Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A New Year a Coming

As The World Turns
As everyone knows, or should, we mark time by the turning of Earth on its axis. It helps that we have four seasons. Man above all creatures; have since the beginning of time began making their days and the seasons and so history was born.
And now it is time to draw the last mark for 2009 and history will reveal much strife around the world, but look close and you will find that humanity still prevails and although it may seem fragile there is enough morals left, kindness, compassion and true faith that is held tightly by many people. We celebrate the New Year with much fanfare and rightly so, but I feel sorry for those who awaken with a horrible hangover for they will never truly appreciate that wonderful first day of a new year. I wish all a very great and happy New Year. Adios

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Christmas Greeting

Simply Christmas
There have many a Christmas day since I was born and I look back on them and always find a pleasant memory. Christmas day for many years was to awaken with anticipation of what I would find under the tree, although I knew it would not be much. Christmas day was a time to hurry along with the chores and return to the house to savor the aroma of Turkey or chicken in the oven, molasses cake, biscuits and fruit pies. Later around diner time, (lunch) company would arrive, Uncles aunts, Grandmother Carrie and Lula and cousins, some bearing gifts that were very inexpensive, compared today. Nuts, dried fruits and berries and homemade candy were set out with orders not to be greedy.

To put Christmas in perspective the days before Christmas were also very important. I always delighted in accompanying Mother out into the woods to find that perfect tree and then with painstaking care begin the trimming process. There were very few store bought decorations, most were hand made, but that didn’t matter, for we didn’t know any better. Christmas Eve was a time to attend Liberty church and enjoy a simple biblical play relating to the birth of Christ. Afterward a small brown paper sack was handed out to each child containing an apple and a handful of hard candy. It was a time to reflect on the Christ Child. Little was said of Santa; however he was something most children loved to hear about.

It was unheard of to receive a bad gift and of course no exchange was even thought of. Clothing was very important, or perhaps a pocket knife or a small colloid toy. Now all of this may seem humdrum to some people, but that’s alright. Christmas was for me a very special day and still is. Simply Christmas was without the Hullabaloo that seems prevalent today with flashing lights, loud noises and huskers trying desperately to take as much money from us as they can.
Christmas is not about you or me, but a child that became a savior who brought hope to man and paid a dreadful price for that. The spirit of Christmas is a gift to mankind and should not be lost or misplaced. A very Merry Christmas to all. Adios

Friday, December 11, 2009

As Time Goes By

Hey Pilgrim, It's Great To Look Back

A Fragment Of The Infamous Berlin Wall That Is Now Scattered To The Four Corners of Earth
An Ancient Niagua River Fossel Stone Found Within The River Basin, Left there When Sea Water Receded From The Ozarks, Many Millions Of Years Ago.

From An Ancient Sea bed In Western U.S., Many Millions Of years Ago

It Looks As If Time Has left Alf Behind, But He is still Waiting

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

As Time Goes By

Completed Cabin

Me preparing to fry some eggs in front of cabin near completion

Dousinberry Creek, a Painting of Mine

A Cabin on the Dousinberry
Approximately 60 years ago Jessie, (childhood friend) and I decided to construct a log cabin. It would not be n easy task of this we were certain, for many of the logs, (or poles) would have to be felled below the bluff and carried up to the site. We began in early spring, armed with a double bit axe each and the slow daunting mission began. We possessed little knowledge on how to raise such a structure, but like men before us we were determined to build the cabin. After several days of felling and cutting them to desired length the arduous journey up the bluff began. Each of us with a log balanced on one shoulder and staggering under the weight we carried them to the site. Mind you we had our chores and other farm duties and often many days would pass before we could work again on the cabin. Neither of us ever became discouraged and worked diligently for the time when the building was completed.

When at last we had enough logs cut and carried up the bluff we began preparing the spot where the cabin would stand, about ten feet from the edge of the bluff. We dug away all the soil down to bare rock and after trial and error of placing the foundation logs on the stone floor, squaring them as best we could and then we stood back, more confidant than ever we would complete the project.

The days of spring merged into summer and ever so slowly the cabin took shape and by mid summer it was near completion. Unbeknownst to my mother I snuck an old wood burning stove out of the well house and took it to the cabin. The stove had belonged to her father. (Years later it was stolen from the cabin). Jessie and I constructed bunk beds from cedar poles and a table and a chair from the same material. The door was made from scrap lumber and the roof from rusty tin roofing.

The cabin was a beautiful sight to behold, setting on the edge of the bluff and offered a spectacular view of the Dousinberry creek. It was a place of solitude where we could stay and cook an iron skillet of eggs, bacon and potatoes. It was a place where raccoons came often in the night in search of food. Other humans we learned also came to admire the building and enjoy the view.

The cabin that Jessie and I built stood for several years, long after we were grown and more or less abandoned our building. After father passed away and the farm was sold, I returned one day to find that the cabin had been bulldozed to the ground. Adios.

