October 10, 2021by Jon Kramer

Truth or Consequences | High Crimes and Misdemeanors in the Southwest

Copyright 1-10-2022 / 5,577 words by Jon Kramer
Nonfiction. These events took place in 1977 on a road trip to the Southwest with me, John Kelly, and Matt Goodman, high school friends from St John’s College military school in Washington DC.

An old bath towel has a certain appeal when one is contemplating high crimes in Kanab, Utah. You don’t want to know what shady uses Big City gangsters have for simple white terrycloth in a small desert town.

Even if the arresting officer was a little skeptical, the motel owner was thoroughly convinced the cloth they discovered in the front seat of Conquistador – my ancient and ignoble poo-brown station wagon – was proof positive of broad criminal activity.

There – see, I told ya! the woman screeched accursedly in a way becoming of a cobra. She owned the motel and was pointing to the scofflaw towel on the seat. The officer stood by impatiently. That’s MY towel – they just up and STOLE it!

But Mam, we weren’t stealing it, John tried to explain reassuringly, I was just using it to sit on for the day because the seat was so hot. And now we’re back, and it’s back. Unfortunately for the three accused criminals, John has a naturally calm and overly-accommodating smoothness to his voice. As such, he appeared patronizing and this incited a new level of vehemence in the pit-viper proprietor.

Shut up, you Hippie! she yelled back at John, ready to bite his head off. You stole my property and there’s the proof! George, she turned and implored the reluctant cop standing nearby, these guys is drug addicts and criminals. I don’t abide gangsters on my property! Now, will you PLEASE arrest these bastards and lock ‘em up already?!

George-the-Cop looked none too thrilled with this directive. Now Mary, an old bath towel ain’t a whole lot of evidence of criminality…

Well, what about the stolen TV? she quickly retorted. That’s gone too! And who knows what else!

Stolen TV? John, Matt, and I looked at each other.

This incident was one of the highlights of our Great Western Adventure and certainly the climax of our visit to Utah. We had planned this 1977 trip, funded primarily by our parents, as a whirlwind tour of the Southwest. Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado where all on the overly-ambitious schedule. When I initially proposed a road trip to the southwest in July, both Matt and John were a little skeptical.

It’s gonna be hot as hell in the desert! Matt observed. Not sure if I want to sizzle in that heat. Does your car have air conditioning?

Absolutely, I replied truthfully. Sort of. Conquistador did, in fact, have air conditioning. It was factory installed and was a real bonus – when the car was new. But by the time our family had acquired the 1968 Ford Galaxy station wagon eight years and 120,000 miles later, the A/C had crapped out and didn’t work. It was, as Dickens said, dead as a door nail. This small omission I left out of the conversation, for convenience sake.

Considering the age of Conquistador and the incredible amount of mileage already – which at the time qualified it as an artifact from the Flintstones age – the packing list necessarily included a copious amount of spare auto parts: hoses, V-belts, oil pump, gas pump, gasket material, spark plugs, carburetor, tire repair kit, and everything else we could possibly think of that might be needed in the event of a breakdown. All that, plus the garage-load of tools needed to fix these things, was packed efficiently into the vehicle. Can’t forget the duct tape.

We took off from DC one shiny mid-July morning and pointed the car west. I have no recollection of our time in the various states we initially crossed through. Suffice to say the trip itself started out fairly unremarkable. Then we got to Texas and the real fun ensued.

As I always say: the adventure hasn’t begun until something goes wrong. Or you get arrested. Which, come to think of it, falls into most people’s notebooks under the general category of “something gone wrong” and thus qualifies as a suitable start. Our adventure, therefor, began in Texas, a fitting place to begin an adventure, if ever there was one.

West Texas
We had been driving across the Lone Star State all day and all the previous night by the time we got to the blisteringly hot West Texas desert. The temperature was about 108 degrees. Conquistador’s interior, being black vinyl, was a wholly appropriate color in such heat when torture and self-immolation is considered. With no reprieve from the sun, we were cooked like tamales. Since the A/C was nonfunctional, we rode with the windows down, Creedence Clearwater Revival blasting away on the wholly unreliable cassette tape deck. Somehow their songs about rivers and bayous comforted us.

The speed limit on the nation’s interstate highways at that time had been set at 55mph by President Jimmy Carter. It was designed to save gas and save lives. Most certainly it did both. However, in the infinitude of rural Texas, where the roads go forever and the boiling heat is oppressive, if there’s a little cooling breeze at 55, then there’ll be more at 75, and even more at 85. So, with scant regard for the National Speed Limit, I modulated our velocity between the two higher figures.

