Death of Brace Martin: The Texas Bounty Hunters

“We sleep so we wake before the heat comes and then we find that outlaw you want to catch,” Shoots plenty said as he stirred up the coals in the fire causing sparks to fly into the dark. Soon flames rose, like wild tongues around the oak logs and licked at the cool night sky.
“Why don’t you shoot that one-eyed mule. A mule is not like a horse. A horse will work with you but a mule just waits until he can kill you. We could eat him and then you can get a horse.”
“I like that mule. He’s smarter than any horse I ever had,” Esben replied.
“You never had an Indian horse. They are smarter than the Wasichus horse.”
“Why are they smarter?”
“Because the Indian is smarter than the Wasichus.”
“Yeah, so who is living on the reservations?”
“Ugh.”
The next day the blazing sun was rapidly emerging in the east and the temperature was rising when Shoots Plenty said, “We should go so we can travel far before the sun is three fists in the sky.”
They ate pemmican and corn while they rode West toward the Chihuahuan Desert
It wasn’t long before the heat was becoming unbearable as the sun beat down mercilessly on the two riders.
“She thinks I am a Lakota Chief,” Shoots Plenty said.
“Who thinks you are a Lakota Chief?”
“That Carmen lady.”
“I wonder how she got that idea.”
“Maybe I am chiefly.”
“Or maybe you lied to her.”
“She said her heart laughs with joy when she is in my presence.”
“Really?”
“That is what she said.”
“I don’t see it.”
“I was in love once, Wasichus. Yes, that is the truth. It was Chief Black Kettle’s daughter, Gray Grass. I said to him, “I love your daughter, will you give her to me, that the small roots of her heart may entangle with mine so that the strongest wind that blows shall never separate them.”
“Yeah, so what happened?”
“He said no. It made me sad. I cried. But you know, Wasichus, the soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.”
“That’s too bad.”
“No, it is a good thing. Later Gray Grass had many little ones. She got fat. Now my heart laughs with joy because I am not with her.”
“What is with you Lakota and your laughing hearts?”
“We were a happy people until your people put us on a reservation. The Great Father promised that we should never be removed we have moved five times. I think you should put the Indians on wheels so that you can move them as you wish.”
They rode slowly for some time while the hot sun burned down on them before Shoots Plenty spoke again, “That meal was damn good. I am gonna think about living with Carmen if it is like this.”
“Can’t you just be quiet? I thought the Lakota liked silence.This is a bad day. The worst day. We have gone 35 miles in this blazing heat through cacti and blistering sands and all you do is talk. Our animals, they have gone without water the entire day,” Esben said, “and the water in our canteens is so hot we cannot drink it and all you do is babble nonsense about some Mexican woman.”
They made their way into the mountains, climbing all the while, going backward on themselves as they followed the sinuous path higher. In places, sections of the hillside had fallen away, leaving a gash of red earth and loose rock which slid dangerously as soon as their mounts hooves were set upon it.
Upon reaching the ridge top they were exhausted and came to a halt and rested. They had met no one, nor seen any evidence of habitation at any time since they had left that morning but they both felt the presence of something or someone.
“There is a cave up ahead with some water. We will rest there, Wasichus.”
“That looks out of place, stay alert,” Esben replied.
“If the Creator put it here, it is in the right place.”
Ahead of them, they saw layers of shale protruding from the summit of a small hill.
The heat in the canyon was intense. At the scent of water, Shoots Plenty’s horse and Esben’s one-eyed mule quickened their pace. Anything that moved had gone for cover and that was what Esben and Shoots Plenty had in mind when they hobbled and watered their mounts and approached the cave. The animals stood with their heads down with their ears laid back to show their unhappiness being near the mouth of the cave.
Shoots Plenty took his lance and poked inside to make certain no rattling-tails were lurking. They entered the cave.
The cave opened out, the sides spreading wide, the ceiling rising high as a church. Light filtered through unseen apertures, the slender fluted shafts falling from above. The sun filtered through the leaves of the nearby overhanging trees.
Then an explosion blew them in the air and everything turned black, leaving nothing but night.
Out of the darkness and into the edge of light Esben thought he saw something come rushing by him, tall and darker than night itself. A blackness inside a blackness. It’s footsteps echoed like thunder and its breath was foul like rotting flesh, eyes as hard as glass.
It disappeared deeper into the shadows of the cave.
The scent came to him, like stagnant water at the edge of a stock pond, with shat, urine, moss, algae, dead fish and fermented vegetation.
Esben opened his eyes. Where was he? How long had he been lying here. His head hurt like hell. What was that he just saw? What happened?
The last thing he remembered was the explosion. Someone must have booby trapped the entrance to that cave and he had a notion it was Brace.
He was unable to see due to the darkness surrounding him. He reached for his holster. His Colt .45 was still secure. He brought his Winchester rifle in with him. Where was it? He groped the damp ground surrounding him until his fingers found the rifle. He chambered a round.
