From “Le Blog Du West”

I was watching “City Slickers” the other night. Being a writer, I listened to the dialogue; the phrasing, the pacing and little nuggets of truth. Naturally, Jack Palance had the best role in the film as Curly Washburn, the crusty but benign older cowboy with an interesting way of looking at life  Curly had some of the best lines and some wonderful monologue work. His was the most interesting character, so naturally, the writers knock Curly off halfway through the film. But at least they gave him the dignity of dying in the saddle.


Written by Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, they did a wonderful job sprinkling a little philosophy throughout the film without making it sound terribly preachy. While it’s just a light comedy, I liked the film. Sometimes I like to enjoy watching something without having to think too hard.

When watching a film or a documentary, my ear is always perked up for something that I can learn from. Sometimes I wake up at night thinking of something and I write it down. Usually they are profound to me in the middle of the night; almost enlightening. Then in the morning I read what I wrote down and it’s not all that enlightening after all. For instance, I have no idea what “We’re not Amish” scrawled on a Doubletree Hilton notepad is supposed to mean.



But I did think about some of the points in the film. One of the things I took away from it was Curly”s secret of life being “One Thing.”:

Do One Thing … you stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.

-Curly Washburn

What is my one thing? Parrots? No. At least not for me.  I’m involved with parrots and I love them, but I would have to say that writing is probably my “One Thing.”

At times I wished I had gotten into professional cooking. But when I was at the age when I was fit enough to learn how, women were not very welcome in the kitchen. It’s a hard, hot life and the temperatures in a hotel of restaurant kitchen will cook your brain. Nevertheless, I think of it.


So choosing to do what I do, flying and writing and cleaning up parrot poop is probably what is best for me. It’s offered me far more opportunity and more choices. And writing about parrots and the world of aviculture is one of those opportunities that I was lucky enough to get into.

Of course, along with that came a lot of hotel rooms, but that’s just part of the territory.


I think what it came down to for me was doing something meaningful and some making a difference. But it’s not the same thing for everyone. We chose to have birds in our life. But along with that came some other things in the backpack. We had to learn how to take care of them. Some of us got involved in adoption and rescue. Others became trainers and educators. Some work within bird clubs or are in the field of avian medicine. There’s so many facets to the field it’s amazing. Even in the field of aviculture, people are opening different doors.


So it’s not really always a matter of what you can learn and what you can take away from what other people have to offer. Sometimes it’s what you can contribute as well. There are many doors. And lots of opportunities to make things better in the field. It all depends on which door you choose to open. Maybe behind one of them, you will find your “One Thing.”

And as Curly holds up his finger when he explains Mitch in the film about finding the “One Thing,” Mitch asks him, “But what is the “one thing?”

Curly just smiles at him and says, “That’s what you have to find out.”

 I guess it all depends on what is meaningful to you. And what door you choose to open.