It’s a well-known fact the town of Van Horn, Texas has one of the most enduring legends of highway speed traps. When the interstate highway system was built right through the center of town, the sitting Sheriff wasted no time in using it to the community’s advantage, as well as his own. The city limits were extended to the east and west just far enough to entrap unsuspecting travelers on remote sections of the highway well before they could see the town. Everyone who travels the I-10 corridor east of El Paso knows for a fact that you don’t speed when you cross the line at Van Horn. Everyone, that is, except three long-haired Hippies from DC.

While most cops will give you 5, or even 10 mph grace, the police in Van Horn allow you exactly zero. One mile per hour over the limit will get you pulled over and quickly ticketed. So, in keeping with our towering ignorance and spurred on with the cooling effects of a high rate of speed, we blasted across the town line clocking in at a cool 83mph. We came over a rise and saw the cop just as we zoomed past.

Oh guys – we just smoked a cop… John said helpfully while staring out the window at the blur of a police cruiser tucked conveniently into a notch on the right-of-way.

Yeah, and the good news is we get to meet him personally, Matt said as the red lights started flashing in the rearview. We pulled over and two cops approached – one corpulent, one not so much.

Good afternoon gentlemen, came the affable greeting by the fat cop, obviously the one in charge. Do you know why I stopped you?

I wanted to say that was a stupid question, but instead answered, Well, officer, if it was that broken tail light, I assure you we can fix it right now. We have the tools!

No, not that… he chuckled. I need your driver license and registration. Now, please step out of the vehicle and place your hands on the roof. We were frisked. Once they were satisfied we had no weapons on our person, they told us to step off to the side.

I clocked you boys at 83 miles per hour, Fats informed us. Do you know what the speed limit is here? No sense in arguing the National Speed Limit, so I answered that I thought it was 55mph.

Quite correct, Fats sang. That means you were speeding excessively. Now, in a normal case of speeding, we just issue a ticket, you pay it, and can be on your way at the lawful speed of 55mph. But in this case, you were speeding at more than 20 miles over the limit and that’s a mandatory arrest and appearance before the court.

If we weren’t sweating before, we certainly were now. This guy enjoyed his power and, even more so, loved making us squirm. And squirming we were. Things were looking bleak. But the fun was just beginning.

I will say that, being the arresting officer, I do have some sway with the court, Fats explained, as if our closest friend. I don’t exactly have a search warrant, but if you would give us permission to do a cursory examination of your vehicle here, I could report to the judge that you have been cooperative. That could go a long way in his book.

What do you do?

Up yours! I yelled at the cop. Kiss my ass, you fat cow – you can’t search our car without a warrant!

Actually, that’s exactly what I didn’t say, even though the urge to do so was there. I was an idiot, yes, but I wasn’t so stupid as to provoke the big man with a badge. We had no choice but to be accommodating: Of course, officer. By all means, you have our permission to do as you please…

They spent about half an hour digging through Conquistador. When they were done, they had found the sinister weapons: a .22 gauge, bolt-action rifle I’d owned since elementary school; John’s 12-inch long Bowie knife; and Matt’s 30” Billy-club. They laid these out on the shoulder.

What brings you boys to West Texas? Fats asked, as if West Texas was a different state than the rest of Texas. Come to think of it, maybe it was.

We came to see this great land and to dig rocks in the desert. I offered as sincerely as I could. My mom was born and raised near Brownsville. By this point I was kissing ass as much as possible. If not intelligent, you need to be practical.

Oh, I see, said Fats, obviously enlightened but apparently still a little curious. A homecoming trip of sorts. And exactly what kind of vicious rocks do you plan hunting in the desert with a rifle, Billy-club, and the world’s largest Bowie knife?

Some things cannot be easily explained.

We were under arrest, but not handcuffed. They packed John and Matt in the back of the cruiser and bade me follow them to town so we could be “presented to the court”. Once at the courthouse, we followed Fats into the Halls of Justice and down into the catacombs of the building.

“Justice of the Peace” read the sign on the old wood door halfway down the dark hallway. Across the hall another door was labeled “Jail”. Fats stopped just outside and gave us a little primer:

His honor is a busy man, he informed us. Lucky for you it’s business hours. But you don’t want to piss him off. So, when we enter, I’m going to just put this complaint before him on the desk and leave. I have other business. For your own sake, you fellas do not utter a word until he speaks to you – understand? We certainly did. Maybe Fats was our friend after all?

