch from down the valley one time.  After the greetins an such, an a drink er to, the bets started ta hit the air.

Aint many mount’n men aint  gud shots wid they rifles and pistols.  Sum ov us is bettern others, but we all be gud.

At this her’n meet’n time this one ol boy said he cood hit a finge tied ta a water filled bag an drop that bag so soft it wudn’t  break nor spill a drop.

We wuz bett’n hard earned plews on that one shur.  Corse it was no skin offn our scalps, cuz he wuz the only one what wuz gonna be shoot’n.  He wuz a braggin and a braggin bout his billities ta shoot plum.  All the time we wuz wonderin how many ores he dun had in the water.  Most mount’n men will bet they kin out shoot the other, but it takes lest two ta make the shoot’n an only one ta win.

A thin skin bag wuz filled full ‘o water frum the crik and tied to a fringe frum my leather pants.  Hung in a tree at bout 30 yards or so and the ol bragger loaded up.

Once all the bettin wuz sure, we dun all got reel quiet.  Ol bragger took plenty time a aimin.  (Later we dun called what he dun..superior squirmin, squintin, squattin and scorin..).  As he squoose that trigger smooth, he didn’t even rock with the recoil.  He wuz plum still.  It were like slow motion—the fire an smoke cumin out ‘o that barrel, the patched ball just ahead.

We watched as that ball dun went down range an hit that fringe right on the knot.  What happen next wuz the most amazing thang what this ‘Ol Butt dun ever saw.

The twist in the knot grabbed up that ball, and made the ball faller it round an round backwards from how it were tied.  It were so fast that the fringe dun untied itself an that bag ‘o water just hung there in the air fur a second.

With the fringe flappin in the breeze, that there bag had nuth’n ta do but drop!  Which it did quite smarlty, spillin the hol contents on the dirt!

Boy did that ol boy git mad!  He owed ever body in camp cuz he didn’t cut the fringe and he sur nuff spilt water all or.

I been practicing that shot ever since an aint been gud nuff ta untie the fringe yet.  One ‘o these days I be as gud as that ol boy.

Bears Butt

Summer 2000

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

It were rondeevoo time back in ’93 up on the left fork near Cache Valley.  Gonins on was goin fine.  Folks was still arivin, settin up camp and in gereral  havin fun.  It were a warm clear day an a bunch of us was sittin in the shade a drinkin an a jawin.  Reminicin bout past times, in particular the night afore.  When “ol Fat Duck took a low level  flight back to his lodge an cost himself a broke rib, several cracked ones and bruises where most folks  aint  got nuff meat on theys bones ta bruise.

Inta camp comes some horse riden foks all duded up fer rondeevoo and hitched next ta some alder bushes near by.  They was readily welcomed and some amongst us knowed who they was frum other doins at uther times an places.  The jawin went on!

Sudden as a stampeed ‘Ol Wapiti Dung dun leaps from his restin spot just a yellin!!!  In the grass next ta his behind was a diamond back rattler pert near ready ta strike!!  Buzzin plenty as a low ta the ground kin do!

Now don’t take “ol Wapitis actions to light—he dun cleared a heap of ground in no time atol and tipped lots a stuff ‘or doin it.  He ain’t a bit skeert ta tell ya no snake gona be close ta him.

Wall that snake got a mite skeert too an crawled, fast as litnin under Wapitis lodge.

Waptit would sleep out in a pourin rain, litnin storm, ahailin snow afore he’d think about gettin close ta his lodge.

We had ta git mister buzzworm out from under wapitis lodge, weren’t no two way about it.

It took some brave boys ta corner mister snake, but once done his head come off and da rest was quick ta the pan for those who’d worked up a hunger.  Thanks ta the snake-snak  twerent  onone  went hungry that day.

Pleeze don’t ask me too much detail bout getting da snake frum under da lodge cuz me an Wapiti was neck in neck getting gone.  An  no snake gonna be close ta me; no snake gonna be in my belly neither!!

Bears Butt

March-Dec 1993

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

Twas some time ago, me an my brother was trappin up near Willer Creek.  We was after the wiley bobcat this particular spring.  Seems they was a bunch in the area an  botherin the pilgrims.

Spring done come early that year, most ‘o the snow dun melted by late February an the little critters was out of hibernation..special the skunks.

Now I aint too bad fer  kitchin what I is after, but this year them skunks was gittin in my way real bad!  I’d figured Mr. Cat was ta come round a rock a certain way an dang if a skunk wouldn’t beat him to it, get caught ‘an ruin my set.  Time I git him out, take the sets back ‘an boil the smell out, re-blacken the traps ‘an get em re-set, spring be pert ner gone ‘an the cats startin ta rub.  A rubbed cat aint worth no cash.

Well, I was kitchin skunks left an right, an my brother he was advising me on the stuff I was doin wrong.  One day I asked him ‘bout the right way ta kill one ‘o the critters when they aint no water around, soes I woulnd’t have ta boil my traps.  He perceives ta tell me..ya gotta move slow round ‘an round till he gits the trap and chain all tangled.  Thin ya shoots him twinx the eyes and he aint got no time ta spray.

OK, next day there is a skunk—a big’un—done caught by a front foot.  As I approach, he turns and raises his tail; givin me his best end view.  He aint sprayed the area ‘an I’m feelin  good  bout that.  Now ta try my new found knowledge.

Round ‘an round I go, with Mr. smell bad keepin a rear eye on me, till he is so dang tangled nuthin more of him cud move.  I keep roundin him till I’m lookin him dead in the eye.  This here teckneek seems ta be workin.  I raise my gun an plunk him twinx the eyes.  A perfect shot.

OH….NO!  Down goes his head an up comes his backside!  Time has now slowed to a crawl.  All kinst of stuff is runnin thru my head.  I sees a blue mist sprayin as his rear end is comin up ‘an he is doin a back flip.  As his circle is bein completed, by legs aint movin my body.  My head is sayin “GET”, my legs is sayin “STAY”.  The blue spray hits my hat and slowly paints the ‘tire front of me, head ta toe!

Back ta normal time speed now..I kint see, I kint catch a breath; I’m gonna die!  Stumblin an wheezing an coffin I go, down the hill.

Twas sum time till things got sorta normal an my brother done shows up.  He made sure I was OK but woulnd’t  git nun too close, stayed bout two horses back all the time.

Whenst we got back ta the lodge, the Chiefs squaw made me dis-robe and burn my clothes afore I could enter the lodge.  Theyes a good set a skins too.

Bears Butt

Jan. 1994

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

Did ju ever reckon how a mountain man conversed with another bout which hoss, er mule, er ridin pardner ,er gun was gonna go ta the trappin line wid im?

Cuz theys all got names!  An ever man in the mountain knows whos stuff is whos.  Take fer instance my ol gun—got its name frum a job I done long time back—“Ol Missouri”—some say it shoots so straight they aint got no chance to win no bootie and they calls it –“Ol Misery”—but nun the less it be Butts and she is sweet.

I aint the only one what got a namer fer his rifle tho—some may amember some hoss out East name O’Dannel—what done named his long gun “Betsy”.  Shot true as true till the time at the crossin of Blue Crick when the red skins put him under.  Some say the barrel was too long—he coud’nt load er fast nuff.  Oh well-aint gonna find no long guns in my lodge.

One among us we call “Ol Dry Dog” had hisself one purdy side by side we dun called “Sunflower” cuz whenst he made er, he used sunflower oil to finish the stock.  She was a purdy one and shot true.  He coudn’t hang on ta her tho an now some other hoss dun come along an took er rite offin his hoss.  I feel reel bad fer that dude should Dry Dog come upon him.

Speekin of Dry Dog—wid  rondeevoo comin fast I been thinkin—he needs a bit ‘o help.  He loses stuff rite reglar ‘an ifn I got some leather ‘an a piece ‘o chain I could build a nice harness fer him what would keep him close ‘an we wouldn’t havta look far fer his stuff.  Only in the circle where he is tethered.  Corse we’d be obliged ta let ‘im  out a couple times a day ta visit but then right back ta the tether.  I’ll work on that one.

Since I’m such a nice guy deep down, I also been thinkin bout building him a mobil tent.  One that folds up ‘an rides in a mule pack on his back.  When he gits all drunk up ‘an falls down fer the night, alls a guy gota do is roll ‘em on his front side ‘an undo the pack tent around ‘em.  He be safe an dry till time he wakes, wanders back ta camp ‘and gits tethered.  We kin then foller the tent drag marks in the dust, back ta where he spent the night ‘an pick up all his droppins.

