Greenery

2016-01-26Greenery1515

There have been cards and letters arriving daily from readers all over the place, but mostly from those that are buttocks deep in snow and cold. Some have been angry. “Do something about this weather you ….. ” Some have been sad. “Please I beg of you change the weather, please” this one had actual tear drops on the email. Some have been depressed. “I’ve been on hold for two and a half hours. Don’t they man these suicide hotlines anymore. Are you going to do anything about this weather, ok nevermind. I’ll take care of it.” We tried to reach this individual right away but his line was busy. If you ever feel this strongly about the weather immediately move to Belize or maybe Costa Rica. It doesn’t snow there, ever. It’s always nice and they have monkeys.

The reason we get these letters is because we have a weather modification machine  that we can use to create desirable weather for those people we like, but unfortunately the Tuff Shed we store it in was damaged by a wind-driven snow storm and one of the unbreakable panels fell on the machine and broke the rare European 12AT7/ECC81 Vacuum tube that sat on the top of the machine. Of course it is critical to its function and we can not change any weather without it. RadioShack is out of them and is waiting on a backorder. Apparently there has been a run on these tubes as others who have weather modification machines in their garage or wherever have suffered damage to their machines as well. The tubes are made by a small family run company in Czechoslovakia which we understand has been split into two countries, Left Czechoslovakia and Right Czechoslovakia, so we don’t even know where to send them our order. We apologize for any inconvenience but this how modern commerce works today. Don’t blame us, blame “Just in Time Inventory control” we have nothing to do with that.

A few of us were sitting around the small compact nuclear reactor that we use to power many of The Institutes needs, just pressing the bottoms of our feet against its sides where it is the warmest and talking about being warm. That little dark-haired woman we call SK was acting silly and pressing her butt up against the sides of the reactor on a dare and the conversation turned to what it was like when you were a kid and wanted comforting.

One of the PhD’s who was putting ointment on a particularly bad burn on the soles of his feet, who is old but can still remember stuff, talked about how he liked to crawl into someone’s lap when he was younger, preferably a bigger woman like his mom or an aunt, or the neighbor lady who liked to come over just because she liked him crawling into her lap. It was back in the days before PC or political correctness became the law and you could say big, or heavy, or even fat if you knew the person real good and she didn’t get mad at you for saying it. He said he liked the warmth and softness of them and how he could wiggle until he felt just right and sometimes he would even fall asleep.

None of us thought he was too weird but then Ethan, the new intern that we use to change the fuel rods in the reactor, said he would like to get naked and squidgle down into the leaves in the picture above. Wrap up in them and feel how warm they were. The sun would make them feel like big soft green marshmallows and it would feel so good that maybe he just wouldn’t be able to stand it. We all thought that Ethan should have a  short break from fuel rod duty, maybe get in to the clinic to see what could be done about all of his hair loss. After he wandered off to find his lead-lined gloves we all talked about the green in the picture. How it seemed like you could fall into the green and just roll around on it. It had to be warm, like human skin warm, to get that green.

It certainly is not the same as summer but gathering around the heat source of your choice and looking at pictures that warm your soul if not your body seems like a good way to spend your long winter day. We’d write more but Ethan just jerked open the reactor door to change one of the fuel rods so we had to go out and wait in the hall for him to finish. It seems like it is taking him longer and longer to complete what should be a simple chore. OK then, Stay warm.

If you insist on knowing more about our weather modification program perhaps the following posts may help you.

http://www.bigshotsnow.com/bad-weather-day/

http://www.bigshotsnow.com/thors-revenge/

The Institute and The Incredible Role It plays In Horticultural Stuff Yesterday Today And Tomorrow

2016-01-25PurplePeas6742

We, The Institute, have been accused and nearly slandered by some people out there who ask us outright “What do you do with all that incredible grant money you don’t get from the United States government? Do you waste it? Do you use it for immoral purposes? (I can’t believe they would ask us that us that so I won’t dignify that with a response) Do you ever use it for horticulturaly enriching the lives of the citizens and taxpayers of this great country of ours? And so on.

Well we take great umbrage at those people who ask us stuff like that and if we were vindictive we’d wish that all of them would perish in great huge awful pain from like a space explosion or falling into a volcano, or having to sit through a few of those caucuses that are happening right now, but we’re not, so we’ll answer one of those questions.

We’ve chosen the question directed at the horticultural aspect of our work here at The Institute. The Institute’s vast land holdings in other countries and even here on The Institute’s grounds are filled to the brim with every type of horticultural experiment, both good and bad, that you could possibly imagine plus some more to boot that you couldn’t think of in, like, a million years.

