I am at the local IGA – Lodge Grass has one of the worst school systems in all of the United States and the “white owner” has signs everywhere stating “NO SHOPLIFFTING!” – two “FF’s” – I laughed so hard and took a pen and graded the sign in front of me! Dear store owner – poor spelling is not indicative of race, creed, or socioeconomic status…it just means ya don’t know how to use spell check!
Furthermore – what I love about this sign is that it does not target “some” shoplifters = it targets – ALL!
Kinda sounds like someone has been watching too much Dawg the Bounty Hunter – because who “CAPTURES” a shoplifter?
Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.
– Carl Jung
The first thing that pops to mind is Sting and his Synchronicity II – domestic strife, emasculated males and the why of interconnectedness.
The idea of synchronicity is that the conceptual relationship of minds, defined as the relationship between ideas, is intricately structured in its own logical way and gives rise to relationships that are not causal in nature. These relationships can manifest themselves as occurrences that are meaningfully related.
Jung believed that many experiences that are coincidences due to chance in terms of causality suggested the manifestation of parallel events or circumstances in terms of meaning, reflecting this governing dynamic.
What is this synchronicity? I have always believed in chance. I always liked to say that “Chance favors the prepared mind” to sound pseudo intellectual. The question ” Am I walking with my eyes fully shut?” Have I missed this fatal Synchronous event?
This “ever present reality” coupled with “The Monk and the Riddle” (Randy Komisar) which enlightened me to the “Deferred Life Plan” has created a ground swell of thought. Trying to wrap my mind around the synchronicity of where I am and where I want to be – Komisar speaks of “what is your life passion?” and explains the difference between being driven and being passionate about what one is doing.
My father worked all his life and accumulated money, a beautiful home, and….and what? What did he sacrifice or miss out on by choosing to defer his real passion (and what was his passion) till later in life. Which brings my mind full circle because I do not have money, a beautiful home, new cars…I have what Emerson speaks of in American Scholar: a bank account filled with experience. I have stories of my travels, my adventures, my life.
So yes Mr. Jung, my eyes are open to the experience of relationships that are not causal in nature – albeit the interconnectedness of positive thought flowing from our minds generates like results. The simple “Ask, Believe, Receive” developing word pictures culminates in experiences that are reverential in nature and as simple as a kiss.
Beautiful how something so simple, something so pure can regenerate one’s thinking and one’s confidence!
11pm and I am out walking the ranch. I hear the horses splash through the river as they cross. No, I am not usually out this late walking. I stand and just listen. Faint at first – people talking and I catch a whiff of wood smoke. They are not speaking English something old – older than Crow – guttural, low but pleasing to the ear. A child cries and I hear the yip of a coyote and I know that the coyote is on my side of the rift and the native people camped by the river are on the other.
Something tells me to turn and look to the Wolf Mountains and as I do I see the blood red moon rising silhouette black pine on blood red moon.
The rift vanishes as the moon rises and I am left with the faint smell of woodsmoke – my thoughts flow with the river water rushing onward – slowed for a moment’s glimpse past, present, future stained blood red.
I live on a ranch in remote Montana 19 square miles of bliss, snakes, Indians, wolves, and wild dogs. Sure I see the occasional mountain lion but what scares me most are wild dogs. I was walking my lab and Corgi one morning and came around a bend right into 8 dogs in a pack. I fired into the middle and they ran but having that Choate +2 gave me peace of mind! My 870 is a constant on the ranch!
One of my “online buddies” was selling Remington 870 Tacticals through his shop here in Montana. He wanted $650 for a 12 gauge Tactical from the factory. I bulked and said I can buy one at Walmart and build it for less! He went into a rage about Walmart and how Remington makes “special” extra cheap guns just for Walmart and how he knew this because he knew someone on the inside! I smiled and just figured Walmart buys in bulk.
Okay now to show how stupid I am! I am in Walmart and looking at shotguns with the wife and she sees a “cool looking” Remington 870 Limited Edition in 20 gauge Camo! I have to admit it was $270 bucks and I thought “why not”. How often does the wife see a cool shotgun (she also saw a pink Glock in Big R that we did not bring home – a man has to draw the line and I draw it at pink – well unless it is a 45ACP) I digress.
We bring the 870 – 20 gauge home and shoot many different loads through her. She bucks harder than my 12 gauge with 00 buck! The wife is disillusioned and I am thinking cool now to find a short barrel and a magazine extension!
I buy the Remington 870 Shotgun Guide because I have no clue on what I am looking for and devour the entire book! The guide is awesome – Vitaly you rock in a comprehensive manner! – but we all know that or we would not be writing! I figure it will be easy to find a barrel and a +2 Extension! Oh, I am so stupid and so wrong! Try finding anything in 20 gauge tactical.
First and foremost – buy a 12 gauge 870! Period! Your life will be so much easier!
