Chips Of Hazzard / by Dana Bergstrom

We've got half of an acre fenced in and Lil' Ray patrols every square inch like he's Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane.

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaat??!!

Did a Dukes of Hazzard reference really just fly outta my brainz and onto the computer screen?

It did!

And now my inner 80s child is ridiculously happy!

Aww, those magical 80s...

when my patient mama was teaching 15-year-old me how to drive in a boxy, brown Chevy sedan.

I remember during one of our driving lessons, I was overcome with excitement and, without warning, decided to pretend that I was Daisy Duke, the speedster cousin to the outlaw Duke boys.

I suddenly accelerated and swerved on a rural Nebraska road while the car wheels churned up flying gravel and I waved my arm out the window, yelling YEEEEEEHAAAAAWWW 'cause that's what dem Dukes do!

Mom's eye widened, then she asked me to stop the car and calmly said we were done with the driving lesson.

Darn it all.

I was just getting warmed up!

Aaaaaand thanks to science we all know that teenagers' brains aren't even close to being developed, so adding some inspired Dukes of Hazzard driving into my skull didn't help one iota, sooooo good call, Mama!

I bet she saved our lives that day...maybe even a few cows, too.

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Back to Lil' Ray P. Coltrane!

He spends his days scanning our wooded property for wayward squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, deer - basically, any type of furry rebel just like dem pesky Duke boys.

Whenever I glance outside and witness a large, furry, white blur in hot pursuit of a tiny, furry, brown blur, I hold my breath until the critter makes a narrow escape through the fence or up a tree.

The funny thing is that as soon as it's out of Ray's reach, he makes a quick turn and keeps running as fast as he can through the entire property, as he's got waaaaay too much adrenaline pulsing through his body to stop.

Even when Ray catches sight of another animal far beyond our fence, he absolutely has to do something with all that predatory drive. So he takes off at top speed, leaping over downed trees, around brush piles, through drooping branches, and off of stacked firewood, launching himself high into the air for some incredibly impressive, parkour-like moves.

Once Ray's completed one of his flying loops through the woods, he keeps repeating them over and over in varying patterns until he's tuckered himself out.

It's super fun to watch him zoom around. He's so stinkin' happy!

A few years ago, Pauly created several simple paths in the yard to access our hermitage, picnic table, fire pit, and the woodshed.

But Lil' Ray's daily races have now created a mini-doggy highway system of multiple wooded shortcuts, which, as soon as the snow melts, turns into a network of slippery, muck-filled trails.

Fortunately, Pauly has a solution for that.

As soon as Duluth's weather warms up each year in May or June, Pauly announces that he's ready to manifest a giant truckload of free wood chips to put on our trail system. 

He says what he does next is to listen to his intuition about when to run errands. Then when he gets an impulse to go out and about, he'll spot a wood chipping truck in our neighborhood.

He knows the guys have to dump the load before they can chip more trees, so he follows them to their next chipping destination, and then asks if they'd like to empty their full truck in our driveway.

And they're always more than happy to help Pauly out because that's one less trip to the chip lot outside of city limits.

I find it amazing that this happens every year and that it's totally a win-win for everybody.

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Thanks to Pauly's free wood chip acquiring skills, Ray's not patrolling a big yard covered in mud; instead, he lords over the property, looking sharp in his pure white coat just like Boss Hogg!

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Golldang, I cannot believe that Dukes of Hazzard stuff was just waiting to pour outta me.

I don't want to end on that though, since we all know that everyday racism and sexism was a part of that TV show, so let's chat about that for a sec.

Duluth is hosting a Make America Great Again Rally tomorrow and some Duluthians will get to witness our nation's shining hero of everyday racism and sexism, the US President, in real life.

But, the happy news is is that there are lots of other people who believe that win-wins exist for all humans.

Personally, I think the president's outlandish words and behavior have done a lot to help awaken many of us who have been asleep to just how rampant violence and oppression still are in modern society and in our own minds.

His acting like a total DIPSTICK (favorite Dukes term of all time!), inadvertently woke me up to my internalized misogyny, so I'm grateful for that.

Trump, like most of us, was trained to think that if someone wins, someone else has to lose, which is exactly why racism and sexism still exist.

Win-lose ideology is everywhere we look in our culture - government, business, economics, relationships...

Christian theology that interprets Jesus' death as a sacrifice for sin promotes a God with a win-lose mindset, which leads to judgment and oppression.

Same goes for fundamentalism in any religion. You wouldn't have a jihad without first having a punitive, win-lose kind of God.

But the thing is, we are not predator/prey animals like Ray and his critters. Other humans do not have to be sacrificed. Nobody has to lose.

"Turn the other cheek" means find another way to deal with adversity, understand where the win-lose mindset originates to create violence whether it's verbal, physical, cultural, financial or otherwise, and offer empathy and non-violence as an option.

As human adults with fully developed, non-Daisy Duke driving brains that can reason and go beyond our base animal impulses, we can also find solutions that work for everyone.

We're still evolving as a species and as we continue to learn about ourselves and each other, more of us will be seeking and finding those wins-wins.

I'm starting to pay closer attention to how my habitual win-lose mindset is negatively impacting my life and those around me. 

And I want to change it.

I'm hopeful that I can because others have.

And that's what makes me think that peace on Spaceship Earth is totally possible, one win-win mindset at a time.

#makeamericakindagain #winwins4humanity #yeeeeehaaaaawwwww