“Shoots Plenty? Shoots Plenty, where are you?”
He hadn’t intended to get the old Indian tied up in this mess. It just happened. Shoots Plenty insisted on riding with him on the way to Artesia. He should have told him no but it was too late now. Shoots Plenty couldn’t see beyond the end of his arm, so he wouldn’t be much good to him anyway.
“I am here, Wasichus.”
“Are you okay?”
“I think so. My head does not feel so good.”
Esben struck a match and saw the form of Shoots Plenty sitting up with his back pressed against the far cave wall.
“I thought you Indians could root out traps. What happened? Are you sure you are an Indian?
“I am an Indian and something like this would never happen to me. I used to have power. Now I have been civilized and old age is creeping up on me.”
“More like old bad habits. Come on, follow me. Something or someone ran past us into this cave.”
“Maybe we should leave. It could be an evil spirit.”
“It’s evil alright, follow me.”
Slowly, Esben rose to his feet, putting his hand against the wall, he ventured deeper into the cave with Shoots Plenty holding onto Esben’s gun belt.
Esben’s back hurt from landing on the cave floor and his forehead was sporting a welt the size of an egg.
They felt someone run past them.
“Stop!” Shoots Plenty yelled.
They heard a shot and then saw a flash from the barrel of a gun before they heard the ricochet of a bullet near their head.
Shoots Plenty dropped to the floor of the cave.
Esben leveled his Winchester in the direction of the fleeing person and fired.
A cry of pain was heard. The shot found its mark.
Esben ratcheted another round into the chamber of his Winchester and started toward the cave entrance in pursuit of the suspect that had just about killed him and Shoots Plenty.
When they reached the opening of the cave they looked around. There was blood on the ground heading toward the stand of Cottonwood trees.
“I do not see nothing, Esben,” Shoots Plenty said.
“He’s gone. Let’s mount up and head to town. I think I know where we can find him.”
Esben found his one-eyed mule, grazing near the opening of the cave next to Shoots Plenty’s horse. They were glad they had the foresight to hobble their mounts before they entered the cave.
They mounted up and headed for the town of Artesia. Someone set them up and they knew who. He would pay.
The stock dogs were barking up a storm as they rode into town. They dismounted at the corral. There were tracks in the dirt and they didn’t want to disturb the ground around the hitch rack. Walking carefully, they surveyed the sandy loam in front of the hitching post. The boot prints in the dust were large, and the left one had a hole in it.
“Most of these hoof prints have been here for a while and are not from freshly shod horses. But this one is,” said Shoots Plenty. A Bay gelding was tied at the end of the hitching post and it was wet with sweat.
“That is his horse,” Shoots Plenty uttered, nodding in the direction of the big Bay horse. “The foot prints are going toward the dance hall. There are splotches of blood on the ground over there and more foot prints between the wagon track.”
They examined the tracks as they went along. After awhile Shoots Plenty said, “This is the way he came back. Someone was bleeding badly. See drippings of blood? See where the grass is flattened down over there?” he said, pointing in the direction of green grass running along the side of the bank building. “Here is where he laid down and it was a time before he could get to his feet. A tough man. Who is this man, Brace?”
“The son of a bitch is a cheating killer. He can take on three men in a fight and win. He is so cold he’s known as the Iceman in parts of this territory. He has no feelings at all, to my knowledge. But this is the end of the trail for him. Come on, follow me.”
As they got to the end of the building, Esben stopped and looked around into the back alley. There were some barrels and wooden crates and discarded trash and he spotted a man stagger around some wooden barrels. It was Brace.
Brace was a large man, bow-legged and barrel chested, with a mass of fiery red hair growing straight out from the top of his shirt and the sides of his hat. His face was broad and sunburnt above a great tangle of beard
Brace continued to stagger into the alley. He went in gun up and out.
“Come outta there or someone is gonna get hurt,” Esben yelled.
“It’s gonna be you, Bounty Hunter,” Brace said cocking back the hammer of his gun.
Esben’s hand went down to his sidearm and he was clearing leather before young Brace could blink. Esben’s .45 caliber round pierced his neck and he dropped to the ground, bleeding out next to the wooden crates and barrels that littered the alley.
Esben took aim and fired again.
Brace let out a scream. He was still alive. He stuck his head out and that was when Esben’s next round went between his eyes. He dropped back behind the barrel. He was dead before he hit the ground.
They ran up to the barrels with their guns at the ready.
Looking down at the prone body, Shoots Plenty asked, “Is that Mr. Brace?”
“What’s left of him. The son of a bitch finally got what he deserved. Let’s go get the Doc and have him haul him outta here.”
“Why does the white man get his medicine man for someone who is dead?”
“Just to confirm he’s dead.”
“I can confirm he is dead. Will we get our money now?”
“As soon as we have his picture taken I’ll send it back to Captain Smith and he will wire us the money. You best not let Carmen know you came into so much money or she may make you buy her a tipi.”
“I will not tell her. Let us go and get that medicine man.”

