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!