Cowboys and Indians of my great Southwest.
My son drew this. In him I am well pleased. Brooks loves the earth and cherishes it's people
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
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.
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.