From The Novel :The Texas Bounty Hunters

 

 

The two men erected a tent that provided a welcome windbreak from the chill that had blown in from the north two sleeps ago.
The wind increased and a small twister blew past, picking up dust and debris on its way.
Shoots Plenty drew his blanket about his shoulders and looked in the direction of Esben who was leaning on his saddle by the fire.
“This whirlwind reminds me of a story,” Shoots Plenty said.
“Everything reminds you of a story.”
“That is because I know many. Have I told you the story about Coyote and death, Esben?”
“Most likely, you have told me just about everything you know, you crazy old Indian, and then some things you don’t know. You talk more than a squaw.”
“This I have not told you, so you should listen, Wasichus. In the beginning of this world, there was no such thing as death. Everyone lived until there were so many people that there was no longer any room. The Chiefs held council to determine what to do. One stood and said that people should die and be gone for a while and then return.”
“How did he figure that would solve the problem?” Esben asked. “It would just be a temporary fix.”
“Listen to the story, Wasichus. When that chief sat down Coyote jumped up and said that people should die forever. The world did not have room for everyone. If people who died came back to life, there would not be food enough for everyone.”
“It seems this Coyote fella is pretty smart.”
“Coyote is very smart, you must listen, Wasichus. The other chiefs objected to what Coyote suggested, saying they did not want their friends and family to die and be gone forever.
They decided they would build a grass medicine lodge facing the East and that the people who died would be taken to the medicine lodge and this is where they would bring them back to life by singing songs, calling the spirit back to the grass lodge. This made the people glad.
When the first man died the medicine man and the people gathered in the medicine lodge and sang songs.
In about ten days a whirlwind blew in from the West. The Coyote saw it and as the whirlwind was about to enter the lodge, the coyote closed the door. When the whirlwind saw that it could not enter it whirled on by.
In this way, the coyote made death eternal and from that time on, people grieved over their dead and were unhappy.”
“The Coyote causes you Indians much grief. Why do you let him in your council?”
Shoots Plenty ignored him and continued with his story.
“Now when my people hear a whirlwind they say that someone is wandering by. Ever since coyote closed the door spirits look for somewhere to go until they discover the road to spirit land.
Coyote then ran away and never came back, for when he saw what he had done, he was afraid. That is why he now runs from place to place, always looking back over his shoulder to see if anyone is pursuing him. And ever since he has been starving because no one will give him food to eat.”
When he finished, Shoots Plenty looked in the direction of Esben and noticed he was sleeping.

College Boys And Boes

 

 

Most hobo’s, known as Boes by the Yard Dogs, Railroad Detectives, hit the rails to escape their pasts, moving from place to place, broke and hungry most of the time. The same could be said about college boys

My dad said I was wiry, my friends said I was puny. In a bar, after pointing in the direction of a large girl standing by the jukebox, I asked a big guy if that was his girlfriend or did somebody put a dress on the jukebox? Two well placed left jabs that landed in my midsection made me realize it was his girlfriend and my friends were right, I was puny. After that encounter, my survival instincts kicked in and I began to hang out with the biggest and toughest guys I could find.
One of those tough guys was one of my high school friends and college roommate. He wasn’t the biggest guy by a long shot, but he sure was one of the toughest. His name was Bill Morgan and he was 6’ tall and weighed 170 pounds. He was wiry. He won the Wisconsin State Judo Championship in his weight class 3 years running and the overall state championship in 1968-69 and was selected to the 1968 United States Olympic Team. To do this, he had to beat a one-eyed monster named Dan Riordan from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, who weighed in at 275 pounds. Bill got him in a choke hold and we all thought ol’ Dan’s glass eye would pop out before he tapped out. Bill was squeezing so hard his face was redder than Riordan’s.
Unfortunately, for Bill, he re-injured his knee at a practice session in San Francisco and never made it to Japan to compete in the Olympics.
Bill started his college career at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, but decided to leave, or, to be more precise, the dean of the college decided he should leave after he ruined the homecoming parade by dumping a pail of water onto the head of the Homecoming Queen as the procession passed beneath his dormitory window.
Bill said it was probably just as well because he missed his old friends and the last time he came to visit us in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, he hopped on the back step of a tractor trailer rig. Now, this step is simply a bar that is welded on the back of the trailer. It is used to step up onto the trailer bed. It is about 3’x3’ in size, just big enough to sit on. Bill had to hang onto the rung on the back door for over 150 miles in the cold Wisconsin winter. He said after the first couple of hours his arms went dead with fatigue. When the truck finally pulled into a truckstop, Bill jumped off the back. He said it took him over 15 minutes before he was able to open his fingers and thumb so he could hitch a ride the rest of the way.


Bill had a penchant for doing unconventional things like this. One that most folks would consider as unconventional as they get was hopping freight trains. In the Village of Elm Grove, Wisconsin, at the bottom of the hill on Watertown Plank Road, the road that runs through the middle of the village, train tracks cross the road. The Milwaukee Road ran their trains on these tracks and occasionally a freight train would come rumbling through at a slow speed and Bill would run out and jump on and ride it for about a mile or so. Before the train could pick up too much speed, he would jump off. This was usually around North Avenue. The rest of us guys would hop in a car and go pick him up. Pretty soon, more and more of us would join him in this unusual and illegal activity. We did it just for the fun of doing it until this became an alternative mode of transportation for us. As kids, we didn’t know the difference between fun and funerals and sometimes with Bill, I had my doubts to which I was heading.
Another friend of ours, while learning the ropes of hopping a freight, grabbed onto a rung that had iced up and he had a difficult time holding on as his heels bumped along over the ties as the train dragged him down the tracks at an increasing rate of speed. He pushed away from the train as hard as he could, falling away from the wheels as he tumbled down the right-of-way into the rocks and cinders dotting the landscape. Luckily he survived with just a few scratches and bruises.