Upon entering the smokey shadows that comprised the judge’s “chambers,” we encountered a diminutive, ramshackle good-old-boy leaning way back in a swivel chair, ancient cowboy boots on an ancient desk piled high with papers, books, ashtrays, crusty food containers, and assorted junk. He was reading intently a journal of some sort. Fats motioned for us to sit on the bench along the wall. He placed the paper before His Honor on the desk. The man gave a grunt and Fats exited, nodding to us as he left.

We sat quietly on the bench awaiting His Honor’s pleasure. With nothing else to do, I tried to see what the guy was reading. It didn’t look like any official document. It was a magazine of sorts, the page facing us had images on it. I thought perhaps it was some trade journal. Maybe “Interstate Criminals and How to Catch Them” or “Hippies, Drug Lords, and Gangsters Weekly”. Whatever it was, it seemed to amuse him. He kept at it for several minutes, deliberately ignoring us. We were, after all, hardened criminals at this point, not worthy of notice. Interestingly, he smirked now and again as he slowly turned the pages.

Eventually His Honor pulled in his feet and the chair swung upright. He tossed aside the mag, picked up the paper Fats had left, and studied it. He then grabbed the hand-rolled cigarette nearby, sucked in a lung-full of smoke and took a quick drink of water (or was it vodka?). Upon clearing his throat loud and excessively, he proceeded to administer the law:

Boys, what we have here is a complaint registered against you for excessive speeding in the City of Van Horn. You are to respond by entering a plea with me. He paused, took another drag and another sip of the clear stuff. Ahem!, he continued:

Now, it’s perfectly within your rights to plead innocent of the charges. If that’s the case, you will be remanded to the jail cell across the hall while you await your arraignment. This being Friday, I wouldn’t expect you’ll see the magistrate before next week. Another break – more refreshing smoke and stimulating hydration. Then came the wrap-up of up his well-rehearsed monolog:

Or… you can plead guilty, pay me a fine of $25.00 plus court cost and be on your way. So, what’s your plea?

Needless to say, Your Honor, we are guilty as charged, I replied. Matt and John nodded their heads in agreement. Yep – all three of us were the scallywags the complaint said we were. I especially, since I was the driver at the time.

I would expect so.., he said without surprise. Funny thing, but it’s always that way… He checked off the boxes and stamped the form. That’ll be $32.25. Cash only. We anted up. Me and his Honor signed the paper.

Have a nice day… he said, waving us away.

While filing out I caught a glimpse of the magazine cover – it was an Archie and Gang comic book! Dispensing justice in Van Horn requires some serious reading…

New Mexico
Once upon a time in the west, there was a small, anxious town with plenty of spas but no patrons to use them. It was called Hot Springs. It was in New Mexico, half way between Albuquerque and nowhere. There was, at one time, up to 40 different hot spring spas, all starving for tourists. What to do?

Opportunity came a-knockin in the spring of 1950. Ralph Edwards, the host of a very popular radio show, announced that he and his team would broadcast live from the first town that changed its name to match his show. The progressive city council of Hot Springs wasted no time in adopting Truth or Consequences as the new town title. Surely such a clever name would bring in the tourists.

It did – for a time. But then it slowed right back down to a trickle. Curious motorists stayed away in droves. The population has actually decreased of late. As of 2019, it was less than 6,000 persons. Nevertheless, there were reports of rocks surrounding the town and the three of us aimed to check them out, hot springs and spas notwithstanding.

Not surprisingly, we found some. Rocks, that is. They were, in fact, suitable to collect and haul back to Nature’s Exotics, the family rock shop in Maryland. We found colorful jaspers and agate among the cactus and tarantulas. We checked into a local motel and spent several days digging rocks in the desert.

By this time in our adventure we were running low on food and stopped into a local grocery to replenish our supplies. It was a modest establishment, but had all the necessities. We gathered a cart full of foodstuffs and headed to the checkout. There was no one in line, so we emptied the cart onto the counter. The proprietor, a weather-beaten cowboy in a battered 10-gallon hat and crusty “shit-kicker” boots, was a few steps away near the front window, smoking cigarettes and talking story with a friend. We stood and waited for him to ring us up.