That being said, I found a nice 18.5” barrel on Gunbroker and ordered a Choate +2 extension despite the negative reviews! (read – I really could not find anything else) The Choate is really a great addition to my tactical build. It is inexpensive and the follower does not work in latter day 870’s but just use the follower from Remington and all good. The spring is long and has tons of push! Now I know many do not like the spring – but I load up and leave it loaded and have not had a problem! I have cycled and shot between 200 – 300 rounds without a problem! The quality and build are good and if I can put the whole thing together with only The Remington 870 Guide to teach me – anyone can!
I stop at the Post Office and meet this fascinating guy who’s chopper broke down and he shares a great story about a local that drove 10 hours to pick him and his bike up off the side of the interstate. He was genuine. He loved on Mojo and then drove off – but while we were talking an old Indian dude drives up in an old old propane powered Chevy and asks me if this girl took my gas and gas can from my Jeep a couple weeks ago? I said yes, and he said wait right there – it is at my house. (I had a pretty good idea who “stole” it but let it go because Karma is a bitch). The guy comes back a few minutes later and gives me my gas can!
He said that he and his wife came back from Sundance up in the Wolf Mountains a day ago and the girl who borrowed my gas can and gas had danced. One of the things she had to make right was taking my gas can so all good? I smiled – all good. The man’s woman pulled water from a jug in the back of the truck and by then there were four of us standin around. This was Sundance Holy Water – it had been prayed over and we should all drink. She drank long and deep and then the Crow man next to me drank – I know they were all watching and waiting to see if I would drink – I drank deep and felt the blessing instant flow through me. The man who returned my can drank last and we stood talking for half an hour – laughing deep – and happy to be alive on such a perfect day!
These are the days I live for – when the bounty of reservation life is shared so freely – stories, the delineation between Crow Mountain People and Crow River People, and Holy Water shared…
There are people that come into your life that profoundly impact you! Curns is the single most profound man ever to impact my life!
Curns just turned 70 years old this last month. He is an old fart! He is one of those guys you can call an old fart because he is about as secure a man as I have ever met. Plus if he wanted to kill you he just would. Curns is black and white, love or hate, just a clear thinking old history teacher with a penchant for the Indian Wars. He taught on the Sioux Rez and the Navajo Rez and was dearly loved on both! He has great sayings like “dig deep puppy on bottom” from his days eating with the Sioux and great stories from his childhood. Curns saved my life once…and grabbed a bucket for me to puke in after I drank too much Tequila. He nicknamed me “bucket boy” cause I was puking in the bucket! Curns knows my secrets and I know some of his! It is a friendship that few ever develop! Cigars and good whiskey!
Curns was in Vietnam. The bucket boy night – he told me stories I will never repeat. He explained things that I will never experience – like if a guy in his squad was a screw-up and might get them all killed – they shot him in the leg and sent him home. Of Course, this was told in detail – fascinating detail! He told me how he came home from Vietnam and was pretty strung out. He carried a big 357 mag everywhere he went – even to a barn dance where he was walking across the dance floor drew his 357 spun around and fired into the rafters. The music stopped, the dancing stopped, and a rat dropped from the rafters…not a Vietnamese soldier but ya get the point.
Curns served our country. He never told me about any medals or any awards – although I am sure there are a few! But he did remind me the other day of my favorite Curns story! I wish I could remember it better but it goes something like this –
This fat lady would walk a 1/2 mile to the post office everyday – down a path that cut past Curns childhood home on the prarie. She would waddle her way down the path with her big ole rolls rolling along. Curns and his buddy thought it would be fun to see if she could run! Curns hid in the tall grass one day and began to pepper her with his BB Gun. Well she took off running proving that a fat lady can run! But the best part of the story is classic old skool America – when Curns dad came home from work that night he walked in and took Curns’ BB gun and wrapped it around a tree!
Curns and I have shared many many stories – and a couple odd supernatural occurrences on the Rez. I owe him my life and wonder how many others do too – Curns is a man like they used to make men…and this is my way of saying thanks for standing up for me when my chips were down. I never forget that day!
The best Superintendent I ever tried to work under was without a doubt Carlos Hernandez. Carlos would always joke about being a Mexican – instead of a Mexican’t. He was a “can do” Supe with no fear of spending money on the students! I think really that was his downfall! He thought about the students instead of the board, the corrupt Pentacostal Church, or even the corrupt local politicians. The aforementioned had all been dragging off the tit of the BIA skool for as long as anyone could remember. Let me lay out some demographics before we go any further! Residents with income below the poverty level in 2009:
I think ya get the picture – POOR! with a capital “P”!
