Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Reflections of our Heritage

A display of my books to Sell

For me it was a good place to be on a Saturday morning

Ike and me

Coffee is brewing

Camp of the 8th Missouri

Weapon Display

More of the Weapons Displays

From Near and Far, They began to Arrive

A Great Scene

September 25, 2010 began early for me as I began a journey. The day, a Saturday was cool, but the sun was shining and in the distance fog was rising from the Niangua River. Hidden there along the bank where fog was rising into wispy clouds was a place where many people would soon gather to celebrate their heritage. It is a beautiful location of bottom fields and hills and not more than a mile from where I live, but my journey would take my friend Ike and I back one hundred fifty years or more. Our part in this festival was for me to talk about the Civil War and Ike to talk about the dos and don’t of his huge display of weapons of that era. We chose to set up like a working military camp and represented The A Company, 8th Missouri Cavalry, originating in the county where we reside. Coffee simmered over a fire along with an iron kettle containing chili. Ike was clothed in period garments and I in a Union Uniform. The day passed pleasantly and many people came by to talk and listen to Ike and me. A black smith was present on the grounds along with other craftsmen and on the hill above us a short distance from a teepee, a man portraying the fur trading era supervised live shooting with black powder weapons. A horse drawn wagon provided rides for people along with two saddled horses. The sheriff of the county came dressed as a lawman of long ago. Many people came during the day, most clothed in period clothing. It was a good day. Adios.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Time to Remember

Time Capsule or Buried Treasure?
There are no photos, only Memories
Buried in the obscurity of Mother Earth, man has since the dawn of time hidden many aspects of the past. Wealth of great measure secretly buried during war time and forgotten or unknown to a living relative to be discovered years later during construction projects such as highways, home sites and the clearing of a fence row are but a small number of such places. In a fence row near the south bank of the Dousinberry Creek a quart jar was unearthed containing a few twenty dollar gold pieces. A small treasure by today’s standard but at the time these coins were placed in the ground represented a goodly fortune. A friend of mine, a metal detector enthusiast located a stoneware jar of approximately a quart capacity containing over fifty gold pieces. He understandably would not reveal the location. This treasure represented a significant fortune in any time period, past or present.
Pirates were noted for burying plundered gold, silver and jewels and even as far inland as Missouri, legends tell of buried treasure hidden somewhere in the hills. One story comes to mind of a stagecoach loaded with Federal gold hijacked not far from Corkery, Missouri and supposedly hidden in a cave along the Niangua River. The gold has never been found or so the story goes.
During the years I spent exploring the land along the Niangua River Basin I too uncovered small caches of treasure, a coin here, an old sliver ring there, a seven shot revolver to mention but a few of the artifacts unearthed by an intruding pix or shovel.
It of course does not necessarily take a pirate, an old west outlaw or a family member fearing for the safety of gold to bury treasure in the ground, on the contrary, a lad of ten years of age is capable of such an act. A stealth figure slipping through tall grass to an old log barn, where beneath a log he places a brass box wrapped tightly in oil cloth next to a rusty Civil War musket barrel, an iron spur, missing its rowel and a broken World War One bayonet.
The brass box contained a wonderful array of artifact, collected over time and considered priceless by the boy. Four promotioal cards wrapped in tin foil lay on top of the heap within the box. Two of the cards portrayed Lash Larue, another Roy Rogers and the last Gene Autry. Four pocket knives with a blade each broken off lay in one corner of the box next to an assortment of large glass marbles. Two silver rings fashioned from silver dollars lay among several large costume brooches along with a glass beaded necklace of striking colors. A small cloth bag containing Ten Indian Head pennies, a nickel plated cigarette lighter, a lead skull ring and lastly a pocket watch missing its hands were the sum of the contents of the vintage sewing box.
The lad confident the treasure was safe replaced two large stones over the hole and left. But unbeknownst to him, at least at that time, groundhogs had taken up residence under the old barn and quickly established a network of burrows, running the length and breadth of the structure. Unfortunately several months later upon checking the cache, the lad found it gone, falling deep into a burrow, beyond the depth he was allowed to dig.
On occasion when passing my boyhood home site I wonder about those treasures laying deep in the soil where the barn once stood. It is possible that someday, perhaps there will be reason to dig there and unearth that small collection of treasures or time capsule that I so carefully placed to keep hidden from my brothers. It will not be a significant discovery or bring great riches to the finder and no one will know that it once was very important to a boy of the 1940’s. Adios