There was another time when a friend of ours, Jim Mills, a tackle on our college football team, wanted to join us the next time we hopped a train and we obliged him. Fortunately, I was unable to make that trip as there was a railroad bull riding in one of the boxcars and they ended up jumping off at a time and speed that wasn’t as opportune as they would have liked it to be.
They landed and rolled into a farmer’s field. Jim twisted his knee. They got up and started to cross a farmer’s field with Jim hobbling behind them when all of a sudden they heard someone yelling, “What in the hell are you doing in my field?” This question was soon followed by a blast from his shotgun. Bill said he never saw ol’ Jim Mills move so fast as he hobbled behind them across the field. Unfortunately for all of them, they didn’t move fast enough as they found the sheriff waiting for them when they exited the field.
I received a call later that day asking if I would mind coming and getting them. They were sitting in the jail. Luckily, no charges were filed and it didn’t cost them any money; however, Jim Mill’s missed playing in two football games due to his injured knee.
Now you would think we would have learned a lesson from that experience, but we didn’t. The next and last time I hopped a freight train was in January of ’67. It was unusually warm for a Wisconsin January and we were wearing only a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt which is unheard of in January in Wisconsin; sometimes even in the summer. The sun had been out all day and the snow was melting. Bill Morgan and I were walking along the downtown streets of LaCrosse next to the train tracks. We were in the middle of one of our sophomore years in college and were restless. It was a little after twelve o’clock and we were discussing what we could do with the rest of the afternoon. There was always the bars, but it was too nice of a day to spend inside a dark place getting wasted.
We were walking across the road when the wigwags went off with its lights swinging and its bell clanging. We could hear the whistle of the train lift in the distance.
We saw the train slow to uncouple a couple of hoppers at the grain elevator on the corner across from where Bill and I were walking. The engineer bumped her ahead and then leaned into the throttle. The old engine groaned and stepped up to a walk. With each stroke, she picked up speed.

Bill and I stopped and looked at each other and nodded. We waited on the crossroad for a rail car to come down the line. We both lit out and set a pace to latch on to the grab iron and swing up. Bill was faster than I was and he reached the hopper car before me and grabbed onto the ladder and easily swung up and stood on the platform on the back of the car. By the time it was my turn to jump on, the train had already picked up speed, so when I got to the grab iron, my feet shot from the ground like a rifle bullet and I found myself hanging by my hands from the third rung from the bottom of the ladder.I nearly tore my arm off. For awhile, I couldn’t go up or down, so I just clung to the ladder in hopes that I could get my feet under me and onto the lower rung before I fell. Luckily I was able to hook the rung with my foot and gather my weight below me and finally crawl up the ladder onto the back platform of the hopper car.
Now, for those of you who have never hopped a freight before, I have to tell you that hopping on a freight train is only half the job. You have to figure out how to stay on once aboard and then get off without killing yourself. We figured this black snake would rumble slowly through town before picking up speed and we would be able to jump off near campus. Well, this train just kept gaining momentum and never once slowed, it only accelerated and we soon realized that we made a serious mistake not jumping when we had the opportunity.
We began to worry a bit when the train started to blast through the small Minnesota towns that dotted the banks of the Mississippi River with the beautiful rocky bluffs on the other side on its way northwest. When would this thing stop, we wondered? The first sign was LaCrescent, then there was Red Wing, Hastings, Winona, and on it went and I don’t know if this is the correct order of the towns as this was fifty years ago, but I do remember those names. When a train slows to a speed that would normally be safe to jump you may not be able to do it if you were crossing a river or gully or what was below you was sheer rocks as was the case on our journey

Soon the stars blinked on overhead like Christmas lights as we sat, listening to the clacking of the wheels as we lumbered through the night. Had we been on this iron beast that long already?
Some of the fun was taken out of the ride when we found ourselves shivering and freezing in a fifty mile an hour wind that was flying off the hopper car. Still, it was a good learning experience, I thought. I learned that intuition may only whisper, but it often speaks the truth and I would have been wise to have listened to it.
We ended up in the Minneapolis switchyards around 2:00 o’clock on a Sunday morning. It was pretty quiet and the smell of creosote filled the air as we jumped off the back of the hopper car that had been home to us that day.
We looked around to see if there were any yard bulls hanging out. We were lucky there wasn’t any around that we saw or that saw us.

We hitch hiked back to LaCrosse the next morning.

Granddaughters, Blue Ribbons, Milk, And Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer

 

 

Our daughter, Meghan Ratliff, informed us that our two granddaughters placed first in the events they entered at their swimming meet. For our oldest, Margaret, this is becoming second nature as she is an incredible athlete, but our youngest granddaughter, Frances won a blue ribbon for finishing first in the breaststroke for her age group at her first swim meet ever. Evidently, she tried to “cancel” the meet quite a few times before it started. Then after she was awarded the ribbon, she was asking when the next meet was. A big clap goes out to both of these cuties.

 


This reminded me of the first and only time I was awarded a ribbon. It was in 1955 and I was 10 years old. It was at the Wood County Fair, in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. I won first place for drinking the most glasses of milk in my age group. Now, some of you younger folk may not think that is such a big deal, but, back in those days, especially in Wisconsin the Dairy State, all milk was either whole milk or buttermilk; 2% and Fat-Free wasn’t invented yet. I do remember having one helluva stomach ache when my grandparents drove me home that afternoon.

I attribute this early victory in my life for dispatching me into a successful beer drinking career, for which I never won a blue ribbon, but I sure drank plenty of them.

The Three Amigo Cheeseheads Ride Again!

Sunday, June 25th was another exciting day for local Cheeseheads, Max Fly, Private Eye, and his main squeeze Jacqui and fellow cheesehead, Cynde Hesse-Prodgers. They fired up the ol’ Ford Tractor and headed north to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and of course Rocco’s Pub in Jasper, GA, home of the World’s Best Chili Pie, as well as the friendliest wait staff north of Tampa Bay. One of the pleasures of living in Georgia is the opportunity you get to meet people from all over the world and today we started out meeting a waitress who moved to Georgia from the Seattle, Washington area and she was friendly and a very efficient server!

