Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Eight…

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November, 2019

 

Paul Dyck and Me

FF and Paul Dyck

Paul and I at his ranch on Beaver Creek

Paul Dyck was my friend and compadre. Although he was 13 years my senior I would like to have passed through some of his life adventures at his side.  

He was born in Chicago in 1917, and spent much of his early life in Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Florence, Italy. 

Paul returned to the United States and married Fawn on Elk, and they settled in among her Lakota people on the Standing Rock Reservation in South Dakota. That’s where Paul met One Bull, the adopted son of Sitting Bull.

Although One Bull was many years older than Paul, they became such fast friends that he was adopted into One Bull’s family. In discussions between the two that lasted into the wee hours, they talked about the early Indian way of life and about the Custer Fight. One Bull said that some historians had written that he was the one who killed Custer in the fight, but it wasn’t true. Although he was in the battle, he said he never saw Custer. He was 23 at the time, and he died in 1947.

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Sitting Bull with his pipe, and One Bull

As a painter, Paul had an intuitive flair for color and description. So much so that the Sioux named him Rainbow Hand. He was fascinated by the carving that Gutzon Borglum was doing at Mount Rushmore, so he went over and got a job carrying water to the workers. 

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Original watercolor from Paul’s book Brule’

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Oil painting by Paul Dyck

After Fawn died in childbirth, Paul moved to Rimrock in the Verde Valley of Arizona. His ranch house was on Beaver Creek and when the water was up, a car couldn’t cross it. So Paul would come get you in his tractor. 

Paul’s house looked like an aircraft hangar, with the ceiling about 40’ high (I’m guessing). His bedroom and bath were off to the side and upstairs. It was generally considered that he had the greatest private collection of antique Plains Indian material in existence, and his big room was full of it. It included more than 80 beaded dresses, and 70 war shirts. 

Paul was one of the authorities on what he called, the “Buffalo Culture.” His book Brule’ about the Sioux people of the Rosebud, brought him national acclaim. Museums and universities sought his council, and he was awarded an honorary PhD by the University of Montana.

Paul was married two more times. Jean Hamilton was his third wife, and the love of his life. He called her Star. When she died, he was devastated, and started spend time reading out by his corral where he had two buffalo. He fed them by hand, and delighted in watching his bull hook a big tractor tire and toss it high into the air. 

About 2004 I videotaped a lengthy interview with Paul at his ranch. He said a few things that ran contrary to the generally accepted history of the Custer fight. Supposedly, White Swan, a Crow Indian scout with the 7th Cavalry, was in a club fight with some Sioux warriors and was left prostrate on the battlefield. 

According to Paul, two days before the battle began, White Swan was dispatched to track down a trooper who had deserted, and return him to duty. A fight ensued, the deserter was killed and White Swan was severely wounded by a conk to his head. When he returned, the Custer battle was in full swing, and he collapsed on the battlefield, forever deaf and dumb from his fight with the deserter. Paul said that One Bull, who was in the fight, told him that story. 

It is terrible when history is written wrong, but worse still is not knowing who to believe. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Seven…

scrapbook

November, 2019

 

Earthenware Bowl

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This 18” earthenware bowl has been a prize in our collection for more than 40 years. It was made in Granada, Spain about 1850. The galena (lead ore) blue and green glaze decorations were applied over a milk-white slip. A snarling animal is the featured figure. 

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At one time the vessel was broken into 5 distinct pieces with 2 large cracks that didn’t actually break apart. The bowl was so coveted that 26 iron “pins,” were used, in semi-ancient times, to put it back together and secure the pieces in place. To affect that end, 52 holes were drilled into, (but not through) the ½” thick sides and bottom.

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Evidently the bowl continued to be useful for many years after it was repaired because all of the iron pins are heavily rusted, ostensibly from being in water. 

When the bowl’s life as a utilitarian object was discontinued, maybe 100 years ago, it was worth almost nothing. Many years later I gave $725 for it, but if it were not for the 26 repairs, I wouldn’t have wanted it. The older it gets, the more valuable it becomes. 

