Day 230: Big Jake’s Mistake

Laetitia and her group started the day at Big Bend National Park, on the border between Texas and Mexico. The park is very large and has mountain, desert, and river environments. The park website has a section entitled “How Not to Die in the Desert,” so Laetitia decided to do a tour of the park by van rather than hiking. After the tour, the group drove north to Big Lake, where they were spending the evening.

Big Lake, Texas, is named after a large lakebed more than 1,000 acres in area that is dry except when there are heavy rains. It is a small city with slightly fewer than 3,000 residents and an economy based on agriculture and petroleum. Some gossip overheard on their walkabout through Big Lake provided the limerick of the day.

A Texas cowboy named Big Jake
Soon found he had made a mistake
In gadding about
‘Til his wife threw him out
Now he sleeps in the park at Big Lake.

Day 229: Big Spring Fling

South of Amarillo is Big Spring, a small Texas city of 25,000 inhabitants. When the city was founded in the nineteenth century, it did in fact have a big spring, but that dried up long ago. The railroad came, the population increased, and a number of wells were drilled that lowered the water table. The city’s economy is based largely on farming and oil, although it has a prison and Veterans’ Administration Hospital and was once home to an Air Force base. Some of the opening scenes of the 1969 film Midnight Cowboy were filmed in Big Spring. Laetitia and her group spent the day hang gliding and, as was her custom, she found a stool at the bar of the motel where they were staying to have a drink and find grist for a limerick before meeting her guests for dinner. She was not disappointed. A rather wild wedding reception held by a local cowboy (and oilman) in a rented bar that had a mechanical bull was the talk of the town and became the limerick of the day.

A cowboy who lived near Big Spring
Went to town for his wedding night fling
And made love to his bride
On the robot bull ride
As the bar bash got into full swing.

Day 228: Amarillo Armadillo

With about 174,000 residents, Amarillo is the largest city in the Texas Panhandle. It is in ranch country, near natural gas fields that are major producers of helium, and has a variety of other industries, including nuclear weapons assembly and disassembly, hybrid aircraft, and meat packing. Laetitia’s group included a number of horse fanciers, so they went to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame before going on some hikes in the Caprock Canyon’s State Park and Trailway. During happy hour at the bar of the hotel where they were staying, Laetitia wrote the limerick of the day from a story of a woman who had captured an armadillo and brought it home for a pet, with interesting results.

A lass from the town Amarillo
Had to give up her pet armadillo
After her husband Ted
Screamed and ran from their bed
When it came out from under his pillow.

Day 227: Claunch Paunch

Laetitia and her group spent the day in New Mexico south of Albuquerque. They hiked in Elephant Butte State Park near Truth or Consequences, a spa city of about 7,000 people located on the Rio Grande. The city was originally named Hot Springs, but when Ralph Edwards, the host of the popular radio show Truth or Consequences, said he would air the show in the first town that renamed itself after the show, Hot Springs stepped up to the mark and changed its name.

Toward the end of the day, Laetitia brought her tour to Claunch, New Mexico, where they were spending the evening. Most of its residents consider it the center of the state, and, a few, the center of the universe. It’s a small town of fewer than 200 people—one of those towns where people mostly entertain themselves, usually with dinner parties. During her walkabout with the group, Laetitia overheard two women complaining about an acquaintance who, as a dinner guest, tended to have a lengthy and rather loud debate with herself over each food item she ate and what eating it would do to her figure. It became the subject of the limerick of the day.

Old Alice could never quite staunch
Her fear about growing a paunch
Which meant that she quibbled
Over morsels she nibbled
As she irked every hostess in Claunch.