Sunday, May 20, 2007

Superstition Ride - - - Day 2 (Night talk)

I go to take care of the horse Silas rode, he's got it saddled with a beautiful, big comfy western rig. He's using a braided horsehair bosal. There are a couple water bags hanging off of the horn, and a set of saddlebags and a bedroll tie off. I know this horse. It's one that I gave to my cousin about ten years ago which makes her about fourteen. I bred her myself, trained her myself. Her name is Ban-Fai which in Thai means "Fire Horse." Because she born on Thai New Year in the year of the fire horse while I was dating a waitress at a very cool Thai joint in Palm Springs. I think to myself that it's probably my cousin's saddle too. It does answer the question about how Silas knew I was up here right now. My cousin is a blabbermouth.

I bring his gear back to the firepit where Silas is slowly savoring a jar of canned peaches, eating the slices and drinking the juice. He has my coffee cup right beside him freshly filled. He says "I bet you got a can of Eagle Brand in that whole house you pack with you when you ride. I love Eagle Brand in camp coffee."

I say "That's Blue Mountain coffee. You want to dump Eagle Brand into it you might as well use some instant." He just gives me a look that says we can play pissant respect and manners games, or we can get along, kid. I rummage around and pull out a can of Eagle Brand that I don't even remember packing. Maybe it's there from my last trip, that shit lasts forever. Archeologists will find that stuff right next to the Twinkies and Big Macs. I open the can and pass it to him. He dumps a slug of that sludge into the coffee and drinks deeply. "That Blue Mountain is pretty good stuff." I say "I'm glad you like it." He gives me an approving glance and says "Your cousin says you have been pretty fucked up for a while now I thought I'd come see for myself." I start to tell him about what's been going on with me and he stops me. He says "We have plenty of time for that. Let's just have some coffee and relax ourselves." I said "That's my cousin's horse you rode up here, nice saddle too." Silas says "It's your cousin's truck I drove to the trailhead on. He couldn't take time off to come with me so I traded him trucks. He said it would be fun to drive my old pickup down to the Tribal Government Building. A truck like mine makes him feel like a real Indin." (Silas has a very old early 50's chevy truck, there's maybe a square inch total of the original black paint job left on it, the rest is rust) We laugh at the idea of my cousin, the brilliant attorney, driving a real "Indin Car" in to see the Lord High Muck-de-mucks of the Tribal Government and council. Silas says "I just took the saddle from his barn when I got the horse. I figured he wouldn't be mean enough to loan me a horse, trade me a truck and trailer and leave me to ride bareback." I ask "Did you get him to pack the saddlebags too?" Silas says "No, I had Maggie's granddaughter do that for me. I told them I didn't need much because I know you like to have all kinds of stuff with you. Let's have a smoke."

Silas gets his pipe in its leather bag from his saddlebags. He pulls out his pouch and begins to fill the pipe. There are some folks who go through a whole rigamarole ceremony when they are filling a pipe. Silas is saying very quiet little words to himself. He sees me watching him and says "There's nothing in this pipe that would cause you any trouble with your sobriety. I know how much that means to you. It means a lot to me too. I missed you while you were gone. This is just some wild tobacco and some mint leaves." I say thank you for that but add that I have been feeling bad enough lately that I would do what ever he thinks I need to so that I can start feeling better. He says "Coming up here tells me that." and lights the pipe with a twig from the fire. He takes a puff and washes the smoke over his head with the palm of his right hand when he exhales. "The mint leaves make it taste real good, have some grandson." (this is a term of endearment, when we call people older than us grandfather and they call us grandchildren it conveys affection, respect and deep connection, it isn't used lightly, even with blood grandchildren) When we pass a pipe from one to the other we always make sure to use two hands and look squarely into each others eyes. When I have both hands on the pipe and our eyes meet he winks at me and says "You'll be alright, you were always a tough kid. You just need me to remind you about that from time to time." I take a smoke and say "You're right, these mint leaves really help tame down that wild tobacco." We sit and smoke for a while. The stars up here away from the city lights are amazing. I hear bullfrogs starting to hum in the pond. I say "Sounds like they are saying breakfast, make me for breakfast." Silas says "I was thinking that we would do Tachih Nádáh tomorrow. There's an old brick kiln not far from here that works just fine for a good sweat." I tell him that it sounds like a wonderful idea. It also takes care of the whole breakfast issue. Although if there's a lot of work involved with getting the place ready, I might nibble here and there to keep up my strength.

As we sit and smoke there are long periods of silence. That's an Apache thing. We have never been known much as talkers. The language is one where single words can take paragraphs of English to do an adequate translation. Silas alternates our subjects between the smallest of small talk and nudging around the big subjects. Like a dentist with a hook, looking for where the exposed nerves are. I ask him how my cousin is doing. Other than blabbing about how fucked up he thinks I've been and telling the world where I was headed.

Silas says "Your cousin is the best friend you have. He loves you and your children more than he loves himself. He's dancing this year. He wants you to be there." (the dance Silas is refering to is a ceremony that is not open to discussion outside the community I am sorry for this but rules is rules)

I say that I will certainly be there with my cousin. I ask how much preparation he thinks it will take to get ready to sweat tommorrow.

Silas says "The place is fine, we're the ones who need work."

I offer to make more coffee. With Eagle Brand.




Blogger Sherry said...

just wonderful and i loved the link to the earlier post.thanks.

me, i use carnation evaporated in my coffee. i've toned down my coffee a bit as i've gotten older(except for the occasional latte)
my tummy complains too mauch but i was raised on trucker coffee and it will open your eyes wide! ; )

4:39 PM  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You're a born raconteur. Glad I found you.

Condensed milk in Blue Mountain would be a bit hard to take, but they do it in Jamaica. Everyone holds something dear in a different way, I s'pose, and what is dear to us is common to another.

8:08 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

not just condensed milk, sweetened condensed milk. of course, if you take milk and sugar in your coffee a combination of the two when camping, along with the durability of the canned product does make good sense. it's a better idea than packing milk and sugar. i was being a brat and was properly called on it.

8:26 PM  
Blogger BlondeSense Liz said...

I don't drink coffee but I am thoroughly enjoying your experience with Silas.

9:47 AM  
Blogger Rez Dog said...

Very nice. I'm thinking you're at Reevis Ranch, a place I remember well. If not, it doesn't matter. Either way I can picture you two sitting there.

4:24 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

that's the place, for non-Arizona adepts, Reevis Ranch was a long standing ranch, orchard, farm, that fell into disrepair when the railroads came bypassed them. the superstition mountain range is famous mostly for "the lost dutchman mine" which was really "the peralta mine" which may or may not have ever existed. for you film buffs, that big ass rock face that is in a lot of john wayne movies, i'm right behind it during this.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous amish451 said...

MB, you are a fortunate soul..solitude and friends and family a step outside your door.....and a grandfather who comes looking to help....

7:57 AM  
Blogger creature said...

I look for forward to day three.

1:44 PM  
Blogger litbrit said...

I'm completely entranced. I feel like I'm watching and listening to a Jim Harrison story unfold, only it's even better because the protagonist is my friend. Beautiful.


7:22 AM  

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