Friday, July 4, 2014

"Grandpop, 4th of July and Independence"

Howdy Folks,

A few friends and family had made the trip to Grandpop’s ranch for Independence Day, not as many as years past, but enough to make a fun gathering. As usual, I’d lost my share of horseshoe matches, even though Grandpop had done his best to coach me for decades, but I never mastered the flip and slide. Most folks had set out for home after the steer roast, a few of us hung around for the campfire. 

My future daughter-in-law, Sissy, had been engrossed with Grandpop pretty much of the day, listening to his stories, making sure he had all the drinks and food he could handle, and pretty much just making a fuss over him. Of course, his taking her on her first ever trail ride only set the hook he had in her deeper.

Sissy and Grandpop sat across the dwindling fire from me; she still hung on his every word. I was unable to hear when the conversation shifted to serious mode, but I could sense a change in the air.

“Mostly I worry for the young ones. My grandchildren, the little great-grandchildren, and your, yet to come, young ‘ins. I’ve had a full great life, did pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to, except for a few things Grandma frowned on, but it’s the youngest of us that I weep for.”

“Don’t you think the world is a much better place today than when you were young?” Sissy’s expression telegraphed her confusion.

“Can’t speak to the world, but as we sit here celebrating our own Independence Day, I can’t help but wonder and worry about some of the changes our country and folks are going through. You bet, Sissy, I’ve been witness to some marvelous changes, but recently there have been too many changes that worry me. For the sake of the young ‘ins and even our country.”

“I don’t understand why, Grandpop, I think our country is changing so much for the better. The government’s doing great things to help everyone, like health care, job security … so many wonderful things are finally being done by the government to help people. A lot of people need help today.”

Grandpop poked the fire sending sparks high and smiled at Sissy. “Are you sure you want the government doing all that? There’s always been help for folks who need it from family, charity outfits, churches and independent organizations. We’re the most charitable nation to have ever existed. I've been around a long time and I disagree with folks who say the government can do it better.”

“I think the government can do it better and give people more security.” Sissy insisted.

“That’s the root of my worry. The more and more folks turn to government for what they think is security, the more and more of their independence they give up, without even knowing it. What I worry about for the young ‘ins is how easy it is to learn to turn to the government for everything. I fear it’s become too easy to trade security for independence for too many, and that’ll chip away at their dreams, hopes and eagerness to pursue those dreams ... Everyone should fight hard to keep the right to struggle to make their dreams come true. Not trade it for simple security. What is security without dreams? Without independence? Not much I reckon.”

I could see Grandpop had Sissy thinking, she didn’t ask a follow up question, just asked if they could ride again tomorrow. I hoped she’d have more questions tomorrow.
Kessy, Saturday & me writing
This is the Tenth in my series of Grandpop stories. I began writing about Grandpop, June 27, 2013, with what at the time I imagined what would be a standalone short story, "Perhaps I've Just Lived Too Long." You can read that story (and find links to go on) (HERE)   Folks said they enjoy visiting with Grandpop, so I wrote more. Frankly, I enjoy him too.

Gitty Up ~ Dutch Henry

Thursday, July 3, 2014

"Tom Named By Horse-pt 4 - Revision update"

Howdy Friends! – This morning, as I finished polishing the final pages of “Tom Named By Horse,” the sun snuck through my window carrying the song of our resident mockingbird. I couldn’t help but chuckle as I clearly heard him sing, “It’s about time,” to George Harrison’s, “Here Comes The Sun.” … I’ll need one more run through before it’s ready for public eyes, but I’d like to share here an important scene from one of the final pages … We find Tom heading home to Soft Cloud after completing the tasks asked of him by Red Cloud, but what he finds as he nears home is troubling … I hope you enjoy ~ Gitty Up, Dutch
 To read earlier excerpts click HERE 

He settled down just to enjoy the pleasures of a peaceful ride on a magnificent horse.  Thunder’s even stride soothed Tom completely and for hours, he rode lost in daydreams of what the future might hold for he and Soft Cloud, before he saw the lodges on the prairie ahead of him.
''What's that all about, Thunder?''  They loped in the direction of the village knowing his position to be about twenty miles north of his ranch and just thirty or so miles from Fort Laramie.  As they neared the Indian village, he recognized it to be the village of Red Cloud and Iron Shell.  In the weeks he had been gone they must have abandoned their winter village to relocate on the open prairie, but why here?
Tom was greeted at the camp’s edge by his friend Iron Shell.  Iron Shell had worked on his English and Tom had polished his Sioux.  The two friends no longer needed an interpreter.  Iron Shell informed Tom they had moved the village to be closer to Fort Laramie for his father was demanding to be heard by the leaders of the US Army.
      ''Why does Red Cloud want to speak with the Army?''
''My father is angered that the white man is now building a road to take the white man into our hunting grounds at the Black Hills beneath the Big Horn Mountain where the Powder River Runs into the Big Horn.  Red Cloud told the General that was our land, wrestled from the Crow nation.  He is also angered at the men who make marks on the prairie for another road.  A road he has been told will be made of iron.  Many Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho will be coming to join my father's village here near Fort Laramie.  Their chiefs will speak with us one day soon of making war.  They speak of a great war when thousands of braves will stop the U.S. Army.  My father cannot allow these two roads into our hunting lands.  This land that was our ancestors’ since before time, and we stand today on all that is left of our proud nations.  Perhaps it is time now for us to make war.  Perhaps it is time for us to stop the white man who only wants to take the shiny metal that is in our land.  Perhaps it is time to stop the white man who kills our sacred buffalo only for it rot under the sun of the prairie.''  Iron Shell’s eyes showed his sadness.
''But your father is a leader of peace.  He has not wanted to make war with the US Army.'' 
''My father wants only peace but most white men are greedy, they force my father to listen to the war councils.  It is not for him alone to decide this great and terrible thing.  My father believes that perhaps there is time still, to save our sacred buffalo.  He believes it would be a terrible thing for the once mighty herd of buffalo to disappear from the great lands.  But he has seen a vision that tells him the white man will one day kill all the buffalo.
''The bones of our sacred buffalo already are scattered and white over the plains.  To the greedy white man, these things are not precious.  To the greedy white man the buffalo means money.  To the greedy white man, shiny metal means money.  To the ancient Sioux the buffalo means all of life.  The Sioux have no use for the shiny metals that lay buried in the great mountains.  We have no need to scar the face of those mountains that were here since before the Sioux and Cheyenne, Arapaho and Crow. Grandfather Mystery has given us all these things.  The white man must not be allowed to spoil them.  Already there is a great gathering of Chiefs on this spot, on our grasslands near the Fort Laramie.  Chief Spotted Tail, Standing Elk, and also Chief Dull Knife have come to talk with my father.  Many other Chiefs and their villages will be here soon.''  Iron Shell's dark eyes burned red with sadness.
Tom felt as if Iron Shell had delivered him a tremendous physical blow.

To read earlier excerpts follow this link -