So Mojo is barking at another dog as I get into the 1990 Dodge Power Wagon at the local IGA grocery store. Mojo’s hair is all up and he is barking hardcore – when this Indian lady with no teeth pops her head in my window. Okay she might have had one tooth, and she was gumming something in that cavern of a mouth that looked like a tooth – whew, just a sunflower seed. She said ” I have three dogs that could rip your dog apart if he is insulting me by barking at me”. Whoa, now here is a woman that takes her dogs serious. I smiled and tried to explain he was barking at a mangy old dog in the parking lot and it was all good.
She was jacked up and tweaking or drinking or both – pretty hard. She smiled her toothless smile and became all calm when she realized I was just a local stopping for junk food. We chatted for a bit and she kept reminding me of her three dogs at the trailer behind her mom’s house where she lives. She was very polite and asked me to come up to Lodge Grass Indian housing with her – I asked her about the young tweaker guy she was with – that mother fx%$#@ all thinks he is with me – but he ain’t even got a ride – I am gonna knock him out! Ahhhh, then I finally got it – she needed a ride and I was her john. I
always give people rides – from the guy who gave me $50 bucks (I did not take it) to give him a 1/4 mile ride up the hill to some pretty sketchy guys I made ride in the back despite the snow (they said “all cool bro – if we were you we would not let us in the cab either”.
The great people and great things that happen here in Lodge Grass where everyone waves and smiles and no one knows ur name! Now I know you Ms. Little Light…and again…yes, Crow Indians get all the cool names. (I wanna know where Mr. BigLight is)
Today, I was out for the first run in Tru Grit – carefully put my St Croix rod and reel in the bed wrapped in an old sleeping bag and grabbed a Clif bar and Mountain Dew for the road! Headed up to the 4H trout pond which would take me through the Sundance Grounds of the Crow people. I drove out of the sunshine and into the clouds literally and figuratively.
Shrouded in clouds I came down the trail and into a large grassy plain – the Wolf Mountains hold this small valley sacred for the Crow. I stop and walk the grounds and see if they left anything behind. Two playing cards buried in the grass, tobacco offerings, bright colored strips of cloth snap in the crisp wind while ropes that suspended the supplicants still tied to the tree. The whole of the grounds were quiet, sacred, holy – and I mused “what better way to spend Sunday morning church”.
I picked sage and bundled it together and remembered the Sundance Holy Water I drank that had been blessed here…
I am content with my old truck, Nikon camera, and old Mojo driving the backroads of the Crow Reservation looking for remnants of a time long past. Enjoy my day…
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…
I usually just take Old Iron (Jeep) up into the mountains to trout fish or explore. Today, I figured the sun was shining bright and I needed some Prana Energy so I peeled the bikini top off (the Jeep not me) and set out to see how the low road to Sheridan would be in Old Iron. The seats are probably original from 1969 and not comfortable so my right butt cheek fell off to sleep right away as I held the throttle down to a smooth 50mph!
I know, I am the guy in the old rig that y’all are cussin – but it is lifted and I could go 70 but I prefer a leisurely 50 miles per hour. 52 miles of bliss and ya know they say – Ignorance is bliss!
I roll into town and Sheridan is probably my favorite western town aside from Hot Springs, Montana. Hit the! local Taco hot spot and it is closed so I have to settle for Toxic Swill (Taco Bell). Satiated – I cruise town in Old Iron and Mojo hangs out the back barking and being a cool black Lab! Hit the truck wash and then park at Walfart (Walmart). I park way out so Mojo can relax and drink Gatorade, chew a rawhide, and smoke a doobie! I shop and get some fishing lures, Cherry Limeade, and Motrin and walk back out to the Jeep. I come out of Walfart and see about twenty people gathered around Old Iron. I am thinking “great, did Mojo get busted with doobie again?” He is just wagging his tail and happy as I walk up. A group of tourist from Scotland had never seen a dog left in a Jeep and were taking pictures of the Jeep and old Mojo.
Moral of the story – if ya wanna pick up hot old toothless women (or men) from Scotland – buy a 1969 Jeep, lift it, and throw your dog in back. It was really great meeting them and hearing about Scotland ! They loved the Jeep and Mojo – someone tonight will be getting a picture in their e-mail in Scotland of a cool dog and a sweet Jeep. I had no idea people thought the old beast was cool! Made my Day!
I ended the trip going to my favorite smoked extraordinary meat shop! The rack of ribs is $20 bucks for smoked ribs that are the best! I would rather just get some chicken and ribs smoked from Killy’s in Sheridan than eat out anyplace in Sheridan! Sure sometimes ya gotta fill the hole with Taco Bell – but Killy’s is the best meat in Sheridan period! http://www.killysmokehousedeli.com/ I brought home a rack of ribs and some chicken ! Good Eating! The cowboy beans are excellent, the salads are great, but the meat…is worth the drive! Just two more punches on my rib card and a free rack!
Thank you Jenni for introducing me to this awesome meat!
My first memories are life on the farm! Classic American upbringing complete with church on Sunday and a great theologian for a minister: Ted Smetters. I remember being baptized in April with his son my best friend Steve Smetters their was still ice on Kenney Pond that was forty years ago! My grandfather wrapped me in an old blanket after I was fully
immersed. Back in town at his house, I sat on the steps and listened as he played the mandolin with his impromptu band sounding like Country Gentleman mixed with polka. I sipped Faygo red pop and all was good with the world.
Life on the Davis Farm was great and I often search back through the catalog of my memory for highlights. Just this morning feeding West, my six month old colt, I remembered my first ride! I guess our family did not have much imagination or creativity when it came to names because we named my first horse Paint! Yes, it was a Paint! Original, I know!
We were sitting at the kitchen table and I was four years old, I remember asking my dad how to ride Paint. My dad laughed and said climb up on the fence with some sugar cubes and feed her then grab her mane and swing on and ride! He thought that was funny till the next afternoon. He was at Lubrizol working as an electrician and I was the horse whisperer and Clinton Anderson combined with sugar cubes! I remember grabbing her mane and swinging on her back. Paint was about five years old and definitely not broke. Paint took off across the field and it was like flying, well it was flying because she jumped the creek and I hung on to that horse’s mane for all I was worth.
No, I did not fall off! I slid to the ground “Indian style” just like all my TV heros. I heard my mother yelling and I knew I was gonna get whipped but it was worth it. I took the whipping and I was more careful where I jumped on Paint the next time – not in view of the farmhouse. My dad came home that evening and got a good tongue lashing from my mom. He was used to it just like I was used to whippings.
Now I have Tater Gun and West an appendix mare and a quarter horse. Combined with Mojo, my black lab, I have been blessed with animals. When I am waking up in the morning, Mojo is excited to see me. When I walk out the ranch house door, West is waiting to greet me. When I head down to the arena, Tater is waiting to be fed and loved on – and it never ceases to amaze me how life is a circle and I was baptized into horses at an early age.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Pastor Ted Smetters a man who profoundly influenced my life at a young age!