Monday, December 7, 2009

As Time goes By

One of My early Woodcarvings, The Sentry, Still Overlooking My Garden

One of My Early Paintings, An Ozark Barn Scene

Saturday, December 5, 2009

As Time goes By


The Road That Led Me Away From My Childhood

Thirty dollars would have bought this Joslyn saddle new in 1898.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Heidi and Me, our Journey Continues

A Beautiful Heidi Jade

Enjoying the Sun

Heidi Stalking a Grass Hopper

Heidi Waiting for a Walk
Beautiful Heidi
Last night Heidi got her first dose of winter. She remained outside until 9 p.m. but was ready to go to her cabin. After we ate our peanut butter mini sandwiches, she yawned and laid down on her bed, curled up and went to sleep. I covered her up from head to toe and she snuggled deeper into the blanket. The wind rattled around outside, but it was quite comfortable inside the cabin. At that time is was 25 degrees above zero, but would drop to around 8 degrees above zero. I remained with her for about an hour, but during that time she had one of nightmares and awakened and cowered against the wall. But I soon had her calmed down and gave her another treat of cheese and she laid down again. This morning she was up and ready for another day. I wish somehow I could find out what it is that troubles her now and then. There are days when she seems to be frightened of me. She is going to be alright for I can see it in her eyes. I guess eventually most of her past will fade from her memory. She loves to play with a basketball we bought her and digs little holes in the yard. She likes our walks together. She does not like for me to wear my glasses and I take them off in the evening when we are together in the cabin. She does still tear holes in her blanket once in a while, but that is alright. Adios

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A particle of Dust

Our Port into Infinity

A Time to Remember
A particle of Dust
By Ronnie Powell
Man and all related aspects of Earth are a bit overrated I believe. We inhabit a planet when compared to the universe is nothing more than a speck of dust hurtling around a ball of fire. It is remarkable Earth and its inhabitants have survived so long, considering the fragility of our existence, but of course it was and is a miraculous journey to nowhere, caught in the gravitational pull of our source of life. Man alone is probably of the least importance and most destructive, yet seemingly superior in intelligence, but lacking I believe in old fashioned common sense for we are surely and methodically destroying our only environmental haven, at least as of the present. If not for the seemingly natural order of things Earth would surely not survive another day.
A fellow I know, a friend of great insight while walking with me one day along a bank of the Niangua River stooped and picked up a handful of sand. He handed me a tiny single grain of sand no lager than a flea and a moment later a large pebble about the size of a marble.
“You have in your hand a comparison of the Sun and the Earth to the universe out there,” he said. Yet when you think about it, the Earth as small as it is has creatures on it that have begun to venture out and away from the planet, the beginning I believe of Earth’s human migration into space. I believe somewhere out there are other mortals with equal intelligence or possibly more than we humans can comprehend. It is an exciting concept.
My friend is not alone in his belief that intelligent beings are somewhere beyond our planet, how close is a matter of opinion. During the many years of my exploration of caves, overhangs and village sites of Prehistory humans I have often wondered what they saw in the skies over Earth especially after observing images left behind on walls, or clay and stone figures representing much more than we give credit to those Prehistoric people. Many details have been exposed, much too numerous to mention that in part inspired those people to begin worshipping the many gods that came and went over the ages., changing forever man’s perceived ideals to which nations were built and destroyed.
The night skies are a panoramic view into the infinity of the Universe, a taunting reality that has inspired many possibilities from the practical to the absurd. It could be both definitions are the same for we cannot say with certainty what exists out there among the stars.
It has been at least thirty odd years and perhaps more when near midnight while walking my beat at the Bennett Spring Trout Hatchery I experienced a bizarre event that I cannot explain to this day. I was walking along the service road on my way to the hatchery building when I noticed a bright light appearing above a prevailing ridge top. Naturally curious I stopped and watched as it drew closer, a blinding light moving rather quickly from south to north. Only seconds had passed when I observed a huge craft, which appeared to be about the size of a semi tractor and trailer. I heard no sound as it swept across the sky at tree top level. The entire valley around me was bathed in its light and when reaching the approximant area above the spring it ascended rapidly and simply disappeared from view.
I hurried to the hatchery building, astounded by what I had just witnessed and as I entered the office the phone rang and I discovered the caller to be the hatchery assistant manager. “Ronnie,” he said to me with great excitement, “what was that. It lit up the entire hill top and never made a sound. I didn’t even get a look at it?”
We both were rebuked for telling about the encounter the next day. The matter was dropped from conversation during work hours.
The S.E. T. I., the world’s most powerful telescope is probing the universe or at least a small part of it, searching for new planets similar to our own. It is possible that today or years from now an inhabited planet will be revealed. Perhaps it will be thousands of light years away and virtually impossible to reach. But the discovery alone of such a planet would be nothing short of monumental and would create a storm of controversy among Earth’s human inhabitants.
If we could build a vehicle that would travel through the light years to far off galaxies it would change mankind beyond comprehension. If I were young without the responsibility of family and was allowed to do so, I would without hesitation step aboard, knowing I would probably never return to Earth, for I would be nothing more than a microscopic organism in a vast, wonderful expanse of space witnessing for the first time unimaginable discoveries and perhaps die among the stars.
I will not be boarding a ship bound for the stars and beyond, but it will happen I am certain. The men and women who are chosen to go will cease to be earthlings after lift off. There may even be children born on that infinite journey and they truly will be children of the universe, wanderers among the stars.
There are no limits to what man can and perhaps will accomplish in the distant future, but he must first learn to take care of the tiny speck of dust we call home, a beautiful fragile jewel swinging along in space. Adios