Well, I’m about half that beautiful thing’s age. I’ve suffered a few breaks, and had some repairs here and there. Although my rust is not showing, it’s there nonetheless. Nobody has ever said I’m getting more valuable as I move farther into oldenhood, but I’m still listening. f

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Six…

scrapbook

November, 2019

 

It was 41 years ago next month that Bill Oakton came to see me and took this photo. 

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He was a writer for New Mexico Business Journal, a magazine that seriously reported on commercial re-financing, risk management, the problems with overstocking inventory, and other similar subjects. 

The publisher heard that Santa Fe was somewhat of an art community and he wanted to do a story about it. So Bill called the Chamber of Commerce and they sent him to me. When he showed up at our gallery, I was busy with a client. That gave Bill a few minutes to stroll through the 7 spacious rooms in which we sold art. 

Evidently, he had had a conversation with his editor and they decided it wouldn’t be much of a story, but since Bill was going to be in town on other business anyway, he might as well drop in for a short interview. 

To him, art meant “hobby,” and he was ready to write a delightful little quarter-page item about art for the New Mexico masses, and put it on the back page. 

As Bill wandered around looking at wall stickers, he was thinking about Sunday afternoon paintings priced at several hundred dollars, or maybe $500 max. He wasn’t ready for $3,500 on the bottom, and more than several paintings priced in the middle six figure range. 

When he entered my office and shook my hand, the conversation went something like this:

“Mr Fenn, you must really love art.”

 “No, art is a business to me.”

“You mean you just don’t, really, really love art?” 

“Listen Bill, my business is like most others, is the owner of One Hour Martinizing supposed to love dirty clothes?”

That did it, and we started laughing, me at me and him at him. The coffee discussion after that lasted more than an hour. He wanted me to advertise in his magazine, and I told him that his pages were too serious for me. He countered with, “what’s not serious about a $350,000 painting?” The repartee went on like that for a while, like two little kids playing in a grown-up sand box. 

When the December, 1978, issue of New Mexico Business Journal was published, it contained two stories about me. One was titled, “The business of art, and the other, “Money, not love. One sub-title read, “Santa Fe’s Forrest Fenn is a maverick in the art business, because he deals in art, not because he loves it, but to make money.” 

I always try to give writers something they can use.

And the editor put my picture on the cover. f

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Five…

scrapbook

November, 2019

 

Me and Bobby McGee

When I was a kid wandering around in the country side where Belton Lake is now, I found a little kitten. The poor thing was resting under a tree and looking lonesome, and forlorn. It had to be newborn because it was so small, and barely had its eyes open. I sat on a rock holding the animal for almost an hour, expecting its mother to come looking. She didn’t, and its loud meow told me it was hungry. So of course, there was no other option but to take it home. 

I’m not normally a cat type of person, at least not a small alley-cat type of person. But my sister June was, so she took over the motherly care duties. 

I named the cat Bobby McGee. 

As she grew, my father was the first to notice that this animal was different. Her back legs were longer than her front legs, which gave the appearance of walking downhill all the time. Her face was feral-cat like, but she had a bobbed tail. Her fur took on dark spots, and short stripes. And she stalked a lot, even when there was nothing around to stalk at. Bobby was half and half, bobcat and alley cat. Wow!

My respect for her magnified and suddenly I enjoyed hanging out with Bobby, and her, me. 

One moonless night, Bobby and I were in our front yard catching lightning bugs. A small porch light was the only movement that pushed some of the close darkness away. 

Then suddenly, there was a faint, far-away wail. Bobby froze in mid step. Me too, and I instinctively looked at her. Not a hair moved for the longest time. Then, again, distant and demanding, that same call…

Bobby McGee sprang, and her first step was at whirlwind speed. In a mega second she disappeared into the total blackness of night, and I knew she was gone. She had been summoned, and the totallness of her response said everything to me that I was eligible to know. That’s why I didn’t wait up. f

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Four…

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November, 2019

 

Hot on the Trail

I don’t know how many books J. Evetts Haley wrote but I have 25 on a shelf in my office. I just counted them, and he wrote some that I don’t have. He was a staunch conservative, a western writer, a cattleman, and a great American. 811kFlVRBGL

There was nothing around anyplace that could scare Evetts Haley. When his book, A Texan Looks at Lyndon (the expose’ of Lyndon Johnson) was published, in 1964, Lyndon Johnson was President of the United States. Evetts distributed the book at midnight because the president was trying to charge him with sedition. 

