Scrapbook One Hundred…

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OCTOBER 2014

Glory is where you find it

I’m so proud of this football. It’s a genuine Rawlings Pro 5 lace-up.

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For two years I was the star 98 pound quarterback for the Central Junior High School Kittens. With this very football I finally made a touchdown. It was a one-yard dash through the middle of the line.

Illustration by the author

Illustration by the author

We were playing the Troy Warriors and my good friend, Edard, who was the center for our team, moved the opposing guard to the right just enough for me to plunge through. It was a daring feat of mental and physical dexterity. I’m sure the crowd was roaring and the Temple Daily Telegram probably would have reported it in headlines if someone had told them about the achievement. I don’t remember who won the game but I got to keep the ball and that’s glory enough for me.

While trying to avoid those who distract me from my self-esteem I am quick to remember those incidents in my past that define me.

Scrapbook Ninety Nine Point Five…

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OCTOBER 2014

I have rules:

No one comes in my bathroom and that’s final. Except to get dirty clothes from my hamper when I’m not there. But they’d better not mess with any of my other stuff.

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I don’t like clutter so everything on my counter is necessary. Kleenex, tooth brushes, clock, and sink are on the left. Lotion in the middle. A wooden box for pennies, and my TV on the right. Everything else is hidden in drawers or cabinets. That’s me in the three mirrors. I cannot imagine why there are three mirrors.

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My wife designed my shower except I didn’t want it enclosed with glass. She said I’d have to squeegee it after each shower and I knew that wasn’t going to happen. I’m careful not to splash.

And she put the huge skylight above my sprinkler. It’s just right there, and let’s light from the entire world in on me while I’m standing naked. Next time I’ll design my own shower. That’s shampoo and conditioner on the banco, and my towel drying on the warmer. I don’t know why the wall is pink in this photo. Please don’t tell anyone the walls in my bathroom are pink. They’re white.

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This door goes to my closet where my jeans and shirts are stored. The flowers never bloom but who cares?

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This door leads to our bedroom. When it’s locked I can exhale and loosen my belt two notches. It’s where the ever vigilant Tesuque and I can hide from the grandkids and the rest of the world.

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Our 17th century Spanish traveling desk stands against the south wall. It has children’s faces carved up and down both sides.

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The sculptures on top are an antique Kongo nail fetish and an old pottery children’s game bowl from Mexico. And in-between is my faithful bamboo back scratcher that has served me so well for about sixty-years. If you look close you can see it. In the mirror that’s me again, also early Spanish. The mirror I mean, not me.

How fortunate we are to have the luxury of warm water and electricity, an extravagance that 80% of the world population doesn’t have. That fact is not lost on me.

 

Scrapbook Ninety Nine…

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OCTOBER 2014

family in crisis

My granddaughter Noah has this mix of a poor dog. She named him Tucker of all things. Well, Tucker’s hair kept growing over the winter, and spring, and summer, and fall. The unfortunate thing was awkward by necessity because he couldn’t see out. He kept running into trees, and rabbits in the yard were absolutely safe.

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Finally, one day while Noah was in school, someone sneaked Tucker to the hairdresser. Here’s the result.

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Later, Noah asked about that strange looking dog that was prancing around the yard with such artistry? No one dared speak under penalty of death. The problem was that Noah is a pretty bright girl and soon figured it out. So she started crying, and laughing, and then crying again. Sometimes she didn’t know for sure which one she was doing.

But all ended well. Tucker had rediscovered himself, the trees were relaxed, and the rabbits hid out under the wood pile till after dark. The other dogs in the family: Chappy, Tesuque, Boss and Apache, all though Tucker was charming, so Noah was pleased at last.

Don’t you just love a story like that?

Scrapbook Ninety Eight…

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OCTOBER 2014

Closet stories

I’ve decided to simplify my life. Things are just too wild out on the streets so I don’t go there anymore. I’ve also stopped watching the news. And I had to give up reading Dal’s blog because it cut into my nap time. And the Lawrence Welk show is on my agenda again.

With my little dog Tesuque on constant alert for terrorists I have time to sit in my recliner and write poetry. He’s the only thing I have now that eats, except my wife, and she doesn’t eat much.

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It didn’t take much for me to move a few things from my closet to the basement, like my suit, my tie, and my pair of good shoes. I don’t plan to attend any more weddings or funerals, and that space is needed for jeans, shirts, fur slippers, and Nikes.