Dancing Girls Now Performing at Rocco’s Pub, Jasper Georgia

We ordered some wine and a little brandy to put out the fire and wash down the Red Hot Chili Pie while listening to the Blackwell Country Jam Band play some of the Outlaw country songs of David Allen Coe, Merl Haggard, and George Straight (Is he an outlaw?) as well as tunes from other great country artists. We were able to enjoy this music with a local motorcycle club while a young dancing girl provided some lively entertainment, twirling as the music played.

Harley’s at Rocco’s Pub, Jasper GA

 

We then piled in the tractor, weaving our way around all the Harley’s scattered about Rocco’s parking lot and headed east to Ball Ground. They said I was driving. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the Feather’s Edge Vineyards. Proprietor, David Boone was still there, pouring his magic nectar. It is obvious that David has done it right, setting up a comfortable porch and backyard area to taste his great wines while his guests engaged in a little “Toe Tapping” to the gentle sounds of Surrender Hill. There was even some cigar smokin’ going on in the back.

David Boone Proud Proprietor of Feather’s Edge Vineyards, Ball Ground Georgia is busy serving one of his satisfied customers, Cynde Hesse-Prodgers, one of the Three Amigo Cheeseheads

Now I have to tell you something, if you haven’t heard this duo, Surrender Hill, sing, you are missing out on a real treat.

Surrender Hill performing in the hills of North Georgia at Feather’s Edge Vineyard, Ball Ground Georgia

The couple, Robin Dean Salmon and Afton Seekins,  met in 2013 in Northern Arizona while performing music in many of the same clubs. Both are singer-songwriters.

Their paths crossed often and a friendship ensued which led to a collaboration not only in music but in life. In March of 2014, Robin and Afton started writing and performing together and figured they might as well get hitched. Find out more about them at www.surrenderhill.com. By the way, Max couldn’t leave without buying one of their CD’s which he now plays in the Ebony Pony while he is blowing down the highway, doing things his way.

It wasn’t long before Jacqui said, “Something is smoking behind us and it’s smelling mighty good, and, no Max, it’s not you.”

Smokin’ Tony’s BBQ. The best BBQ in the North Georgia Mountains.

Pretty soon we located what was causing all the smoke. It was none other than North Georgia’s Smokin’ Tony’s BBQ!!! Tony and wife, Brenda Sweatt, were putting together some mighty delicious fixin’s for the folks sittin’ around drinking the best wine in Georgia while tapping their toes to the mellow sounds of Surrender Hill. Tony said he’d be happy to cater your event no matter how small. Well, he did refuse to deliver two sandwiches to my house, but, anything a bit larger than that, and he can accommodate y’all! Go to their website at www.smokintonysbbqga.com. You’re gonna drool on your keyboard, I guarantee it!

Didn’t I say somewhere that one of the pleasures of living in Georgia is the opportunity you get to meet people from all over the world? Well, Mr. Robin Dean Salmon started his life’s journey in South Africa and Ms. Afton Seekins started kickin’ and squalling up yonder in Alaska. They are now splitting their time between Atlanta and Nashville. Of course Ol’ Tony and Brenda live right down the road in Ball Ground and, of course, the Three Cheesehead Amigos are from Wisconsin.

As usual, the Three Cheesehead Amigos had a superb time enjoying great wine, food, and entertainment in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in good ol’ Georgia, US of A! We plan on making this trip a bit more often now that we have the tractor up and running again. See y’all soon, your friend, Max Fly, Private Eye

Feather’s Edge Gift Shop 10061 Ball Ground Hwy, Ball Ground, GA 30107 (770) 735-6923

Federal Public Lands Under Assault

You may not be aware of this, but you own six hundred and forty million acres of land in the western United States, which is about one-fifth the land area of the U.S. It is managed by the Forest Service, The Bureau of Land Management and the National Parks Service, all part of the Department of Interior established in 1849, as the fourth cabinet of our federal government.
It has a spotted past of corruption dating back to the 1870’s when then Secretary Columbus Delano, a relative to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was forced to resign due to incompetence, nepotism and other shady deals, such as paying non-existent employees salaries. He was convicted of taking bribes for fraudulent land grants and was forced to resign from office. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?
Granted, for the most part, in my opinion, I feel the Department of Interior does a very poor job as many employees succumb to the temptation of wine, women and song and a lot, I mean a lot of corrupt money that is put in front of them by special interest groups, mainly, mining and forestry concerns, and of course the cattlemen’s association, but the Department is a necessary evil. It just needs fixing.
What is on this land you own is worth a great deal of money and the money grubbers are always trying to find ways to grab it and they are getting close to doing so unless every American voice their concern and stop what some are trying to accomplish.
There is a movement afoot in the swamp of Washington D. C. to transfer these federal lands to state and local government. At first blush, one might think this is a good idea but if you stop and think about it for a moment, you just might come to a different conclusion. Notice what is written above, this land is located in the western United States, where most of these special interest groups who have been lusting for a piece of our national treasure, thrive.
Recreational land users, such as hikers, bikers, campers and horsemen and women, are worried, and rightfully so. In the last issue of Back Country Horsemen of America, they dedicated two pages to the assault on Federal Public Lands and as an organization is pushing against selling off federal lands to the states.
If you aren’t aware of what has been going on in Washington regarding this, perhaps you might want to find out.
A group named, Federal Land Action Group, organized by two Utah congressmen, are identifying ways Congress could push a transfer of lands to state and local governments.
This past January, Jason Chaffetz, another one from Utah, introduced House Resolution, H.R.621, calling for the sale of 3.3 million acres of land in 10 western states. Luckily, conservation and sportsmen’s groups went ballistic and Mr. Chaffetz rescinded his bill in just over a week, proving that this type of outrage by the public is what is needed to keep the swamp in line.
But it isn’t over yet. Rob Bishop, another Utah Representative, requested that $50 million be set aside to account for the costs of transferring federal land to states or local governments. So far, there has been no response from the House Budget Committee, but I think you are beginning to get the picture.
Then there is H.R. 232, State and National Forest Management Act of 2017, introduced by Don Young of Alaska to both the House Committees on Natural Resources and on Agriculture to authorize States to select and acquire certain National Forest System lands to be managed and operated by the State for timber production and other purposes under the laws of the State.
Then in February, in the State House of Representatives in Oregon House Bill 2365 was introduced to establish a task force to study the feasibility of transferring federally managed lands to the State of Oregon.
As bad as the Department of Interior is, I think this transfer of lands that some are attempting is a terrible idea. I believe our federal public lands should remain federally owned and if you are like minded, you must tell your elected officials exactly how you feel. We may have won a battle or two but the war wages on and there are politicians whose palms are being greased with some serious money and we all know how politicians react to money.