Friday, September 10, 2010

News briefs from my neck of the woods

A fine way to start a day

A barren, lonely tree

Sometime ago a scoundrel, or scoundels came in the night and stole all, or nearly all the apples from our only apple tree. It was a dastardly deed assulting that old tree and hauling away the fruit of her summer. The tree stands barren and lonely now. The deer will with have to do without as well as the birds, opossums, racoons and of course there won't be any apple pie for me.

I have been told a few times that I am never in style with the clothing I wear, but I disagree, for about every ten years or so I stand out among the best. Most people cast aside, give away or sell their unwanted clothing after only a few times of wearing it. I do change my wardrobe a bit in the spring and summer, but always return to winter garb when it is fitting. I suppose you could say I am like most animals I shed when it is time and resume a nice coat for the winter. I have shirts that are twenty years old, boots that are thirty or more and this goes for the hats as well. There is nothing finer when the cold wind comes than to put on one of my favorite shirts, jeans Stetson's or Justin boots and last a warm fleece lined leather coat. I am sleek, warm and content as I go forth. You don't have to guess what specific subspecies I am. Adios

Monday, September 6, 2010

A den, or a loft, perhaps a room with a window

The hub of the room

A dusty Indian, Lawman and Outlaw

Stetson hats, a life staff and saddlebags among other things

More books and other items

A part of my wonderful library

Images from a far away time

There is a particular room in our house that contains many stories, a few dreams, a haunting and represents me. It is not a beautiful room, nor free of dust or kept in order, a small room that yes I lose many things and most of the time they are exactly where I put them. The room has a window looking out above the yard and the beautiful country side. From this window above I have watched many season come and go and been inspired often to write what I see in my mind's eye. I love the clutter and seeminly perpetual items stuck around. All of it is important to me, but of course I could live without it. Perhaps much of it should be thrown away, but I won't. Most it is reminders of other days or a story, or just because I put it there for no particular reason. The above photos are only a glimpise of my room to present as is. Adios

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Foot Prints Into The Dawn Of Prehistory, Continued

Curosity is not just a human trait

In memory of Hawk

Man has always exceled as a counquer

One aspect of the dawn of time

The exit of man from Earth may occur sometime in the distant future

A Related Notation
Animals, (non human varieties, including cold blooded species) possess basically the same instincts as humans. So in that aspect we are cut from the same cloth or substance, (Mother earth). This alone should bring about more compassion and respect. Every creature on Earth is a predator, like it or not, but that doesn’t mean we and all the other creatures are without heart and we as humans, should be more compassionate and of course many people are. One night some time ago on Jay Leno’s talk show, Mark Harmon, star of NCIS after being informed he was required to pay a penalty for plugging his film, was ushered to a table and told to put a blindfold on and then to identify the contents of three bowls. The last bowl contained crickets and the audience was instructed to scream as the guest lowered his hand into the bowl. He did not flinch and smiled. Jay told the man to remove the blind fold. Mark carefully brushed the crickets from his hand and the show went to a commercial break. A minute or two later the show was again on the air, catching Mark on the floor gently capturing stray crickets and then placing them safely into the bowl. This man, a star of NCIS is a good man to take the time to care about crickets, mere insects. He is a real life hero.
I do not advocate a total ban controlling any creature that has gotten out of control. We along with our animal counterparts must take drastic measures at times to survive. A long time ago predators kept most of Earth’s creatures in balance, but as time past and humans foolishly, greedily and religiously, due to ignorance destroyed the delicate balance of nature. Most of the deer, moose, elk and other related species do not have adequate predator control and man must control the population through hunting seasons and rightly so, for without control these animals would overpopulate, become sick and die horribly.
I do question the motives of some hunters, based on my own experience while working with the Missouri Department of Conservation and also as a private citizen. Some hunters, pick up a gun for the time during the year, go into the country and shoot anything that moves and if they are lucky and shoot at a deer, sometimes hitting it multiple times, but not immediately slaying it and then lose it in the brush to slowly perish. Cattle have been shot, horses, donkeys and in one instance, of which I witnessed, a small light tan Ford sedan. It is not unusual to find a headless buck deer, shot only for its antlers. Semi auto rifles of large enough caliber to kill a bull elephant are often used to kill a one hundred pound deer. One can only imagine what one of those large slugs would do if shot wildly. Most hunters are responsible men and women, carefully, safely and most important humanely shooting their prey and later don’t sit around and describe every gory detail.
Several years ago while deer hunting with a friend in a deep hollow, two intoxicated hunters began shooting at us. They were firing large caliber semi auto rifles. One slug hit a rock where my friend was standing, ricocheting, hitting a heel of his left boot. We began shouting and the two hunters fled. This incident does not represent most hunters. It does, however, emphasize the fear that must occur when hunters of such low morale take to the woods.