Evetts was a severe book collector and the Haley Memorial Library in Midland, Texas, now houses his vast collection of books, paintings, and ranch memorabilia. When he saw John Marchand’s painting, The Trail Drivers of Texas, in my gallery, he liked it. When I said the painting was the frontispiece in a book by the same title, he liked it even better. 

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“Forrest,” he said, “If you can find me a first edition of the book, I’ll buy the painting from you.” The price was about $7,000 even then, so I started moving.

That was before the internet so I went to see my good friend and antiquarian book dealer, Fred Rosenstock.

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Bookseller Fred Rosenstock

He had a book store on Colfax Avenue in Denver. When I arrived, Fred was talking to a hag looking guy who had ridden up on a bicycle. His hair had never seen a brush or comb, and for lack of front teeth every time he smiled his tongue could see daylight. He handed Fred a book, and let me see if I can remember what Fred said.

“This is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, the cover is falling off, its full of foxing, and half the pages are crimped. I couldn’t possibly give you more than $4,000 for it.”

I just stood there with my face trying to look away. Had Fred lost his consciences? When the hag of a guy left, his face was wet, and I think his tongue was seeing daylight.

Later, Fred told me that it was a very rare and much sought after Colorado history book, and that after it was restored, he could sell it for twice what he gave. That was Fred Rosenstock, and everyone loved him because he was always doing things like that. 

When I told Fred that I needed a copy of The Trail Drivers of Texas, he paused, but only for a few seconds. “Follow me,” he said, and we headed for his “elevator.” It was the old kind where the driver had to close two iron screens and then throw a lever forward. Under perfect conditions the rickety thing would move up to the 2nd floor at about 1 mile per hour. 

Finally, the screens opened into Fred’s warehouse. It was the size a basketball court and was absolutely filled with dusty cardboard boxes. I was in another world as we waded through swirling dust, extinct spider webs, and Denver Post wadding papers that I’m sure dated to 50 years earlier. 

After about 15 rows, Fred turned left into a narrow corridor of boxes that were stacked 3 or 4 high. He put his hand on one, and looked at me. “Forrest, I haven’t opened this box in 25 years, but I think I found your book.”

And of course, there it was, the first one on top. Walking back to the elevator, we talked about Evetts Haley’s great book collection and I mentioned that it should be given to the Smithsonian – the elevator I meant. f

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Three…

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November, 2019

 

Prehistoric Corn

The following story is a paraphrase of what I wrote on pages 124-5 of my book, The Secrets of San Lazaro Pueblo. I was on a roll with new discoveries. Only a week before, in a building across Del Charro Creek, I found a small corral that contained goat pellets. Not every amateur archaeologist can boast of having an important collection of 16th century Spanish goat droppings.

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16th Century Goat Droppings

 

Another educating moment. 

It was about noon on a cold, blustery day in 1989, when Charmay and I were completing the final work in a room on the north end of building l, not far from where I uncovered 2 unique prehistoric kachina dance masks, and a wonderful associated ceremonial assemblage.

It had taken us 3 days to carefully remove the room-fill rubble and only the final sweepings remained. A flagstone jar lid, broken in 5 pieces, was laying on the floor in the southeast corner, and I had seen no reason to move it in our excavation.

Because the wind was brisk, we decided to have our soup and sandwich there in the room where no one had eaten in more than 500 years. It was a rewarding moment and we were pleased to see this place almost as it had been when new, so many years before. 

One could not help but think of those who had lived here, and wonder what their dreams and aspirations might have been. Did they have enough food and water? What did they do for recreation? Our thoughts wandered…

While sitting on the floor and leaning against the wall, I placed my cup of hot tomato soup on the round piece of flagstone. It sounded a little hollow and different from what I had subconsciously expected. No matter, I thought, so we enjoyed a short break while the antics of several ravens entertained us, and a red-tailed hawk watched suspiciously from his high soar. 

