Image by rawmustard via Flickr
Oh yea, I’m in one of those moods again. Somewhat reminiscent, somewhat thoughtful. When I got home from work today, I was pretty tired and sore. I wanted to sit down at the computer, and catch up on some blogs, but I just couldn’t do it. The more I sat at the computer, the more my back started hurting. There is one sure cure for me when it comes to a sore back. I just soak my pains away in a nice hot, hot, hot tub. Of course the primary requirement is soothing country music, and a good book. Yes you heard that right, I read in the tub.
I was sitting there soaking, enjoying my new book, and listening to the some old country music. For some strange reason, a vivid memory, struck me. The book became a blur, and I was viewing an old story my father had told us when we were kids. I really don’t know what the trigger was, but when the memory struck, I found myself smiling, and giggling to myself a little.
Allow me to attempt to paint the scene for you. I was pretty young, four or five. We used to take, it seems now, monthly trips to Denver. We had to visit the grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Like most children, we could be pretty annoying at times. If you can imagine, four children cramped up in a car for a two hour drive along some very treacherous roads. Dad had a knack for keeping us occupied, and entertained. He would start pointing out rock formations that looked like animals, people, or objects. Naturally, before long we were peering out the windows trying to pick out these rocks before he could.
I remembered one time specifically. It was night, we were returning home from Denver. Being dark there was nothing for us to focus on. I’m sure we must have been driving Dad and Mom nuts. Traveling through Turkey Creek Canyon, back when it was a single lane very dangerous road. A steep mountain road, with tight turns and towering rocks on one side, along with a steep drop off on the other.
Anyone who has driven the roads of Colorado, are familiar with two very common road signs. Caution Deer Crossing, and Watch For Falling Rock. As we passed a Deer Crossing sign, Dad said “Oh look, Chief Running Deer has been here”. I can hear my mother, saying “Lanny!”, and giving a little giggle. I can picture Dads face, with that devilish grin that was so common when he was playing with us.
Of course our interest was piqued, and we started to question him. “Who’s Chief Running Deer?”
“Chief Running Deer, see the sign. He leaves his mark everywhere he’s been. He’s out looking for his beautiful Indian maiden, Falling Rock.” Naturally, our faces are stuck to the windows trying to see this Chief Running Deer. Then we would pass another sign, and he would say, “See, he’s been here too, he left his sign.”
“How do you know he’s looking for his Indian Maiden?'” we would ask.
As we passed another sign, this one saying Watch for Falling Rock, he said. “Because he leaves those signs all over. He wants everyone to watch out for her, and help him find her.” He would giggle a little, and wait for the next question that he knew was coming.
“What happened to her, how come he can’t find her?”
“Well you see one day, Chief Running Deer, came back to the tee pee after a long day of hunting. When he got there, he could not find his fair maiden, Falling Rock. So he started asking all the other Indians if they had seen her. Many indeed had seen her leave the camp. She was heading up to the rock cliffs above to search for roots and herbs to make medicine. Chief Running Deer went to look for his bride, but she was never to be seen again. To this day, Chief Running Deer is still searching for the love of his life. He puts the signs up, hoping someone will find her and return her to him.”
For the rest of the ride, we had our eyes glued to the road side. Hoping to catch a glimpse of Chief Running Deer, or his lovely bride, Falling Rock.
From then on, every time we saw the Deer Crossing sign, or the Falling Rocks sign, we would yell out, “Chief Running Deer, is out looking again Dad, maybe he’ll find Falling Rock this time.”