 

 

 

 

Butterflies Everywhere But Your Stomach

Butterfly House $15.00

As told by He-Who -Sells

Nancy and Melvin Blahfy were ready to move. Their family was growing. Their little girl, Shania, just turned one year old and was beginning to walk.Their friendly and still growing dog, a Golden Retriever named Maxwell, was knocking things off the shelves with his constantly wagging tail as he romped through their small two bedroom apartment. Nancy and Melvin knew they needed a bigger place. It finally happened. They had outgrown their apartment.
They spoke with Nancy’s older sister, Mildred, and her husband, Carson, who had just moved into a new home about a year ago. Mildred told Nancy how accommodating and dedicated her real estate agent, Ashley Longfellow was, plus as a house warming gift, Ashley gave them a unique gift that they just loved. It was a custom made wooden Butterfly House. Ashley even had personalized the Butterfly House with “Mildred’s Garden” imprinted on the front of it. Mildred and Carson have been enjoying sitting on their screened-in porch watching all the Monarch Butterfly’s that are attracted to their backyard because of Mildred’s own personalized Butterfly House.
It wasn’t long before Ashley Longfellow, Real Estate Agent, received a call from Nancy and Melvin. Ashley immediately began researching for a nice house that matched the criteria Nancy and Melvin gave her, which included a nice backyard where their Golden Retriever, Maxwell, and their little girl, Shania, could safely romp around and where Nancy could grow a small flower garden, just like her older sister, Mildred.
Soon, Nancy and Melvin received a call from Ashley Longfellow, Real Estate Agent, saying she found the perfect house for them.
Well, Nancy and Melvin were ecstatic! It was everything they wanted and more. It had a beautiful fenced in backyard with more than enough room for Shania and Maxwell to run around and play in and still have room for Nancy’s beautiful flowers.
And thanks to iAdConcepts, Ashley Longfellow, Real Estate Agent, was able to present Nancy and Melvin Blahfy with their very own personalized Butterfly House. It wasn’t long until the Blahfy’s had their own swarm of butterflies fluttering around the flowers and their new Butterfly House…and everyone lived happily ever after.
To find out about more of iAdConcepts products go to our website at www.iadconcepts.com or give us a call at 770-913.510

How iAdConcepts Saved Bill And Mabel’s Cake

 

Bill & Mabel’s Award Winning Cake

As Told By He-Who-Sells
Bill and Mabel decided to start their own catering business. Bill spent 20 years in marketing for a major hotel chain where he was in charge of special events and catering nationwide. Mabel was a stay at home mom. During that time she perfected her cooking skills. In fact, family and friends went crazy over her cakes and petit fors. They saved enough money where Bill could leave his job and they set out on their own with their new business that they named Bill and Mabel’s Catering Service.
Things were going along very smoothly. They were bringing in a steady stream of new customers and they even won a local contest for having the prettiest wedding cake. But they still weren’t making the money they needed to do the things they felt they had to do.
So, Bill and Mabel sat down one night at the kitchen table after they put the kids to bed and decided that in order to keep their business going they needed to grow it. They determined they could scrape up $500.00 to advertise their catering business.
The next day they shopped around. They went to the local newspaper and asked about their advertising rates for a 1/2 page advertisement showing their prize winning cake along with their telephone number and website. They were stunned when they heard the cost. The local newspaper said for them to stay within their budget, the paper could give them a 1 inch advertisement, a special they were running, for a three-day weekend, and, no that would not include a picture of that prize-winning wedding cake they were so proud of, but they could put the name of the business along with their telephone number and website. For that price, the paper would let them put the name of their business in bold type.
Bill and Mabel were crushed as they knew that most people reading the local paper weren’t in the market for cakes and petit fors that week and they were afraid that by the time readers needed their product and services they would forget about Bill and Mabel’s Catering Service. They knew there was a lot of competition in the catering business. So what should they do?
Mabel thought they should place a half page ad showing her cake even though it was over what they had budgeted. She knew when people saw her beautiful cake it would sell itself and they would surely call them.
But what Bill knew, from being in the business world for over 20 years, was that Joe and Jill Executive have more important things to remember than the name of a catering service, a service they might not need until their son graduates from school if he even graduates.
So, the question is, where should Bill and Mabel put their limited amount of funds for advertising and growing their business?
Little did they know that the answer was just around the corner, or rather, on their email server. A marketing specialist from a leading advertising and marketing firm in the Atlanta area, iAdConcepts, showed them how they could target their advertising dollars so it would reach people that actually need their products and services and when they needed them. In the case of Bill and Mabel’s Catering Services, 500 wedding planners and event planners received a picture of that award winning wedding cake along with Bill and Mabel’s new logo they just developed, their website, telephone number, and address; they even added discount coupons all on a beautiful wall calendar and they got it for the $500.00 they had set aside to grow their business and the best thing about it, the wedding and event planners would have the picture of Mabel’s cake in front of them 365 days a year which comes out to an incredibly low $0.005 Cost Per View (CPV).
The answer to your advertising problem is iAdConcepts and our advertising products. The reason being, most people don’t throw them away because they serve a useful purpose.
Oh, Bill and Mabel’s Catering Service was so successful, they just opened their tenth franchise operation and iAdConcepts was able to drop their CPV down from the original $0.005 to $0.0005 due to a higher quantity purchase. IAdConcepts was able to drop in the local addresses of the franchisees. Now people in ten major metropolitan cities are getting to see Mabel’s prize winning wedding cake, thanks to iAdConcepts and those calendars with Mabel’s prize winning wedding cake.
Give us a call 404.913.5510 or visit our website at www.iadconcepts.com for more product ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

