Black Draught

April 14, 2011 - 3 Responses

Dad tells this little gem on his Uncle Tobe when he was at a trading post on the reservation in Arizona.

In the early 1900’s, the traders were more than store keepers.  They took pawn, which was nearly always redeemed, and the trading posts served as a repository for handmade rugs, jewelry, pottery, baskets and often saddles and guns.  The traders also bought  handmade items and made a convenient sales venue for artists, many of whom lived in such remote places, no one would ever see their work otherwise.  They might also help get a car out of the mud, find a lost mule, take someone to the hospital…….or give out their own medical advice. 

A woman Tobe knew well came in one day to do some business.  When Tobe inquired about her husband, she told him he was not well.  “He just sits around and groans all day from pain.”  Tobe, placing what he believed was the right construction on his problem, gave her something he called “black draught” and told her to give it to him, that it would set him right in a day.

She returned the next day and told Tobe her husband was no better.  Tobe gave her another installment of the “black draught”.  She went home.

The next day, when she came in, Tobe asked after her husband.  “Oh, he’s worse than ever.  Just moans and groans.”  Tobe asked if she’d actually given him the black draught.  “Sure I did.  He been shitting all around the tree, but his leg’s still broken.”


Four score

April 11, 2010 - 3 Responses

What I learned about men from my father:

Men are honest.  Men do their duty, regardless of the hardship.  Men are funny.  Men love their families.

Not all men are like my father.

Men protect and cherish their wives….and sometimes give up their own dearest things for them.  Flying, for instance. 

Men are faithful to their wives and families.  That means they sometimes work at things they don’t like just to put a roof over their heads, food on the table, money in the bank and to keep them out of debt.  Men fix things around the house and on the car…..or they know who can.  Men can make fires and cook hamburgers better than women.  Men aren’t afraid to use guns, if they have to.  Men are physically and emotionally stronger than women.  Sue me.  Men need the women in their lives.

Men care about the people in their lives.  They love their wives and children, sometimes when they’re not very likeable at the moment.  Men are faithful to their wives.  Men are tempted to indulge their daughters and be tough on their sons.  Their sons become more responsible than their daughters, if this course is pursued too long. :>) 

Men care about people who have less than they have, whether financially or socially or mentally.  They take care of the people God brings across their path. 

Men understand authority.  They know how to wield it without condescension or cruelty.  They know how to act under it without fear or rebellion. 

Men understand beauty and how to interpret it.  They may interpret it with words or paint or a carving knives or chisels or bronze. 

Men understand place.  They understand loyalty to c0untry and to countrymen.  They volunteer to serve when they need to.  They understand history.

Men like adventure.  Sometimes they grab it….and move to New Mexico.  Sometimes they leave their sons behind in the care of their daughters.   Refer back to “men are funny”.

Men don’t need a lot of words.  Men feel but they don’t need to talk about it.  Men cry when their fathers die.

Men cuss, but are never vulgar.  They protect all women…..even the ones who want to be men and scorn protection. 

Men “keep under their bodies”, as the apostle Paul puts it.  They do what it takes to stay strong.   They do what it takes to get their karate black belt….when they’re 69.  Men eat candy, though.  Sometimes they eat ice cream.

Men eat popcorn.  Lots of popcorn.

Men tease their girls and hug their sons.  They play board games and horseshoes and smile a lot.  People want to be around them.

Men teach their daughters to waltz…..after they get their casts off.   Sometimes they give them a gold necklace when their daughters are going a long way away for a long time and they don’t know when (or if) they’ll see them again.  Sometimes they just listen when their daughters talk and cry.  Sometimes they don’t say anything when their daughters grieve them.  It makes their daughters trust them.  It makes their daughters love them.

Men love God and direct their families to Him. 

This isn’t exhaustive.  I may even add to it, later.  I just like thinking about you, Dad.  And I’m sorry for anyone who doesn’t have a dad like you. 

Happy 80th Birthday.

Little Portrait of Grandad #1

November 1, 2008 - 2 Responses

“Dad never did spank us kids, though I’m sure he would like to have, once in awhile.  He was easy on us kids, but could make us mind with a look.  He was rough on other people, though.  Once he saw a man whipping his kids in their back yard and got so mad that he whipped the man and took the three kids to our home.  We kept them for a couple of weeks.  Jack slept with Mom and Dad, and the rest of us (6) slept on one double bed.  It was fun having them at the house.”

Back in the days when neighbors watched out for neighbors…..

Going Solo

October 18, 2008 - 5 Responses

Jimmy walked out the door.  If he’d been asked, he would probably have said he wasn’t ‘leaving’ particularly.  It was more of a going.  But nobody asked him because there was no one around to do any asking.  The wooden screen door shut with a quiet bang, and he was on his way.

With mental eyes on the goal and blue eyes on the road ahead, he mounted his tricycle and set out.  Dust rose around him.  Arizona sun travelled slowly overhead, as he made his way south, one tedious block after another.  Determination and a vision of ice cream kept Jimmy in forward motion.   He knew the place where the cool, creamy delicacy could be found.  Although his three-year-old vocabulary may not have contained the term ‘drug store’ yet, his experience was unerring.  Three blocks.  Seven blocks.  Ten weary blocks later, the traveller arrived downtown.  The short jaunt to his final destination on a concrete sidewalk seemed like a cakewalk.

The red trike was still there when he returned from the soda fountain, his dreams cruelly dashed.  No money, no ice cream, had been the excuse the man behind the counter had used.   The disappointment was acute.  What solace could there be for a man with a sudden curtailment of what had seemed like a vision?   Jimmy turned his head to the east and rode on down Route 66.

His only plan, if he’d planned at all, had been to ride and ride and ride.  Too soon–only a mile into his journey and adding insult to injury–Mom and Aunt Trula insinuated themselves into his afternoon adventure.  Mom insinuated herself unforgettably on Jimmy’s backside.  Aunt Trula insinuated herself on the unsuspecting soda jerk, who also owned the store.  Why ____ hadn’t he given a three-year-old a little ____ ice cream, so he would go home, ____,  instead of riding his ____ little tricycle all over ____ creation?  Aunt Trula could become unguarded when provoked. 

Jimmy didn’t think unkindly of the man at the soda fountain.  He was thankful it hadn’t been his dad doing any of the ‘insinuating’.  He’d made a major solo trip on his own vehicle.   Even with it’s hardships, life was good.

And that pretty much sums up his philosophy still, seventy-five years later.