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Bummer's Monthly Musings

Bummer, who's an ABATE institution, writes one of the most widely read articles in the Outspokin' each month. Now he's also right here on the web! Welcome to the Computer Age, Bummer! ~ Enjoy!

 

 

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Shootin’ the Breeze 

 July 2003 

by Bummer

Email: bummer@abate.com

  

     “Mud” Parker and his woman Brenda stood drinking their coffee as they gazed over the rim of a canyon so large the other side could barely be seen thru the early morning mist.  Shades of purple, brown and grey colored the rock sides and a whitewater river flowed across the bottom far below.

     They had come to this place of desolate beauty in Wyoming in the midst of a long road trip they had been planning for years.  Mud had finaly retired after 35 years in a boring job surrounded by boring people and felt that he had to do this before he got any older.  Brenda was all for it.  In fact if Mud said he wanted to get seats on the next space shuttle she probably would have just said, “I can get into that.  Whatever ya want is fine with me baby.”  In all their years of bein’ together disagreements were few and far between.

     Mud’s Ultra stood leanin’ on it’s kickstand a few feet away next to their tent.  Over the last few thousand miles they gradually trimmed their possessions to only what they needed and found that the tent, sleepin’ bags, a few tools and a change of clothes was just about it.  At first the bike was loaded up with all kinds of stuff, but as the miles passed beneath them they weeded out the junk and just kept the necessities.  The only thing they added was the dream catcher.....

     Back in New Mexico the Ultra’s coil  petered out and as they sat by the side of a long empty highway a beat up dusty pickup pulled to a stop.

     “Looks like you folks got a problem.”

     His long braided hair was white and his dark skin had the texture of old weathered leather.

     “My name’s Sammy Whitecloud and I live down the road a few miles.  Anything I can do to help ya out?”

     “Looks like we need a new coil.  Don’t suppose ya happen to have one do ya?”

     “As a matter of fact my nephew lives next door to me and he rides.  He does a lot of those swap meet things and has a whole shed full of stuff.  Bet we can get ya goin’ again.”

     Mud chained up the scoot to a nearby road sign and he and Brenda climbed in the truck.

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Bummer's Shootin' the Breeze Page!
 

 

     “I had a dream last night and in the dream the Great Spirit told me to give this to you.  One should never argue with the Great Spirit.”

     With reluctance Mud took it.  And as he and Brenda held it a strange inner peace seemed to overtake them.  As if their souls were being cleansed, all of their anxieties and troubles simply vanished.  They then realized that this whole trip was much more than they had thought.  It wasn’t simply a journey, but a quest that brought them here to receive this ancient artifact, it being a symbol for spiritual enlightenment and growth.

     The next morning they bid goodbye to Sam and his family and headed North with the dreamcatcher strapped to the bike.

     Now days later they stood overlooking the Grand Canyon and thought of their friends back home wishing they could be here with them on this Fourth Of July holiday.  Mud thought of his nephew in Iraq and knew that when he came home Mud would bring the boy here to this very spot.

     He thought of Sam Whitecloud and his family and the last conversation they had; his attitude would never be the same.  ’My god this land is beautiful.’  he thought as he turned to break camp.

     This fourth of July as we celebrate the birth of our country let’s remember those who serve and has served it.  It’s so easy to forget that our young men and women put their lives on the line for freedom.  I wish we could send them all dream catchers.

         That's me, dammit!~Watch here for next month's installment!

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     Sammy’s nephew was a professional swap vendor who traveled all over the Southwest and was more than happy to dig thru his boxes of parts and sell Mud a new coil cheap.  After returning to the bike and installing the new coil, the travelers were invited to spend time with the Whitecloud clan.

     Old Sammy was a shaman, kind of a medicine man for his tribe.  They lived on a reservation in run down house trailers and shacks with all the problems of the white man’s civilization but none of the benefits, except a small government welfare check.  Most of the men were unemployed and those that could afford it were drunk on a daily basis.

     After days spent with Sam and his tribe, Mud and Brenda sat late one night just prior to continuing on their journey listening, as Sam told of his people and their beliefs.

     “Most of the whites don’t understand how important it is to appreciate what the Great Spirit has given us.  This land is only ours to use.  If we use it badly we hurt ourselves, but more importantly we violate a sacred trust bestowed on us.

     “The animals are our brothers and sisters and they understand this.  They never take more than they need and by their very living help nurture the earth.  Man just fouls everything up and when he’s finished he moves on to someplace else to do the same.

     “You two seem different from most.  This trip you both are on is a pilgrimage.  You seek answers to questions most don’t bother to think of, let alone ask.”

     Then the old man slowly stood and left the room, returning with a gift.  “This was given to me by my grandfather, a great shaman.  I want you to take it.  The world is full of evil spirits and if you keep this close it will protect you both.”

      It was a circle of wood tied with sinew, and laced into the center was a piece of old buffalo hide on which were symbols.  Large eagle feathers hung from the sides.  It was a dream catcher, but unlike those sold to tourists, this was made long ago and was highly valued by the old man.

     “I can’t take this!” cried Mud  “It’s been in your family for ages.”

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