My mother’s Father was a big Choctaw/Chickasaw Irish Indian from Texarkana, Arkansas. Even though he adamantly claimed to be from the Texas side of the Border because all things in Texas are bigger. Research showed that he was actually born on the Arkansas side of the border. Texarkana is a city ripped in two by the Texas, Arkansas border. However, when my grandfather was born there may have not been state boundaries in that part of the country yet. He was born somewhere in the late 1800’s. He never really new his real age.
On a shelf in my home I have some horse tack that was owned by my Grandpa. There is a bridal, bit, and a strap that all have a bold US stamped on them. These are US Calvary issued items that date somewhere during the turn of the last century, or one before. He wasn’t in the Calvary. He was an Indian kid growing up in the southwestern desert.
When my Grandpa was a young man he and some friends drove a heard of horses and cattle straight north from Texas to Montana. As he told me the story, there were no fences or roads that bared their progress. Now remember these were a group of Indians heading north. Somewhere along the way they happened to pick up the Calvary tack. I do believe there may have been some horses attached. How ever they acquired the material I’ll leave up to your imaginations.
After arriving in the Montana territory, grandpa began working as a cowboy and horse trainer on a large ranch in Boulder Mt. He eventually became the ranch foreman in charge of a staff of cowboys and drivers. He was the boss, El Heffe. During his time in Boulder he met a Kootenai/Salish Irish woman named Audrey and they married. I’ll write about her later on.
My mother, Linda Elaine Gibson, was born in August of 1938 in the back seat of an old sedan when my grandpa was in his early to mid forties. She was raised until she was about 13 years old on that Ranch in Boulder. My Uncle John came after. Being in Montana living on a Ranch protected my grandparents from the worst of the depression. Being a couple Indian kids gave them the skills and stamina to survive.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor Grandpa joined the US Navy. He worked as a diesel mechanic in the boiler room of a ship. During his time in the Navy he boxed. Fighting was a way to keep his mind off of not being home. Wars do that. They take people from their families and change them.
My grandfather traveled all over the world. He knew people and he taught them what he knew. What he knew, the secrets he shared along with the life he led are the stuff of legends. Minor ones maybe, but hey legends are legends however short they are. They called him Hoot, the sounds of an Owl. He died at the approximate age of 111.
Peace and Balance,