Let’s just take one example of an incredible horticultural breakthrough that has been made by our team of dedicated, underfed and misused technicians, groundskeepers and PhD’s that are the backbone of our horticultural pogrom here at The Institute. This is our latest patented, trademarked, copyrighted, DNA controlled, addition to the Pea family, “The Purple Pea ™” patent not pending due to forgetting to apply but will soon, maybe, plus © in Panama, the Iberian peninsula, and China, the not communist part.

What makes The Purple Pea ™ so unique? It’s coloring for one. It’s purple. All other inferior peas are green and always will be no matter how long you cook them. When your children’s children are playing “Kill ’em All ver. 6.8.7” on their Xboxes on Ganymede those boring peas will still be green. Our Purple Peas™ will be purple, and Royal Purple as well. Why? Because purple is the color of Royalty and if you have to eat peas why not feel good about it. Purple will also distinguish them from the other tasteless, odorless, bland but boring vegetables on your plate.

Another benefit of Purple Peas ™ is the ease with which they can be harvested. Plain government funded peas have to be harvested by someone bending over and pulling the individual pea pod from the lowly bush it is attached to. This is hard. Many Americans simply refuse to do it. “Let them rot.” they say “I’m not bending over.” So other individuals must be found, sometimes at a very low rate of cost, to harvest the nation’s peas. This seems un-American. Or maybe just wrong. We don’t know. Here at The Institute we try to stay out of politics if we can. (Except for saying don’t vote for that one comb-over guy who looks and acts like Mussolini).

With our new improved Purple Peas ™ the harvesting is so simple even politicians could do it if they really had to work for a living. The peas grow on a tree at eye level so that no bending over is required, which may improve our unemployment numbers because real Americans could be put back to work harvesting Purple Peas™ at a huge rate of cost. According to our resident economists, who have issued a policy statement regarding lowering our unemployment rates, that states and we quote, “That would be good.”.

Here’s how it works. The Purple Pea™ trees bear the pods and as the pods grow they turn purple which is an aid to recognizing them, and soon become stuffed to their very seams with bright round, very Purple Peas™. At just the right moment these pods unfurl  in a corkscrew manner, allowing the Purple Peas™ within them to roll along the side of the pod gaining speed and burnishing themselves to a lovely shade of Royal Purple. Harvesting is as simple as placing a pot or pan or 55 gal drum under the flow of cascading Purple Peas™ and stand back. Watching the pots and pans fill up and seeing them be collected for shipment here and abroad is a pure joy. The most difficult part of the harvest is standing in a place where one doesn’t get hit in the eye by one of these Purple Peas™ rocketing off the pod into the harvesting vessel.

One of the niggling little problems of our new and improved Purple Peas™ is getting people in the United States accustomed to the taste of the new pea variety. Unfortunately they taste like eight day old scallops and have the consistency of previously chewed earth worms. Our taste tests in sub-Saharan desert countries have not indicated this to be a problem, but their diet is different from what we here in the states are used to. This is preventing us from getting approval from the Food and Drug  Administration to sell these on the open market but thankfully that has not affected our road side stands or food fair operations.

So rest assured The Institute is still tirelessly at work developing new strains of most of our common foodstuffs and hope to have new and colorful products out soon. Watch for our patent not pending, copyrighted, trademarked, Purple Peas™ at a food venue near you.

 

That Third Barrel – Blackfeet NAID Rodeo Barrel Racing

This post has been moved to OpenChutes.com. All future postings of Powwows, Indian Relay Races, Rodeos and Rendezvous will be posted there from now on exclusively. So if you’re looking for new images and posts for all those events attended this year, plus all the old posts posted on BigShotsNow.com check out OpenChutes.com. See you there!

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4812

One of the more interesting competitions in a rodeo is the barrel racing. This is especially true at the annual Blackfeet rodeo during their NAID (North American Indian Days) get together. This is an event where the women participants shine. It takes skill, a good mount, a little bit of luck and a willing motivated rider and horse to win.

The horse and rider need to be as one to excel at this event as it takes a special communication between them to run this simple appearing course without causing any errors. Errors result in penalties, and a penalty adds time to their final result. Lowest time for completing the course wins. This is a chance to see perfection in both the efforts of the horse and the skill of the rider.

