Friday, May 25, 2007

It's amazing how great it is just to get out of town, isn't it?

I find putting hundreds of miles between me and my routine incredibly restorative, and moreso when I'm someplace familiar that feels uniquely my own. I feel that way in Arkansas. And Arizona. And the Panhandle. And in London, believe it or not. And I always end up feeling I've got to do that more often.

We did go to see Mary at her farm, but we didn't stay very long. Her husband has been having some health problems and didn't seem to feel very well. Their small cattle farm is lovely, and they have a porch overlooking a meadow with meadowlarks calling from the trees. I felt I could have just moved in and never come back to Dallas. The day was unspeakably lovely.

Mary went to high school with Mom, and her grandfather was a Texas Ranger from the era of the siege of Palo Duro Canyon. I thought our visit would be long enough to yield more stories, but we hurried home, so this one will have to suffice for now.

James' wife had been killed by Indians and he rode for days and days tracking them, ultimately killing them. Sometime well into the 20th century, there was a Pioneer Days celebration in Hereford where his family was settled. He was pretty long in the tooth at the time and still persnickety. He was told by his descendents that he was requested to appear in the parade along with other former Rangers and Indians of various extraction. When James heard there would be Indians there, he would not be dissuaded from bringing his rifle along with which to dispatch the Indians. His children wisely decided it would be best if he didn't go to the parade, after all.

Isn't it funny, though, to think of making a spectacle like a parade despite the enmity that must have existed between those groups? I mean, yeah, it was great that they recognized the old-timers of both factions, but if you think about it, it's sort of like expecting a mongoose and a cobra to play nice. Both sides had some serious hurts that ran deep and to which they were entitled. Strange to bring them out in public and do the stiff upper lip thing and not have anyone act like they got the poopy end of the stick.

One theme runs eternal throughout human affairs, though: people can make cobras and mongoose seem downright civil.


NotClauswitz said...

Better not go to any of the Hawaiian islands! :-)

FHB said...

It is amazing how they used to trot out the old chiefs for parades. I think the red river war, including the palo duro canyon thing, was in the 1870s. That the same one yer talkin' about?

phlegmfatale said...

dirtcrashr - You know, I'm pretty much not an island kind of gal, anyway...

fathairybastard - Yeah - one and the same. Yes, I suppose it never occurred to them that all parties might not find it an honor to be recognized in that way.