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Dude

I think it best not to call the fellow in the above photo a dude. He was probably barefoot at the time the photos were taken. He was not a city feller of this I am certain, but a country boy fresh from an Ozark farm and enjoying himself. Adios

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Reminder of Winter to Come

My Original Woodcarving Store in Winter

A Painting of Mine of the old Dugan House in Winter

A Painting of Mine of Old Hanley, Missouri in Winter

Images of Past Winters

Winter can be harsh to say the least and unforgiving to those wo are not prepard and to the wild creatures who are out there, life can be very hard. But the beauty of winter covered in snow, the vivid colors of the birds, cedars and any thing bright is a wonderful contrast. A snowy path through the woods offers an experience to remember for a long time. Wild turkey can be seen foraging for food and the glimpise of deer is not unusual. Crows can always be heard in the trees ahead fussing at an owl. The above photos are but a few of the images of winter. Adios.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Greeting

Christmas and Frisky of long ago

To all a Happy Thanksgiving

I can look back on many Thanksgiving days and that is a wonderful thing. There were snowstorms, hardtimes and goodtimes, wars, sadness, and a lot of happiness, but the years kept moving along and in those years are good memories, for many of those I knew and loved are now gone, my goodness the young are abundant in the family so It is a very nice time of the year. Adios

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Tale of Baldy Mountain

Butcher Redoak

Baldy Mountain

My Friend Two Lanterns

The Patriot

A Tale of Baldy Mountain
Baldy Mountain is located below Bennett Spring on the Niangua River
Settle back with a cup of hot Red Rose tea and a biscuit and journey with Butcher Redoak in a new adventure near Baldy Mountain. The place is real as are the people, but the time, ah I don’t really know, but it was back when men or at least a chosen few were as free as dust devils.

The rode off Baldy Mountain and crossed a shadowed lea
Butcher Redoak on a mean eyed mule with Twinkles John on a dun with a crooked knee
Irish Bob sat on a pinto a stepping high to the Niangua River bank
Astride their mounts they sat a looking about, Ozark men ragged and lank
Irish Bob cradled a Hawkins rifle, Twinkles John a Tennessee
A fifty four Buffalo rifle lay across Butcher’s knee

Twinkles John spat tobacco and nudged the dun
Irish Bob kicked the pinto and squinted into the sun
And they followed Butcher across the river and headed up a brushy draw
Bucher hauled back on the mule and pointed to what he saw
A wisp of smoke a drifting across the trace ahead
The men moved in slowly, showing no fear, but horn was ready and round ball lead
Irish Bob grunted and swore and then gnawed a chew
Twinkles John grinned, nodded, a twinkle a glittering in his eyes of blue
Not far ahead stood an old friend, Two Lanterns wearing buckskin britches dirty and torn

They quickly joined Two Lanterns around a smoky fire and watched as he poured coffee into rusty tins
Two Lanterns divulge a tale and swore it was true of Flatlanders a looking for him
He chuckled and reckoned he could handle all seven of them

It wasn’t long and they heard the Flatlanders riding hard to where they stood
The mean eyed mule shied away and Butcher shouted, but it did no good
He drew a forty four Colt from his belt and squeezed off a round
And saw through the shroud of smoke a Flatlander a lying on the ground
Twinkles John squinted down the Tennessee, brought a man down, laid him to rest
Irish Bob spat an amber fluid and the Hawkins’s roared and a Flatlander fell ending his quest
Two Lanterns nodded and strode to the front of the scene
He spied a fellow wearing green
Two Lanterns brought up a pistol, the Patriot, his next of kin and held it to the left and squeezed off a round
The smoke settled and the Flatlanders were at peace a lying on the ground

The mean eyed mule brayed a looking for comfort and galloped to where Butcher
Butcher whacked the mule gently across the nose, but gave him a boot where it did some good
It was time to leave and the men bid Two Lanterns a fond farewell and again crossed the river and headed out over the shadowed lea
Butcher sat astride the mean eyed mule, Twinkles John on the dun with a crooked knee
Irish Bob sat astride the pinto a prancing high up the river bank
Side by side they rode, Ozark men ragged and lank
Up Baldy Mountain they rode and then turned when they heard a hearty hale
It was Two Lanterns voice a coming from the brushy vale
“Ride easy my friends,” he shouted, “keep your powder dry, watch your topknots and be the best you can.”

