Kit

Kit Perriman

SMOKE RINGS


January 27, 2020

Poem: The .38 (Ted Joans)

The .38

Ted Joans

38

I hear the man downstairs slapping the hell out of his stupid wife again
I hear him push and shove her around the overcrowded room
I hear his wife scream and beg for mercy
I hear the blows as they land on her beautiful body
I hear glasses and pots and pans falling
I hear her fleeing from the room
I hear them running up the stairs
I hear her outside my door
I hear him coming toward her outside my door
I hear her hands desperate on my door knob
I hear the blows of her head against my door
I hear him drag her down the stairs
I hear her head bounce from step to step
I hear them again in their room
I hear the loud smack across her face (I guess)
I hear her groans-then
I hear the eerie silence
I hear him open the top drawer of he bureau (the .38 lives there)
I hear the fast beat of my heart
I hear the drops of perspiration fall from my brow
I hear him yell I warned you
I hear him say damn you i warned you and now it’s too late
I hear the loud report of the thirty eight caliber revolver then
I hear it again and again the Smith and Wesson
I hear the bang bang bang of four death dealing bullets
I hear my heart beat faster and louder-then again
I hear the eerie silence
I hear him walk out of their overcrowded room
I hear him walk up the steps
I hear him come toward my door
I hear his hand on the doorknob
I hear the doorknob click
I hear the door slowly open
I hear him step into my room
I hear the click of the thirty eight before the firing pin hits the bullet
I hear the loud blast of the powder exploding in the chamber of the .38
I hear the heavy lead nose of the bullet swiftly cutting its way through the barrel of the .38
I hear it emerge into space from the .38
I hear the bullet of death flying toward my head the .38
I hear it coming faster than sound the .38
I hear it coming closer to my forehead the .38
I hear its weird whistle the .38
I hear it give off a steam like noise when it cuts through my sweat the .38
I hear it singe my skin as it enters my head the .38 and
I hear death saying, Hello, I’m here!



January 24, 2020

The Bowie Knife

The Bowie Knife

bowie-knife

“It must be long enough to use as a sword, sharp enough to use as a razor, wide enough to use as a paddle, and heavy enough to use as a hatchet.” (Russell T. Johnson)

The Bowie Knife was designed by Rezin Bowie in 1820 for his famous knife-fighting brother James “Jim” Bowie, who died at the Alamo.

It is usually 12 – 30 ” long, with a 5 – 24″ blade.  This fighting knife features a fixed sheath, a cross guard, and a clip point, which also makes it well- suited to hunting and butchering game.



January 23, 2020

Johnny Preston’s RUNNING BEAR

Running Bear

(J.P. Richardson)

Running Bear (Photo: Edwin S. Curtis)

On the bank of the river,
Stood Running Bear –
Young Indian brave.
On the other side of the river,
Stood his lovely Indian maid.
Little White Dove was her name,
Such a lovely sight to see,
But their tribes fought with each other
So their love could never be.

Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love big as the sky.
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love that couldn’t die.

He couldn’t swim the raging river
Because the river was too wide.
He couldn’t reach the Little White Dove
Waiting on the other side.
In the moonlight he could see her
Throwing kisses across the waves,
Her little heart was beating faster
Waiting for her Indian brave.

Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love big as the sky.
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love that couldn’t die.

Running Bear dove in the water
Little White Dove did the same.
And they swam out to each other
Through the swirling stream they came.
As their hands touched,and their lips met
The raging river pulled them down.
Now they’ll always be together
In their happy hunting ground.

Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love big as the sky.
Running Bear loved Little White Dove
With a love that couldn’t die.



January 22, 2020

Kit’s Crit: The Last Midwife (Sandra Dallas)

dallas

Gracy Brookens is the healer that the women of a small Colorado mining town turn to in times of sickness and childbirth.  She knows all their secrets, and even has a few of her own that are revealed as the story progresses.  Then one day, this local midwife is accused of murdering the son and heir of the most important man in town.  Gracy is sent to trial and must fight to clear her name.  But in order to escape the noose she would have to break the confidences placed in her, which is something she is not prepared do.  The townsfolk rush to support – or condemn – her, either because they are grateful for her medical assistance, or vengeful over past losses.

I thoroughly enjoyed this western historical fiction.  It effortlessly blends human frailty, murder and mystery, with pioneer strength and fortitude.  This type of drama could happen in any small town, but Sandra Dallas evokes such a sense of place that the reader is instantly plunged into the wild west, where the battle for survival takes an even greater toll on the women than on their men.