And we waited. And waited. Finally, after several minutes with not so much as a nod from the guy, I politely intervened:

Excuse me sir, we are ready to check out. I looked at him imploringly.

I’m sure you are, he said sanctimoniously while bearing a fake smile. He returned to his conversation and blowing smoke. More minutes passed as we stood there. He didn’t even look our way.

Is this a grocery store? I asked loudly.

Sure is… Smiley said, continuing to ignore us.

You actually sell groceries here? This was starting to sound like a Monty Python skit.

Sure do…but only to respectable citizens, he said with a sneer as he pointed to a placard on the wall: If you can’t read, this here sign sez “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone!” It’s your lucky day!

So that was that. Long-hair Hippies apparently fell under that draconian household rule. We were obviously not a part of the world’s respectable persons. We left the establishment grocery-less.

Back in the car we all had some choice words for Mr. Redneck at the grocery. As we drove away, I couldn’t help but feel pissed that such stereotypical ignorance was yet alive and well in the American west. Was this 1977 or 1877? For the next several days we ranted about Redneck.

Then, a couple days later, as we motored through the Truth or Consequences downtown, we passed Amin’s Western Wear. “Everything for the cowboy!” the sign declared, “Your one stop cowboy shop!”

Hey, do you guys remember that song about “signs”? I asked John and Matt. Does it give you any ideas?

A few years prior, the Canadian pop group Five Man Electrical Band had released their hit single “Signs”. It was a catchy lament about people’s prejudices and the signs they post. It was an unrelenting critique of the times, one that sparked the plan we now concocted. Some of the lyrics:

The sign said long-haired freaky people need not apply.
So, I tucked my hair up under my hat, and went in to ask him why…

I turned the car around. We spent hours inside Amin’s and emerged newly-minted cowboys, complete with Stetson hats, plaid shirts, boots, and big, ridiculous belt buckles like we’d seen on the clown at the grocery. We then went about steeping ourselves in the local cowboy stew.

Everywhere we went we spoke to people just to study the dialect. Then we immediately tried to duplicate it. As we dug up rocks in the desert, we spent hours perfecting our accents and slang – Ya’ll this and Ain’t that…. Howdy and How-do… We practiced walking slightly bow-legged, as if we’d grown up riding horses and added just a hint of cowpoke swagger. After a few days of practice, we were ready.

We drove back to the grocery and parked in back. The Three Caballeros were wearing western apparel and assumed their cowboy roles. All hair was tucked up into the Stetsons. We’d deliberately “aged” our apparel by smacking it with rocks, stomping on it, and dragging it through the dirt. Once donned, the outfits looked like well-worn hand-me-downs. It would do. So as not to attract attention, we decided to go in as two separate groups. I went first, followed later by John and Matt. Redneck was at the front, right where we’d seen him last.

Mornin… came the amicable half-greeting as I sauntered in.

How-do… I clipped with a slight twang as I ducked into the aisles.

After a short while, John and Matt arrived. Howdy.., they said in unison with a slight, beleaguered waive like we’d seen among the locals. Redneck replied the same, in-between puffs on his Camels. After a few rounds about the aisles, I gathered up the goods I was getting and headed to the counter.

Ain’t seen you ‘round here afore, Redneck quipped, obviously not recognizing me. Where’s you from?

Down Las Cruces-way, I twanged. Up here roughnecking gas lines… Money’s good but the boss iz meaner than a fiery ol Hellbender…

Sounds ‘bout right… came back the Redneck, sympathetically. I tell you what… Some boy’z just plain ol mean fer no reason. Cain’t understand some folks…

We chatted like this for the time it took him to ring me up and bag my groceries. On this day he was like any other of the hundreds of thousands of grocery clerks all across the country. He spoke with a local accent, but other than that, you could have dropped him into the same role anywhere from Seattle to Schenectady and he’d fit right in. He was downright helpful and accommodating. I paid up and headed for the door with my bag.

Sometimes when things are going exactly as you knew they would, you just get the urge to test the limits and mess with your friends. According to plan, I was supposed to just head out and go directly to the car and wait for Matt and John. But I got impulsive and went off script by hanging around the front door while they lined up at the register.

Hey, looky-there! I bellowed excitedly from the front as they unloaded onto the counter. I’ll be danged if it ain’t old John-Boy and Matty! How’z you boys doin? I went over and emphatically shook their hands, punching their arms and slapping their backs. They were stunned, momentarily caught off guard and speechless.