Adios and to you Two Lanterns wherever you may be, travel easy my friend.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Brice Missouri of Old

A foot bridge over Bennett Spring near a Baptism site
around 1922

A Time to Remember
Baptisms at Brice Missouri
By Ronnie Powell
On a cold windswept November, Sunday afternoon in 1949 a large crowd of people gathered near the once thriving town of Brice Missouri. The site where these people were congregating was located between the ruins of an old grist mill and a limestone bluff, near water’s edge. Steam from the fifty degree water of Bennett Spring branch wafted up into the wind. The occasion, a baptism was about to take place in the crystal clear water of the branch, a ritual important to most folks then and now.
Situated apart from the rest of the people, were thirty men, women and children waiting at the water’s edge to be baptized. Joyce a young girl at the time, stood with her father near the bank shivering. “I was dressed in light clothing for the immersion and a bit apprehensive of what to expect,” she said. “When at last my turn came, I timidly stumbled out into the stream to stand next to Pastor Earl Scrivener. He immediately led me to deeper water and placed a firm hand over my mouth and nose.”
Raising his eyes skyward the Pastor said. “I now baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.”
“Seconds later the water closed over me and I thought I would drown,” said Joyce. “When Pastor Scrivener brought me up he immediately led me ashore and I was quickly taken to one of the outhouses to change into dry clothing.”
This particular baptism at Bennett Spring, (Brice) was the aftermath of a six week revival taking place at the Community building in Windyville, Missouri. Earl Scrivener a renowned Baptist minister of the area at that time, endowed with great intensity and persuasion ultimately led the converted and their families to the beautiful Bennett Spring Valley to complete the final aspect of their born again experience.
Minnie Pitts Powell recalled for me a time in the spring of 1922 when she was a small girl accompanying her parents to Bennett Spring, (Brice). The purpose of the journey was to take corn there to be ground into flour and stock feed. The trip began at Hog Eye, Missouri, by wagon heavily laden and lasted from sunup to sundown.
“The next morning after the corn was delivered to the mill the family learned there was to be a baptism later in the morning.
“We had nothing better to do and decided to attend the event,” Minnie said. “There were a large number of wagons, buggies, saddle horses and a few automobiles parked along the stream and many people were gathering at the baptism site. We were later invited to share a bountiful meal spread out on the ground and met many people including kin for the first time.”
Baptisms are still being conducted in several of the streams across the country. Dousinberry Creek and Four Mile are but two of the tributaries of the Niangua River where these events take place. The Niangua River at the Williams Ford, Moon Valley and Windyville Bridge are also among the sites where baptisms still occur.
Old traditions often fade when changes take place and perhaps baptisms in the rivers and creeks will someday cease. Many who attend church at the present practice baptism in indoor pools, but of course the outcome is the same, but lost are the gatherings of friends and families crowding close to the bank singing, “Shall we gather at the river.”
Baptisms are considered a blessed event and have transpired countless times since the man of Galilee was baptized.
Today Bennett Spring is a Missouri State park, catering to trout fishermen. For the most part Brice is no longer there, torn down and carted away many years ago. The old mill is gone, only traces of it remain. The bluff is still there at one of the baptism sites and it’s not difficult to imagine a crowd gathering on a Sunday afternoon waiting for a most remarkable event to transpire. Adios

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Heidi's Remarkable Journey Continues

Beautiful Heidi Jade

Heidi’s Remarkable Journey Continues
The last few months have been without exception miraculous to say the least for Heidi. She and I have become very close. She is content at last. This is not to say she doesn’t have memories that haunt her. She runs at the sound of a loud noise and is fearful of strangers, but at least she now barks at them. As of the time of this update she allows no one to pet her except me. Each night after she enters her cabin, I go inside with her and share a peanut butter treat with her and afterwards I lie down next to her and brush or pet her and soon she sleeps secure inside her house. She has a bed of blankets, foam rubber and other assorted covers and she sinks down warm and dry. She usually awakens after a short time and finishes her regular food and proceeds to groom my arms and a portion of my face. Now and then she peeks out of a window, unafraid of the night sounds. I have provided an electric light for us during my visit. Heidi loves to walk along the road and occasionally finds a grub to eat. She plays with her toys, digs in the yard and sets and watches me when I leave the yard. Time will heal her mental wounds of this I am certain and someday she will go to my wife. But for now I am delighted she has a home, a house and place to play and most important people who love her. Heidi, is a gentle soul and grows more beautiful each day. Heidi is content, you can see it in her eyes. Each day brings new discoveries to her and she learns from them. Adios.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Irish Green

Irish Green
No one it seems knows where the wild rose hides or listens to a breeze when it tugs at your sleeve.
No one it seems knows what an owl will ask, sitting high on the limb of a tree
No one it seems walks across a moon-lit field where there are no shadows to fear

Go when the moon is high in the midnight hour and you will find the wild rose along the way and it will offer you a bloom
Stop for a moment to listen to a breeze when it tugs at your sleeve and stirs memories, shaded by lovely green
The owl will nod and then ask, “Who”?
“My dark haired woman with Irish green eyes.”