The course is laid out with the barrels placed at the three points of a triangle, with the base of triangle being the entry point. The rider enters and heads for barrel number one which is at the right point of the triangle base as she enters and crosses the starting line. She circles it and heads for barrel number two which is at the left of the triangle. She circles that one and heads for barrel number three which is at the point of the triangle farthest away from the entry point. This is where things get really interesting not to mention exciting. If the rider has had a successful ride to this point, which means she has circled the first two barrels without knocking any of them over causing her a penalty, she must circle this last barrel as fast as she and her mount can get around it, always being careful not to knock it over, then she and her horse must accelerate out of the turn and race like the very wind to the finish line.

Watching them come out of that last turn with the horse leaning into the corner nearly parallel with the ground and the rider leaning over her horse’s neck encouraging her mount to put everything it has into the race over the long straight away to the finish line, is about as exciting for participants and onlookers as it gets.

Here are a few images of riders and their mounts at various points during the event. These have been chosen primarily to show the form of both the rider and her horse. The skill of the horse in making these tight turns and the skill of the riders in guiding it through the event.

 

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4798

Rider coming into Barrel one. Tight turn, get close but miss the barrel.

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4721

Bad luck. This rider knocked over the barrel so seconds are added to her score. It is hard to recover from a penalty as far as getting a winning score. But everyone who completes a run is a winner. They just may not be in first place.

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4826

A young rider and her horse coming out of barrel number two. This event is open to all ages, and they start young here in Blackfeet land.

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4801

A rider and her mount coming ‘hot’ into the last and final barrel, barrel three. Have to hit it hard to get ready for the final run to the finish line.

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4767

Ploughing hard into barrel three. Horse is skidding hard to make the turn. The rider is focusing on the finish line.

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4833

Riding like the wind. Manes on both horse and rider flying as they rush into the turn. This is poetry in motion. If you love a beautiful horse and seeing the skill of its rider as both perform to their utmost, then this is an event for you.

2016-01-24NAIDbarrelRacing4851

” I know you don’t want to hear this but I’ve got the best time in this event. That means that my rider and I win. That means extra hay, and OATS. And rubbed down every night for a week. And I get loaded in the trailer first. Every time we go somewhere. What was your time? Oh I’m sorry, is this bruise from hitting that barrel in turn one? Did I mention that we are the winners?”

Some winners are a little less gracious than they could be, but after all winning is a big deal to the horse so you might forgive a little gloating. Especially if the one you’re gloating over won last week. This is a fun event and exciting to watch and even more so if you have a beer bet on your favorite rider and horse partners.

 

 

Looking For Mr GoodGrouse

2016-01-21 Grouse0864

Apparently there has been a tipping  of the scales up in Yellowstone as far as the ratio of female grouse relative to male grouse. The cause of this is so far unknown but the effects are not. Back in the swinging sixties and surreal seventies there were like 27 male grouse to every female grouse and the ladies had their pick of the littler, or the flock as it were. Now the situation has reversed itself and the ratio has swung heavily to the right. And in the mating game it seems like every female is out looking for Mr. GoodGrouse.

Unfortunately this leads to a situation where the females of the species tend to take more and more risks to find a mate. They begin frequenting seedier and seedier nightspots looking for that one chance to find happiness and a future that leads to eggs and chicks and a warm stable nest to raise them in. The tawdrier the bar the lower the chances are of finding a good strong mate that knows where the best seed places are and has a willingness to stay close to the nest to provide the protection the family needs. But desperation overrules caution and common sense and poor decisions are made.

This young female grouse, Ms. Terry Done Flutterfoot has just left a very rough seedmill called The Cracked Shell that makes even the dating section on Craigslist look safe, where she met an unsavory character named Stoney the Nair Wingdrop. Stoney has a bad rep around a place where bad reps are as common as implants at an Adult Film starlets’ sleepover. He has promised to show her a place in the brush nearby where the nest sites are plentiful and the seeds last way into late March. What she doesn’t know and will probably never realize is that Stoney has an arrangement with several of the human bird hunters that lurk around the edges of this rough countryside and for a 10 lb. bag of wild bird seed will deliver a fresh young grouse where the hunters dogs will soon flush her out into the open and at the mercy of their double-barreled 20 gauge shotguns.

What you see above is where Terry suddenly realizes that not only has she not been told the truth, she has been put in grave mortal danger. Her disappointment at being misled is just dawning on her as she hears for the first time the sound of dogs bursting through the brush intent on locating her. She recognizes her betrayal but believes her flight will save her. She is unprepared for the sound of the shotgun as she clears the tops of the sage and mountain mahogany.