Highly recommended for generating an interesting and informative book club discussion.



January 21, 2020

Colt .45

colt-45

  • The Colt .45 is a Single Action Army Revolver that fires six cartridges.
  • It was nicknamed The Peacemaker and Six Shooter.
  • This firearm was designed in 1872 by Colt’s Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company for the U.S. government.
  • It was issued to the military, but also found widespread popularity with ranchers, cowboys, lawmen, and outlaws.
  • It is a comfortable and accurate weapon for women.
  • The Colt .45 has been called The Gun That Won the West.
  • The safest way to handle this firearm is with five beans in the wheel.  Five of the six chambers are loaded, with the hammer down on the empty chamber to prevent an accidental discharge.


January 20, 2020

Chief Red Cloud (1822-1909)

Red Cloud

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember.  But they kept one – They promised to take our land . . . and they took it.”

red-cloud

  • Red Cloud was the famous warrior leader of the Oglala Lakota Sioux tribe.
  • He was born on the Platte River (Nebraska) to Walks As She Thinks and Lone Man, but after his parents died he was brought up by his uncle, Old Chief Smoke.
  • Growing up, he gained a lot of military experience against rival bands of Pawnee and Crow, which helped him earn his famous war-bonnet at the Fetterman Massacre with Crazy Horse.
  • Between 1866-1868, he  fought in Powder River Country (Wyoming / Montana) in a series of battles against the U.S. Army that came to be known as the Red Cloud Wars.
  • Opting to take the path of diplomacy, he signed the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868) and moved his people to the Great Sioux Reservation.
  • However, when George Armstrong Custer discovered gold in the Black Hills a stream of hungry prospectors ignored the existing treaty and invaded their sacred lands.  This triggered the Great Sioux War of 1876-1877, but Red Cloud did not fight alongside Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.  Instead, he tried to reason with the government in Washington D.C.
  • When his political negotiations failed, his people were forced to move to a new reservation at Pine Ridge in South Dakota.
  • He died on the reservation in 1909, at the age of 88, having seen the last of his warriors massacred at Wounded Knee.

Sources:

Biography.com, “Red Cloud: Activist, Folk Hero” at http://www.biography.com/people/red-cloud-9453402

United States History, “Red Cloud” at http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h3756.html

Wikipedia, “Red Cloud” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Cloud



January 17, 2020

Indian Wars: Sand Creek (1864)

The Sand Creek Massacre

sand-creek-by-howling-wolf

(Drawing: Cheyenne survivor, Howling Wolf)

Date:             November 29, 1864.

 

Opponents:  Colonel John Milton Chivington and the Colorado U.S. Volunteer Cavalry.

                        v.

                        Chief Black Kettle and the Southern Cheyenne, with their Arapaho allies.

 

Place:             Sand Creek, in Eastern Colorado.

 

* Colonel Chivington was a Methodist preacher, freemason, and opponent of slavery, with an intense hatred of Native Americans:  “Damn any man who sympathizes with Indians! . . . I have come to kill Indians, and believe it is right and honorable to use any means under God’s heaven. . . . Kill and scalp all, big and little; nits make lice.”

* Chief Black Kettle flew an American flag over his lodge to show his friendly intent.  He wanted peace.

 * In 8 hours the Cheyenne way of life was changed forever.

 * 675 soldiers attacked a village of 700 predominantly elders, women, and children while the warriors were away from camp.  Over 100 soldiers refused to fire on unarmed non-combatants, risking their careers, reputations, and even their own lives.  Sand Creek was one of the most brutal massacres of the Indian Wars.  Those braves who raced to defend their families met an overwhelming well-armed force

* Bodies were mutilated for jewelry, scalps, and body-part trophies.  Babies and pregnant women were butchered, their fetuses and genitalia put on public display.

* Some people survived by digging holes in the river bank and hiding inside until the soldiers left.

* Of the 135 villagers killed, 105 were women and children.

* The army lost 24 men and had 52 non-fatal casualties.

* 8 important leaders from The Council of 44 were killed.  This caused a serious disruption in the Cheyenne power system, allowing the young Dog Soldiers to challenge the traditional ruling of the tribal elders who wanted to make peace with the government.

* The warrior Roman Nose was incensed by this event and retaliated by killing settlers throughout the Platte Valley.