Been a coon’s age since I seen you boyz! You still tippin cows out there at Big Agnes’ ranch? How’s old Granny?

Once they recovered from the ambush, Matt and John kept it together, manufacturing small talk with cowpoke accents. Oh, we’z fine as frogs hair… Matt quipped. John chimed in, Yessir, yesiree, I tell you what… They performed admirably well amidst the change in script I had thrown them into. Once they checked out, we prepared to leave. But I had a little more set-up to do:

Seems like them long-hair Hippies iz invading us, I said plenty loud so Redneck would take notice. I saw some t’other day, driving a shit-brown station wagon with Mary-land plates, hair hangin down like a girl.

I seen ‘em too! Redneck jumped in. They waz here a couple days back, acting like they owned the place. I threw ‘em out – right out that door!

You diiiiid?! I exclaimed with an exaggerated drawl, in praise of the man’s actions. I tell you what… Serves ‘em right! I see you got your sign right there! I hollered, pointing to the declaration he referred to a couple days before. Ain’t no law sez you gotta serve no long-hair Hippie freaks! To hell with ‘em!

You got that right! Redneck said, as he fired up another Camel. Now you boyz take ‘er easy, ya hear?

Matt and John pushed me out the door. We walked around back, all guffawing about what just went down. But there was one more thing we needed to do. We got into Conquistador, then drove to the front of the store. I honked the horn and Redneck came to the window. We pulled off our hats and waived them in the air while our hair dropped to our shoulders. Yee-haw!

“The sign said long-haired freaky people need not apply.
So, I tucked my hair up under my hat, and went in to ask him why…

He said, you look like a fine upstanding young man, I think you’ll do.
Then I picked up my hat, said “Imagine that – me working for you!”

Utah (cont)
With the mention of a stolen TV, George-the-Cop took notice. So did we. But this woman was off her rocker. I smelled a rat and it wasn’t the nice kind.

What are you talking about? I yelled, launching headlong into a rebuttal of the Snake Woman’s accusations. Let’s go check the room right now! I took out the key and we entered the room. George the cop – whom I will refer to henceforth as G-cop – followed, and the woman did too. Surprise of surprises, the TV was sitting right there where we’d left it, bolted to the dresser.

This TV doesn’t look stolen to me!, I declared sarcastically.

The housekeepers already put in a replacement, the Cobra shot back. She was quick on the draw, you had to give her that. But we all knew this was a lie and I was on the warpath now.

Oh really? I said, waiving my arm about the unkempt room. So, the housekeepers put in a replacement TV just in case we wanted to watch Jeopardy tonight? Very kind of them.

And they replaced the ”stolen TV” but decided not to make up the beds? Matt asked incredulously.

I appealed to G-cop: I’ll bet this dresser hasn’t been moved for years. Judge for yourself, officer. John and I pulled it away from the wall. Decades of dirt and miscellaneous trash had accumulated behind the dresser. Gangs of dust encrusted the wires. It was clearly obvious the TV had not been touched.

Whaddaya you say to that Mary? G-cop asked, obviously annoyed.

Well, I’m still pressing charges for the stolen goods in the car! she spewed. And I demand you arrest them and throw them in jail right now!

Now calm down, Mary! I know my job. He turned towards us. Boys you’ll need to come with me over to the station. Mary, you come over in 20 minute to file the paperwork. By that time, we’ll know if there’s anything else in the car.

We drove over to the police station. On the way over I got more and more worked up. I was furious. So too were Matt and John. We’d paid for three nights but had only spent one. We borrowed one of the frigging towels to sit on so we didn’t burn our butt off on the black vinyl seat. When we came back in the afternoon, we would have brought the blasted towel back into the room with us. But before that could happen, we were ambushed by Maniac Mary, the Terror of Kanab. She’d obviously gone off her meds and decided to set us up as criminals so as to kick us out of the motel.

We were escorted into a small brick building. Three jail cells lined the back wall. They were not open bars, but enclosed brick, with numbers atop each entrance. The cop made a show of stopping at Cell #2, opening the tiny hatch in the door, and yelling inside: Cepheus! You sobered up yet? You gotta call a lawyer and arrange bail if’n you want out. He slammed the portal shut.

We followed him to his desk and, once again, we were told to sit on the bench by the wall. We had this routine down. G-cop then asked a familiar question:

Can we have permission to search your car?