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Showing My Metal

It is the Metal in Me A Showing

The Great Horse Race

We Were Wild, Baldy and Me

Baldy in 1949

This story is true and is presented here in its original version
A Time to Remember
The Great Horse Race
By Ronnie Powell

It was in the spring of Forty Nine when I rode away one day
I sat astride a Quarter horse called Baldy and was heading for Long Lane town
I was only in my thirteenth year, but I held my own on the spirited bay
The saddle I sat was forty years old, wired together to make it sound
Baldy pranced and pawed when we came to Dousinberry creek
He tossed his head defiantly and refused to cross the bridge to the other lane
Baldly snorted loud, bowed his back and I heard the saddle creak
I loosened the reins and gave him his head and grabbed a handful of mane
Baldy leaped from the bridge into the water below the bridge
I rode that rascal down into the water, for there was no other way
Baldy swam to the other side, bounded up and we headed up the ridge
Baldly gallop passed the Liberty church and nearly wrecked a Nash that day
Lather was showing on Baldy’s neck when he pranced into Long Lane town
He side stepped a Forty One Chevy and came to a halt in front of a store
I shoved back my hat and with my red hair a shinning swung down
I shook off some dust and spit on my hands and then proceeded into the store
I laid a nickel down to pay for a frosty bottle of Royal Crown
I was grinning from ear to ear when I walked outside to where Baldy stood tied
I lifted the bottle to take a long drink, but then spied a horse and rider a coming toward me
The horse was a stallion and was dancing high toned like, carrying his rider with pride
The rider, a young man looked down, sitting tall in the saddle, a sight to see
The man tossed his head and slapped his leg and made fun of Baldy and me
The rider on the fancy horse boasted for all to hear, “No horse can outrun this stallion of Arabian breed,” he grinned
I glared back at the man, and then said for all to hear. “Mister, Baldy is the fastest. What you say ain’t the truth
That feller’s face turned red as a beet and he replied. “There is only one thing to do, let the race begin.”
We lead our steeds to the edge of town and took time to cinch our saddles down
We turned our horses onto a road heading south and then swung astride those feisty mounts
The man on the stallion boasted again, said he’d run the gelding into the ground
I pulled my hat down tight and squinted down the road and listened to the count
The stallion burst foreword on the count of ten
Dust swirled around Baldy and me as I gave the gelding his head
Baldy leaped forward, with ears laid back and I held on, that Quarter horse was running to win
Baldy’s eyes were aglow, his nostrils a flame as he raced the stallion who lead
The race would take us to Dousinberry creek, three miles along a narrow winding lane
I stood in the stirrups a leaning forward, the brim of my hat blown back
Baldy ran out of control, his powerful legs bore us on and on and we began to gain
The stallion tossed his head, bared his teeth as side by side they ran on that slender track
A mile to go and they thundered on and then Baldy pulled away
I turned in passing my eyes focused on the man and the stallion and I waved a fond ado. Adios