Man ‘o man—kin hardly wait till rondeevoo.  Hope ta see ya there!  I’ll be gone now—it be a long ride ‘an I don’t wanna miss no fun.

Bears Butt

Summer-Fall 1994

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

We was  gatherin meat fer the winter of 92-93 out in a place called “Rocky Pass”.  As its name implies, it are some bit rocky an at times we wondered if the horses was nuff to cross over the top.  Seems the wind howls thru the area right reglar.  The rocks seem hard nuff-but the wind has carved em up sorta skeery in some spots.  Other places they be rounded, like dumpling bread.

We done decided ta put some gunners on one side of a ridge, an the rest come pushin over the top toward em, skeerin the deer an bear (an such) ahead of us and into the gunners.

It were a mite snowy on the ground when Wapiti, Tracker, Softball, Haaagar and me started our push.  We was spred out movin thru the tall sage an cedar trees an as we got near the top, that ‘ol wind was whippin an a gittin.  Now I done heared ‘o them hurrycanes, but  ain’t never been in one till this one day.  Nows I knowed how they musta got the name fer such a puffy breeze.

My sperience crossin over the top of that hill was most easy, cuz I’m built low ta the ground, but still I had ta use my gun butt ta hold me till I could git my next step planted firm.  It took me nye on ta 15 minutes ta  git 15 yards, I’ll tell ya.

Haaagar had an even worser time.  Wearin a poncho like he do, as he got to the top the wind got under it, picked him up and throwed him back down the hill!  Haaagar fought back, an once agin approached the crest.  This time he was ready.  He had tyed his poncho down round his belly.  Well, some can see the danger in this, but as he bent hisself  inta the wind, down the opening in the neck went the full force, filled up his poncho like a mule fills his belly with air when he don’t want to carry a load, and back down the hill he goed.

Meantime we is all gathered round the horses waitin fer Haaagar  ta come  oer the top.  We figured he had some trouble crossin with that poncho on.  Tracker said Haaagar  probly  was hooked on a branch by some leg fringe  an  the wind  keepin  him  parerlel  ta the ground.  I figured he would be smart nuff ta grab his knife an cut a exit hole big nuff ta let the air out an let hisself down.

Purty soon we seed ‘Ol  Haaagar  trekin round the lee side ‘o that hill.  He had quite a tale ta tell, but he sure was missin a chunk of leg fringe.

Does ya rekon Tracker was closer ta the truth than we knowed?

Bears Butt

Sept.-Dec 1992

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

Rondeevoo comes slowly here in the Rockies.  We done spend all winter  tryin ta  servive ‘an when the ice flows start jamm’in the rivers it’s a time ta start fancy’in up fer rondeevoo!

Rondeevoo takes the worst ‘o winter ‘an turns them near death times in ta stories of adventure ‘an citment.  Round a crackl’in fire the stories is told ‘an re-told.  Names be made, ‘an lots of powder burned down on the shoot’in range.  Se ya at rondeevoo—end ‘a May in the Blacksmith fork drainage.

It were at rondeevoo of ’92 as I recollect.  We was gathered as usual, it seems there weren’t none of the group gone under.  It were good times.  We even had a few pilgrims share the fire light.  It were shin’in times.  The old forts done kicked butt down on the fir’en line ‘ore the young forts.  An seems ta me we done had near a wheel barrow full ‘a winnins!

The Bears Butt aint usual ta speek fer long times, but this rondeevoo he done a lot—even sang fire songs with a hooter named “G-String”—fine music man.

Bears Butt was asked by the Booshway to come to the council fire and give one of his talkins so down there we all did go.  It was a time what found him ‘an  a  pilgrim down neer the booshway, down at the main camp rondeevoo council fire.  The booshway was talk’in ‘an even mak’in sense  whenst he suddenly turns ta me an says—go down yonder and fetch me one of the geese!  Wall dang—the Butt will do what the Butt’s been asked—I headed out, with my pilgrim friend ‘an down the trail we goed.

Now just  soes  ya  knowed—me ‘an them long neck goose critters aint never been too close ‘an they can read it in the eyes whenst fear is stand’in in front of ‘em.

