James: On conflict resolution

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017 4:28 PM

Women. My favorite kind of people. I like the way they look, the way they talk, the way they think and, if memory serves me, the way they feel.

I was raised the only boy in families that numbered 10 sisters. There were some “steps” and “halfs” in the count, but still it was 10-to-1.

I had my own mom and two step-moms. I’ve been married twice and had a hand (be it small) in raising three daughters.

Ladies, I love you all.

Which brings me to conflict resolution, because the two greatest acts of conflict resolution I have ever witnessed involved women.

Wikipedia defines it as such: “Conflict resolution is conceptualized as the methods and processes involved in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution.”

Two five-syllable words in one sentence. Imagine that.

Both of these acts were back in the “drinkin’ days.” The first came as I was “resting” in the pickup in the bar parking lot. Two women came out by themselves, said some really unflattering things to each other and then “got after it.”

There was hair pulling and eye gouging and a couple of shots below the belt. It took a while, but finally a victor emerged. She pulled her shirt back down, fluffed her hair, checked her makeup in the car window and strolled back into the bar. Conflict resolved.

The second was in Silver City, New Mexico, after the rodeo. In the bar, a small skirmish escalated to 20 men brawling on the dance floor. Quite a sight to see. Things had just gotten kind of settled down when one of the “town” women came in screaming and hollering, worried about her man.

One of the “rodeo” women took about 10 steps and met the “screamer” with a hard right hand. She went down like a bag of oats. Conflict resolved.

I doubt that any of those four wonderful women remember those “facilitations of conflict and retribution,” but they have been bright spots in my memory for decades now.

Until the next solar eclipse ...

Tom James was riding horses before he could walk. He currently hangs his hat in Ignacio. Reach him at