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

North by Northeast

River Bend Cave

Taking a Break During Excavation

Bone Hair Pin at Top

A Time to Remember
North by Northeast
By Ronnie Powell
There is a small cave situated in the base of a bluff overlooking the Niangua River not far above Moon Valley where I believe it had remained relatively undisturbed for perhaps several millenniums until about thirty years ago. People once lived and died in the secluded shelter, Native Americans the first explorers of the beautiful land we call America.
This cave faces roughly southwest in a bend of the river, well above flood stage. It is located deep within a fractured north edge of the bluff that continues on up the ridge. I discovered the opening by accident when climbing over the remnants of an overhang lying broken at the base of the limestone formation. From my vantage point I could see an opening and managed to access with little difficulty. When at last I hunkered down in the entrance I was surprised to discover evidence of a dig a short distance inside the cave.
After crawling further into the opening it was obvious digging had indeed occurred, covering much of the south floor. Next to the wall lay a broken sifting box, a rusted folding shovel and the remnants of a kerosene lantern. A small pick with a broken handle lay across a refuge pile containing a few beer cans and tinfoil. Fragments of earthen pottery lay in a neat pile near the wall with several chert fragments along with cigarette butts that appeared to have lain there quite sometime. A rather large pile of bones, some human lay further in. I strongly suspected the disturbance was a pothunter’s reckless dig.
There were no marked grids or organized excavation area, only haphazard random digging. I saw no fresh foot prints or cigarette butts lying in or outside the entrance and decided to stay awhile and probe the area at or near the north wall.
I began at the wall trying to determined the depth of the soil and found it shallow at no more than six or eight inches down to solid stone. It was during this preliminary probing I discovered a wall that was not originally a part of the bluff, but rather stones piled one on the other up to about four feet where it connected with a ledge or shelf. The width of the artificial wall measured five feet from a corner of the entrance perpendicular to the base of the ledge deepening my curiosity. It was quite evident a corner of the cave had been sealed off perhaps for many hundreds of years.
I began immediately removing the top stones from a tangle of web like roots, a slow process for I feared the wall might collapse. I soon discovered the wall had not been put up hurriedly, for each stone appeared to have been carefully chosen interlocking creating a stable structure.
With the aid of two reflector candle lanterns I continued on into the morning carefully removing each stone one at a time. The tangle of roots appeared to be very dense on the other side, suggesting an abundance of moisture inside the dark interior. When at last I had an opening large enough to peer inside I held a lantern close to the opening to try and get a better view but the roots were too thick. The noon hour had arrived and I decided to take a break.
Instinctively upon hearing a noise outside I peeked over the boulders, saw only a squirrel on the ground. I settled back with a cup of coffee and can of sardines to reflect on the morning’s work.
I resumed the work a short time later, cautiously cutting away some of the roots that appeared to be coming from the ledge inside the enclosure. This I confirmed several minutes later when discovering mud on the first level of the ledge. I sat the candle aside and peered upward into the darkness and could make out pin points of daylight coming from far above me. Time had eroded the walled off area allowing water to enter.
I began slicing away handfuls of roots and soon could see rather clearly inside the enclosure. Most of the floor area appeared dry, with the exception of a small corner directly below the ledge. I managed to squeeze my head, arms and shoulders inside and extended the candle lower to the floor. I could make out vague images through the shroud of roots, and focusing on a dark object lying directly below me next to the stone wall. Probing the roots, pushing them aside I sat the lantern down driving the shadows outside the circle of light to dance eerily among the roots.
It was during these moments of breaching the wall I also realized I had entered into another aspect of time. Next to the lantern lay the collapsed remains of a large earthen pot of a reddish hue. More astonishing, lying across the leg bones of a human skeleton was another smaller human skeleton, its skull slightly elevated, tilted a bit upward and surprisingly appeared intact. The adult rested in a semi sitting position against the base of the ledge. The skull drooped over the chest and the lower jaw hung by remnants of roots. Several cut bone beads were noted scattered down the entire upper portion of the adult. A long ornate bone hair pin lay across the right thigh bone of the adult. Much of the lower structure of the adult appeared black and badly decomposed due to years of eroding water. Neither skull bore any tell tale fractures or puncture holes to indicate injuries and it is my opinion both subjects were very young at time of death. The teeth in the adult skull were badly worn down and a few possibly abscessed at time of death. The juvenile would have stood approximately thirty inches tall and the adult about sixty inches. I am relatively certain the adult was female and have no idea as to the sex of the juvenile.
Lying around the adult I noted several hard clumps of black material and when broken open were stringy or leathery to the feel. I can only assume they were clothing or remnants or hair. I have no doubt the pair were Prehistory Indians, buried with loving care a long time ago.
The above details of the burial and artifacts were recorded during the removal of the two skeletal remains.
Unwilling to leave them in the tomb for the pothunters to salvage the skulls and few artifacts I made the decision to remove the bones and possessions and ultimately placed them in another location.
There was once a place at the base of a stone bluff where water flowed from a deep spring nurturing wild ferns. And there was a shelter deep within the bluff where buried within was the yellowed ancient bones of a mother and child, a broken aspect of a family. The trek back to the road was a lonely one, laden with haunting thoughts and speculations as to the life and death of the pair. I wondered if other human bones were taken from the site by the pothunters to find their way into morbid collections. Adios

Monday, October 26, 2009


The hills are silent today, if not for the cold wind
A blowing from the north as winter descends
In the woodland the shadows play not
The ivy clings to the fence fearfully
Winter’s cold embrace is unpitying
But soon it will be as beautiful as summers violet lace

