The Chess Set

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle.  You know, you think you have seen everything in life.  You would think in all of our travels, that at some point, we would have ran across a giant chess set in the woods.  But no, not until  yesterday.


Now, I am sure that many would wonder…why is a chess set in the middle of the woods? But I wonder, why doesn’t every woods have a chess set in the middle of it? That’s the question.  Or is it?


Now, I am good at a lot of things. But chess isn’t something that I have ever been privileged to master.  Maybe because I have never been presented with an opportunity to play.

I have heard of chess but it’s a shocker that I have never played it.  You don’t need to talk to play chess…done.  You don’t need to be nice to play chess…done.  You don’t need to wear pants to play chess.  Done and done.  And you do need to have some smarts about you to play chess.  Obviously. Done. Girl Person explained that chess is a game played between two opponents on opposite sides of a board containing 64 squares of alternating colors. Each player has 16 pieces: 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights, and 8 pawns. The goal of the game is to checkmate the other king. Ok, I tuned out like five minutes ago. But why does a game have to be so complicated? Why do persons complicate everything in life? Why can’t every game be like Go Fish?

There is always something in life that tries to complicate matters. Persons are presented with such things every day. Maybe it is something that they are trying to buy, maybe a big life decision. Maybe it is something to do with their work that weighs on their minds. And instead of being honest, well, they try to figure out how to cheat. They try to figure out a way around the rules of the game. And no one is honest, everyone tries to trick everyone, and there isn’t even peanut butter cookies at stake.

I wonder. If there was a chess set in the middle of the woods, everywhere, and persons were forced to play and be honest to move ahead in life, how many would choose that option? Or would they still want to cheat?  Who would stand there with giant chess pieces and use their heads to make the best make the next moves?  If everyone was honest, there would be no excuse to cheat.  And Sheriffs do not like excuses.


With a giant chess set in the woods, I guess you have two choices. You can either pick up the pieces and randomly scatter them about, or not play at all. Or you can line them up, see your options, think, and make the next move.  I say to make the next move.  Even if your opponent tries to cheat, you know that you make the right choices, win or lose.

Because my friends, it’s not always about the win.  It’s about how you played the game.  It’s about living with yourself when the game is over.  It’s about your opponent and caring about others. Even if they are on another side.  It’s your move.  Make me proud.

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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Mr. Banana Spider? You Were Sweeter Than Bananas.

This is Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle. It’s always a good day when I can talk to you. Actually, it’s always a good day when you can listen to me talk to you. But today, I have something more important to talk about perhaps then other days. I want to tell you about a spider. A banana spider. Mr. Banana Spider that should have had many more days finding bananas in the woods.

Many persons see spiders and are scared.  Many persons see spiders that are big and think that every spider wants to harm them in some way.  But often, I think that these persons think more of themselves than even I do of myself.  And that’s a lot.  I have learned, especially from camping, that the earth and its inhabitants are all just trying to not only to survive, but to enjoy life.  It is when the persons think that they are more important than the little things that life is taken away or life is altered for those just trying to live.


You see, we do come across many things that can harm us if they wanted to or felt like they had to. Take for example a coral snake that crossed our hiking path the other day.  Yes, yes, we know that this little snake was very poisonous.  But he was just trying to be safe too, and because we did not bother him, he did not bother us.  And that usually seems to be the way to do it.

It is ok, I think to look at many things but not touch.  Um, yeah.  I am talking about me.
But apparently, there are some who think that seeing something beautiful but scary to them in some way gives them the right…just because they are bigger than something, to harm it for no reason.  And I can’t agree with that.  I can’t justify that.  But I can arrest that.  I am the Sheriff and that is my job.  But my arrest goes further.  Because I never want this to happen again to another.
Mr. Banana Spider was just hanging out, literally, on a chilly day in this Florida place.  Girl Person had seen many spiders here at camp.  But this spider was very beautiful, very large and very spiderish.  Mr. Banana Spider deserved his title because he had earned it.  He had built one of the biggest nests because he was one of the biggest spiders.  And he enjoyed his days of hanging out, eating and being the best Mr. Banana Spider he had been raised to be.
But little did he know that a group of small campers with big sticks, loud voices and a general disregard for anyone, would decide they had the right to knock him out of his web that he so meticulously took days and days to build.  He thought he was in a safe place.  The campground was often quiet.  And he had a good spot to watch everything.
On a Saturday just like any other Saturday for him, he saw the group of campers walking towards him.  They took notice of him.  No, not because of his beauty.  No, not because they wanted to give Mr. Banana Spider a banana.  No, they simply wanted to feel more important.  They wanted to simply feel like they mattered more than a beautiful spider who had taken so long to build his life, his comfort and his nest.  Instead of simply walking by, they took one of their big sticks and knocked him to the ground and would not let him go.  Mr. Banana Spider gave it all he had.  But he was not to see Sunday.  And we were not to have a dry eye for quite a few hours when we could not find him.
You see, Girl Person had told Boy Person about Mr. Banana Spider.  And she was taking him over to look at him when her worst fears of what she had heard earlier were indeed true.  And as Boy Person’s face fell, so did their emotions and our tears.  But Boy Person tried to think positively for a moment.  If there was any chance that Mr. Banana Spider had gotten away, he would rebuild his nest.  He would come back.  And they would wait. And they would watch for him.
As the hours went on, the reality was there.  Mr. Banana Spider had not ran to safety.  Mr. Banana Spider was not coming back.  And we were mad.  And sad.  And all of the above and more.  Sometimes, things happen that make no sense, because the people that do them have no sense, as Pappy used to say.
Were we regretful we had met Mr. Banana Spider?  No, we were not.  Girl Person had gazed on his beauty and I sure he felt appreciation every time we simply just walked by and did not harm him.  We hoped that he knew somehow we had waited for him to come back.  And although many persons may not have understood him, we did.  He was our friend.
Maybe there has been someone in your life that no one understood.  Maybe you had a best friend or a family member that seemed scary to others, but you knew their heart.  I would say that maybe…just maybe…many don’t understand my growls. My demeanor.  My heart.  But you see, everyone of us is just trying to survive, and so often, our guards make others scared.  But there will always be that someone who looks past that and loves us for who we are.  Mr. Banana Spider?
We loved you for all that you were and you were appreciated when you were here.  We hope you know that not all persons are out to harm others.  But it is up to each one of us to educate others that we

-Sheriff Peanut Butter Brickle

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