As we rose to leave, Charmay said, “Just for the fun of it, why don’t you look under the jar lid?” After considering what I thought was the futility of doing what she asked, against a desire to favorably respond to a somewhat stern question, I carefully removed the five broken pieces of flagstone, one at a time. Before the second piece could be moved, we both felt something different was happening. To our astonishment, and utter amazement, we discovered a black, plain-ware pottery jar that had been buried up to its rim under the floor. 

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Click to enlarge

Inside the jar rested a rectangular dragonfly-painted bowl, and both of them contained corn kernels. For us, this discovery added a whole new dimension to our knowledge of prehistoric life at San Lazaro Pueblo. 

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Charmay was a good friend and trusted digging companion. She excavated the beautiful emerald cross that I found with a metal detector at San Lazaro.

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Together, we owned the One Horse Land and Cattle Co. (RIP) that published my San Lazaro book, and a few others. f

PS
My treasure chest is not hidden at San Lazaro Pueblo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Two…

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November, 2019

 

Revenge is Best Served Hot 

On the ides of March (or there abouts) in 1967, my friend Bill Griggs suggested that we attend a gun show in Snyder, Texas. Where we lived in Lubbock was just 85 miles away and it was Saturday, so I said okay. Driving down I promised myself that I wouldn’t spend much money, primarily because I didn’t have much money to spend. 

Both Bill and I were expert western history shoppers, and surely we would know some of the dealers and collectors who would be in attendance. It promised to be a fun day.

I was walking up and down between display tables, minding my own business, and taking everything in. Then, on Bob Algee’s table, I spotted a beautiful old holster. It had been made by a Navajo Indian to fit a Colt 1860 Model Army pistol. I recognized it immediately and it was love at first sight. But it was 200 bucks. So I started arguing with myself. What I had going against buying it was my promise not to spend much money. But I owned a beautiful 1860 Model Army pistol with ivory grips that needed a holster. Desire superseded my promise and I told Bob, “I’ll take this holster, but let me leave it here for a minute while I look at other things on your table.” He had a long table that was full of wonderful things that I also couldn’t afford. 

When I glanced back at Bob he was working with another client and they were stacking artifacts up in a pile. And my holster was sitting right on top. I hurried back and said, Bob, just a minute, that’s my holster and I’m ready to take it.”

“Well, this gentleman is buying a few things from me and I told him he could have it.” Bob had finality written across his face, he was bigger than me and could probably run faster. So I said “gulp,” and turned to the new owner. 

“Is the holster for sale?” 
“Yes it is.”
“How much do you want for it?”
“Two hundred and fifty bucks.”
“Gulp.”
“Take it or leave it, I don’t have all day.”
“I’ll take it,” and I wrote him a check. 

On the way home I felt terrible. Breaking a promise was bad enough, but breaking one with myself was truly awful.

My 1860 Model Army looked really great in the new holster.

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About 30 days later Bob appeared at my foundry door. His “wonderful” wife Hilda had made “A nice little art object and I want you to cast it in 30 copies. She wants to give one to each of her friends for Christmas. It’s my gift to her.”

“Bingo,” I thought, and I added $50 to his cost of each bronze I made for him. 

“I hope your wonderful wife Hilda will be happy with these castings.”

“I’m sure she will be.” 

It cost me $50 when he was unethical and sold the holster out from under me, but he paid me back 30-fold, and he never knew it happened. I was reminded of a rule I made for myself when I was 9 years old, “Don’t make the alligator mad until you’ve crossed the river.” I could hardly wait to tell Bill Griggs. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty One…

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November, 2019

 

Yazzi Yarnell Dolls

I need some help with this one. Not much is known about these dolls. Supposedly, they were made by a Hopi Indian named Yazzi Yarnell who was born about 1900. But Yazzi is more of a Navaho name than Hopi, so I don’t know. 

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Click to enlarge photo

The antelope figure in the center is 43” tall, a monumental size for a doll. He has real horns. Many of the accouterments on the dolls are genuine historical artifacts that predate the doll. The antique white beaded buffalo on the breast of the figure at far left, is one, and the beaded bald eagle on the second doll, is another. 

