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Cowboys and Indians of my great Southwest.

Updated on January 31, 2013

My son drew this. In him I am well pleased. Brooks loves the earth and cherishes it's people

"If I were an Eagle, I would soar high enough to forget man, and low enough to understand him" (wrote that in a philosophy course a lifetime ago but it holds true)
"If I were an Eagle, I would soar high enough to forget man, and low enough to understand him" (wrote that in a philosophy course a lifetime ago but it holds true) | Source

I was referencing something to do with horses and a Apache technique and my friend just stared at me and said “there really were cowboys and Indians?”

Well I will be horsewhipped. I suppose I never thought about it. I was born in a small town of about 12 thousand including the college and seasonal workers. We were the proud county seat of Coconino county one of the largest in the USA. The railroad had made the town accessible. And then Route 66. The closest larger city would be the Capital Phoenix about 160 road miles away if the road was not washed out. Average speed on the sometimes one lane was about 40 mph. The Town was Flagstaff Arizona.

There was still an old steam engine locomotive that serviced a spur for logging, mining and cattle. Cattle drives were still seasonal as were sheep drives up and down the mountains. Many men still wore six shooters on their hip, mainly those that lived out a ways. Navajo and Hopi Indians could still be seen driving covered wagons. The town is 7,000 feet high and nestled at the base of the 12,000+ ft. San Francisco Moutains/Peaks. I am pretty sure we would get over 14 feet of snow a year.

A land that time passed by

Think this way. Arizona still has more miles of dirt road than paved. Think about that. The Grand Canyon sits up north of Flagstaff and is a very very small part of the state. This is country where you could walk one hundred miles or more without seeing any evidence of man. Today!

So it might or might not surprise you that I am young. I was born in 1957 and yet this is the era I was born into. Party lines for telephones with four numbers. Gas stations where you pumped the gas ---- manually. Cochise had only surrendered a half a century ago. And game meat was just as common as from the store.

What is a billion years to these rocks? Nothing

The men who walk my earth cannot change it's beauty but they can make me cry -- Mother Earth
The men who walk my earth cannot change it's beauty but they can make me cry -- Mother Earth | Source

Funny that; a whole lot of cowboys are Indians and a whole lot of Indians are cowboys -- got it.

Marvin Donald was the first fellow after my oldest sister that broke my nose. We were duly fighting because our big brothers were friends – good as any reason. Marvin kept an oval polished piece of lousy turquoise in his pocket and when it came time to fight he would curl it in his fist and knock the hell out you. I met Marvin in the principal’s office a year before, seems I came to school barefoot and he had a throwing knife in his moccasin. Well Marvin was an Indian, and an all state basketball player.

Beefy Lopez was a huge teddy of a boy. But he had two amazing talents. He could smell a rat fart 100 yds away and he was one of the finest chess players ever to graduate our highschool. Way back last I heard he went off to MIT. Beefy, Gilbert Wong (whose grandparents came to build the railroad,, I suppose coolies)and I were the chess club. Last I heard Dr. Wong does well. Beefy was Mexican-Hopi.

Some irregular white boy cowboys

A fellow named Olgive. I have lost his first name. He would miss school sometimes, actually quite often. His father worked for a large ranch in the area. Sometimes they would just plain be snowed in. Sometimes they were so far away in a line shack that there was no way to get to school, and sometimes he would just be working too darn hard. I saw him with a stone working on his spurs once I think he was awful small to be riding broncos or cantankerous cutting horses. But hey, I wasn’t his daddy.

The Rounders a 1965 movie. First lets discuss Glenn Ford that I met at that time. From my memory Sammy Davis Jr. was the fastest quick draw. But Glenn Ford was the fastest, most accurate quick draw around. Glenn Ford was in the movie. A few of us kids got all gussied up and tried out for the role of some children in the movie. My family friends the Millers were out busy getting dirty and looked a fright but momma Beverly loaded into the pickup and they arrived at the set late (Red Rock Crossing) They all got the part because they were the part. A Ranching family that helped civilize the west for decades. Ben was a good friend and the father Dwayne was my idle.

This land is my land.

Down there my family owns land, we bought from the Thompson family that settled it. They made a deal with the Piutes to trade. The name of the area is Indian Gardens.
Down there my family owns land, we bought from the Thompson family that settled it. They made a deal with the Piutes to trade. The name of the area is Indian Gardens. | Source

I can't promise you I am good, but I do know how to eat dirt and come up grinnin. Now that is cowboy logic.

Now let me get to a strange one. Strange like Einstein. His name is Mike. He loved Jeremiah Jonhson. His father a family Doc had a small spread and worked with ranchers in our area. When Mike graduated highschool, he bought a pack mule. He already had a horse. And he outfitted himself in gear that was all authentic – I think pre 1850. Kind of an interesting hobby. But we threw Mike a party and at dawn watched him ride north out of Arizona. He rode until he met up with like minded men just that side of the Canadian border. Had a great time and rode home. Mike is a great cowboy, a great tracker and some kind of doctor of biology of some outdoors sort. I watched Mike once, dive off a 30 ft rock into a shallow pool of water. About the time I started panicking he surfaced. He had a trout in each hand and one in his mouth.

I got a bunch more cowboy and Indian stories. In my little time capsule of the southwest we did not have the passion or the time to worry about the passing of an era. We were busy living it.

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    • profile image

      Jane Holmes 4 years ago

      That is so cool. And, yes, we've read Zane Gray, too.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you Jane. Zane Grey was the one in our area. We have land that has had only three "owners" Paiutes, Homesteader and us.

    • profile image

      Jane Holmes 4 years ago

      What a great hub. I have a daughter in Texas so we have visited the - all those places historical places Louis L'Amour wrote about. It such a great part of our country's history. We enjoy our visits out that way, although we've not made Arizona yet. Maybe one of these days! What a great country have. Thank you for contributing.

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you for commenting and reminding me just how great my life is.

    • ahorseback profile image

      ahorseback 4 years ago

      I hit every button there is , You sir , are one lucky man to have grown up in Arizona. ! I absolutely love it there , the north rim is my favorite place in the world to date ! And to have lived near there as a kid must have been a living dream !...........ed

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Ranch hands are real working men. It is amazing how people who work closely with animals all day have not changed all that much in 100 years.

    • Patriot Quest profile image

      Wayne Joel Bushong 4 years ago from America

      Growing up in Goldsmith Texas I saw cowboys all my life, Still today one can be in a cafe early of the mornng and see ranch hands come in with spurs jingling as they eat breakfast befor heading out to work cattle,..........their horses will be outside in the stock trailers saddled and ready to go!

    • Ericdierker profile image
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      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thanks Bill, Can you imagine growing up in that great space. Mom would just look at me and curse that I had ripped a shirt and dropped blood in the laundry room. I was allowed to make life decisions at 7. We cannot go back but in the HOW movement we must find ways to bring the values back.

      You may be the prophet I am looking for. Do not laugh, Paul/Saul did.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Absolutely love it! Great stories and more interesting because you lived it.