Me ‘an the pilgrim round a bend in the trail ‘an there they is—must ta been a hunert all corralled up.  Now we is standen there look’in trying ta pick out a perty one, when the pilgrim says “Jump in there Butt ‘an grab one”!  “No way fella I aint about ta git in there-you git in there”!

The pilgrim says –“I don’t know nuthin bout these things”.  I says—“Jjust go ‘or ta tuther side ‘an I’ll skeer ‘em to ya—then just reach out ‘an grab the closest one”.

So he dos, but them geese did not see no fear in his eyes and here they come straight fer me—all 3 hunert of ‘em—chargin—wings flappen and them big ‘ol beaks a tearin flesh.

The first one hit the corral as fierce as could be ‘an the rest just kept comin and pushin.  Purty soon ‘or the corral came the biggest, orneriest, meanestes one and latched holt of my left arm.  Down I goed, knowin full well it were over for the Butt.  I tried pertectin my vitles.  Rollin on the ground, wonderin when the final blow of the knashin beak would do me under—when sudden the weight of the beast was off a me!  I peered out frum under my arm and there stood the pilgrim holdin that fierce goose.

He said – “What’s a matter Butt?  It’s just a goose”!

“Just a Goose”!  I say—“Look at my arm, hardly any fringe left ta a-count fer”!

“Come on Butt—they be a waitin fer us down at council”.

An we start on our way down the trail, the pilgrim leadin and me dust’in off ma dirty leathers.

Just afor the last turn in the trail I say “Pilgrim, let me see that there goose.  The Boosh wanted the Butt ta fitch it, I kint have no pilgrim bringin in the goods”.

So the pilgrim hands over that mean critter ‘an into the light ‘o the fire we went.  I could’nt unload it fast nuff.

Later, or at the little council fire, mungst the Willow Creek Free Trappers, I called the pilgrim ta the fire, cuz I had the talk’in stick.  I told ‘em as best I could recall ‘bout the gitt’in  ‘o the goose, then with the help of past trappers gone under ‘an the great spirit of fair play.  I done raised the talking stick ‘an said—“James, fer the deed ‘o help’in the Butt gather up a goose ‘an from here till eternity, where ever mountain men shall meet—you be called “Goose Snatcher”!

Bears Butt

Jan-Mar 1993

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

I ain’t one fer figerin stuff out real quick, but sumpin in the wind made some fate cum tagither.  It were back in ’96 an my lodge wuz hungerin fer ven meat.  It had been a long time since fresh meat wuz hung on the meat pole.  Once all the good byins wuz done, we headed the harses fer the high country.  One ol boy, what aint got no name as yet, even came ta try his hand at baggin a Rocky Mountain mule deer buck.

This guy claims ta have his roots clear over on the other side ‘o that one big river,  The one theys calls Miss-sip.  Says he probably even comes from Dan’l Boone blood line.  Ai aint sayin nutin, cuz this boy is big as a mule, strong as boiled coffee and eats purdy much, ta keep his shape an all.  He came out here with some of the dangdest stuff too.  I guess maybe I been in these here Rockys too long.  Since bein borned he dun moved his be-longins ta the Percific water.

Well we hunted hardern ever back in ’96.  Had some little, un sum bigguns runnin round.  Got some shots off, had sum miss begivens happen, what should uv put meat on the pole. You know the kind uv stuff what’s called buck fever, an causes a guy not ta cock his gun, ner cap up.  An these here camp stories wuz the ones we heared bout, not ta say what else went on out there what ain’t bein said.

Anyway, me and this ‘Ol boy who came from the Western ocean hunted hard.  Ever day we wuz lookin and stompin.

Durin a nap, while it wuz still dark on the morning of the last day, I woke frum a dream.  I visionaried a big ol heard of mulies all circled up.  Sum wuz bucks, but most wuz girl ones.  Over theys heads ya could hear some strange fluttie sound, kind ov eary, an my dream kept up till I got up ta ready my harse fer the last days hunt.

No name and I hit it hard all day and I wuz gonna be glad when dark cum, cuz I had pert much dee cided we wuz  gonna eat a lot ‘o muskrat and beaver tail this winter.

At the top of the mountain, the last bit of light wuz fadin fast when there stood what wuz my first chance ta bag a buck.  When the smoke dun cleared, it took till way past dark ta git the buck an us out ‘o the hills and back ta the lodge.  I really think my dream ment sumpin, an the noise those fluts wuz sayin wuz meaning Butt Luck would prevail.

