Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Dog Days

The white man slows his horse and nervously enters the village. All is deathly still. Suspense fills the air. Indians emerge from their teepees and stand silently. They wonder who this stranger is. They marvel at his manly bravery. Quietly they watch as he passes. All is silence. Finally, the white stranger reaches the chief's tent. Dismounting, the rider is greeted by the chief who stands patiently waiting. The men look into each others eyes. After a few calm words, the two quietly enter the teepee for a pow wow.

That's generally the standard version in every movie I have ever seen. Looks good. Very dramatic. Very romantic. Unfortunately, it's bosh.

How did it really unroll? Here's what a Nineteenth-Century reporter for the New York Herald encountered when he and a friend entered a Comanche camp one day:

Our advent was duly announced by a drove of snarling, snapping curs, of all sizes, colors and conditions. Two great clubs with which we had provided ourselves beforehand alone prevented a complete rout....Our movements, however, were most cautiously performed by backing in the direction we wished to proceed and thus preventing a dash on our heels. The noise of our approach as developed by the dogs, started a few old squaws who came out of their lodges, and by giving vent to a few gutturals completely silenced the growling storm....

This is how another white man described his entry into another Indian camp:

After making our way through the midst of hundreds of dogs, everyone of which appeared to exert his vocal and explosive powers to the utmost, filling the air with...the most horrid din of snaps, snarls, yelps, growls, and howls...we found a convenient place for lariating our ponies and mule....We then proceeded to the lodge of...the head chief...being escorted by most if not all the dogs in the community, still continuing their deafening clamor, and crowding upon us to the degree that we had to keep them off with clubs....

Damn! I mean like it ain’t bad enough facing hundreds of Indians who might shoot you full of arrows with just one wrong move . . . but first you have to fight your way with a club through packs of "snarling, snapping curs." All this is way more than enough for me to ask myself: "Is this trip really necessary?"

The next Cowboy & Indian movie you watch, look for the dogs and clubs. Bet you don't see them, but if you do let me know.

Lots of motorcyclists thundering to the big biker bar in the sky lately.  And yes, most seem to involve they who have filled their already gross guts with gallons of brewsky, then, on the ride home, they imagine they are Evil Knieval.  Still, all in all, considering that virtually every other vehicle on a Florida road is a big noisy bike, perhaps the “harvest” of Harley riders is not so surprising. 

And then, just down the coast a bit, we have fatalities like the following:

CAPE CORAL, Fla. - A Cape Coral man in was killed last night in an bizarre accident that happened in his driveway.

Cape Coral police say 87-year-old Jose Banderas pulled his 2009 Dodge Caravan into the driveway of his home in the 1800 block of Southwest 45th Lane.  His wife Marcella, 83, was riding in the passenger seat.

Police say Banderas parked the van, got out it and went to the rear of the vehicle to retrieve some peronal belongings. 

While opening the hatch the van went into reverse trapping Banderas under the vehicle, killing him.

Other than the brevity of this report, and the painful typos, the item that catches my attention foremost is “how does the vehicle suddenly slip into reverse?”  I wonder if, following an argument, “someone” did not help the vehicle slip into reverse?  Also, old and slow and she was, why did not Marcella take the wheel and drive it off poor Jose, for god’s sake?