The Bucking Jenny

The Bucking Jenny
Laramie, Wyoming, USA
July 13
Like many others, I was taught that talking about religion or politics was rude. But, here's the deal folks... We can't hide behind that anymore, we can't hide behind "let's agree to disagree," or "let's just move on". We aren't talking about issues that are hypothetical, or might hurt somebody we don't know, or a future generation we'll never see. This is it. We are at a point where we have to have the conversations because the people we aren't talking about... That's us. We have to share the facts. We have to ask each other why we believe the pundits, or old disproven rhetoric. All too often, I'm shushed by the family republican who honestly thinks I'm wrong but doesn't want to fight, or the friends-list ostrich who prefers ignorant bliss, or the resident face-book troll who knows I’m right and wants right silenced. I simply cannot stop talking about and trying to ensure the future of our nation, of my children's nation, to appease others. So I'll start a blog, and shout out into the vastness of the internet instead, perhaps I'll find a like mind or two


JULY 22, 2012 12:17PM

Open Letter To Merle Haggard

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Merle Haggard is a legend.  He is an icon.  He’s like that antique that stands on your mother’s dresser that is so awesome, so unique and worn, that one simply must pick it up and turn it over in your hands just to feel it – even though we know it’s best left for hands off display.
Merle Haggard is coming to Cheyenne to perform for our annual rodeo.  Lasting ten days and recruiting stars like Reba, Brad Paisley and of course the Professional Bull Riders of America, Cheyenne Frontier Days is perhaps the greatest western celebration I’ve had the privilege of attending, and I haven’t missed a year since I found it in 2007.

I am concerned however, for Mr. Haggard.  In the yearly full sized magazine edition of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s presentation of the Frontier Days activities, Haggard gave quotes for an interview.  He revealed that at about the same time I was discovering the wonder of Frontier Days, he was ill.  He had surgery, and severe pneumonia.  Finally, he remarked that he was looking forward to performing here in Cheyenne because “They have good, clean air there.  That’s good for someone like me trying to recover from pneumonia.”

I, for one, cannot stand in good conscience without shouting to Merle Haggard through the depths of the internet, in an attempt to warn him.  Cheyenne does not have “good clean air”.  In fact, this morning at 9:30 a.m. I shut all the doors and windows on our house, not to avoid hot weather, but to avoid the disgusting, poisonous, smell of a local oil and natural gas refinery.   The refinery, owned by Holly Frontier, isn’t just unpleasant, smelling of rotten eggs, natural gas, asphalt, burnt rubber and worse… It is toxic. 

My mother and I suffer severe, debilitating migraines.  We avoid all triggers including foods, activities, medicines, and perfumed hairsprays and detergents.  One trigger that we cannot avoid, or predict, is the release of toxic chemicals into our local air from the refinery.  In fact, some of these toxic air dumps have been so severe that even before we smelled them, we felt them.  Over dinner last week, with a window open, I began to feel a tightening in my forehead, my eyes began to tunnel their vision, I felt nauseous, and with my next breath I was overwhelmed by the stench of the refinery’s output.

 I write to inform Mr. Haggard that Cheyenne is a nice town, and Frontier Days is perhaps our greatest shining moment as a community. I am proud and excited that Mr. Haggard has chosen our humble celebration as a place worthy of his fine voice.  I am, however, afraid that it is only right that we citizens tell the truth to Mr. Haggard – our air isn’t clean.  I don’t think it is good for an older man recovering from a lung illness.  I don’t think it is right that no one corrected Mr. Haggard’s misinformation before this.

I am certain, that Mr. Haggard, being an old cowboy, will scoff at this warning, but it is our duty as the hosts to this fine legend to tell him the truth.  Wyoming as a whole has worse air quality than LA – according to measurements taken by the EPA.  Cheyenne is a pretty town, easy on the eyes, but hard on the lungs and nervous system.  Mr. Haggard, our fine guest, deserves the warning, he is not an antique on our mother’s dresser, and he doesn’t deserve being handled unfairly.  He is a good man, an iconic voice, and we owe it to him to tell the truth.

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