* Chief Black Kettle survived and continued to negotiate for a peaceful solution.

* One of the soldiers who refused to take part in the massacre – Captain Silas Soule – was later assassinated after giving evidence before Congress.

 

 

Sources:

U.S. National Park Service, “Sand Creek Massacre” at https://www.nps.gov/sand/index.htm

Wikipedia, “Sand Creek Massacre” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sand_Creek_massacre



January 16, 2020

Warrior Women: Nancy Ward (Nanyehi)

Nancy Ward (c. 1738 – 1822)

  • Nancy Ward was a Cherokee War Woman from Tennessee.
  • She was also called Nanyehi.
  • Some claim her father was a British officer named Ward, but others argue that he was a member of the Delaware Tribe.
  • In 1755, her husband – Kingfisher – was killed in action against the Muscogee Creeks.  She was with him on the battlefield helping to load his musket.
  • Although only 18 years old, Nancy Ward picked up her fallen husband’s weapon, rallied the surrounding warriors, and led them to victory.
  • She was given the title Ghigau (War Woman / Beloved Woman) for her bravery.
  • This warrior woman believed in a peaceful co-existence with the colonists.
  • Through her interactions with the early Europeans, she brought farming and dairy production to Cherokee society.  A prisoner whose life was spared by Ward – Mrs. Lydia Russell Bean – taught the women how to weave cloth.
  • Nancy Ward also owned African American slaves who worked in her fields.
  • Legend claims that she had a recurring vision forewarning the Trail of Tears that would leave behind “a trail of corpses – the weak, the sick who could not survive the journey.”

Sources:

Carney, Virginia Moore.  Eastern Band Cherokee Women.  Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 2005.

Finger, John R. Eastern Band of Cherokees: 1819-1900. Tennessee: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.

Wikipedia, “Nancy Ward,” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Ward



January 15, 2020

The Pony Express

The Pony Express

“Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen.  Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily.  Orphans preferred.”

pony-express

Did you know:

  • The Pony Express mail service was founded by William H. Russell, Alexander Majors, and William B. Waddell.
  • It was instrumental in establishing the state of California, keeping pioneers and prospectors in touch with the rest of the U.S.
  • The company operated for only 19 months — between 1860 and 1861 — during which time it delivered approximately 35,000 letters.
  • In the age before the telegraph, it was the fastest form of East-West communication.
  • Stations were set about 10 miles apart along the Pony Express route to ensure that messages got from the Atlantic to the Pacific in about 10 days.
  • The initial cost for mail was $5 per 1/2 oz, but this had dropped to $1 by 1861.
  • The Pony Express began with 120 riders, 154 stations, 400 horses, and special saddlebags to quickly transfer mail between horses.
  • Employees were required to swear an Oath of Good Conduct.
  •  At its peak, riders could not weigh more than 125 lbs, they changed every 75 to 100 miles, and rode day or night (sometimes for 20 hours at a time).
  • The arrival of the transcontinental telegraph made the company obsolete.
  • Buffalo Bill Cody claimed to have ridden for the Pony Express and kept its memory alive in his Wild West shows.

Sources:

History, “Ten Things You May Not Know About the Pony Express” at http://www.history.com/news/history-lists/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-pony-express

Wikipedia, “Pony Express” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pony_Express

 



January 14, 2020

Marty Robbins’ THEY’RE HANGING ME TONIGHT

They’re Hanging Me Tonight

(Marty Robbins)

hanging

When I hear the rain a coming down, it makes me sad and blue,
Was on a rainy night like this that Flo said we were through.
I told her how I loved her, and I begged her not to go
But another man had changed her mind so I said goodbye to Flo.

Alone within my cell tonight my heart is filled with fear.
The only sound within the room is the falling of each tear.
I think about the thing I’ve done, I know it wasn’t right,
They’ll bury Flo tomorrow, but they’re hanging me tonight,
They’re hanging me tonight!

That night he came and took my Flo and headed in to town,
I knew I had to find this man and try to gun him down.
As I walked by a dim cafe and I looked through the door,
I saw my Flo with her new love and I couldn’t stand no more,
I couldn’t stand no more.

I took my pistol from my hip, and with a trembling hand,
I took the life of pretty Flo and that good for nothing man,
That good for nothing man!

I think about the thing I’ve done, I know it wasn’t right,
They’ll bury Flo tomorrow, but they’re hanging me tonight,
They’re hanging me tonight.

 



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