As in humans curiosity is prevalent in most creatures, of this I am certain. Curiosity can be a double edge sword in both human and nonhuman creatures and must be used cautiously or pay a dreadful price. In order to learn, curiosity is essential to obtain shelter, to build, to explore and to mate. To what depth curiosity in nonhuman animals go is not exactly clear to me, but from experience it may in some species parallel that of humans. The instinct to survive is a product of collective memories of countless generations, including man. To what extent the memories of most animals are I do not know, but I have suspected at times, there are recollections of certain animals that are remarkable. A common dog, listens intently to the howl of a wolf or the cry of a coyote and at time tries to answer these haunting calls. Humans accept their ancient heritages, but often scoff at the idea a nonhuman can do the same. Love of a mate in some nonhumans is for a lifetime as is supposed to be in humans. Defending an offspring is no different in a nonhuman than a human. Language is important of course to communicative and all creatures seem to have a form of communication. To wonder is seldom attributed to non humans, but I have watched horses, dogs, birds, cats and many others sit and quietly observed me, sometimes coming closer without fear.
Several years ago I was entrusted to care for a male Red Tail Hawk that had been severely injure and would never fly again. Fear was all I could see in the bird for several days and I would leave a fish for it to eat and then walk away. But one morning as I was approaching the hawk I saw him standing tall on his perch, quietly observing me, turning his head to one side and the other. He called to me then, not loudly but calmly and I was allowed to come closer without him threatening me. In the days that followed I was allowed to place him on my arm and walk around. He was a proud bird and held himself straight. I did not try and pet the bird or touch his wounded wing, but attempted to show my respect each time we were together. He and I were aware that he would never fly again, a reality of life. Sometimes I would sit with him in the grass and let go of his chain and he would walk away and then return. But as time went on I could see in his eyes despondency and each time after that as we sat in the grass he would walk farther away until one day I had to bring him back. The last day I brought him back he sat on my arm with his head down and I knew he had given up. That magnificent, courageous Hawk died during the night.
When first Heidi,(my dog) came to live with me, she timidly would smell my face, hands and arms, wondering I suppose if I was to be trusted. One night while sitting with her in her cabin she licked me several times across my face, a wonderful gesture of an animal that had been horribly mistreated most of her life.
I can only say the animals that inhabit this Earth with us share a common bond in the mortality of flesh and blood, (be it warm or cold) and in affection, fear, dominance and all the aspects of life. We humans are now, apparently the keepers of the Earth and although we are still predators as all creatures are we should as the Indians were noted for, show more respect and reverence to our creator for all life on this planet, for without them we would perish.
Of course not all humans will agree with me, for there are those who consider some forms of life here on Earth of the devil’s making or would rather not have laws that protect the nonhumans which would create devastating results. Our creator as I understand brought forth all the animals first and saw it was good and decided to create man to watch over them. Man in general of course has not done well.