Again there was that urge – Up yours, you fat cow! Instead, again, we told them to go ahead. They dug into the car and found nothing incriminating – no drugs, no smuggled armaments, no contraband of any sort. Not even any alcohol or cigarettes. As we sat on the bench, I contemplated what our next move should be. I had a half-baked plan by the time they came back.

Officer do we get to make a call? I asked, when they came back from the car search.

Well, we’re not to that point yet – I haven’t officially arrested you. But if I do, yes you get to make a call.

A call for each of us – right? I asked by way of clarification.


I leaned into Matt and John talking as if in a huddle, but making it loud enough to be heard by the cops: Here’s the plan guys – Matt you call your dad at the Pentagon and tell him to get ahold of my dad at the DC Circuit Court. He may be in court right now but his secretary will catch him as soon as he’s out. John, you call your dad at the White House and tell him to expect a call from my dad. Does he need a code or something to get patched through the White House switchboard?

We carried on like that for awhile, dropping names, ranks, and elite social status, just audible enough for G-cop and his buddies in the station to hear it all. Matt and John embellished it saying they would also tell their dads to bring along the media. They follow my dad around the White House all the time, anyway, John said casually. This’ll give them something to air on ABC…

After 30 minutes Mad Mary still had not shown. I went on the offensive and told G-cop we demanded that she get on with it so we could call in the calvary. The DC heavies were coming to town! And when they get through with this place, it won’t be pretty.

It was, of course, a grandiose threat. We had no such status in the DC political circles. But the three of us hadn’t taken Theater and Public Speaking in school for nothing. Our charade sounded plausible enough and we had DC area driver’s licenses. So, it was just feasible that our families really were part of the Capital Junta. The cops had no way of knowing.

G-cop sighed as he picked up the phone. Mary, you comin over here? We’re all waitin. By the way, we searched the car and there ain’t nothin else.

She never showed up. After awhile I said – Well? Are you going to arrest us or what?

You’re free to go, G-cop finally said. And for the record, we never arrested you fellas. Sorry to trouble ya.

That’s great, we said. But now there was the issue of the other two nights we’d paid for. We obviously weren’t staying at the motel again, so we wanted a refund. It stood to reason the Snake Goddess wouldn’t accommodate such a request from us. So we all looked at G-cop…

Oh, hell..! he muttered, exasperated. Follow me, I’ll get yer money back.

We drove back to the motel. G-cop went into the office. After about 10 minutes he reappeared

That woman’s a piece of work… he scowled as he handed us the cash. It was short by $5.00. She sez the towel’s worth five bucks, he said.

I took the opportunity to turn the tables – What?! Now she’s stealing our money?! She got the frigging towel back and is still charging us for it! I looked at G-cop, You’re our witness, officer. It’s blatant extortion. So now, WE want to press charges!

Oh, for Christ sakes! he howled, thoroughly frustrated with the whole affair. The shit I have to put up with in this job!

I wasn’t serious, and we told him so. He was not amused. Upon shaking hands, he was plenty happy to get back in his cruiser to exit the scene before some other petty bullshit thing happened to waste his day. He wanted nothing more to do with the Hippies or the Serpent.

Matt and John were pissed-off at the extortion. But, by my calculation, five dollars was a bargain. We’d paid over six times as much to sit on a similar bench in Van Horn and had just as good of a story. Some things are cheaper in Utah.

Bob Barker was the legendary host of Truth or Consequences when it aired on TV from 1956 – 1977. He also went on to host The Price is Right from 1972 – 2007, making it the longest running gameshow in television history. Bob is a living legend. He’s nearing completion of his first century – he’s 98 years old – and is a great supporter of many philanthropic endeavors. His primary passion is animal welfare.

In 2018 we discovered that our neighbors across the street in Florida had a daughter and son-in-law who founded Forest Animal Rescue (FAR) in Marion County, not far from our Surf Shack in the Ocala National Forest. When they learned we were animal lovers, they invited us on a tour of the facility. FAR houses an incredible array of animals, from giant fruit bats to bears, monkeys, lions, donkeys, and gopher tortoises, to name just a few. They rescue abused and neglected animals and allow them to live out their lives in dignity, untrammeled by human beings.

At the time we visited, FAR was looking for ways to fund the building of a modern veterinary clinic to service their inhabitants. Julie and I discussed how we could help. The following year we donated a solar system to help power the facility. It was finally installed in 2020. That same year they built the vet clinic using a substantial grant from – guess who – Bob Barker!

You can help Bob and FAR. Donate at: forestanimalrescue.org