Living on a horse ranch, Patti and I have adjusted to a new lifestyle. A little over a year ago, we were empty nesters in a 48-floor apartment in downtown Chicago. Seems like if you are 48-floors high, the term “nest” is appropriate.

Now, well …

How about a suburban Dallas ranch, just down the street from South Fork, for those of you familiar with the TV show, “Dallas”?

Typical housefly that is my nemesis

One of the things that we have had to adjust to on the ranch is the prevalence of flies. Horses attract flies, so, even though we don’t live in the barn, we still get flies in the house.

So, we have a very good flyswatter. And, routinely, I take on the bloodthirsty task of killing the flies so they don’t become roommates. After all, they don’t pay rent. They really don’t do anything but become a real nuisance.

Now, over the past several months of killing the suckers, I have developed a routine, but please be patient as I explain my routine.

When I was younger, I was a real fan of TV westerns. I watched ’em all: “Maverick”, “Cheyenne,” “The Rifleman,” “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “Gunsmoke,” “Wild Wild West,” “Wagon Train,” “The Virginian,” “Big Valley.” You name it, if it was a western, I watched it and really loved ’em all.

One of my favorites was “Have Gun Will Travel,” starring Richard Boone.  Man, Richard Boone as Paladin was the ultimate cool. He wore black, rode a black horse, had business cards. I mean, really, business cards for a gunslinger?

Paladin's business card

For me, there was no one cooler than Paladin, although Steve McQueen in “Wanted: Dead or Alive” came very, very close.

So, here’s the routine. Whenever I spot a fly or flies in the house, I get the flyswatter and go after the little suckers.

And, when I kill one, I immediately turn on a western accent and start singing the theme song to “Have Gun Will Travel.”

So, SPLAT! goes the flyswatter. Lifeless lies the fly, Then, the following begin emanating from the house:

Have gun will travel reads the card of a man, A knight without armor in a savage land …” Sometimes, I hobble around like a bow-legged bull rider while singing the song and celebrating the kill.

Ultimate cool Richard Boone as Paladin

Sometimes when it is quiet, the TV is off, and Patti is in another part of the house, she will hear “Paladin, Paladin, where do you roam” and know that somewhere in the house a fly has bitten the dust. Yeah, I know, we don’t get out much.

If you are so inclined, the lyrics to the theme from “Have Gun Will Travel” follow below:

Have gun will travel reads the card of a man
A knight without armor in a savage land
His fast gun for hire heeds the calling wind
A soldier of fortune is a man called Paladin
Paladin Paladin where do you roam Paladin Paladin far far from home

He travels on to wherever he must
A chess knight of silver is his badge of trust
There are campfire legends that the plainsmen sing
Of a man with the gun of the man called Paladin
Paladin Paladin where do you roam Paladin Paladin far far from home
Far far from home far far from home

Now, aren’t those lyrics just plain wonderful? Well, I just usually mumble only a couple of lines from the song to celebrate the death of a fly. But, hey, if you want to sing the whole song, go for it.

And, the hits keep on comin’. Lately, we’ve had a lot of kinfolk around the house. One day recently , I saw my father-in-law with the flyswatter. I heard the sound of the flyswatter, then a moment later, in his 86-year-old voice, I heard him hum the theme song from “Bonanza.” Somewhere, Lorne Greene is smiling.