( ms )
When times were hard here in these Ouachita Mountains, my folks moved out West to work in the copper mines.
The small mining town where the open pit mine was, is no longer there. The mine swallowed it up. He, he, no, actually the town was relocated and the mine is so large it has taken in the whole area.
Luckily for me the town was located in the mountains, high desert mountains.
I just naturally continued to prowl the mountains with the curiosity of my youth. It always amazed me that my school mates had little in the way of outdoors skills. They couldn’t seem to care less about the coyote den at the base of “Tea pot Mountain”. Or the Javelina hogs in the mesquite thicket.
Anyways, when I was off in the US Navy, I wasn’t very good about writing home. Grandma worried about me and one time wrote a letter to the chaplain to see if I was alright.
During that time Grandma wrote the following about me. Here is a link to the poem:
It took quite some time for me to realize it, but Grandma had hung a handle on me that was to sure enough stick !
Burros were wild there and were often times considered a nuisance. It didn’t take me long to find an old jenny I called “rocking chair” that I could ride.
I would slip away from after school chores and homework to take a small treat to old rocking chair. Then, first thing I knew darkness would be fast aproaching and we would have to hurry home. Likely to a scolding for being out of “calling range”.
Rocking chair was my passport to many adventures. Grandma knew that and it is likely the reason for her refrence to the prospectors burro in the poem.
Years later I had Mules to continue prowling the Ouachita Mountains.
However the West had a way of calling to me, and from time to time I would take the mules West to prowl the mountains.
In this link the mule photos are taken in the Pecos Wilderness of New Mexico.
Most of the time while prowling the mountains I had a gun and a dog with me. The burro, the dog and a keen eye taught me many things about the outdoors. Today I don’t have a mule, or as keen of a eye, but the dog still has a few things to teach me as I continue to prowl the Ouachita Mountains.
I ain’t changed much.
Now a’ days the Ouachita mountains are a much more friendlier’ place to make a living, times aren’t so hard now.
Maybe I’ll make it untill I can walk out to the mail box on the rural free delivery route and pick up that brown check around the first of the month.
Life is great in the Ouachita Mountians.