In walks Carlos Hernandez, naive – maybe but his heart was in the right place! He secured a tech grant for the kids $187,000,helped raise math and reading scores for two years by letting some teachers go and hiring young fresh teachers! He bought laptops for the students and secured 18 million in funding for a new school. But, here is what he did wrong! He denied the board their “perk” trip to the National Finals Rodeo ie a conference – in favor of laptops for students – he put students first not board members! He denied, denied, denied the board their freebies! They went after Hernandez like a pack of wolves! They ran Hernandez out of town and brought in a man that would pad their pockets with gifts, money, and trips! They fired all the new young teachers and test scores plummeted! Hernandez left Dilkon but had nothing to be ashamed of because Dilkon just went back to the old BIA way! There is no fix for Rez Skools run by uneducated elderly on the the take….
I am sure I will be moved to the top of the government “watch list” after writing about my first gun! Humor aside –
I was eight years old and my father had bought a Daisy BB gun for me when I was seven. My mother had forbidden him to give it to me until I was at least ten! My dad wore the pants in the family and compromised and gave it to me with 500 BB’s on my eighth birthday! I shot it for years till I wore it out! I still have one BB in my hand to this day – lesson learned. That was my first BB gun! I received a Marlin 22 when I was ten years old and an Ithaca 12 gauge when I was twelve! (My father had me buy the Ithaca Featherlight from my Uncle Tom for $50 dollars to teach me guns cost money.)
But my grandfather Kalman paved the way for my BB gun by making me a wooden gun when I was six! I had been reading about cowboys and Indians and I just had to have a derringer. My grandfather, pipe in hand, gave me a piece of plywood to draw my derringer on so he could cut it out. I remember the smell of fresh cut wood mixed with apple pipe smoke. Finished, he chased me off to play with the other Hungarian kids in the neighborhood. I still have my derringer 43 years later along with another gun he cut from scrap for a neighbor kid.
I remember taking it to school for show and tell and all the kids thought it was cool. I remember taking it everywhere with me – church, school, the grocery store, Ponderosa Steak House (and ya wonder why I like the nickname Hoss). I loved that little gun but I had been raised to respect guns. Our home was full of hunting rifles, pistols from WW2 complete with swastikas and a history. I was raised to respect guns, beer, my parents, and above all God.
A call comes in and I am invited to Pow Wow by some friends. I will admit that I was a bit apprehensive – but it seems in life I am the only white guy wherever I go. All good!
It starts over dinner with a family of Crow people – eating steak and drinking cowboy coffee over the fire (irony – cowboy coffee made by an Indian). The host is gracious and I tell some funny stories and everyone relaxes because the white guy is okay plus I remembered bug spray 40% deet and we exhausted that can right quick! My friend Clarence ThreeIrons says that if a mosquito bites a Crow man it will die…I guess these mosquitoes did not get the memo.
The children are all anxious and as sun sets grandpa, grandma, son and daughter in law all work together to adorn the children in their elaborate Pow Wow regalia. I politely ask to take a few pictures (not wanting to intrude) and they smile – crazy white guy – now who invited him. My buddy Tristan’s little girl is the first ready and I get a couple wonderful pictures with her next to the Teepee (no all Indians do not still live in Teepees). To quote my friend Dr. Mike Weddle ” She looks so proud and self confident.” – speaking of Tristans daughter! – Eagle feathers, Elk Teeth, and a myriad of beadwork adorn this native child!
Family – I am moved by the sense of family!
The jingle, shing shing shing and beat of drums mixed with chanting from the Pow Wow grounds is overpowering my senses. I let my mind drift as Tristan’s dad gives me an oral history of his families Pow Wow dancing. I see the dancers moving in grace, young and old, love for culture, for being Indian and keeping tradition. He explained face painting and outfits, the Crow Hop and other dances all moving to the drum and chanting. I let myself slip back 100 years to when his great grandfather was dancing at this very same Pow Wow ground and saw the fires, the feasting, the love. I knew I was the only white guy to have this privilege, this honor, to witness this beauty! I only wish my words could convey the intensity of this one evening.
Definition of INTEGRITY. 1: firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : incorruptibility.
I wrote last week and many of you voted about the integrity of strangers – the Craigslist people honored their original price! The cowhides are a positive memory as I walk through our home! INTEGRITY – THEY KEPT THEIR WORD!
I wonder if I had prefaced the whole voting with the word “Christian” if any of you would have changed your vote?
Today I had the opportunity to speak with a man who is a Bible banging Christian! He had made a deal with me some months back for the sum of $800 bucks! Yep, you guessed it – he went back on the deal! Integrity – he is worth millions and yet his word ain’t worth shit.
I always go back to my favorite poem – thank you Emily Dickinson for understanding!
Some keep the Sabbath going to Church --
I keep it, staying at Home --
With a Bobolink for a Chorister --
And an Orchard, for a Dome --
Some keep the Sabbath in Surplice --
I just wear my Wings --
And instead of tolling the Bell, for Church,
Our little Sexton -- sings.
God preaches, a noted Clergyman --
And the sermon is never long,
So instead of getting to Heaven, at last --
I'm going, all along.