Forrest Gets Mail – 17

Mr. Fenn,
My students have a question for you. Since you have spent much time in the west around Yellowstone, do you have any personal experiences with cattle ranching and cattle drives?

Franklin

Franklin,
Many years ago, my good friend J. Evetts Haley (the writer), invited me to help him brand calves on his ranch in the panhandle of Texas. It was 103 degrees in August and they built a big fire to heat the branding irons. There was no cooling breeze. After the cowboys roped a calf, it was my job to run up and throw the poor thing on its side. I think every one of those critters kicked me in the nose. After the branding, the calf jumped up and ran off, and I had to do it all over again. That day was so hot and sweaty I lost 6 pounds. All of my aspirations for being a rancher were used up that day and I never wanted to see a branding iron again. Please tell your students to study hard so they don’t have to grow up to be a cowboy. f

The Blaze…

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This is the place to discuss the the blaze. What do you think it is? Is it temporary or permanent? Will it be around for a thousand years or doesn’t it matter? Is it easy to spot or difficult? Does the poem tell us what the blaze looks like or what it is?

Nick Lazaredes of SBS-TV’s Dateline in Australia interviewed Forrest in the spring of 2014. Here is Forrest explaining the BLAZE.
https://dalneitzel.com/video/audio/blaze.mp3

Tarry Scant…

tarryscant

March on. Do not tarry. To go forward is to move toward perfection. March on, and fear not the thorns, or the sharp stones on life’s path. 

Khalil Gibran

 

So I thought I’d try and look at one of the phrases Forrest wrote in his poem which seems to be a source of confusion for some searchers…”tarry scant”.
This is found in the fourth stanza of the six stanza poem.
If you’ve been wise and found the blaze,
Look quickly down, your quest to cease,
But
tarry scant with marvel gaze,
Just take the chest and go in peace.

The entire stanza appears to be a set of directions based upon the searcher having found the blaze…

“Tarry” could be either a noun, adjective or verb, depending on it’s use in the sentence.
As an adjective, tarry is spelled the same but pronounced differently and has a completely different meaning. We’ll explore that meaning a little further on. I believe Forrest is using the word as either a noun or a verb and it wouldn’t matter much which it is because the meaning of the line would not change.

To me, in non-poetic English, the stanza reads one of two ways:

Once you’ve found the blaze,
Look directly down and you’ll see what you’ve been searching for,
Don’t be tempted to linger there and stare at the marvelous chest,
Just take it and go with my blessings.

or

Once you’ve found the blaze,
Look directly down and you’ll see what you’ve been searching for,
Don’t be tempted to linger there and stare at the marvelous view,
Just take it and go with my blessings.

In either case the basic message is the same:
Don’t be mesmerized by what you see. Just grab the chest and go.

So for me, “tarry scant” simply means to “move on quickly”.

But to others it has meant different things. This is particularly true when Tarry is used as an adjective. In this case it is pronounced differently and comes from the root, “tar”…that thick, black sticky stuff. If you google “tarry” you will find a number of interesting and occasionally disgusting uses for the word. “Tarry”, is a physicians term for blood in your stool. As in. “You have a tarry stool.” In this case “tarry” comes from the root “tar” and means “black colored”, as a stool might be if it had dark blood in it. Which, of course brings to mind “tarry scat”…looking a great deal like “tarry scant”…But enough of the word’s use as an adjective.

For me, the words “tarry scant” were not unusual principally because of my parent’s influence…or more precisely, my mother’s. I was born of parents only a very few years younger than Forrest’s. My mother, being my main influence through childhood, was a native midwesterner and had a vocabulary of words that included “tarry” and “scant”. She would often tell me things like “don’t tarry after school today”, or “you can stay there til four o’clock but don’t tarry on your way home. I never had to look that word up. I knew what it meant and I knew I better go home directly after school or I’d be punished. My mother was not a great collaborator. Her parents were German and Pennsylvania Dutch and mediation was a word probably not in her vocabulary.

Scant was also a word she used often enough and that I felt immediately comfortable with when I read it in Forrest’s poem. My mother would say things to me like, “There will be scant dessert for you  young man until you eat all those beets.” There was little room for negotiation in a warning like that. Scant meant small…as in “next to none”. With dessert it meant exactly “none”.

A few years later I would learn about “scanties”. They being the scandalous, brief underwear a brave catholic schoolgirl would occasionally “show off” to a small admiring society of altar boys after Sister Mary Linus’s 7th grade class.

But I tarry…

“Move on quickly”, it’s just my interpretation..or taking after my mother I might say..”the only correct interpretation” 🙂

Would anyone care to comment with a counter-argument?

dal…

The Key Word…Part Six

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Comments are now closed on this page. To continue the discussion go to the latest The Key Word page.

“Many have given serious thought to the clues in the poem but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.”

The above is a quote from Forrest. This page is where we can discuss what that key word might be.

 

 

 

The Key Word…Part Five

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This page is closed to new comments. To continue the discussion please go to the newest Key Word page.

“Many have given serious thought to the clues in the poem but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.”

The above is a quote from Forrest. This page is where we can discuss what that key word might be.

 

 

 

The Key Word…Part Four

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This page is now closed to new comments. To continue the discussion please go to the latest Key Word page.

 

“Many have given serious thought to the clues in the poem but only a few are in tight focus with a word that is key.”

The above is a quote from Forrest. This page is where we can discuss what that key word might be.

 

 

 

The Blaze…Part Four

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This page is now closed to new comments. To continue the discussion please go to the newest The Blaze page.

This is the place to discuss the the blaze. What do you think it is? Is it temporary or permanent? Will it be around for a thousand years or doesn’t it matter? Is it easy to spot or difficult? Does the poem tell us what the blaze looks like or what it is?

Nick Lazaredes of SBS-TV’s Dateline in Australia interviewed Forrest in the spring of 2014. Here is Forrest explaining the BLAZE.
https://dalneitzel.com/video/audio/blaze.mp3

Forrest Gets Relative Mail…

Dear Forrest,
I am writing you tonight wanting to thank you. I have just recently discovered your story about the hidden treasure and it brings me a sense of adventure and motivation. I love everything about it. The best thing though is its bringing together a once torn apart relationship with me and my mother back together again . So thank you for that .

We recently had a birthday celebration for my nephew and she attended for the first time in a long time . We hadn’t talked very much over the years due to decisions and choices she choose to take when I was in my youth. Grudges and bad feeling and really just being stubborn I never made any attempt to reach out and make our relationship better. So sitting around the party I brought up your story and I promise for the next four hours we talked about what it would be like taking a trip and searching and the things we would see along the way and how much our lives would be so different if we were to ever find the treasure.

In those brief hours talking about it for a moment I had forgotten all the bad things she had done the bad things I had said and it was just us again mom and son no worries in the world . We talked about it throughout the night and even into the next morning when she called me . I feel your story has gave us a starting over point in life with our relationship and I just want to thank you for that Mr. Fenn.
 
Even if we never get to take a chance to search for your treasure you have helped me find mine again so thank you again.
 
Stay young my friend,   Jack