This is a sad tale to be sure, but all too true as it points out the risks of looking for love in all the wrong places.

A Wolf By Any Other Name…

2016-01-18wolf6366

*The Institute is known for many things. We are a world-wide phenomenon that not only carries out complex, some say irresponsible experiments, but we also look at current and age-old conventions that litter the scientific community like political lawn signs the day after the election. These are mostly losers signs as the winners pick theirs up right away as souvenirs but the losers, already out of cash from shooting their wad trying to win, leave theirs up until someone files a public nuisance charge against them. But that’s neither here nor there right now. We just mention it because nobody likes a loser.

One of the oldest procedures the scientific community has is the naming of stuff. It doesn’t matter if that stuff is already named, they name it again with special scientific nomenclature that nobody but them and a few nerds who took Latin in high school understand. This is why they can get the big bucks when someone asks “What the hell is That?”, with “That” being anything the asker doesn’t know about.

This is how they keep their knowledge from the general run of the mill people who never went to college, or if they did, didn’t study, and how they maintain an almost impenetrable clique of smart guys. So to make it even harder for normal people to join their ranks they developed a way to name things that only they understood, so when they used this new naming language the regular guys just kind of stared at them blankly and had to ask ” uh, what does that mean?’ thereby giving the scientific guys all the power and the ability to laugh at the poor unwashed who appeared to be really dumb. Which of course they wielded unmercifully.

Soon with all these Latin names attached to everything, you didn’t know if you had picked up a spoon or a platypus because you no longer had a name that you recognized. You had to give the scientific community something, like money or chickens, to be able to get the right word for spoon so you could eat whatever gruel you had for supper that night. This has gone on for years.

Take this wolf in the picture above for instance. We had to fight tooth and nail to get the word Wolf back in general usage, ripping it away from the scientific community who wanted you to call it Canis lupus and berated, ostracized and ridiculed anyone who said ‘wolf’ without going through them first. Uncaring of the hardship this placed on the little people who had to say things like “Looks like the Canis lupus ate little Everett last night. Oh woe are us” or the shepherd who upon seeing wolves attacking his sheep had to run to the village screaming “Canis lupus, Canis lupus they are eating the sheep!” Actually it was worse that that as the sheep had been renamed Ovis aries and by the time they had found one of the smart guys and got all that sorted there weren’t any sheep left. Nothing but a few hooves and that small bell one of them wore around his neck. Even that had tooth marks on it.

Well, what the scientific community didn’t know, but is quickly finding out, is that we have some of those smart guys here at The Institute too. We got ’em because they got their nose out of joint at some important scientific meeting where everybody else laughed at their presentation and told them they were dorks and imbeciles for even bringing up such drivel. So we got them. Cheap too. They couldn’t wait to get back at all of those really smart guys who thought they were so much smarter because their presentations actually made sense and weren’t nuts.

We immediately put them to work deciphering all of the arcane hard to understand names that are in use just to keep normal people stupid and ashamed of their ignorance. A lot of these guys we hired pretty much knew Latin, at least enough that we could get a lot of the simple names translated. Ones like, cat which in Latin is  Felis silvestris catus, or Orangutan which is also in Latin and is Borneo or Sumatran Orangutan. To give you just a small example of how the public has been duped, and put at risk, the Orangutan has been classified, in Latin of course, the language of those smarter than you, Ponginae, Gigantopithecus including the largest known primate Gigantopithecus blacki. See what we mean? How are you going to get all that out if you’re calling Animal Control because you have one in your backyard. They’re just going to hang up on you and you’ll be left to fend for yourself, Orangutan-wise.

The Institute has decided enough is enough. We are going to give the power back to the people as far as naming stuff goes. If you know something by some name like maybe Lawnmower, which is Mower Ridingicus Searsii in Latin, you just call it lawnmower, forget all that Latin crap, or calling  Names R Us for the proper Latin name and getting charged big on your Visa. Think of the freedom you’ll have from the tyranny of the Scientific World. Think of the money you’ll save from just hollering out “Hey Orang! Get outa my yard!” That’s the kind of work we do here at The Institute. Bringing back Power To The People. And as always, this is free to you our readers, so Remember, We’re The Institute and we’re here to help.

PS If you have have been stuck using some difficult Latin name for something and you want the real actual name people use, send it to us via email and we’ll put some of our smarter guys on it. They’re just kind of sitting around doing nothing since they’ve got a lot of  the simple names translated. We have to feed and take care of these guys so they should be doing some thing useful.