Friday, October 16, 2009

Touched by Angels

Misty, 2009 a Beautiful Queen

Christmas, a Queen

Christmas waiting for me

Angel 1988

Jake 1991

Dimmit 1998

Zeeke 1997

Princess 1998

A Time to remember
Touched by Angels
By Ronnie Powell
During the time my mother was pregnant with my twin brother and me and naturally taking all the precautions to keep us safe the unexpected happened. She and Grandmother Carrie were sitting on the front porch one day when a cat jumped up on Mother’s lap and sat down.
“Oh my Lord, Minnie!” Grandmother exclaimed, “That child inside you will be marked with the sign of the cat.”
Of course she did not know there were two of us.
I am told one of the first things Grandmother did after our birth was to check for a sign of the cat. Donnie was the first born and didn’t have the mark, but lo and behold on the back of my right shoulder a bright red spot revealed the face of a cat or so I’m told. After a time the redness faded leaving an indentation that according to most people, vaguely resembles the face of a cat. I have yet to see it clearly and cannot attest to its validity an have not concerned myself with the mark. I like cats.
My relationship with cats is normal in addition to my love of dogs and horses. I have helped my wife Joyce rescue many cats over the years and treated them with the respect and dignity required of all God’s creatures. I must admit there is something special about a kitten or an adult cat that has become family.
Approximately nineteen years ago, the day before Christmas, a tiny ragged kitten wandered into Windyville. She took refuge in a small dog house, disrupting the solitude of the dog that lived there. She was a mere scrap of fragile life and hardly more than a dirty tuft of white fur. Wild, hungry and frightened she cowered in a corner of the dog house hissing at the sight of me. I reached in with a heavily gloved hand and brought forth the now shrieking kitten. I held her close and in those few moments as I looked into the amber eyes and she into mine, I knew I had found a soul mate, unaware at the time that I was in the presence of a queen and destined to be her loyal servant. She was named Christmas and she grew into a beautiful creature that knew the hour of my arrival home each day and sat in a window waiting for me. The few years of her life passed too quickly and one night after a prolonged illness she passed away in my arms.
One particular day several years ago while Joyce and my youngest daughter was walking along a road east of Windyville they came up on a stray kitten. She too was lost, hungry and in desperate need of care, but unlike Christmas she was not of royal heritage, but more of the common variety as I am. She was a mixture of a chainsaw, thistle and Bengal tiger, but as I would soon discover a life long companion. She was always around me when I was outside and a nuisance more than not, demanding my undivided attention.
The kitten turned over a can of oil on day while I was changing oil in my Volkswagen and not being a cussing fellow, I said instead, “Dimmit, get away from here!” The name stuck. Yet for all of her independence, Dimmit was truly a devoted friend that continued to share life with me. She lived twenty years and up until the moment of her death she retained her unerring devotion to me.
There were others who were my friends and companion and to name a few, one was Angel and another was frisky and Jake, and a host of others but Christmas and Dimmit were different somehow, drawn to me and me to them in a most special way. At present there is Misty, a self proclaimed queen. She does no wrong and governs the house the way she sees fit. This attitude is just fine with us for she is a gentle creature living out her life in our home, safe, warm and content.
I cannot say for certain the mark of the cat or for that matter the mark of a snake, dog or anything else is real or just superstition. I do know that in my case the mark of the cat was more like the touch of angels and has been a delightful and meaningful experience. Adios

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


High in a sycamore sets a foolish crow

A thinking on the mischief he is apt to bestow

A mocking bird echoes the call of a quail

Confusing another in a brushy vale

The deep bawl of a late running hound sends a woodchuck

scurring to its mound

The dawn seems to me a bit melancholy as it passes on

Perhaps it is because the hollyhock grow heavy on the lawn

Monday, October 12, 2009

I Didn't Know Him

I didn’t know Him
I never really knew the man with the golden ring in his nose. Some said he was a hippie. I think he died. I guess he did for I watched them fold his arms across his chest. I watched them pick him up, friends I reckon and carry him to an Arkansas hill and laid the poor feller to rest.

Look Close

Nothing along life’s way should be overlooked or misunderstood not even one tear or the hint of a smile. You might leave a friend behind.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Gunfight at Buffalo Head

The Patriot, Now In My Possession

Aritist Unknown

I reckon this story is true.
The Gunfight at Buffalo Head
By Ronnie Powell
I stood on the porch of the Old Theater, the sun was nearly down.
Gentleman George was there with a double barrel twelve and I with my trusted, forty four.
I wore a sheriff’s badge and had sworn to keep the law in that prairie town.
Gentleman George a deputy, vowed to back the persuasion of my notched forty four.

A rowdy bunch came early that day to Buffalo Head, buck skinners, ragged and lean of a dirty hue.
They set their lodges on the outside of town, howled like wolves and called it a Rendezvous.
Coffee was boiled in a rusty old can and they killed an opossum and stole some taters to make a stew.
A man called Two Lanterns stood away from the rest, wore a red bandanna on his head and clothed in dirty buckskins.
He held in his right hand, the Kentucky Patriot, a long barrel pistol, some said was his next of kin.
There was a gleam in his eyes when he spat down the barrel, poured in gun powder and rammed a round ball in.
Two Lanterns looked about and then capped the Patriot with its hammer yawned back and shoved it into his Irish green sash.
Smiling wickedly he drank from a tin cup, savoring the drippings of good corn mash.
He dropped the cup at his feet, squinted an eye and looked up the road toward Buffalo Head.
Soon, Two Lanterns would come to town I reckoned, to shoot me with a hot, round ball of lead.
I am told he howled, spat on the ground and slipped into the shadows a closing around.
That rascal crept out of that unholy camp and up the road and into town, making not a sound.


