Thursday, March 31, 2005

Echos of the Past

It was a glorious spring afternoon; huge, fluffy, white, marshmallow clouds drifted slowly over the red rock cliffs of Bluff. The air was deliciously fresh; a recent thunder storm had swept across the sandscape, producing a feeling of freshness and visual harmony. The primitive landscape and refreshingly blue sky were too much to resist. I eased up on the accelerator and spied an upcoming break in the range fence bordering the highway. Slowing the truck even more, I edged off the blacktop, rolled over the cattle guard and came to a stop.

Barry's shoes & hat

I cranked down the window and inhaled the fragrance of the high desert air. Looking further afield, I noticed a heavily rutted dirt track drifting towards the mouth of a canyon. That was all the invitation I needed. Pressing the 4WD button on the dash and slowly depressing the accelerator sent me off on a spontaneous Southwest adventure.

The road was rough, but manageable. After all, what was an adventure without any effort? I made my way across the plain, which was graced with sandy hillocks, rabbit brush and Navajo tea. Dropping into an arroyo made me a bit nervous, because a recent mini flash flood had flushed and gouged out ever deepening ruts. The front tires pushed moist but firm sand into the cuts, and made the going easier than I imagined. It seemed my destiny to visit the alluring canyon on this magnificent day.

Exiting the far side of the wash put me on a harshly angular hillside strewn with boulders pocked and pitted by the weather extremes of this region. A road that was almost nonexistent held my attention for another 200 yards . The Toyota probably would have held its grip on the precarious slope, but my nerve gave out and I decided it was more prudent to walk the remaining distance to the mouth of the canyon.

It was later in the day than I would have preferred to start my hike, but I was intrigued by the rippled blow sand, cluttered talus slopes and towering, weather stained rimrock. It was not an overly large canyon; more intimate and inviting than most. By the look of the old road and trail leading in, I assumed it had not been visited in quite some time. I stepped out of the truck, donned my straw hat and headed into the tender shadows of the rift.

The gently sloping trail led directly into the mouth of the canyon, and allowed me to step back in time nearly a thousand years. The arroyo running the length of the narrow valley was not as deep as I would have imagined, and the vegetation not as dense. This made traveling easy, since I had to cross the stream bed a number of times. At one point I came across an ant hill that contained a tiny turquoise bead blended into the mound of mini boulders. I assumed there were more beads, but decided not to disturb the hill and its volatile residents.

Farther up the canyon I emerged from a dense patch of sagebrush and spotted a smattering of chipped stones on a side hill. Walking over and pushing the blackened, red earth around with the toe of my boot produced a small and beautifully crafted arrow head. Placing the point in the palm of my hand with the bead caused me to reflect on the makers and their lives in this idyllic setting. I carried my finds to a diminishing shaft of evening light and sat down to rest and consider the natural world surrounding me.

As I reclined in the sand, the hauntingly melodious tones of a primitive flute reverberated through the ever deepening shadows. I sat bolt upright, and felt the hair on the back of my neck do the same; I had assumed I was alone. Evening had overtaken the red rock canyon. The satiny smooth, earthy sounds emanating from the ancient musical instrument were untraceable in the diminishing light and undulating cliff face. The sound wrapped itself around randomly strewn boulders; stunted, twisted juniper trees; aromatic sage brush; and the depths of my imagination.

I caught the faint scent of cedar smoke on the cool breeze, which drifted down from the upper reaches of the canyon. My curiosity was getting the better of me, and prodded me to discover the source of the mysterious music. A chill ran up my spine as I considered the possibility of a haunted Ancient Puebloan ruin. It was getting late, and the thoughts of an unprotected night on the high desert dissuaded me from searching for the musical specter. I got up slowly, aware that I was probably being watched from some hidden cleft.

I carefully made my way back up the uneven track towards the mouth of the canyon. The music serenaded my movement, and seemed to accelerate in tempo as I neared the rocky exit. I turned back to consider the circumstances of my melodious encounter and felt the sharpness of the arrowhead and the coarse texture of the bead in the palm of my hand. Striding back through the canyon entrance, I looked for and found a depression in a low sandstone ledge. I deposited my treasure in the hole, filled it full of small stones and packed it with moist sand. I stood up and looked back into the darkness of the canyon; it was then I realize the flute had fallen silent.