* Note: For those of you unfamiliar with The Institute and what it does, please see the page labeled The Institute on the Menu Bar above. That should explain everything. You shouldn’t have one single question remaining regarding The Institute after reading it. None. For those of you favored few who already know about the Institute, Nevermind.

More Cowbell

MoreCowbell0503

OK we all got that it is freakin’ winter. We get the cold. We get the snow. We get frostbite. We get that it has to be grey with no color showing. We get it. The lack of color is probably the worst part of winter. The grey of the sky and the dirty white of the snow becomes the monotone of our existence, we almost forget what color looks like.

This situation reminds me of a time back in April of 2000 when Blue Oyster Cult was having a tough time reentering the music business as megastars. They had recorded a song called “Don’t Fear The Reaper” that was promising. It had a good beat, you could dance to it. It was pert not to mention sassy. It had good rhythm and made you tap your foot to it. But it was missing something. You noticed it right off. “Damn that’s a great tune but it’s missing something” was a comment heard around many a water cooler.  Fortunately Christopher Walken was there to save the day.

According to Saturday Night Live (SNL) Christopher Walken brought the band into their studio and immediately figured out what the song was missing. Cowbell. It needed more cowbell to bring it into gold record territory, make that Platinum territory. Fortunately Will Farrell was up to the task and added the needed cowbell and more. Soon the song was off the charts, and Blue Oyster Cult was saved from a life of oblivion.

When you look outside right now, go ahead and look we’ll  wait, you’ll see nothing but shades of grey. It’s lacking something, just like “Don’t Fear The Reaper” was missing something. No it’s not Cowbell, but if cowbell were color that would be what it was missing. So I guess it if the concept is the same you could exchange cowbell for color or color for cowbell and it would work.

So that ‘s what I did this morning. I took an old black and white image that had turned mostly to grey and I added color. Then I added more color and kept adding it until there was enough cowbell, if you get what I mean. Looking at it made me feel a lot better. I looked back outside and it was still grey so I came back and looked at this image some more. I gotta tell ya, I feel a lot better. I think this could work for you too. If you’re just, like sick, and I mean sick, of this time of year, spend sometime looking at this picture. Or get a picture of your own. Make sure it’s got plenty of color in it. Stare at it a lot and soon I’ll bet you’ll be hearing Cowbells. I know I do.

P.S. if you’re still fuzzy on the whole cowbell thing watch this skit from SNL and it’ll make more sense. Maybe. Here’s the link https://vimeo.com/55624839

Fannie Polokowski

2016-01-15PaintedLady6153

Down near the Sangre de Cristo mountains in what would become Huerfano county, there was a small creek that ran out onto the plains. The creek had several names. Dead snake creek. Molly’s disaster. Coldwater. The name changed as often as new people arrived. Since much of this area hadn’t even been officially mapped you could name things any name you wanted. If you put up a wooden sign that made it even more official.

Where the creek came down from the mountainside there was a nice little valley. It was flat enough you could put tents up and nearby there were plenty of trees so you could have firewood handy and even make enough lumber from the small sawmill Lee Osgood brought with him from Northern Wisconsin. Soon a few rough sheds got stood up back off the creek aways. As time went on and the creek began to yield a little color more buildings were put up and it almost began to look like a little town.

It was about this time that a small family named Karl and Fannie Polokowski moved to the camp, which was then called Deadman’s Laughter after an incident where Ben Collins, the town drunk, stabbed a man named Jessimire Craigson to death in a fight over a bottle of Mescal. Mr. Craigson lingered for nearly three days and the sounds he made were close to what a man laughing would make, except much higher pitched almost woman-like. It was eerie and for several years after people would say they could hear Jessimire Craigson screaming in the night. Although that was almost for certain the wind coming down off the Sangre de Cristo mountains.

The Polokowski’s came to town in an old wagon weighted down with all kinds of farming implements as Karl had the idea he could farm some and provide the camp with fresh vegetables for a nice tidy profit. Unfortunately he hadn’t researched the area and didn’t know that it rarely rained here in what is the high desert, and the stream didn’t flow strong enough in the summer after the snow melt had run off to do much good for irrigation. After crop after crop failed he wound up selling most of his equipment to the local blacksmith who refashioned it into what ever the miners needed in the way of tools.