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My closet is attached to my bathroom so when I lock the outer door I’m a king 

I wear my shirts from left to right and change every five days in the winter - four days in the summer

I wear my shirts from left to right and change every five days in the winter – four days in the summer

Most of my hats are gone now too, because I’m into my “retired rancher” persona these days. That’s why I always keep my brown Stetson in the Jeep. It cost me 10 bucks extra to have horse manure put on the crown but it’s worth it. How else would anyone know I’m originally from Texas?

Now days I supervise a lot. That probably was my calling all along.

I enjoy excavating at San Lazaro Pueblo

I enjoy excavating at San Lazaro Pueblo

And I’ve turned into a bird watcher. My favorite is the Whippoorwill because it reminds me of the song “My Blue Heaven,” which I like to hum.

Friends don’t come around much anymore but once in a while someone will wander in. They always want to talk about the treasure and when they ask where it’s hidden I say “Why do you want to know?” That really stumps them and I’ve trained my grandkids to come running in about that time. Ha, I may be getting old but my shadow still ain’t cast by no fool.

 

Scrapbook Ninety Seven…

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OCTOBER 2014

 

There are three animals in the forest that don’t play fair and all others try to avoid: the skunk, the rattlesnake, and the porcupine. I made this gallon bronze jar with a screw-on lid after witnessing an unfortunate event near Hebgen Lake. I plan to fill it with things that will be fun to see in the year 5,450 when someone might unearth it. I want to bury it this year. Can anyone suggest what I should put in it, besides my autobiography?

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I want to bury it this year.
Can anyone suggest what I should put in it, besides my autobiography?

you can click on an image to view it larger

Scrapbook Ninety Six…

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OCTOBER 2014

 

War Trophy or…?

I made my first flight during the Vietnam War on January 18, 1968. The action was heating up and when the Tet Offensive started twelve days later I had already flown fifteen combat missions in the F-100.

My palatial hootch at Tuy Hoa where I lived for a year, a pilot on each end.

My palatial hootch at Tuy Hoa where I lived for a year, a pilot on each end.

Tet was the big push by the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Regulars to take over South Vietnam and push America and her allies into the beautiful South China Sea. The last attack in that offensive was on February 10th. During the intervening eleven days 14,000 Vietnamese civilians were killed and 24,000 were wounded. I have maintained my sanity over the ensuing years by telling myself that none of them were in my target areas.

Sometimes the war interfered with farming.

Sometimes the war interfered with farming.

At 0300 on the morning of 31 January, Tuy Hoa, where I was stationed, was hit hard. I was jolted awake by the sound of explosions and machine gun fire. I didn’t know what to do. We weren’t allowed to have fighting weapons in our living areas, so I climbed on top of my hootch where I could hide and watch the action.

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A Viet Cong who thought about coming through the concertina wire.

Enemy sappers breeched the base perimeter and threw satchel charges under our airplanes. Wings and tails were blown high into the black sky. The light from huge fires allowed our security forces to see enemy troops running around. Most intruders were killed but many disappeared back into the night.

One of our cargo planes in need of maintenance.

One of our cargo planes in need of maintenance.

About 0900 the fighting was over and we started taking inventory. The warm-eyed Vietnamese woman who did my laundry; a pleasant person whom I liked and gave soap to, was killed coming through the concertina wire. She was a Viet Cong soldier. Identifying her body was almost beyond the reach of my imagination.

It was a frightening scene at our Command Post, with AK-47s, hand grenades and rocket launchers littering the sand all around. I retrieved a small flag from the body of a Viet Cong soldier who didn’t make it through the razor wire. Our intelligence officer said the flag was one that had been hand-stitched in silk by a local Vietnamese family who was selling them as souvenirs to the GIs. The flags weren’t official, or issued, and had nothing to do with the war. All of that changed when the Viet Cong raided the small shop, killed the family, and took their inventory of flags.

War trophy or...?

War trophy or…?

So now, forty-six years after leaving the Vietnam War, I have successfully unremembered many details of my involvement. But I still wonder if my small 32-inch flag is a legitimate trophy from that conflict, or just the peaceful symbol of an unfortunate family that was caught in the middle, trying to make a living. What do you think?