Devil’s Tower But The Sioux Know it By Another Name

 

Sioux Warrior

The two men sat their horses facing west. One was a white man who came from Sweden to the western states to hunt beaver pelts many years ago when beaver hats were all the rage in Europe. The other an Indian, an old Lakota Sioux warrior whose people had hunted the land for many years, ever since the Anishinabe, the First People, forced them from the Minnesota Territory. The two had been friends a long time. They met a few moons after the great victory of ’73, when the Sioux along with their brothers the Cheyenne, defeated Yellow Hair Custer and his men at the Little Big Horn. Neither man had liked General Custer. The white man had worked as a scout out of Fort Laramie under the command of General Crook when Custer was under Crooks command as well. He rode with Custer a few times and considered him incompetent as well as arrogant. He felt Custer got his due. The years since then had passed quickly and they saw many people arrive and a change come over the land. They knew people like them would soon be forced to flee or die.
They were watching the sun fade in the west behind a tall rock jutting out over the Wyoming plains.
“Do you see that rock?” The old warrior asked his friend.
“Of course I see that rock. I ain’t blind. It’s Devil’s Tower.”
“That is the white man’s name. We have no devil in our beliefs. We got along well all these many centuries without him. You people invented the devil and, as far as I am concerned, you can keep him. But everybody these days knows that towering rock by this name, so Devil’s Tower it is.”
“So, what about it?”
“My people have another name for it. We know it as Bear Rock and there is a story to that.”
“Ain’t there always with you Indians?”
“I suppose. When you get close you will see on its sides there are many, many streaks and gashes running straight up and down, like scratches made by giant claws, bear claws.
Well, long, long ago, two young Indian boys found themselves lost in the prairie. You know how it is. You Wasichas get lost all the time. The boys shot their toy bows out into the sagebrush and went to retrieve them. They heard a small animal make a noise and went to investigate.
They came to a stream with many colorful pebbles and followed that for a while. Then they came to a hill and wanted to see what was on the other side. You know how that is, you Wasichus are always curious. Well, on the other side they saw a herd of antelope and, of course, they had to track them for a while.”
“Is there a purpose to this story, or are you just having fun at my expense?”
“That too. When the boys got hungry they knew it was time to go home but found they did not know where they were. They started off in the direction they thought their village was but ended up farther away from it. At last, being very tired from all that walking, they curled up beneath a tree and went to sleep.
The next morning they rose and walked some more, still headed the wrong way. They ate some wild berries and dug up wild turnips, found some chokecherries, and drank water from streams. For three days they walked toward the west.
On the fourth day, the boys had a feeling that they were being followed. They looked around and in the distance saw Mato, the bear. This was no ordinary bear, but a giant grizzly so huge that the two boys would only make a small mouthful for him, but he had smelled the boys and wanted that mouthful. The earth trembled as he gathered speed and got closer to the boys.
The boys started running, looking for a place to hide, but there was no such place and Mato was much faster than they were. They stumbled, and the bear was about to pounce upon them. They could see his enormous, wicked teeth. They could smell his hot, evil breath. The boys were old enough to have learned to pray, and they called upon Wakan Tanka, the Creator:
“Tunkashila, Grandfather, have pity, save us,” they prayed.
“All at once the earth shook and began to rise. The boys rose with it. Out of the earth came a cone of rock going up, up until it was more than a thousand feet high. And the boys were on top of it. Mato the bear was disappointed to see his meal disappearing into the clouds.
Have I said he was a giant bear? This grizzly was so huge that he could almost reach to the top of the rock, trying to get up, trying to get those boys. As he did so, he made big scratches on the sides of the towering rock. But the stone was too slippery; Mato could not get up. He tried every side. He scratched up the rock all around, but it was no use. The boys watched him wearing himself out, getting tired and finally giving up. Soon Mato left, growling, and grunting as he disappeared over the horizon.
The boys were saved.”
“How did they get down, old man? They were not birds. They could not fly. I suppose you are going to tell me that father Coyote came to save the day again?”
“No, not this time, Washichus, it was Wanblee, the eagle, he has always been a friend to our people. So it must have been the eagle that let the boys grab hold of him and he carried them safely back to their village.”
“Yeah? So why are you telling me this?”
“To let you know that the Sioux have been to the top of that rock and back down again. Wakan Tanka made it so. No white man has been there.”

