Scrapbook Two Hundred Thirty Four…

scrapbook

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. 

TDOT5

“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.

25938452 1

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…

scrapbook

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.

IMG 7089

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. 

potall

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. 

IMG 7085

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.

cross2

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…

scrapbook

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.

IMG 20191112 220343768

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…

scrapbook

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. 

image1 1

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. 

IMG 6976

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Third Distinguished Flying Cross…

 

SUBMITTED November 11th, 2019
by DAL
6839 grande

Distinguished Flying Cross

Some military awards are handed out like gold stars in an elementary grade school. All you have to do is show up and you can get one…The Good Conduct Medal comes to mind. The Distinguished Flying Cross is not such an award. The DFC is an award of valor presented to airmen who have distinguished themselves in aerial operations. Forrest earned more than one of these during his tour in Vietnam. This is about his third DFC.

dfc copy

The citation for his award reads:
Major Forrest B. Fenn distinguished himself by heroism while participating in aerial
flight as an F-100 pilot in the Delta Region of South Vietnam on 24 August 1968.

On that date, Major Fern, using the call sign limit 52, was flying as wingman and pilot
in a flight of two F-100s on a close air support mission.The target was troops in
close contact and an unknown number of active automatic weapons positions When Limit
51 Flight arrived in the target area, a flight of two F-100s were bombing targets
which were in tree lines on both sides of a small canal. The friendlies had already
marked their positions with red smoke and were located 50, 150, and 200 meters from
the active enemy gun positions.

After one of the F-100 aircraft was hit with automate weapons fire , they departed for home. The forward air controller (FAC) , Andy 76, briefed limit 51 Flight on all aspects of the target including the heavy ground fire and the dangerous proximity of friendly forces.

Because it was not feasible to drop the four M-117 high drag bombs on the targets nearest the friendlies, Major Fenn was instructed by Andy 76 to move 150 meters east and hit the enemy firing from a position on the south side of the canal. The exact target position was described, marked with a white phosphorus rocket, and Major Fenn was cleared in. Although the automatic weapons fire continued from at least three positions, Major Fenn, with total disregard for his own personal safety, delivered two 750 pound bombs from 500 feet which landed precisely on the target destroying the automatic weapons position.

On his next two bomb passes, Major Fern delivered two more 750 pound bombs with equally devastating results on an enemy location just across the canal south of the first target with all bombs expended, he was cleared to move west and strafe the enemy gun location 50 meters from the friendly forces. Because of the seriousness of the tactical situation on the ground, Major Fenn elected to concentrate his strafe in hopes of silencing the guns
that were still active in several positions.

On his first strafe pass, with airspeed in excess of 510 knots, Major Fenn fired a burst of 350 rounds of 20MM high explosive incendiary. Andy 76 reported the fire to be “exactly on target.”

During the pull out Major Fenn felt his aircraft jolt with the impact of three hits in the fuselage. One bullet entered the engine accessory section, starting an oil fire which immediately filled the cockpit with smoke. The other two hits were sustained in the forward fuselage fuel tank causing two small holes and a hole “big enough to put a football in.

After declaring an emergency, Major Fenn turned his crippled F-1OO toward Binh Thuy
Air Base 4O miles to the south. A quick fuel check revealed 4200 pounds total
remaining. However, the forward fuselage tank, which feeds the engine, had lost over
1000 pounds in less than two minutes. Major Fern initiated emergency procedures which
were successful in removing some of the smoke that was burning his eyes. The extreme
critical situation caused by fuel pouring overboard faster than the boost pumps could
replenish the fuel tank prompted Major Fenn to level his aircraft at 6000 feet and
throttle back to reduce fuel consumption.

With 33 miles remaining, the forward fuel tank had depleted to 400 pounds which is 200 pounds below emergency fuel. Although the runway was 4000 feet shorter than is normally required for F-100 operation and realizing that he could not use power required to establish a normal approach, Major Fenn elected to continue in an attempt to save the aircraft. With four miles still remaining, on a straight-in gliding approach, Major Fern called “zero fuel,” and the engine flamed out approximately 1/4 mile from the end of the runway. He realized it would be extremely close, but decided to attempt a “dead stick” landing to save the F-100. Major Fern landed in the first 200 feet of the runway and made an approach end engagement of the BAK-9 barrier to insure that he stayed on the short narrow run-way.

