Thursday, July 3, 2014

Red River Ruse

It was smokin' hot outside; 104 degrees in the shade, and there were not many people moving around. Steve, Priscilla and I were holed-up, waiting for the sun to set before we ventured forth. We were parked under the refrigerated air conditioners, sipping cold drinks and chillin' to flute music. Steve was sitting at the computer writing some craziness about treating customers badly and wearing his bedclothes to work. Priscilla was working at the back counter, marking jewelry and filling-out information cards. I was in my office searching for information about Super-X turquoise. Some old-timer had been in Twin Rocks Trading Post earlier and pooh-poohed a prize box of Kingman turquoise cabs I was showing off. He said, "Super-X, is the best turquoise that ever came from Nevada, or anywhere for that matter!"

The guy had kinda ticked me off, not because he had a strong opinion, but because I have never seen a piece of Super-X up close. The stuff is rare and, with its deep blue color and gold matrix, is rumored to be spectacular. In my experience turquoise from any mine has a wide range of quality and appeal, so I judge it one piece at a time. Since Super-X was mined-out years ago it is hard to get a handle on any aspect of it. Thus the reason I was online Googling anything to do with this rare bird. About that time the door chimes went off; someone was entering the store. Since Steve and Priscilla were busy, and I was becoming more frustrated by the minute with my less than productive search, I jumped-up to help. The couple that walked into the trading post was classics, as interesting as any turquoise cabochon I had seen in awhile.
Navajo Twin Rocks Modern "Stairway to Heaven" Rug - Eleanor Yazzie (#120)
The man must have been in his late sixties, maybe early seventies. He was long and lean in a solid way, as if he had lived a life of more than casual labor. He wore a pair of long shorts, the ones that hang past your knee. They were of a faded green color. What showed of his pasty legs was thatched in white hair. On his oversized feet he wore moccasin-like shoes. Covering his torso was a discolored blue sleeveless t-shirt, and over that a washed-out dark brown clothe vest. His arms were bare of fabric, but covered from shoulder to wrist in ink. His face was tan free and his eyes wild blue. He sported one of those chest length scraggly white beards and a matching mustache; similar to something you might see on an episode of Duck Dynasty. His hair was thin and white as well, and it fell almost to his shoulder. Resting peaceably atop his head was a battered felt fedora with a grouping of molted feathers that jutted out on the right side of a sweat-stained hatband.

The woman was a good ten years younger than her man. She too had an off-white complexion and was matronly in shape, standing somewhere around 5' 9" in height. Her full head of hair was mostly brown, but laced with grey. It was pulled back in a loose ponytail that fell to her shoulder blades. She had kind brown eyes and walked about with a trace of a smile on her lips that looked like it existed there permanently. She wore a long Levi's smock with an overall front of pockets, brass fittings and shoulder straps. Under her smock she wore a black tube top that barely covered her ample chest. Her midriff was exposed, as were her shoulders, back and arms. On her right arm she too wore a full sleeve of tattoos. Her left arm was unadorned. Her sock-less feet wore a once brown pair of ancient leather Mary Jane's.

The woman had an expression of contentment on her face and looked, well, she looked a little uncomfortable. The guy had his hands under his shirt, rubbing his tummy and groaning loudly. "Are you guys all right?” I asked. "More than all right," said the man, "We just ate next door at that cafe and are we stuffed." "Too much is better than too little," I said. "Yah man!” replied the woman. The couple told me they were camping at Sand Island and having a big time of it. They were an outgoing pair with plenty of jokes and puns in their repertoire, and I was enjoying their visit. Just before they left, the man told us he needed a nap in the shade and a soak in the river. "Oh, I don't know," I said, "That river is about 40% solids. The iron in the mud will wash over you, impregnating every pore of your body. It will stain your hide from tip to tail and leave you with a red-tinged tan that will last for weeks. With your skin tone it may stay on for good."

Out of the corner of my eye, I spied Priscilla snickering and was inspired to say, "Just look at Priscilla there, 13 years ago she strolled in from Nova Scotia and took a dip in that same river. She was once as pale as you. Eventually her original hair color grew back, but her light complexion never returned. She can't go home until she fades back to her "true color. Her family would never recognize her or accept this new persona. She is stuck here with us." Priscilla snorted, turned and stomped off. "See," I said, "she's still angry about it." "She's mad about something," said the man, "but I am not sure it's the river!"

The man thought about my comments for a moment while watching Priscilla's exasperated exit. He took off his old fedora, scratched an unexpectedly bald and highly polished crown and said, "Well sir, I am all about new experiences. First of all, I have never been impregnated by anything; secondly, I can stand a little color; and thirdly, as long as Dora recognizes me, that's all that matters." Dora smiled brightly and bobbed her head in affirmation. "Were going in," she quipped. "Alrighty then," I said, "but let all that food settle first." The pair said their goodbyes and promised to check in if complications arose. We may not have seen some of the more rare and unusual turquoise specimens, but we are blessed to have met a few of the more singular individuals. When the couple departed Steve went back to writing his miscreant missive and I went in search of Priscilla, hoping she would accept my sincere apology.

With warm regards from Barry and the team;
Steve, Priscilla and Danny.

No comments: