Fat Like Trail Hand Stew

"Cookie, you trim the fat or fatten the trim?"

“Cookie, did you trim the fat or fatten the trim?”


“Land of Goshen, Cookie, where did you get all that fat?”

“Hey, Jack, I don’t slaughter ’em and I don’t prep ’em. I just cook what’s brung to my campfire.”

Right now I can sympathize with Jack, because I just edited more of Heller’s Canal. Talk about fat. Naw, let’s talk about blubber!

Back in 2004, when I wrote the section I edited today, I must have acted like Cookie. “If it’s brung to the campfire, it goes in the pot.” Yep, trail hands, that’s exactly what ol’ Cookie did.

Ew, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much adipose, gristle and bone chips in all my campfire cooking days. Plop it in the pot, stir the coals, pour in salt and pepper till the shakers run dry, and serve it up for all to eat.

A better stew it was, though, after I assumed the character of the town butcher, a frugal man who worries more about his customers staying lean than his cash box growing plump.

Yes siree, I sharpened the trimming blade, flipped it in the air, snatched it back without trimming myself, and set to cutting like a politician sets to stumping.

Words slashed here, phrases cut there, rephrasing and rewriting until the section showed blood-red with no white accents — “Whew, Trail hands, now that was some mighty skinny stew.”

Lesson here is simple. A fine statue begins with too much clay and not too little.

When it’s time to create your Michelangelo’s David, trim, cut, smooth and refine so your statue is truly a work of art.


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