Friday, November 26, 2010

Is Mitch Crazy or What?

The other day my brother Mitch got this crazy, horribly dangerous idea into his head. Sure, his horse Chase is fast (even faster than Taffy), but Mitch bragged that Chase is faster than even the Iron Horse. (That's the name for a train in the 1800s). 

So Mitch saddled up Chase and headed out to meet the 4:40 train that was due in to Fresno one afternoon. He rode way out, so he could catch it before it reached the railroad crossing. The road crosses the tracks at the crossing, and Mitch said he could beat the train there and cross the tracks before the train did. I couldn't bear to watch, because I thought it was a stupid idea, actually. I have three brothers, but even at that, I can't afford to lose Mitch. If I did, who would take my side during all my arguments with Chad?

But all's well that ends well. Mitch took his friend Peter with him to back his story up (and maybe drag him out of trouble if it came to that), and Peter said Mitch beat that ol' Iron Horse by 20 yards, if not more.

Well, 20 yards doesn't seem like too big of a lead if you ask me. Not when that black, metal beast was traveling at 30 miles an hour! And here I thought that I was the crazy, impulsive one of the family. I wouldn't try that trick on Taffy . . . not for all the gold in California.

*NOTE* 
(The American Quarter Horse is the king of speed. In fact, racing American Quarter Horses have been clocked at nearly 50 mph as they cross the finish line.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Yokut Indians

When I was out riding around the foothills the other day, I came across an old, abandoned Indian dwelling. Right away it reminded me of the afternoon I spent with the Yokut Indians when I was about six years old. What a scary time! I was scared to death of Indians . . . mostly because my friend Riley had read me this scary, scary book (called a dime novel) about Indians capturing people.

Then, we ended up getting lost in the middle of the ranch (after all, I was just a little kid), and two Indian boys showed up from behind some bushes! I was so scared, I started crying. Then worse! An Indian man showed up. There were Indians everywhere!
Come to find out, these Indians were the Yokuts, a peaceful, kind people. Riley and I ended up having a great time playing with the other children, eating acorn mush, and spending the night in a hut that looked just like the one above. The next day, the Yokut man, Lum-pa, took Riley and me home.

I promised my new Yokut friend, Choo-nook, that I would come back and see her again. And I did a few times. But I haven't seen her for a couple of years now, and I wonder if they moved. I know that a lot of white people were after the Yokuts (can you believe there was a $5.00 bounty on their heads? That means if they were KILLED, the killer got $5.00!). I find that horrible! No wonder they were hiding on our ranch, like Father suggested they do years and years ago.

I sure hope Choo-nook and her family are all right. I hope nobody found them.

But I wonder . . .


Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Special Spot



I finally found the perfect picture of my "special spot" up by the creek. This is it. Right by that big ol' oak tree. This is the fishing spot, where Cory and I fish for trout. Surrounded by hot, dry range land, my creek is usually a cool, refreshing place to play and rest, even in the summer. (Well, I have to admit, maybe it's not quite this green in August). But in the early spring, it can't be beat. I come up here when I want to be alone (like after I get yelled at by my bossy brother, Chad), or want to think, or want to splash and cool off. And that oak tree is a great climbing tree, by the way.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find this creek nearly dry one October day not so long ago. And can you just see some poor, half-dead fellow lying face down in the mud in the middle of this creek? Well, that was an adventure that is hard to forget. You can read all about it in Andrea Carter and the Family Secret.

If you have a special place for thinking or "getting away from it all," leave a comment and tell me about it!