Gotta Go !

I figure sup otta be bout ready.  We be havin steak tonight.

Bears Butt

Oct.-Dec 1996

(The other hunter is now named “Hunter” because of this years hunting)

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

I reckon ya aint got no doubt bout me tellin ya one more time bout the muley hunt of ’94.

Seems most of the Willow Creekers done had a full cache ‘o fresh meat cept the Fat Duck, No Grimace ‘an me.  So the three of us done headed fer the hills.

We base camped in a purdy spot round 8,000 feet ‘an rode in on 4 inches of snow.  Five long, hard huntin days later we broke camp in 18 inches of snow ‘an proceeded ta work our hosses ‘an wagon on down the trail.  Sudden as a litnin bolt one ‘o the hosses done come up lame.  Weren’t bad nuff ta shoot her, so we sort ‘o dragged er down ta the flat land and tied er up.  We’d hafta come back soon ‘an git her; specially since the snow was a comin hard.

Headin now fer the home lodges we wuz talkin bout the last five days.  Didn’t see nothing with horn ‘an couldn’t believe it.  Good game country too.  Whilst we wuz there a feller we know as “Anderson” stopped in ‘an perceeds to tell us bout a big ‘ol muley he done “hit”, but it raned off.  “ I couldn’t of missed, standin there broadside ‘an all, at bout 10 yards.  Biggest buck in all the land”!

Alls we could say wuz some folks got hosses what are more quiet then others.

Early next morning me ‘an No Grimace done got a sick hoss kinda wagon hooked up ‘an is goin back ta  git the lame one.

We wuz pert near there when I spots a deer.  Woha! Woha!   Lookee there No Grimace ain’t that a purdy one!  Holey Moley he are a big’un.  Does ya reckon ya kin plunk ‘im with one of yer conicals?  Heck ya—easy at that range—400 yards aint nothing fer a “Great Plains Conical” ‘an Ol Missouri.

Well when the smoke done cleared, ‘an No grimace doin most ‘o the draggin I done bagged that same big ‘ol buck “Anderson” had hit some three days afore.  Cept there weren’t no other holes or missin hair.

Bears Butt

May-Aug 1995

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt
By: Bears Butt

It were at a late year rondeevoo back in ’91 ‘an like most rondeevoos we was a havin fun.  Muskrat were booshway ‘an was pullin off one great time.

White Trapper even done shode up ‘an we all pulled tagither ‘an got him a real woman fer ta spend some time with.  We figgered he needed one, cause he weren’t feel’in real good ‘an barrowed some white water frum me ‘an Wine Maker.  Had a whoop-tee-do round the council fire ‘an was found by Tracker ‘an No Grimace early in the morn, stuck to a big rock.

Any who, we was  havin fun as usual when all of a sudden there was this awful yellin.  We looked up and what we seed was a big cloud of dust a com’in fer camp.  None got too skeerd cause the cloud weren’t as big as a buffler stampeed ‘er noth’in like that.  It looked like a “one man” stampeed.

In ta camp it come; round ‘an round ‘an round till finally the man fell with exhaustion.  He weren’t thru tho cuz he was still a holler’in.

A couple runned over ta help him and seed right off it were Mr. Burt, Flying Feathers oldest youngen, what was a yellin.

After a bit when things got all calmed down we done realize that that there cloud weren’t no ordinar cloud, nor dust, nor nutin but a whole swarm ‘o bees—Yeller Jacket bees!!

Mr. Burt had done his self right proud leadin that swarm away frum the little kids a playing just outside ‘o camp, an kilt many of the critters with his bare hands, sepen one what got stuck twinx a couple of his fingers and gave him a welt the size of a buffler eye.

He was patched up ‘an feelin real good when ‘ol Muskrat got the talkn stick and called fer Mr. Burt ta come.  Mustrat said these here words: “He done fought the battle of the bees, an made his self proud.  So wherever in these here Rocky  Mountains this here hoss shall go, he will be knowed as ‘Yellow Jacket’”.

Bears Butt

Sept.-Oct. 1991

Written on May 23rd, 2011 , APFO Aerial Observer, From The Bears Butt | Stories, Ramblings & Random Stuff From an Old Mountain Man is proudly powered by WordPress and the Theme Adventure by Eric Schwarz
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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.