I made my way back across the rippled dunes interspersed with cleansing yucca, sand verbena and prickly pear cactus, towards the Toyota. As I reached the vehicle and fell into the familiar comfort of modern machinery, a full moon peeked over the rim rock. As I witnessed the drama of the soft golden orb's rise above the desert landscape, the haunting melody revisited my subconscious. The dream of that wondrous evening will forever remain in my memory, as will the wonder of the magical tune.

Barry, Steve and the Team.

Copyright 2005 Twin Rocks Trading Post

Thursday, March 24, 2005

A Penny Found, A Penny Lost

It was January 1, 2005 and I wanted to start the year off right, so I pulled on my running shoes and left the house early. As I walked across the trading post parking lot to begin my run, I spied a penny lying on the ground. Rose always says, "See a penny, pick it up, all day long you'll have good luck."

Kira's Spelling Bee

Although I am not generally superstitious, I have a great deal of confidence in Rose and her advice, so I picked up the coin and zipped it into the pocket of my wind breaker. I could not help thinking, "Here it is 7:00 a.m., New Year's Day, and my fortune has just increased dramatically; it's going to be a good year."

Since the year was brand new, I began hoping the penny might have some special power to carry me through the next several months. I had an enjoyable run that day and started to think there might actually be something exceptional in my find. When I returned home, I placed the penny in a safe location and waited to see what would happen. The year progressed nicely, and my faith in Rose and the penny began to grow.

A few months after my discovery, as Jana, Kira, Grange and I climbed into the car to attend Kira's spelling bee competition, she stopped mid-step and said, "Dad, I need a lucky penny." Instantly I thought of my special coin. Although I was a little worried it may be lost, Kira had gone from school champion, to district winner and was now competing on the regional level; under the circumstances I figured she might really need the magic coin. It also seemed a good test for the penny, so I trotted back up to the house, dug it out of its hiding place and gave it to Kira.

As I sat in the audience, nervously watching Kira spell her way into another first place finish, my mind drifted back to a time before she was born. I smiled to myself, thinking about another Penny with unusual magic and a beautiful spring day in May of 1996. At that time, Jana and I had been married just over a year, and her stomach was swollen with our first child, which was due to arrive any day. We had stolen time away from the trading post to see a movie in Cortez, Colorado, and were meandering south on Highway 666.

For the past eight and one-half months, Jana and I had been trying to agree on a name for the new addition to our family. In spite of what I thought were very practical arguments to the contrary, Jana did not want to know ahead of time whether the baby would be male or female. As a result, we needed names to address both possibilities. After lengthy discussions, we agreed on Kira if the child was a girl, but had not decided on a boy's name.

Just north of Cortez, we passed the small town of Lewis. A picture of Barry, Craig and me sitting at a silversmith bench, making "Indian" jewelry and listening to the radio popped into my mind. I could almost hear the DJ at KUTA, A.M. 790, announcing a dance to be held at the Lewis Grange."Grange!" I thought. "Now that's interesting." I liked the name because it reminded me of our friends Bill and Penny Grange, but thought Jana might object; she had vetoed all my previous suggestions. I was still smarting from her rejection of the name Santiago, which I thought was a masterstroke.

Bill and Penny had stopped into the trading post shortly after we opened in 1989, and I liked them immediately. They were a wonderful sixty-something couple in a Chevrolet Suburban and Airstream trailer. Penny was cantankerous enough to be interesting, and Bill was independent enough to enjoy the challenge. I think it was their character and unwavering commitment to one another that endeared me to them. It may also have been that they were extremely encouraging at a time I needed support.

Bill was interested in Navajo weaving, and wanted to learn all Priscilla and I knew about the subject. It did not take long for him to realize Priscilla was the real source of knowledge, and I was a shallow well. Year after year they returned to the trading post, and my affection for them grew.

Penny had been raised in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Bill was a Utah boy who had met her while doing church work. Although Penny was a few years older than Bill, they had fallen hard for each other. Penny was pretty and petite, and Bill was tall, handsome and gentlemanly. Although they seemed a physical mismatch, emotionally they were genuinely cohesive. Not that they always agreed, because they quite often did not. That never seemed to matter to either of them; they respected one another even when their opinions diverged.

During their visits, Priscilla tutored Bill, and he eventually became an accomplished "Navajo" weaver. Penny began to sketch designs for Bill to execute. They were a good team, except when Penny sketched angular designs which she argued Bill could execute and he insisted he could not.

