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Wednesday, June 3, 2009

HOM: Thain 1

When Thain owned Cromwell Island, every spring he would invite a few friends to his place for some predator control. Every winter some coyotes would cross to the island on the ice and when spring came they would raise havoc with the island's population of nesting ducks and geese, so every spring Thain held a coyote hunt. I had the privilege of going on several of them. One of them was memorable. The only access to the island was by Thain's little aluminum boat, oar-powered. He was ferrying us back to the mainland after the hunt when the game warden showed up. Now, wardens do NOT get sensitivity training and some of them are total jerks, and this one was one of the dumber ones. He didn't bother with greetings, he just shoved his face into Thain's with a loud "What were you doing out on that island?" Wrong move. That treatment made Thain mad, and he told the warden it was none of his damn business and proceeded to ignore him. The "conversation" was quite acrimonious and one-sided for a while. The warden barked and Thain ignored. The warden kept asking Thain who he was and demanding some I.D. and Thain kept puttering with the boat and storing his gear. And staying silent. Finally, the warden disengaged his mouth and started thinking. After a minute or two of that, he said "You're Thain White, aren't you!" The light bulb had finally come on. Thain acknowledged that he was the man in question, and the warden's tone changed -- he got a lot nicer. Yeah, rich people get treated differently, at least by some LEO's. It seemed that someone had seen us on the island with rifles and called F&G to report us as deer poachers. Thain said if the warden would tell him who reported him he'd tell the warden what he was doing on the island. No deal, and the rest of us were doing our best to fade into the background without missing any of the show. And trying not to laugh, or even grin where the two combatants could see us. The testosterone and blood pressure levels finally wound down and the warden left since there was no evidence of poaching, but Thain was still mad. And the rest of us were still being very quiet. We agreed afterward that Thain had won that skirmish by a large margin, even though he never found out who had turned him in. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)