Home on the ranch in Lodge Grass, Montana and around 10pm I get up from my leather chair to check outside. You know how you have one of those “get up and look outside’ feelings? I look out toward the two other houses on the ranch – no one lives in them – and my heart goes thump thump thump…the lights are going on and off in the one house. I figure maybe the owner had some friends coming down for Easter weekend and I try to call him – no answer. I grab my shotgun and my flashlight and head on out. It is not like TV where I rack my shotgun to be cool – I am always loaded and I click the safety off.
I walk down the driveway and clearly see something in the house. Obscured by trees, I really can not make out who it is. I figure it is local kids screwing around. I get to the inner door and it is locked. Holding my shotgun in my right hand finger on the trigger I unlock the door and swing it open calling out “HEY” in my best deep macho voice – (it probably sounded like some gay dude at the door) – I walk in and clear the house = nothing! Check closets, shower, each bedroom, = nothing! There is one door in and all the windows are shut? My adrenaline spiked and I am calm and cool…happy with how I handled the situation. (You always wonder how you would do in a high stress “gun” situation – I recite Rudyard Kipling “IF” )
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting
(thank you Mrs. Spurrier 4th grade for making me memorize this)
This morning I go down to check the house again, two dead robins are on the front porch. I now wonder what was in the house last night?
I had sold my dream truck two days prior = no truck.
Climbing on the Arctic Cat 650, I go out to check gates and houses on the ranch – I secured the main gate and put my foot on the cattle guard to pivot and mount the atv – my heavy Muck boots miss the cattle guard and go through up to my knee and snap. Broke my foot! The funny thing is – it is snowing and I can not get my foot out of the cattle guard. I take my broken foot out of my boot – push my boot along under the cattle guard and retrieve my boot. I reach for my phone and remember that a power surge after “no power for almost a day” fried my cell phone. I grimace and carry on checking fences and horses.
No, I do not have Obamacare or insurance (yes, I tried to sign up several times and the computer said I do not exist) so – I manipulated my foot and popped the bones “seemingly” together. My foot swelled like Popeye and I limped. Motrin…
Foot wrapped and in my old Croc – again on the atv (my only transportation) I am in the back feeding horses and the front wheel on the atv pops sideways. Front ball joint popped out from using it to plow. I walk back to the barn 1/2 mile and get my high-lift jack and tools and carry them dragging my foot and cursing myself for selling my truck. Fix the atv with a hammer and bailing wire – ride back home. Now I have to walk to feed horses!
I look back today as I sit on the front porch looking out over the beauty of the ranch and think – sold my truck, fried my phone, broke my foot, killed the atv, no power, snow snow snow…and I laugh at myself.
I am building an old Toyota 4Runner so I can get up in the mountains this summer without breaking the bank on gas – trout fishin, hiking and camping! Montana winter makes one appreciate the fragile nature of life and cherish spring! and yes…the foot is healing. Can not wait to take the top off the 4Runner…now who is going fishing and camping with me?
Here is a short photo tour of my Montana Winter!
I do not know much about drugs! My roommate in college showed up with a garbage bag of weed he got from the chief of police’s son. I really do not think smoking weed is wrong. I do not believe the whole “gateway” argument. I think that alcohol ruins more lives but Meth is an abomination.
Yesterday – I noticed a car up the hill watching the ranch – they sat for about three hours – not the Feds. They drive in like they own the place. I figured I would go up and see who was so interested. I knew who they were looking for and figured I would send em on their way.
I drove up and gave a friendly wave – my truck being higher (read their lowboy) – I saw they both had Glock 19′s sitting ready. I asked who they were looking for and they did not say anything – they seemed tense – I gave em my good-ole-boy smile and told em that the tweeker that owed em money for meth was no longer on the ranch. They both relaxed…I said I would be sure to call them if and when he came back to the ranch but they would have to take sloppy seconds. They laughed and I said he stole from me too – we exchanged business cards and I drove off.
Interesting how two tatted hard core guys ready to go from zero to 100 in the blink of an eye could laugh. In every neighborhood there are enforcers who collect one way or another. After I drove my old truck back down to the ranch, I realized how close death is everyday. The Crow Reservation is a hardcore rez that has many wonderful native people at Sundance and Crow Fair and yet day to day life is hard, poor, and riddled with drugs and alcohol. I love living here – love the people – love the depth of culture – and understand that some things are better left alone.
if ya ask me this sounds like fiction…
I was fifteen years old running the sound system at Calvary Baptist Church in Painesville, Ohio. Typical Sunday morning, cue choir, cue preacher man, blah blah blah sermon, and the call to testify and repent. The church was a subdued, quiet, conservative General Association of Regular Baptist Church (as opposed to those Southern Baptist). No one ever went forward, no one ever testified, and the church was ripe for the taking.
