Random Thoughts

Random thoughts are exactly that… thoughts that kick up from a picture, a song, another person or something someone says. Those thoughts sometimes carry a full story, but often just a memory or an event that somehow sticks in our mind. Whether these random thoughts are interesting to anyone else… well, that’s pretty much a moot speculation, as writing a blog gives the writer, if nothing else, the great freedom to write any damn thing that crosses his or her mind. A positive aspect of random thoughts and memories can be the deeper look inside a writer’s mind… you know, what makes him tick, where his real interest might lie, maybe even who he really is.

Young writers will lead us into their thinking of what they want to do, where they want to go, what they dream of accomplishing. Old writers will tell us of their memories, of their experiences, of their accomplishments. I am of the latter group. This old writer’s range of experience in this life spans a 70-year period from 1949 to 2019. He will tell you that a lot of shit happened in that period of time. Who this old writer is now, and what random thoughts his old brain kicks up on a daily basis, is largely due to those experiences and how those experiences molded him. Who he is today, and what random thoughts roll through his semi-consciousness are the result of those experiences.


I have great respect and compassion for our service people, and for all animals. And I love the 5th of July!


When I first began meditating, I finally had one that had me feeling very relaxed and peaceful. Along with thinking this stuff might actually work, it occurred to me that “Damn! This feels a lot like fishing the rivers and streams in Montana!”

Two years later, I was back in Southwest Montana, fishing the Ruby River one afternoon. And it hit me. “Yup, feels just like meditating.”


Watching an old Perry Mason the other evening, a young guy got accidentally mixed up with a criminal, and suddenly he’s implicated in a robbery and a murder. It set me thinking about whether I’d ever gotten close to any real criminals. Turns out I have… two times, that I know of.

In my favorite bar in Boston’s Back Bay one afternoon, I was sipping a drink at the bar, and two stools down the bar sat a quiet, Italian-looking guy. The classic chiseled features, dark, quiet eyes, sipping a scotch and minding his own business. Before I finished my beer he left, and the bar tender walked over to me. “That guy who just left,” he said quietly. “You know who he was?”

“No. I never saw him before.”

“Good. Remember him. His name is Billy DeFalco. He’s a hit man for the mob.”


Back in Montana one summer evening in ’76, my girl friend and I were entertaining in my parents’ bar. She was an attractive singer and guitar player, I was backing her on piano. The bar was full but I noticed a cowboy, leaning with his back to the bar, quietly watching us. He had the classic good-looking bad guy look… cowboy hat pulled down close to his eyes, so they were hard to see. I could tell he was checking my singing girl friend out. On a break, I asked my dad, who was sheriff at the time, if he recognized the cowboy with the mean eyes.

Dad looked down the bar, then smiled. “That’s one of the boys from the Gilbert ranch up on the Ruby. It’s become a kind of halfway house for released state convicts. Don’t worry about it, I’ll keep an eye on him.”

Nothing happened that evening, but I was nervous. Now that I knew where he came from, he looked twice as dangerous to me. And strangely enough, about a week later I saw him again in another bar downtown. I’d stopped in for a beer in the afternoon, and there he was, sitting there, sipping on a long neck. For some reason I’ll never understand, I decided to say something to him, as I was young, and still fairly stupid. Since our town was a tourist destination, I had decided to sound like a tourist. “I like your hat. That’s a good-looking cowboy hat.”

It was a straw hat, sweat lines around the headband, molded into a unique style I’d not seen before. It did look cool, I wasn’t lying. He scoped me out in the back bar mirror, and finally turned to look at me sideways. I could tell he recognized me, and I knew I had made a huge mistake.
Now he was looking right at me. “You like my hat…” he said. Even his voice was beginning to scare me.
He slowly took it off and looked at it. Then, he slid it down the bar to me. “Here, you can have it.”


Used to be my favorite smell was SW Montana after a rain. The mixed smell of wet sagebrush and pine was totally heavenly to me. But now I live on the North end of Puget Sound, and my favorite mix of smells these days is salt water, freshly mown grass and our roses! Fantastic! And it’s all on our front deck, every summer morning!


I love life, have always loved it. And so it is that I used to think that there must be a way to stretch life, make it last longer, make each day go slower. Before long I found out that there was… simply be miserable, heart broken, lonely, lost, depressed, afraid. Those babies will make time slow down in a… well, you know. But being miserable for any of those reasons is no fun, as I also learned, and slowing down time by any of those methods is counter-productive. Unhappiness of any kind causes stress, which will kill us faster than most things, while enduring happiness and a sense of fulfillment will usually help with continued good health, which logically should give us a longer life. But then the catch-22 rolls in – with continued happy days and weeks, the time seems to simply fly by! Damn! What to do? What to do??


We live next to the ocean, and notice the tide comes in and goes out, every day and night. We know that the gravitational pull of the moon affects our tides. What I’m wondering is, what else on our planet, and perhaps in our lives, might be affected by the moon’s gravitational force?

I did a little studying on this idea and found there are a lot of theories but no tangible proof. While bartenders and medical professionals will tell us that many people behave predictably different during the full moon, there are no official studies out there to prove their stories. I, however, have a story I lived, and I know it to be true. My story involved Sue and Brian’s dogs.

Sue and Brian lived in SW Montana. They always had two dogs, old dogs, dogs that no one else wanted. During the time I house-sat for them, they had two golden retrievers… 12 to 14 years old, tired old sweethearts. Sue and Brian liked to travel a lot, and they hired me to house sit for them and take care of the dogs while they were gone, which I did for a year or so.

Three different times, while I worked for them, they were away when a full moon occurred, and all three times those two old dogs did things they never did, ever, at any other time. Each night of the full moon they wouldn’t sleep, but walked around the house whining. They wouldn’t lie down, they wouldn’t sleep, and they wouldn’t let me sleep. God knows I tried. ButI could hear their paws clicking on the hardwood floor outside my bedroom, and I could hear them whining. I would try to get them to come into the bedroom and lie down, but they wouldn’t. And at some point in the night, they would both crap on the floor in the living room. Every time. I never got any sleep on those full moon nights.

The first time it happened, I told Sue and Brian about it when they returned. “Yeah,” they smiled. “We know. They do that to us, too.” After the third go-round, I stopped house sitting for them. Sometime later I learned the the cycles of the moon affected Brian as well. But that’s another story..


Remember when we were young, trying something new, exciting, dangerous… most of my pals and I said, right before we tried it, “Here goes nothing.”

In my two summers with the Forest Service, the call to any action was, “Powder river, let ‘er buck!” I never understood that one.

Then came “Go For It.” But times change. Now it’s, “You got this.”. Personally, I liked “Kawabunga!”


Speaking of times changing, This “woke” shit… well, never mind that. “Lest’s Movie,” Let’s pizza…” can’t do that. Is it suddenly cool to turn nouns into verbs? Really? Ah well, at least I know that “cool” isn’t cool anymore. Now it’s “lit,” “fire” or “dope.” Dope?? Nope.


We no longer understand the concept of “enough.” Perhaps we never did. Too bad. There is so much peace and contentment to be found in having enough. We are truly a very stupid species.


Last month I had my cataracts removed. Easy and successful, but good news and bad news. Good news, bright new colors, clarity of the outside world, everything in new and wonderful focus! Bad news, I am now deathly afraid of mirrors.

Steve Hulse

Leave a reply, always happy to hear from you

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

© 2011 - 2020 Steve Hulse, All Rights Reserved