The professionalism exhibited by Major Fenn in an extreme emergency situation
not only dealt the hostile force a devastating blow, but also saved a valuable combat
aircraft. The outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty displayed by Major
Fenn reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

JOHN S. RIVERS, Lt Col, USAF
Commander

Forrest’s handwritten note added to the citation:
The Viet Cong blew up the F-100 that night. So much for saving the aircraft!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

IMG 6966

Some of my mojo beads

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

IMG 6964 2

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. 

IMG 6970

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

 

 

 

 

Cutest Pet in the Known Universe Photo Contest…

 

November 2019

IMG 2808s

Willie in the Dish Washer                                                            by Forrest

This is a photo contest that everyone can enter. If you don’t actually own a pet, you could borrow one.

Submit your photo either here or on Jenny’s site. Give it a short caption and a by-line and our razor sharp team of judges will choose the winner..

We’ll post them up for everyone to appreciate as they come in. So the Entry Pages will be updated daily.

This contest is a joint effort between Jenny and Dal

 

    • RULES
      1. One submission per person. You can only submit one photo so please pick your best one.
      2. The photo you enter should be at least 1000 pixels wide so that it’s big enough for us to appreciate in all its glorious detail.
      3. No digital trickery please. You can crop your photo if you’d like, but other than that please don’t tamper with it. Other than cropping it should be the way your camera recorded it. This contest is about sharing a photo of your pet and is not about comparing photoshopping abilities.
      4. If a photo is not suitable for all eyes or appears to be an invasion of someone’s privacy it will not be posted or entered.

       

    • HOW TO ENTER
      1. Send your photo as an attachment in an email to:
         sixer13 at gmaildotcom or dal at lummifilmdotcom as a .jpg file
      2. Subject line of your email should be Photo Contest Entry
      3. Make sure you include a 10 word or less caption for your photo and a by-line. (for instance: “Willy in the Dish Washer” by Forrest. This caption has five words. The by-line is not counted as part of the caption.)
      4. Make sure your entry is sent by the contest closing date/time
      5. Make sure you submit your entry to EITHER Dal or Jenny…NOT BOTH

       

      CLOSING DATE
      The last date to submit your photo entry will be November 20, 2019. After midnight MST on November 20th we will no longer accept entries.

       

      PRIZES
      There will be one overall winner and one prize. The prize will be Forrest’s beautiful book, The Genius of Nicolai Fechin…

      fetchin book 1

      It will be signed and contain an original doodle by Forrest. 

      There may be other…unprized winners in categories such as biggest pet or smallest pet or funniest pet…

       

      JUDGES
      The Judges will be Jenny, Dal, Forrest and Willy
      Judging will take place over the 24hrs following the close of the contest.
      Judges will be looking for the photos that best represent the theme. 
      Two of the judges have a pet, two do not. 
      They will all bring their own unique perspective as to what photo best exemplifies the theme. 
      Their decision will be final and no bribe could possibly be large enough to sway their decision. However you are welcome to try 🙂
      Remember, this contest is about the photo but a great caption will certainly help.

       

      POSTING THE ENTRIES
      Jenny and Dal will post entries as soon as possible after receiving them. They will be made available for all to see on our blogs and remember there are two blogs where different photos are posted…You need to look at both sites to see all the entries. If you have questions about the contest please email Jenny or Dal at their respective emails posted above.

      Please view the entries on Jenny’s site HERE

      Entry Pages on Dal’s Blog:
      Page One 
      Page Two
      Page Three
      Page Four
      Page Five
      Page Six
      Page Seven
      Page Eight
      Page Nine
      Page Ten
      Page Eleven
      Page Twelve
      Page Thirteen

We Shall Not Cease…

abc 1

NOVEMBER 2019
by Brad

 

“We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

Why did Forrest Fenn offer us the above quote? At first notion we readily accept that the quote was offered in reference to our search for his hidden treasure and the endless exploring to be endured in that specific pursuit. However, are we really to believe that Forrest Fenn held little regard for the true context of those words in the original author’s writing? 

Perhaps, in order to answer the above question, we need to examine more closely what it might actually be that we are being challenged to explore? No doubt we are being challenged to explore all of the wonders of the Rocky Mountains, there is no questioning this fact. But now let me suggest that we are also being challenged to explore two other equally important things, one of those being life itself, and the last and most important challenge being the exploration of ourselves. These last two, after all, is what T. S. Eliot was exploring when he penned the above words in his writing, Little Gidding. 

What was T. S. Eliot writing about? What was he referencing when he spoke about all of that exploration and what was to be discovered in the end? The end is the beginning, or so it was written, and not just by T. S. Eliot. In Forrest Fenn’s poem we are to begin where warm waters halt and we are to end our quest with the discovery of the blaze, brave and in the wood not coming until later. This is the full extent of our participation according to that poem, Fenn’s last directive being that we listen, and listen good. 