A hippie, in 1980, more like a crack head dressed like a hippie – rose up and walked down the aisle as the preacher man called for repentance! The man knelt before the altar and the whole church was shocked! He pulled out his bag of weed (probably oregano) and his pipe and placed it on the altar! He wept loudly and begged for forgiveness! The preacher man went for it – laid his hands on the man and guaranteed Jesus would forgive him! He called for my dad (an elder in the church) to come forward and lead this man to the study.
Every Baptist left church that day in awe!
I will never forget dinner that day. I was stunned by my father. While the preacher man fell for the con, while most of the elders and parishioners fell for the con, my dad stood resolute! After wailing and nashing of teeth, begging for forgiveness, the hippie asked for money and my dad was vindicated. He grabbed that hippie by the collar and dragged him to the door and threw him out in the street where he belonged.
We all make choices – (yes, I have made some very bad choices) – sometimes I wonder why I am a hard resolute unbelieving son of a bitch with little emotion – and I think back to that day when I understood. Most “religious” “Jesus Freaks” whatever faith – want the thrill, the show, the emotion – when it is simply stated “Now faith is [the] substantiating of things hoped for, [the] conviction of things not seen” Heb 11:1 (Darby)
This is for Tom Mulford – thanks for always listenin, never judging, peace !
I see truck lights 3/8 of a mile out at the main gate and know it is locked securely!
Five minutes pass and some tweeker is walking around the house!
Remington 870 in hand and out the door in my PJ’s (Now that is a visual) and
Hoss – “hey, what do you want?”
Tweeker – ” hey, WTF – why you got a gun?” “you greet me with a gun MF…what the you think this is the wild F-ing West”
Hoss – “I don’t know you and you are trespassing”
Tweeker – “I am looking for my bro who lived here” “this is my land (Crow Indian) you are trespassing”
Hoss – “really?” “you need to leave”
Tweeker – ” damn dude – your gate is all locked tight I could not get it off the hinges”
Hoss – “you have a nice night”
Tweeker – ” I did not walk clear down here for nothing – you got some smoke? some weed? some money cause I walked a long way!”
Hoss – ” you have a nice night”
Tweeker – “WTF Dude? you disrespect me with that shotgun – I am native – this is my land – I will be coming back to take it!”
Watched him walk down the road to his truck -
This morning both gates are bent and off the hinges – easy fix – and both gate cameras (fake) are smashed!
Guess that is what I get for being disrespectful!
PS – for all those that are for gun control – remember our Vice Prez approved shotguns!
I grew up in a Hungarian German family where my grandparents on both sides spoke the language and still maintained many of the traditional values and culture…and if food is part of culture then my Hungarian side won the battle hands down. I crave good pastry here in Montana! I also had my first beer at Thanksgiving when I was four years old while my German Grandfather laughed and my mother yelled at him. I love good beer and moonshine I guess it is just being raised in the country as a redneck. I live among Indians and yet I am not – I know who I am and have respect.
I look around today and I have lived in three countries and two “sub-countries”. Guatemala had amazing culture – from the twenty year old breast feeding on the street while a “missionary” chastised her for being “exposed” and I looked on thinking “and churches give this guy money”. South Korea was three years of total cultural, food, language, immersion that expanded my world view.
The two “sub-countries” I have had the privilege living in are the Navajo and Crow Reservation. These two Native American tribes while rich in heritage seem at times to be struggling to maintain their culture. I remember Tullie Yazzie speaking in Pinon, Arizona 1998 Navajo Reservation – “we began to rapidly lose our youth and our culture when satellite dishes popped up around the reservation”.
Now to the core thought – what is American Culture? Materialism, Credit Cards, Red States and Blue States? Red Pill – Blue Pill?
Sometimes, I believe that religion has been substituted for a lack of culture in America to the denigration or misunderstanding of real culture in Native America. Native people have culture that oft times is mistaken for religion and like the twenty year old breast feeding on the street – it is denigrated, chastised and misunderstood. I have been to so many beautiful ceremonies celebrating puberty, cleansing, celebrating birth and laughter, Sweat Lodge – but these are not religion they are culture.
Medicine Men, I have been to real and fake…like an old medicine man in Pinon said “if they give you a price list pretty good indication they are fake…”. I also have been healed by a great medicine man that has my thanks, my love, and admiration – so do not confuse a medicine man with a minister! I look forward to cleansing at Sundance this summer here in the Wolf Mountains, Lodge Grass, Montana.
My faith has preserved me and my understanding of religion has grown to be a much more tolerant soul.