We’d like to welcome the newest member of the PFN staff, Mr. Archibald Seldom Lavergne, or Seldom to his friends. After running away from home at age 5, Seldom spent the next fifteen years living off the land in the Atchafalaya National Wildlife Refuge in Southeast Louisiana. Receiving no formal education, he taught himself using a cache of English textbooks of various levels that had drifted down the river into the wildlife refuge.
This unusual windfall was the result of a tragic accident involving a barge load of textbooks and a botched weapons sting operation. The tug boat captain was informed by ATF agents that he would encounter two groups of men on horseback crossing the river at a certain time on a certain night. One group would be undercover field agents looking to purchase a crate of crossbows, the other, a weapons smuggling militia group from west Tennessee. In the dark of night, the captain was to distinguish between the two groups of riders by listening for the canter of the field agents’ horses, versus the gallop of the smugglers’. If the smugglers were galloping across the bridge, that would mean that the agents’ cover had been blown and he was to bump the bridge piling with the barge, in order to shake the whole structure and throw the riders off their horses, where they could be overtaken by the agents. If he heard cantering ATF horses, he would know that the operation had gone according to plan and he need not do anything.
It so happened that, on the night of the sting operation, a group of Mennonites were crossing the bridge, with trotting buggy-horses when they were overtaken by a boyscout troupe riding briskly walking Welsh Ponies. The captain, unprepared for the new footfalls he was encountering, was looking up “horse gaits” on Wikipedia when he lost control of the barge, running headlong into the bridge at full speed, spilling the cargo.
While none of the Mennonites, boyscouts, or horses were injured, the smugglers got spooked and the operation was a failure. Seen by locals and the national media as a careless oversight by the ATF (not to mention the questionable ties the Vice President had with the shipping company, book publisher, and Mennonites), the incident was dubbed “The Gait-Gate Scandal” and a Congressional panel was convened to investigate. They have yet to release their findings.
An unfortunate incident for all parties involved, no doubt, except for young Seldom Lavergne. Not only did he receive an invaluable education, which has since been recognized by Franks Junior College in Bethesda, Oklahoma, in the form of an honorary Bachelor’s Degree in English Theory, but the pages of those books also kept his belly full during hard times in the swamp. This education, his vast knowledge of the outdoors, and the current popularity of all things “swamp” that we hope to capitalize on, make Mr. Lavergne a perfect match for the job of Outdoors Editor at PFN News.