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Groinman's Vacation

This is Officer Lee Groinman.

Ya’ know, I gotta give that ol’ snake Tyrone a bit of credit. Ya’ see with Willingham I was able to save up a bunch of vacation days. I used to burn a few vacation days to attend Husky games, then burn even more vacation for a few road trips. Well with Lionel at the helm those road trip games became kinda’ silly. Then the home games became kinda’ silly. Next thing ya’ knows ol’ Groinman here has a bunch of extra vacation time saved up!

I hadn’t missed a home game in 25 years, until last year…

So now I’m going on vacation, a full week! I haven’t had a full week off since probably Woodstock.

I was thinkin’ I’d hang out in some bike shops, take in some small engine repair places, maybe take in some Dawg practices, a few barbeques, the perfect vacation. But first we gotta mow the lawn and take my dog Elsie to the vet, she’s come up a bit lame with this limp and ya just can’t have a lame Alaskan Malamute around the house on the verge of Sark’s first game...

So I throws on my Bermuda shorts with my Tony Lama boots, put on my Sloppy Joes beach hat with shades and fires up the John Deere rider contraption. I give the air horns a double blast for the neighbors benefit and proceed to hit the lawn.

That’s when I saw him, made eye contact too…The damned gopher been screwin’ up the place, this time he’s throwin’ dirt, he threw dirt on my tire! I seen him do it with my own eyes!

Now I’ve got him! I back the rear tire over his little gopher hole. I see his exit points. I take the garden hose and ram it down the other hole, water on full blast. He’s got one more exit point. I run to the kitchen and grab my trusty .410 shot gun. Mr. Gopher, Officer Lee is gonna have a little surprise for you so early in the mornin’.

That was around 8 am or so, by 10:30 my lawn is getting good and watered… Some passersby are perplexed. Seems they’d never seen a guy in shorts, boots and hat carryin’ a shot gun around the yard…oh and the shades, forgot about my shades…

The John Deere, I did shut down the Deere.

Well it was past time I got some coffee, had to pee too. I walked back into the kitchen, shot gun in hand. The wife Gloria is on the phone. She gives me this perplexed look. I don’t think she was overly impressed with my early vacation wardrobe. Yeah, I’m not color coordinated on this day but what the snot.

The wife is still on the phone. “Look Karen, I’m taking you out to dinner, tonight! You can’t be alone. And if there’s anything else I can do, just call. YOU HEAR ME!”

This don’t sound good…

“So what’s up with dinner with Karen, I thought I’d put some weenies and beans on the grill.”

“Oh Lee, it’s Johnny,”


“Karen’s Johnny! He ate a shot gun shell last night! In the bedroom! And what are you doing with the .410? Put that thing away! Have you no sense of DECENCY!”

Good grief, I’ll admit I was starting to feel a bit uneasy about this point.

But Johnny? A guy tends to work up some guilt deals when a suicide comes about. But with Johnny, ya’ know it nearly made sense. He was an extremely interesting fellow. He looked and sounded like Dennis Hopper. He could ruin a party by walking in. Doom and Gloom. Mr. Conspiracy Theory. I remember a night not long ago.

“You know Lee, USC will never take a hit, there’s no way! Too much TV money, the PAC 10 could never afford to lose SC’s power. It won’t happen. The TV networks would wet themselves. That’s why OJ is in the slammer. They made the deal. The NCAA is all former IRS and CIA. My dad was CIA, that’s why he shot himself. He knew too much, that’s why he beat my ass. SC is gonna skate, and you know it’s true. OJ took the hit for SC and not even he knows it. The perfect CIA plot, OJ is to SC, what Jesus is to Christians, except in reverse, well kinda’.”

You never wanted to let Johnny get going on the dollar bill, and the seeing eye thing. More conspiracy, involved the Masons too. He never let you forget that his dad was CIA.

So my wife Gloria is going to console her friend Karen. I’ve still gotta take the dog Elsie to the Vet. I get to the vets and Elsie limps into the front office area, she spies a cat and jumps up on the receptionist desk. She got a little excited, nothing that a few paper towels can’t handle.

The vet takes one look at Elsie and wants an X-Ray. “I’ll have the results in about an hour or two. I’ll call you then.”

This don’t sound good…

I’m takin’ Elsie back home. On the way thru the lobby the cat on the receptionist desk hisses at Elsie. Elsie gives her the doggy finger…

I’ve forgotten how long an ‘hour or two’ can be.

The phone rings. My belly churns. “Mr. Groinman, this is Dr. Rowe. As I expected, Elsie has cancer in her leg. The only way to save her is amputation. I have an opening tomorrow at 9:30. She’ll need to spend the night.”

Let’s not sugar coat it or nuthin’…

Is it too early for beer? Holey Crapes Almighty. It seems like we just lost my old bud Rocky to cancer, but dang it’s been over five years now. My how time do fly…

Then the phone rings again, thinking it maybe Gloria I answer. It’s my mom.

“Hi Lee! I hear you’re on vacation! How’s that working out for ya?”

“Well I started out to mow the lawn, haven’t quite finished yet…”

I didn’t sleep this night. What Johnny did, he did on purpose. Elsie did nothing, but I’ve agreed to let a virtual stranger saw off her leg. Just don’t seem fair. But yet we had Tyrone Willingham as coach and he walked away with a cool million. So there you have it.