I acquired the dolls from a lady who got them at a shop on Canyon Road in Santa Fe about 30 years ago. She was told that Yazzi made 28 such figures for himself, and only after he became elderly, did he decide to sell them. I now have 14 of the 28. 

If any treasure hunter should come across any of the remaining 14 dolls while cruising the internet, I hope that person will contact me. The style of manufacture should recognize them as Yazzi dolls. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty…

scrapbook

November, 2019

And Then There Was This Rhondo Guy

His name is probably descriptive enough to tell you something about his personality. It was for me. He had a little one-room shop in a nowhere location, and was known best for trying to sell antiques that no one wanted to buy. 

I didn’t know the guy but when I accidentally happened in his place one day, he recognized me and said, “Hey dude, I’ll flip you one time for a C note.” 

I said “What?”

He repeated, “You know, we flip a coin one time and the winner takes home a picture of Benjamin Franklin.”

I figured this guy was way too kool for me, but I was intrigued. The odds were 50/50 so what did I have to lose? “Okay,” I said, “but only one flip.” So he flipped a dime and I lost $100. Now I was mad, and departed his place trying to figure out how the guy had cheated me. Maybe his nose ring had something to do with it. 

Revenge was festering inside of me when I came up with a plan. I was going to rearrange his karma, and I was going to do it by being positive and making him be negative. I had never tried this idea before but since our personalities were so diabolically opposed, maybe it would work. 

The next day I went back, and he saw me coming. His toothy mouth said something like, “Hey dudie, not had enough yet, ugh? Hope you brought another picture with you?” 

I was ready for him.

“Sure,” I said, here’s a quarter, you flip it.” (That’s #1, it was my quarter so I was making the rules. #2, I instructed him to flip it so again I was the positive one, so he had to be negative.)

“But wait a minute,” I said, “I’m not ready yet,” (That’s #3, I was making him follow my instructions, He was subservient to me).

I closed my eyes and told myself it was going to be heads, it was going to be heads. (That’s #4. I was using the power of positive thinking against him). 

“Okay, flip it and I’ll call it,” (That’s #5 & 6. I was totally in charge of what was happening). 

He flipped it and I yelled “heads.” (That’s #7, heads is positive and tails is negative). It fell heads and I went home with his picture of Franklin. I was feeling good. 

These quick flipping episodes became rituals, and they continued every several days for a few months with me having a small edge. (I was keeping notes at home). I wasn’t really happy with the way it was going. I needed a little something more. 

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Then I found a buffalo nickel in one of Rhondo’s parking spots “Wow,” I thought. This could not be an aberration, the fates were helping me. The Indian whose image is on the buffalo nickel is Iron Tail, one of my favorite Oglalas. I have some photos of him. The buffalo on the obverse is my favorite animal, and it was my birthdate nickel, dated 1930. It was a triple whammy. I was now going to show that Rhondo guy which one of us was a dudie, and which one of us wasn’t one. 

I had him continue to flip, but with my new birthday nickel. I now had a distinct positive advantage. The contest continued, but now it wasn’t just about money. In 68 flips I won 45 times, and that’s 67%. Don’t talk to me about odds when karma enters the picture. 

The last time I went to see Rhondo he was gone. His sign was down and the windows were boarded up. I don’t know what happened to him, and I don’t even know his last name. If he ever calls me and needs a C note, I’ll be happy to give him a presidential portrait. 

PS,
My birthyear buffalo nickel is now retired to a special place. It’s resting beside the golf ball with which I made a hole in one on the 4th hole with a 7 iron. Sometimes you have to give credit where it’s due. And it helps keep my karma on straight. f

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Twenty Nine…

scrapbook

November, 2019

Medicinal Mojo Necklace 

About 1973 or 4, when I was still young to Santa Fe, my thin wallet’s shadow could not shade my fat ideas. With my wife’s wisdom and energy at my side we worked to make opportunities happen.

That’s how I came into a few thousand strands of antique Venetian, Dutch, and French glass trade beads. Sosoko, a beautiful African man brought them to me strung on native grasses.  

The more I studied the beads the more I was drawn into them. Even large bits of information I received were not enough. I learned that some beads were simple, while others were compound, mandrel wound, drawn, glob wound, and rolled on a marver. I even hired some kids on the island of Murano, off of Venice, Italy, to dive down and bring up sweepings from a few hundred years of bead making. 