 

Scrapbook Ninety Five…

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SEPTEMBER 2014

Forrest,

I was on Renelle’s treasure quest with her…..more the brawn than the brains.  She may have told you about me.  I worked with her in the Tetons.  I was her legs on a number of adventures as she would send me off into the hills with a set of GPS coordinates and an X on a map.  More than once, as I was thrashing through the brush, climbing over rocks, or staggering down a steep hillside, I wondered, ‘could that guy really have gotten the treasure here’?  We had some fun adventures, and I always hoped that I would find that box hidden away at the point she had sent me to.  She was so captivated by her search for the treasure, and except for her many sleepless nights of research, I think it was the most wonderful distraction for her.

We had a wonderful gathering of folks here in the Tetons to commemorate Renelle’s life.  She will be sorely missed.  The most repeated theme that day was how much Renelle embraced life.  What a wonderful inspiration!

Thank you for embracing Renelle too.  She had such wonderful times meeting you and sharing experiences with other treasure hunters.  I, like others, find some solace in the thought that perhaps Renelle’s spirit was finally able to find the treasure. ……..and if it did, maybe you felt a little poke in the ribs and heard Renelle say “HA!”.

PS- One fun story- On one trip to Gardiner, Renelle sent me way up towards the top of Sphinx Mountain.  It was a long sweaty climb with a great view from the top.  When I arrived back at the parking lot, we met a camper there named Bob.  We visited just a bit and then drove five hours back to the Tetons, arriving late in the evening.  I collapsed that night exhausted and woke to a phone call from Renelle at 4am.  She hadn’t slept a wink, and told me that she had to go right back up and talk to Bob.  I said there was no way she was going to drive five hours on no sleep, so I picked her up and away we went.  We had an interesting, if not surreal, visit with Bob in his tent at the trailhead later that morning.  I don’t think that visit got us any closer to the treasure, but we made a friend in Bob, and those hours on the road through Yellowstone with Renelle will be fond memories that I will cherish forever.

Thank You.
Scott Guenther

———————-

Thanks for the note Scott. Renelle and I talked often and she spoke fondly about giving you her heart by proxy. It was such a beautiful heart. f

Scrapbook Ninety Four…

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SEPTEMBER 2014

This ode to the chase was forwarded to me from a searcher who wants to remain anon because he thinks he knows where the treasure is and doesn’t want the birds to give away his secret. Everyone will recognize that it’s a take-off from Edgar Allen Poe’s Quote the Raven Nevermore. f

 

Only the Phantom

Once upon a night inspired, while I pondered weak and tired,
Over many a curious volume laden with a treasure lore,
While I plotted on its mapping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As a Shadow’s gently rapping, rapping at my bedroom door.
‘`Tis a butterfly,’ I muttered, ‘fluttered by my bedroom door –
Only this, and nothing more.’

Ah, distinctly a tinkling bell rings in the spirit of a spell,
I listened good and listened well… there was no ringing at the door.
So, eager for a bath and rest; -as vainly I had sought the best
Path forward to surcease the quest – fulfill the quest for gold and more,
That it begins where eagles nest, then down into the canyon’s core –
Nameless here for evemore.

Suddenly my soul grew weaker; Shadow at the inter. speaker,
‘Sir,’ said I, my heart grows meeker, ‘this IS my place so I implore;
But the fact is I was halting, these hot waters from exalting
These warm waters from assaulting, threshold of the bathroom door’,
And, as I slipped into my sneaker, looked quickly down through open door; –
Shadow there, and nothing more.

Then fast asleep, lasting escape…, there’s rustling of the Phantom’s cape
That chased me – thrilled me with fantastic and covered me from pore to pore;
So that now, my heart stopped beating, through the shadow twilight fleeting
‘`Tis the Shadow now entreating and this fantasy explore.
Moaning Phantom at the window, knowing Shadow through the door;-
This is it and nothing more,’

And as the evening shades prevail, thinking of those who passed the vale,
Attentive still to Phantom’s wail, heard somewhat louder than before.
As the silence was then broken, but the Shadow gave no token
And the only words then spoken were the whispered words, ‘NO MORE!’
`Twas Phantom on my bathroom scale, wishing he was just forty-four,
Ounces that is, and nothing more.