The surgery was a success, if you call an amputation a success. But the cancer had spread to her right lung. So now my little girl has got to go thru chemo treatments. Well I didn’t have her leg cut off just to do a half-assed job. Still don’t seem fair, but there you have it. The vet told me the surgery would cost 150 bucks plus the X-Ray and other ‘incidentals’.

The morning after the surgery, after another pleasant night btw, I run down to pick up Elsie. She comes stumblin’ out in a near body wrap and she’s medicated to the gills. The vet hands me a bill for 627 bucks plus a prescription for some codeine. I load Elsie up into the back seat and head off for the pharmacy. Another 45 bucks.

Let’s see, surgery 627 dollars. Codeine 45 dollars. Elsie’s cold wet nose on the back of my neck, priceless…

She cried most of the day and up to around eleven that night. She then got up, walked out onto the deck, and hasn’t cried since. That’s my girl!

Well with Johnny it was decided to do a quick cremation and then a bike ride over Hwy 410 to his favorite camping spot where his ashes would then be dumped into the American River.

The wife Gloria asked me to go on this ride to pay our respects. A ride over Hwy 410? Don’t have to ask twice…

It was decided to meet up at the Naches Tavern in Greenwater. About 40 bikes were there. Forty bikes with saddle bags, stuffed with goodies. Preacher Bob from the local Alcoholics Anonymous would handle the festivities. Pastor Bob goes about 340 with a long pony-tail with gray streaks. He looked even bigger in his black funeral/biker duds. It did seem that Preacher Bob had a few legs up on the rest of us, but there you have it.

The sky was a bright clear blue as we headed up and over Hwy 410. Johnnys silver Urn was strapped to Preacher Bob’s padded sissy bar. Preacher Bob led the procession over the mountains in a professional manner with only a few bursts of outlandish speed thrown in for special effect.

At one point I recognize the spot where I ran into the “Harley Babes” from last summer. My how time do fly…Now were slowing down. Pastor Bob is making a  left turn signal. Oh sure, should have known. We are turning into “Hells Crossing.”

Makes sense, that would be Johnnys favorite spot.

Pastor Bob address’s the crowd.  After a few well chosen words, he tries to lighten the mood a little. I think he missed…

“Not sure is this makes any sense at all, suicides often don’t. But Johnny was a good man, had his problems with the booze and the heroin, but he never hurt nobody. Johnny was a competitive man too. You see Johnnys daddy shot hisself too, used a little .22, but done the job. Why in this case, Johnny took a .410 shot gun, finally out done his daddy. And here we are on Hwy 410 at ‘Hell’s Crossing’ about to deliver the goods, er the ashes of our dear Johnny. Like I said, I’m not sure if this makes any sense at all, but there you have it."

And with that Pastor Bob handed the Urn over to Karen. Karen was dressed in black denim, head to toe, black leathers, with black boots. The sun was shining thru her long black hair. Karen, with nary a tear, then poured Johnny’s ashes into the American River.

Pastor Bob continued: “Now we’ve had a few cases of Diet Pepsi trucked in, for those of you wishing something stronger, you may want to check out Groinman’s bags…”

I felt now that I needed to alone, and when I feel like being alone, I prefer to be by myself. I decided to keep on heading east, while the rest of the ‘party’ headed back west into the setting bronze like sun. I find myself back at Van’s Tavern in Naches. It’s like being drawn in like a magnet. I enter the Tavern and just as I knew it, there they were the Harley Babes. “Hello Lee, we’ve been waiting for you, for so long.”

Like I said, I knew they were there, I’d seen their bikes out front….

But I do believe this story will have to be told on another day. It was now really time to go home. I got a sick dog to tend to.

And what a ride home it was. As night began to fall, a freakish storm blew in from the south. The wind picked up something fierce. There was thunder and lightning, with periods of sideways rain. I don’t know who I pissed off more, the Harley Babes, or maybe Johnny. I had to stop for cover twice. Luckily I knew of a couple places, the ‘Wood Shed’, and of course, ‘Whistling Jack’s’. I do finally make it to the driveway of my home, tired, achy, and wet.

Something is wrong, very wrong. I can sense it. There it is. To my udder astonishment I see that my 75 year old Apricot tree had been blown over by the wind. It lay across my John Deere mower!

Next to the mower, lay one dead gopher.

Ya’ know, it’s funny how things just kinda’ work out in the end…

Holey crapes, but not my mower

I walk into the kitchen and the phone is once again ringing. This time it’s my dad.

“Hey Lee! I hear you’re on vacation. A full week! How’s that working out for ya?”

Ya’ know, I gotta’ tell ya this. I’m thinkin’ these vacations ain’t all that there cracked up to be…Enough of vacations. I’m getting’ ready for some FOOTBALL!!

Yeah, there was this thread on Dawgman.com the other day, one dealing with the entry music for the game with our friends from the state of Louisiana. I’m thinkin’ Led Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks.”

Yup! No more vacations!! I’m ready to kick some butts and eat SOME CORN DOGS!!


Now for those of you who remember the ’83 game back in Baton Rouge.  You may recall this voice. “What we got here, is holdin’ on da’ offense.” A very smart feller once said that “Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.” Another wise guy once said that “The best form of revenge is forgiveness.”

Okay, okay, I’ll eat my corn dog cold, and my favorite movie is “The Unforgiven.”

Maybe Blount should be askin’ for some forgiveness, ya’ think?

It’s a brand new game in DAWG TOWN!



Lee Groinman can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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