As I watched them age, I knew they would eventually be lost to me, and I also knew I would miss them greatly when they were gone. As Jana and I sat in the darkness of the movie theater, I said, "What about Grange?" She seemed confused, so I explained that I had been thinking about the Lewis Grange and Bill and Penny. If our child is a boy, I continued, I wanted to name him Grange. To my surprise she agreed. Although we had to wait another three years, because Kira arrived first, when our son was born he was named for Bill and Penny.

When Penny's health began to decline, their trips from Boise, Idaho to southern Utah slowed. I am reminded of them each day, however, as our son skitters in and out of the trading post. When I look into his freckled face, I see the reflection of those dear friends. The last time I telephoned Penny, she seemed excited to speak with me. As she handed the phone to Bill, however, I heard her ask, "Who was that?" At that moment, I knew Penny had begun to cross the Rubicon, and my heart broke.

Bill & Penny with Jana & Grange @ Twin Rocks Trading Post

After our telephone conversation, I frequently envisioned Penny's journey through the winter of her life as I ran through the cold, inky black mornings. I could often see only a few feet ahead and had to be careful where I placed my next step, just as Penny also had to be cautious. As I have learned, and as Penny must have known, certain things are more profound and more easily understood in the darkness. With spring on its way, there is better light during my runs. Penny recently made her journey north to the Spiritland, and I am sure she has also found additional light. I have lost my favorite Penny, but her memory continues to reside in a special corner of my heart.

Steve, Barry and the Team.

Copyright 2005 Twin Rocks Trading Post

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Great Shoe Sale

Recently I found myself scrounging around the attic of Blue Mountain Trading Post, looking for a lost relic I planned to sell on ebay. Up in those rafters, the dust was as thick as the memories evoked by long forgotten items emerging after thirty years of neglect. I uncovered an aged mechanical sextant, supposedly salvaged from the USS Franklin. A distant cousin, long lost friend or pirate had sold my father this and a few other items, which had been clandestinely obtained during the dismantling of the decommissioned aircraft carrier.

There was also a six pack of mini Christmas Coke bottles in the dust covered piles. More time would be needed to increase their collectible allure. Hand forged tongs brought home from a Colorado farm auction reemerged. Some crusty, coverall draped rancher looking to cash in on the 1970's land rush and settle on a beach in Florida had sold them to us.

At the time of the initial transaction, the farmer suggested his great granddaddy had made the forceps using steel taken from a covered wagon he had driven across the Great Plains. We later met the blacksmith who forged them in his barn. The barn was located only a few miles from where the beach combing bull shipper had lived, and had no relation to a prairie schooner. I remember wishing the old geezer would get a first degree sunburn on his lily-white backside for shading the truth.

There was also a rusty, hand made, tin can sheep bell that Espie Jones, a Navajo friend and medicine man, had traded for 25 cent a gallon fuel at our Plateau filling station, which was located on the south side of Blanding. I thought how I had laughed when Espie made the proposition; gas in exchange for the bell. My father gave me a blistering look, took the bell and pumped ten gallons into Mr. Jones' beat-up Chevy truck. I distinctly remember the lesson Dad taught me that day, "Good relationships are worth more than a broken bell or a tank of gas, son."

I came across a slightly crooked, metal-tipped arrow, which had been made by John Dutchie. I recalled how John was believed to be the last Ute Indian to build such arrows from scratch. From straightening a twisted willow shaft with a bone lever, to attaching fletching (feathers) and a metal arrowhead with genuine deer sinew and hide glue, he did it all.

John often told me how, as a boy, he crafted the arrows for hunting rabbits and white kids. John has disappeared into the mists of time, but his memory was powerful as I looked at the relic. Sitting in that cramped attic with his handiwork, I fondly remembered John's wry smile and dry sense of humor.

Pushing past a stack of outdated school books and Craig's old wrestling trophies, my eyes fell on a pair of white and black saddle shoes. A whirlwind of emotions hit me like a fast moving Reservation dust devil, making me a little dizzy.

The shoes reminded me how, as kids, we were reluctant to let Dad go out of town, because we feared he would return with something humiliating or embarrassing. Our parents took seriously the responsibility of providing for their young charges, and, much to our chagrin, were uniquely creative in the way they managed their business affairs to ensure we had what was needed. To this day, people tell me how entertaining it was to visit the gas station and second hand store we manned as children.