Why are we to listen good? Is it because he is making extra effort to draw out attention to what is really being said? Is it because he is suggesting to us that there is something more to be understood within his poem then what is presented on the surface? 

Below is a painting I did, a new pursuit I’ve recently taken up. I call this little painting, Willie & Me, and I think it sums up the true nature of Fenn’s poem pretty well because he’s done it tired and now he’s weak, and there is that contentment in this simple painting. 

abc2

But there is more to this little painting then what one might see at first glance. The tree is a Juniper tree, a sacred tree at the heart of the Hopi culture. In the distance there is a river, there also exist the hint of a blaze, and there is also two soaring eagles. And there he comfortably stands, with Willie, a moment of absolute contentment.   

“…at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

If you have not read Little Gidding then perhaps you should as you just might discover more content within that writing that seems to resonate with Fenn’s poem and the chase. I know I did. And so I’ll continue to explore and to discover until one day I can say, in complete contentment, that I’ve also done it tiered and now I’m weak. 

With open mind, with great imagination, I’ll keep exploring and discovering. Next year I have Wyoming in my sights and I plan to take my camera, fly rod, and now also a canvas and easel. The thrill of the chase, maybe we’ve just got to embrace it for what it can be, the journey of a lifetime. 

Have I got it all figured out? For me, anyway, I have. Now then, I gotta go because I have a date with a paint brush…… 

Man Alone (Brad)  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scrapbook Two Hundred Twenty Eight…

scrapbook

November, 2019

Alexandra, and a lot more. 

 

new painting

Nicolai Fechin painted this portrait of his wife Alexandra. 

alex d 2

Click on image to enlarge

It’s a great painting and I wish we had a better photo with which to show it off. It was in my collection for many years, and it has an interesting history. 

Fechin painted it on plywood in 1933, the year his wife divorced him. It wasn’t yet finished. Eya, (Fechin’s 19-year-old daughter, who moved with her father to NYC after the divorce), thought the painting was left with Alexandra in Taos. Alexandra figured Nicolai took it with him to New York. 

But in fact, Fechin stored the painting in an antique Spanish trustero, and left it in Mabel Dodge Lujan’s hay barn, where it languished, lost and forgotten, for almost 31 years. 

fetchin self 1

Nicolai Fetchin, Self Portrait

Nicolai died in 1955, and when Mabel died in 1962, Eya went for the trustero, and found the painting. It had a serious 4” horizontal scratch across the lower right bottom. I called it battle damage because of what that poor thing had been through. Maybe the painting should have received a Purple Heart. 

It was the last painting the artist made in Taos, and the last ever portrait of Alexandra.

Eya sold the painting to me for $5,000 because she didn’t like the subject, its history, and certainly not it’s “terrible state of disrepair.” None of those things bothered me at all, and I never framed it.

I displayed the painting in my gallery on and off for years, as it was, and not for sale. 

fetchin book 1

When my biography of Fechin hit the bookstores in 2001, the painting was illustrated in full page color on page 5. I even included a close-up inset of Alexandra’s left eye, so I could brag about how strangely beautiful it was painted. 

When my wife and I started de-acquisitioning our art collection, more than 10 years ago, I reluctantly sold Alexandra to a billionaire for exactly 100 times what I gave for her, and I sold her too cheap. I didn’t take intrinsic value into account. 

An off the subject side note. 

I used to have 2 birthday parties every year for Alexandra. Her nickname was Tinkabelle, but I called her Tinka for short. 

One day when we were in a pensive mood, she told me about her divorce. Fechin (she always referred to him as Feshin, with her heavy Russian brogue, and I hope you can discern the difference.) always needed absolute silence when he was painting, and that’s why he didn’t allow a phone in his studio. 

He spoke unacceptable English in the beginning, but Alexandra was semi fluent. That meant he could do the painting, but she had to do the selling. 

One day two ladies appeared at the studio door. They wanted each to buy a painting. Tinka put a finger to her lips and spoke to them in hushed tones. 

When Fechin yelled “Shut up” the ladies took a few steps back, but their voices soon elevated above the artist’s acceptable decibel level. He jerked the painting from his easel and flung it across the room, hitting Tinka in the mouth, knocking her down and breaking her lip. 

The ladies fled. 

Tinka said she could have forgiven Feshin if the 2 ladies had not been there and seen that, but since they were there, she had to divorced him. She was still very Russian. f