You Can Make A Difference

One Lady Who Made A Difference

Don’t ever think because you are only one person that you can’t make a difference because you can, and this lady did.
Her husband, Charlie, told her to forget about it. To let it go she would only be riling up the neighbors and nobody would do anything anyway. Nobody cares.
But she couldn’t let it go. It was too horrific; all the blood. It made her shudder just thinking about it. That was two years ago and since that day, she reached out to people of all economic and social strata of society.
She adroitly cultivated many contacts, from school children to businessmen and politicians gathering information to lead the fight. It was a lot of work but it was passionate work and now…
The sun was beginning to rise over the Nevada Mountains as the diminutive woman limped with determination out her front door in Reno. The limp was leftover from a bout with childhood polio that left her crippled. Her purse hung from her left shoulder and in her right hand was a briefcase filled with all the documents she had gathered over the past two years. Her job as an executive secretary gave her the skills needed to put together the multitude of facts and evidence into the organized presentation that she hoped would right a wrong, a wrong that, for years, nothing had been done about; but she was determined to change that today.
She was scheduled to give her presentation that morning in Storey County, Nevada. She had no idea that she was about to set off a firestorm of hatred, scorn, and threats against her that would last her lifetime by the very people she was about to speak to.
As she arrived at the meeting, she was greeted by her boss, Gordon Harris, a Reno insurance executive.
“Hi, Velma, I want you to meet someone, State Senator James Slattery. Senator, this is the lady I was telling you about, Velma Johnston. She’s an incredible young woman and I think you will find what she is about to say very interesting.”
“Pleased to me you, Velma. Aren’t you one of Joseph Bronn’s kids?”
“Yessir, I’m his oldest. I have lived here all my life. He and my mother brought me out here in a covered wagon. I crossed the desert as an infant and was kept alive on mustang mare milk. Many of the horses my father used in his freighting service were mustangs.”
“Well, I’ll be. Your daddy was a good man. I look forward to hearing what you have put together.”
As Velma walked down the aisle to the podium where she would give her presentation, the men in the audience began to jeer her and finally one redneck rancher who looked like he was chewing on a golf ball, rolled his chaw of chewing tobacco to the other cheek and spit into a cup, before yelling out to his friends and fellow ranchers, “Well look it here boys, here comes Wild Horse Annie.”
Catcalls and laughter echoed throughout the hall before the county commission chairman was able to call everyone to order.
What started out as a divisive sobriquet became a rallying cry for her supporters and she wore it with pride for the rest of her life.
As it turned out, she was forceful and compelling as a public speaker and was able to charm and inspire others as she delivered her message about the indiscriminate slaughter and brutalization of America’s living legends, the mustang horse.
She fought for years to preserve the wild horses on the public lands in Western states. They and the burros were threatened by ranchers or others wanting to kill them for pet food.
It all began in 1950, as she left her office she noticed something that didn’t seem right; blood pouring out of the back of a stock trailer as it drove down the highway. She got into her car and followed it and it wasn’t long before she realized it was crammed full of wild horses destined for a pet food slaughterhouse. When they opened the trailer door to let out all the horses, she saw a yearling being trampled to death There and then she decided to expose this to the public eye.
In the mid-1900’s, massive wild horse and burro roundups were taking place on the Western public lands. These roundups involved airplanes flown by WWII pilots. They operated in conjunction with truck drivers and were aided by cowboys with lassoes and heavy truck tires. The 1961 movie, “The Misfits,” directed by John Huston and starring Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Cliff, and Eli Wallach, who played a former World War II aviator named Guido Racanelli, depicted these brutal gatherings.
Velma Johnston led the drive in 1959 when Congress passed a bill to prohibit planes and trucks from rounding up the animals and it was through her hard work and dedication, that thousands of people of all ages became advocates for the wild horses. Congress received more letters on this issue than any other, save the Vietnam War.
Her testimony before Congress led to the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (P.L. 92-195) which was unanimously passed and signed into law in 1971. This gave the wild horses and burros protection on BLM and Forest Service lands “where found” at the time of the passage of the Act in 303 areas.
She was president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros and of Wild Horse Organized Assistance Inc. She also wrote her autobiography, “Mustang—Wild Spirit of the West.”

In 1973, she played herself in the Western, “Running Wild” starring alongside  Lloyd Bridges and Dina Merrill.
It was true that her efforts touched off controversy. Ranchers said that the wild horses were destroying grazing lands for domesticated animals. In 1974, she received a warning from an Idaho vigilante group, but she took the threat lightly and hung it on her wall of mementos, saying: “There aren’t too many people who have been threatened by vigilantes in the 1970’s.”
At the roundups of wild horses by the Bureau of Land Management, Wild Horse Annie was often present to assure that the horses were not harmed. And once captured, she led an adoption program to find homes for the animals.
Wild Horse Annie received a public service award in 1972 from Rogers C. B. Morton, Secretary of the Interior, for her fight on behalf of the horses. Her death was apparently caused by cancer.
So, when someone says to you, “You are only one person, you can’t make a difference.”
Just go out and show them, like little Wild Horse Annie did!

“They ran
 like they were running
 through the winds of time 
past the dry river gulch
 where the waters once 
ran swift and deep
 and many tribes camped
 along her banks
 and the children played
 and the deer and elk grazed
 they ran 
free and wild and 
with no idea that 
it would ever 
change.”
~ Michael Traveler, author of Postcards from the Past