The saddle shoes were all that was left of a screaming deal our parents made while looking for size eleven EEE sneakers for Dad. When Dad could not find shoes to fit, he commented to the store owner that it was surprising the purveyor of footwear did not have shoes at more reasonable prices. The man quickly replied that he had a large selection of name brand shoes in his basement that he would sell for 50 cents a pair. SOLD!!! The old boy cleared out his basement, and set us up for the Southeastern Utah shoe sale of the century.

Susan, Craig, Steve, Cindy and I groaned in despair when we learned of the pickup truck full of shoes. Mom and Dad did not miss a beat, however. They called for all available tarps to be spread out next to our gas station, and instructed us to unload. Now, 1,000 pair of leather shoes covers a lot of ground, so once they were spread out, the footwear garnered a great deal of attention. Dad set the opening price at $2.00 a pair, and word spread like wildfire that there were bargains available on the south end of town.

People came from all corners of San Juan County to stock up. Folks were buying like crazy, and it was a footwear frenzy to say the least. Dad pulled up a chair at the edge of the sea of shoes and began collecting money. Mom and her brood acted as sales people. Deals were being made right and left; the more shoes you bought, the cheaper they became. Parents outfitted their entire family for under $10.00. It got so crazy, I started grabbing shoes for myself, so I would not miss out on the bargains. I must have bought three pairs before realizing I could get them free.

By the end of the second day, shoes were selling for whatever people had in their pockets. Mom and Dad even gave shoes to people who could not afford them. We must have sold or given away 900 pairs of shoes that weekend. In two days, our folks paid for school clothes and fees for their five ornery kids. Our education was ensured for another year, and the problem of shoeing us was solved for the foreseeable future.

During the sale, I met more neighbors and made more new friends than I had during the prior 12 years of my existence. Many of those relationships have, amazingly enough, lasted through decades of misdeeds and miscommunications on my part. The embarrassment of being raised by such controversial and creative parents dissipated with those darn shoes.

As I sat in that dark and dusty attic, surrounded by memories, and reminiscing about the past, I realized there was history all around me. Not necessarily the deep history held by true "old timers," but a personal and meaningful history just the same. There in that dust, I found a connection to my community and rekindled an appreciation for my family. I now find the fact that my parents, and many of my family members, are outlandish and unconventional is a great deal of fun. I enjoy shaking up my own kids with threats of embarrassing activities, and hope one day they will learn to appreciate my twisted sense of humor.

I find my personal associations with unique individuals mean a great deal to me these days. Relationships are certainly an extremely important part of my history. Without those friends, mine would be an empty and hollow past, and an undeveloped existence at best. Life may not be worth living if there are no memorable people involved. I look forward to the next 50 years, and a few more shoe sales.

Barry, Steve and the Team.

Copyright 2005 Twin Rocks Trading Post

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Collective Guilt

There are numerous extremely difficult issues which arise from operating a business in this isolated region of Utah. Many of those issues relate to finding the things required to maintain a viable operation. There are never enough people to do what needs to be done, and never enough resources to fairly compensate the people you do find.

Steve & Lorraine arm wrestling @ Twin Rocks Trading Post

Aside from the economic difficulties, at the trading post there are some really tricky cultural sensativities that must be addressed. The cultural landscape is a difficult region to navigate, and Barry and I are forever getting lost in that maze. One issue that has bedeviled me from the beginning is the collective guilt over treatment of Native Americans during the colonization of this country.

Although I am sure I encountered it during my youth, the first time anyone mentioned collective guilt to me after I had acquired the skills necessary to form a real opinion on the subject was shortly after the trading post opened. As we were having a genial conversation about Southwestern art, one of my customers said, "Well, isn't it a shame what we did to them?" Since I did not remember ever meeting the woman before that day, I was confused by the question and began to sweat profusely, worrying what she might know.

Maybe she read the look of panic and confusion on my face, or maybe she simply felt I needed supplemental education. In any case, she described countless tragedies that included torture, relocation of entire tribes and genocide. Then she once again said, "Isn't it a shame what we did to them?" As I listened, the panic subsided, the sweat receeded and I began contemplating an appropriate response. My mind traveled back through 30 years of existence, and I could not remember being involved in a single act of torture, mass relocation or genocide.

