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…