The talk on the street was an ugly tale of a mountain man a gunning for me.

So I pulled down my hat, stepped to the ground with Gentleman George and walked along the street, him and I as bold as can be.
Gentleman George walked to my left, ready to take Two Lanterns or die.
Many of the town’s people hurried along the street and a mother hushed her child’s fretful cry.
I saw Two Lanterns standing in the shadow of the church, his feet spread wide apart.
“Butcher Redoak,” he squalled like a wounded panther, “it shames me to see a lawman’s badge a hanging over your heart.”
I drew my forty four and fired a round into the air.
I knew the voice that hailed me, a friend from the days at the Baldy Mountain lair.

“Get out of town, Mountain man,” I shouted friendly like, “Buffalo Head ain’t no place for the likes of you.”
Two Lanterns walked onto the street, looking mean out of his eyes of blue.
He stood with the Patriot in one hand, a man alone but defiant in that prairie town.
Well dang, all I could do was to stride forward, ready to do my job and willing to shoot that mountain, put him down.
Quicker than the wink of an eye Two Lanterns ran, yelling like a rebel somewhere in the night.
I crouched low and headed the way he’d gone, truly expecting the man to stop and fight.
I ran passed the church and beyond into a tangle of brush and then heard the click of a hammer not far from my back.
Two Lanterns swore and squeezed the trigger on the Patriot and I stumbled and fell in my tracks.


Gentleman George said the town’s people gathered around where I lay, to see me dead or watch me die.
Gentleman George stood up and smiled. “Fear not, Two Lanterns should have fired to the left and high.”
Well I reckon my old friend heard the news and slunk away like a coyote in the night.
He knew come morning I would be a looking for him to finish the fight.
A prairie breeze cooled the August morning on that fateful day of Eighty Four.
Hundreds of people gathered like buzzards in Buffalo head to watch me settle the score.
There was Twinkles John and Irish Bob and Banjo Boats among the many that gathered there.
They were also friends who rode with me across the fork to the Baldy Mountain Lair.
They came not to take a part, but to see which man would end the fight.
They too had shared a fire with Two Lanterns, drying their skins on cold winter nights.
A theater troupe arrived and put on a show and then came the Cherokee.
A fiddler played Shenandoah a couple of times and then a waltz about Tennessee.

The gentleman and I stood on the porch of the Old Theater, sworn to keep the law in that dusty old Prairie town.
Gentleman George with a double barrel twelve and me with a forty four cinched down.
Now some say it was high noon when we stepped off the porch to make our play.
The street was empty except for a gang of mountain men a coming toward us at a hundred yards away.
A window broke above our heads and two men appeared a looking mean as sin.
Gentleman George brought up the double barrel twelve took aim and fired into that den.
Those rascals squalled and were seen no more.
Gun smoke shrouded the street and I saw ghostly figures a creeping up and drew the forty four.
I shot from the hip and a mountain fell, but another took his place.
Gentleman George cut loose again and there was one less member to fight for the Osage Trace.
A Hawkins rifle roared across the street sent round ball lead into the Gentleman that was his plight.

Black smoke hang heavy over the town, two were left standing waiting to end the fight.
I have heard it said a time or two that I fired first and Two Lanterns fell dead on his back.
Well now, if Two Lanterns died that day, (no one else did), where was the body, for all we found were coyote tracks.

(Footnote) Buffalo Head is no more on the prairie where it set, now only the wind can be heard a blowing across faded tracks where once people stood to watch Two lanterns and Butcher Redoak duel. Oh by the way nearly every night you can hear a coyote a crying not far from where the Rusty Bucket Saloon stood. Two Lanterns has disappeared and I have no idea where he went.)Adios

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Miss Heidi

Miss Heidi in Her Home

A more relaxed Heidi

Miss Heidi
Miss Heidi is slowly become a natural dog. She plays in the yard during the day, digging holes, chewing on whatever comes handy and a few things she manages to steal. She was also successful in acquiring the last smiley lamp and chewed it beyond repair, but hey that’s alright. She has begun showing signs of affection, touching my face with her nose. She has no tail so she does not wag. She loves to eat a bit of turkey and of course her beloved cheese. The cabin I built for her is very important and she goes to it when I call out. She barks a little now and then and that is good. It is going to take time to bring her around, but when it happens what a delightful day that will be. She loves to walk with me and sits when I tell her to. But there are times when she becomes fearful for no seemingly good reason. Heidi is a lovely creature. Adios