There was the time I had asked a young Navajo man to relocate himself from the trading post property because he was preparing to urinate on the water well located just south of the store. After threatening to accessorize me with a few bullet holes, he apparently decided a quieter location was necessary to take care of his business, and I was spared the inconvenience of a visit to the doctor. As I considered that situation in light of the woman's question, I concluded it was not what she had in mind.

Racism has never been a characteristic I care to cultivate. To me, character, not color, is the important factor. So, I responded, "You know, I don't remember ever intentionally harming a Native American, and I don't think anyone in my immediate family has either. I don't feel comfortable taking responsibility for something I didn't control and was not directly involved in." As you might guess, that answer did not set well with the woman. In fact, it has not set well with any of the individuals who have asked the question of me over the years, but it is how I feel.

I have read enough history to know there were atrocities committed by all sides after Colombus arrived on this continent. That does not, however, mean we are all personally implicated. During my trading post career, I have had many occasions to consider whether I should apologize for things that happened long before I arrived on this earth, and have conclude I do not wish to do so; primarily because it does not seem to make any real difference. Instead, if I can learn from the past and use that knowledge to improve the future, I may effect real change.

Thursday, March 3, 2005

The Day He Quit!

We had them! Craig, Steve and I sat on the dilapidated, metal-wheeled tractor, which was parked by the back fence near our home in Bluff, contemplating our next move. The intense heat of countless summers had burned most of the paint from the antique farm implement. As I recall, all that was left was a few patches of faded blue and washed-out silver. Everything that could be removed from this agricultural dinosaur without an extensive array of tools was long gone. Radiator cap, spark plug wires, fan belt, ignition switch and gas cap; all missing. The parts had disappeared into the constantly shifting sands of our high desert homeland.

Duke & Rose Simpson back in the day

There was plenty of rust on the old beast as well. Our faded Levi's, white T-shirts and sneakers bore traces of ancient color, grease and red dirt. Mom provided us carefully laundered clothing every morning and was a stickler for cleanliness. She half-heartedly threatened us with our lives if we returned from our wanderings soiled and stained. It was nearly impossible to follow her orders however; there were catfish and frogs too easily captured in the dissipating mud bogs of summer, and sandstone, sandpaper cliffs to climb up and slide down. Skeletons of dead vehicles, equipment and outbuildings were available to crawl through and conquer.

So, there we sat, three young brothers on the antiquated implement; two light complected tow-heads resembling our father, and one olive-skinned and black-haired like our Portuguese mother. Our freshly shaven heads bobbed in unison as we contemplated our newly acquired prize; one of us had bravely made off with a fresh pack of cigarettes and a book of matches from our father's tobacco supply. We were ecstatic, willing and more than ready to shake the bonds of youth and enter the world of suave, debonair and cigarette smoking adults.

We loved and respected our father; he was way cool, strong, handsome and full of life. Dad was a smoker, and his awe struck sons thought he cut quite a figure with a pack of "smokes" rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve. He was bad! Mom gave him grief for smoking, but he paid little attention to her when it came to that issue. He would sit on the back porch, squinting through clouds of smoke; smiling, laughing and joking with us as we tried to impress him with our roughneck antics. We thought he was great, and we did our best to emulate him.

We were also influenced by the Navajo men who hung around Bob Howell's grocery store. Their wives sat just up the ditch, in the shade of tall, slender willows; visiting merrily as their children played in the cool sand of the wash that ran in front of Bob's market. Craig, Steve and I would sit in wide-eyed wonder as they chatted in their mix of Navajo and English. I am certain that is where I learned to creatively cuss in Navajo.

The Navajo men were adorned with tall, rounded black felt hats; silver concho belts dulled to a satin finish through constant wear; and stiff blue jeans stuffed inside sharply pointed cowboy boots stitched in swirls of motion. Their flannel shirts, which were worn even in the heat of summer, were overlaid with strands of turquoise and coral, and flat, rounded tabs of turquoise attached with cotton twine inevitably hung from each ear. The odor of hand-rolled cigarettes, mixed with the smell of cedar smoke and rich red earth completed the scene. These memories rest easily with me.

With all that in mind, we lit up! Sitting there puffing away on those unfiltered tobacco sticks gave us a sense of confidence we had never known. We were real men now, like Dad and the Navajo "bucks" at Bob's place. That is until we noticed the imposing figure of our mother heading down the path in our direction. She was coming on like a runaway freight train, with our two laced, curled and bobbed sisters trailing closely behind. There we sat, over exposed and emitting smoke signals in the summer breeze. As if on cue, we all exhaled and jammed our still lit stogies down the gas tank opening of the obsolete tractor.