‘There’s circumstantial evidence, I’ll be your guide in dream or trance,
Through wiles of nature, circum-stance; you’ll tract a thread to golden ore’,
Said Phantom perched upon the scale. ‘And have you trekked this secret trail?’
Asked I, afraid the chase might fail, ‘Have you’ve been down this path before?’
‘Alone and bold I went by chance’. ‘Phantom!’ said I, ‘but that’s infernal’,
And the moment seemed eternal… ‘How deeper then, should I explore?”
Quoth the Phantom, ‘Four-two-four’.
Merely this and nothing more.

Erratum:
And if this blending plagiarism, seems poor labour of a mime.
That changes… looking through the prism, of vodka raspberry and lime.
For, in expanding Universe, there is no lesser of a crime,
Than at the ending of a verse, copying and pasting of a rhyme.
It could be worse! (I’m out of time)

The Phantom

Scrapbook Ninety Three…

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SEPTEMBER 2014

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Renelle Jacobson

As the days of autumn approach each of us must know that our hour glass is slowly getting bottom heavy. Hopefully, as each crystal of sand drops, it takes with it the story of a fruitful life, full of grateful memories and dreams fulfilled.

And so it was with Renelle Jacobson. Three days ago she ran out of sand and she fell to an evil malady that made her suffer for many years. She was not fooled by what she knew was inevitable, and I know she left with a smile on her face. She lived a full life during her few short years, and our lives are suddenly poorer. I especially feel the loss. f

Scrapbook Ninety Two…

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AUGUST 2014

Me and Mummy Joe

Only a few minutes after you leave the East Entrance of Yellowstone, on the way to Cody, if you pay attention, you’ll see a big cave there on the left. Its mouth is 150-feet wide and looks like a giant opera singer yawning in the side of the mountain. The beautiful North Fork of the Shoshoni River splashes the opposite side of the road right there.

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The cave didn’t have a name when I first knew it but it always made a strong impression on me, and it was a favorite lunchtime respite for my family when we were headed to Texas after a summer in Yellowstone.

And of course I usually climbed into the cave and sat on a rock in the back to eat Fritos and drink my Dr. Pepper. That was in the 1930s and 40s.

 

 

Twenty-five years later I became friends with two of the men who excavated the cave. They were Bobby Edgar and George Dabich. For two years in the middle 60s they carefully moved rocks, shoveled dirt, screened for artifacts, compiled data, and helped uncover Mummy Joe.

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Mummy Joe during reburial in the cave

And the cave finally had a name.

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The archaeological dig underway in the mid 60s.

 

Once, when George and I were having dinner at the Erma in Cody, he spoke of watching an archaeologist uncover an Angostura point that was 28-feet below the cave’s surface. The weapon had been flaked to kill an ancient species of bison and had not seen daylight for almost 9,000 years.

 

 

George also talked about the artifacts he uncovered: stone choppers, hammers and grinders, projectile points, cordage, fragments of tanned sheepskin, arrow shafts, basketry, rabbit nets, and more than 2,000 leftover animal bones that had been discarded by the ancient dwellers.

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In 1967 I received a gift from George. It was a 5-inch long knife he’d carved from a mountain sheep bone that came from layer #3. He said it carbon-14 dated to about 682 AD.

George’s tales were colorful and compelling. He spoke of what it was like living in the cave 1200 years ago when Mummy Joe died, and of the trail weary hunters who returned from a hunt dragging elk hides full of meat that would sustain their clans through the freezing-cold winters. I was fascinated by the stories.

After midnight, with George’s words fresh on my mind, I drove to Mummy Cave. The night was so black that the snow-covered ground offered little moderation. With a small light as my only companion I climbed up and in, and sat on my rock against the back wall. In the lonely silence nothing was moving but the wind that whispered its way through the trees, down the river, and past the cave.

As I sat in the eerie quietness I could feel the austere grandeur of my surroundings. Who were these ancient people who called this sheltered place home? Over the last few thousand years several hundred nature-toughened Indians had rested their butts on the very rock upon which I sat. I just knew it. Can you imagine how that made me feel?

 

Today my thoughts sometimes harken back to Mummy Joe, who was wrapped in sheepskins so long ago, and buried deep in the dirt. What would I have thought when I was a kid, sitting on my rock, knowing that Joe was just a few feet away. Are there any among you who are as intrigued by America’s ancient past as I am? Tell me.