Fannie meanwhile took in washing and did some sewing and generally tried to help bring in some income to supplement the meager family income. It was 1887 that year and Karl thought he could go back to Wisconsin and convince a couple of his brothers to move out here and maybe they would build houses as there were plenty of miners but no builders around. The camp was getting bigger, what with families moving there and now there were kids and they needed a school, and a church, and all sorts of  buildings so Karl ever the optimist set out to bring his brothers back.

There were still a few remnants of the Cheyenne and Arapaho’s around. Those that didn’t get scattered or killed as the settlers moved in. They lived off the land as they always had and were never in one place twice so they didn’t get rounded up and shipped off somewhere like the others. They were mostly friendly and easy to get along with as long as you didn’t give them any whiskey which of course Karl did, and as the night progressed they finished off the three bottles that Karl had with him and they finished off Karl too.

A couple of month’s went by and Fannie didn’t hear anything from Karl. She wrote a couple of letters to Karl’s brother Albert but he wrote back saying Karl never got there. It began to look grim for Fannie as she was nearly destitute and Karl’s brothers weren’t very forthcoming with money for her to come home. It soon dawned on Fannie that she was alone and would have to fend for herself. It was during this blackest of times for her that she began entertaining gentlemen callers. Things began a dramatic change for the better financially as she had to ask her friends for a dollar when they visited, but she didn’t do as well emotionally. She didn’t like the fact that she had to make her way through this life as a woman who took money from men. She began to sink into a deep depression and it only got worse as the winter dragged on.

It was a long about the first of March when the influenza hit the camp and it was a terrible time. Some of Fannies visitors were coughing and it wasn’t long before Fannie was too. One of her frequent visitors was the camp Doctor, one H.K. Atkinson, and after seeing how ill Fannie was left her a bottle of Laudanum, however he neglected to tell her what the dosage was, or if he did she didn’t pay attention, and she quickly downed the entire bottle. She was found the next morning.

It was a sad funeral being as it was hard digging in the camp cemetery that first week in march, the ground wasn’t even thawed good yet, and some of the local towns women raised a fuss about her being buried in the cemetery at all, next to good folk as it were, but they got that all settled by burying her way in the back, right on the fence line and only put up a wooden marker instead of a stone. Most of the town turned out and stood under the gray skies, feeling the brunt of the cold easterly wind and listened to the preacher say his words over her. He didn’t mention of course that he used to visit Fannie. There’s something deep down terrible about being laid to rest in that cold ground. It’s a wonder that a bodies soul could ever find peace wandering that bleak landscape. Some of the good towns women felt it was proper seeing as how she made her living, but then there’s always women like that. Even some men.

In a fit of ironically bad luck Albert and his wife Missielou, Karl’s brother and sister-in-law, arrived mid-June to take Fannie back with them to Wisconsin. Missielou had been after Albert all year about leaving Fannie out there all on her own and how they should do what the bible said and look after kin, even if it wasn’t by blood. So they planned this trip to surprise Fannie and bring her home. Too late, long, long too late. Missielou felt like they had sinned by not acting faster and berated Albert for not sending Fannie any money. Even Albert was worried he might have done damage to his soul by not being more helpful when Fannie had asked.

Albert and Missielou closed out Fannies cabin packing up what little was left after the good towns women has come down and helped themselves to the small amount of jewelry Fannie had collected. Strangely enough no one had taken Fannies prized lace-up boots. Fannie loved those boots as they were the ones Karl had bought for her before they left home to come out here. Apparently the local women had feet that were too big for them so they left them. Supposedly it was bad luck to wear dead peoples shoes anyway. Something about always walking in bad luck. But for sure, one of those women would have chanced that bad luck if those boots had fit. So Missielou packed them up for her daughter Beegee, who was about that size and took them back home with her.

Time went on as is it wont, and soon the creek gave out completely and no one saw any color for weeks, then months. The miners left and the town dwindled until one day a roaring wildfire feeding on the sage and rabbitbrush, swept through the buildings until nothing was left but the stones they used to set the building corners on. Temple, as the camp was now known, ceased to exist. The fire consuming everything in it path, burned over the cemetery, scorching the stones of the good people, and consuming all the wooden markers of the lesser folks, the drunks, the layabouts, some of the other women who entertained men that came after Fannie died. All but one that is. For some unknown reason Fannie’s wooden marker was only burnt a little where it stuck out of the ground. You could still read the writing on it real good. Fannie Polokowski A Friend To The Community 1874-1901 and that was that. The story of a small town and the story of a young woman gone. Alive now only in memories and maybe in that small wooden marker if it’s still there.