After a few years of study, I decided to write a book about ancient beadmaking and beadmakers. Finally, I learned enough to know that I couldn’t write the book. The subject was just too complex for me. And now, here I am with all of these beads. 

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Some of my mojo beads

So I started making necklaces, and here is one of them. 

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The Mojo necklace

I guess I’ve made 200 or more in 3 and 5 strands. I strung them at night while we watched Johnny Carson and they sold in our gallery so fast that we almost ran out of sales slips. 

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My bead making kit

The diagnostic medical descriptions below are Sosoko’s. He recited them to me one hot day when we both were high on cold Coca Colas. There are a few non-bead items strung on. I did that to give balance to the power of the necklace. Every item is old and authentic. The orange coral spacer beads are from the Mediterranean Ocean. As I describe each bead see if you can find it on the necklace.

  1. Red Peking bead. Helps reduce your blood pressure when the witch next door takes your parking spot.
  2. Argentinian German coin dated 1930. Can be used if you are in Argentina and need to take the bus home from a blind date.
  3. Green faceted Russian trade bead, dug up, ca 1810. Prevents dings, lesions, and scratches when you are attacked by a woman who is jealous of your good looks. 
  4. Ancient Venetian Millefiori (a thousand flowers) bead. Prevents sleep if you suffer from catalepsy.
  5. Three paternoster (chevron) beads. Gives you 3 times your normal protection while you’re drinking in saloons. Doesn’t work after 2am if Brad Pitt is present. 
  6. Ancient vaseline bead from Jakarta. This bead has such catch-all healing prowess that it can only be described in 3 mother languages.
  7. Ancient projectile point from Texas. Made from Edwards Plateau Chert. Protects you from those who would lessen your desirability. Doesn’t work when Playboy photographers are in the neighborhood. 
  8. Metal girl’s shoe buckle. Picked up on the Santa Fe Trail where it was lost about 1850. It adds nothing to this necklace but wonderment.
  9. Ancient eye bead from polynomia. Copied from 2,000-year-old Egyptian faience beads. It warns you when your mother-in-law approaches. Inoperative during Christmas and Thanksgiving. 
  10. Five-inch John Campbell bone hair pipe, ca 1860. Was originally a hair drop owned by a Blackfeet Indian maiden. Helps keep you awake during PTA meetings.
  11. Rattlesnake vertebra from the Galisteo Basin in New Mexico. If you walk through the forest it will prevent your knees from clanking together and scaring the rabbits.
  12. Copper hawk bell from a Cheyenne woman hide dress, ca 1850. Contains the original Klanker. Warns you when weird men approach you in a bar. Doesn’t work after you’ve had 4 beers. 
  13. Yellow/orange amber bead from Afghanistan, ca mid-1700s. It keeps your face from turning red when you embarrass yourself at Christmas parties. 
  14. Handmade mother of pearl blouse button, ca 1880. Keeps you from having a wardrobe malfunction when the wind over 40 knots. Especially useful at outside Justin Bieber concerts.  
  15. Copper gear from a pocket watch, ca 1880. Makes time tic faster when you’re at the opera or your mother-in-law’s house. 
  16. Generic female silver Milagro from a church in Oaxaca, ca 1825. Instills energy when you’re talking on the phone with an obnoxious woman. Tells you when to hang up in her face. 
  17. Brass US Army Cavalry button from an officer’s uniform, ca 1876. Slows food intake. Doesn’t work with tapioca and most flavors of ice cream. It automatically malfunctions if you are eating a hot dog with mustard, dill relish, sauerkraut, salt and pepper, and tabasco. 
  18. Green sentinel bead, ca mid-1700s. Jingles against your skin to alert you when you’re standing under mistletoe and an obnoxious jerk kind of guy is somewhere around your close area. 
  19. Malachite bead, ca 1740, from New Caledonia. Helps you retain mental blockages when a Politian asks you for a donation.   
  20. Experienced German silver cross, ca 1750. Will give you strength physically, mentally, spiritually, and morally, if your faith is strong enough, and if it isn’t, you’d better be very careful. f