Looking back, I am grateful the petrol used to power the tractor had long since evaporated. The balance of our clandestinely acquired treasure quickly followed those smoking embers into the opening as we witnessed Mom's advance on our position. Looking down into the tank, I realized the clues to our downfall were easily visible to seeking eyes. I quickly and purposely jammed my arm into the tank to flick the proof to an unseen corner of the tank. Once I had accomplished the misdeed, I attempted to withdraw my appendage and realized my forearm was wedged tightly into the metal orifice.

Craig and Steve bailed off the tractor and headed for the tall weeds so quickly it made me proud to call them siblings. Short of gnawing off my arm and following their example, I was left alone to face the wrath of Mom's Portuguese temper. It would not have made a difference anyway, Mom shouted "STOP!" and put a halt to their plan of escape. As I struggled to free myself, Craig and Steve made their way back toward the tractor, heads down and kicking horse turds. Everyone arrived back at the scene of the crime at the same moment.

There they stood, as I struggled for freedom; my two guilt-laden brothers; two sassy, presumptuous sisters; and our kind, loving, but angry mother. Mom had a look of disdain on her youthful face, and a twinkle of mirth in her brown eyes; the mirth no doubt related to my predicament. After quickly sizing up the situation, she sent the girls back to the house for a can of lard. As soon as our sisters were out of ear-shot the flood gates of frustration opened on our shameful experimentation. Mom lashed out at our ignorance, and caused us a great deal of grief when she informed us of her extreme disappointment.

When the girls returned with the lard, and smirks on their faces, they seemed disappointed to see Mom was finished chastising us. Our mother slathered my arm and gave a gentle tug, freeing me as slick as a whistle. Gathering her posse, she headed back to the shade of the house. As she turned to leave, Mom advised us that Dad would be home shortly and the discussion would continue upon his arrival. The girls seemed energized by the prospect of witnessing our hostile encounter with the man they had so carefully wrapped around their little fingers.

We were hiding behind the tool shed when Dad arrived and entered the house. There we sat, nursing our self-imposed, psychological and emotional wounds; awaiting our father's imminent return. We ran to the window just in time to see our parents disappear behind their bedroom door; we were really in for it this time. Experience told us that thoughtful discussion between those two meant serious trouble, so we wandered back to the shed and sat down, falling into a deep, dark funk.

After what seemed like an eternity, Dad came out the back door and sat down on a step between the house and the shed. From our vantage point, we could see he was greatly disturbed. He slumped on the step and ran his hand through his strawberry-blond hair, as if he were deep in thought. Leaning back against the building and sighing, we clearly heard our father say, "Come here boys, I want to talk with you." We knew better than to hesitate when he spoke, so we slowly but surely made our way to the house to receive his decree.

Much to our surprise, Dad did not yell or reach for his infamous belt. He simply waived his hand, directing us to sit down across from him. As we sat down, he reached for a pack of smokes. Shaking out four cigarettes, he took one for himself and distributed one to each of us. He lit his and nodded for us to do the same. We were totally confused by his logic, and began to mist up in anticipation of the unknown. In the past we had discovered the punishment ended sooner if tears, sobbing and heart wrenching apologies sprang forth with wild, zealous abandon. Knowing full well what we had in mind, Dad just held up his hand and said, "Don't. "

The Simpson Clan

We were trembling wildly, and struggling to hold back the tears. Dad squinted at us through his exhaled smoke and said, "Inhale." Up to that point, we had been puffing our samples and not receiving the full effect of the tobacco. It must have been Craig who took the first deep breath, then Steve and I followed suit. Dad had us inhale a number of times before sitting back and closely observing us. For a second or two we thought it was cool to sit and smoke with our father. That was before the noxious fumes and nicotine wrapped around our uninitiated lungs.

About that time a Navajo family drove up to the house with a rug to sell. They eyed our now green countenance, and must have wondered at just what the heck these silly pink people were about. Dad completed the transaction and returned to check our health. At that point we were totally nauseated, crying out loud and racked by dry heaves. It was ugly, but it looked as if we would live. Dad ground out his cigarette, and, as we watched, tossed his remaining smokes into a nearby trash can. He quit cold turkey that day; so did we.

With Warm Regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.

Copyright 2005 Twin Rocks Trading Post