Note to everyone: We were preparing for hurricane Fay to land sometime Tuesday along
Florida's West Coast. As I live in Tampa, I'm asking your forgiveness for my part of the PLR Meme being late. I had intended on this being all of a piece, one segued life into another. But our storm guest has become a not-so-fresh fish as we've battened down and stocked up, waiting to see what direction the wench will dance next. So apropos that Tash's segment is written from an island who wages battles with such intense storms during our season as well! Florida is of course, the Northernmost land of the Tropics. ~ Dina
We continue now with David's journey into his past, beyond his birth and back into his present life. As an Australian man in the grips of coming to terms with paralyzing phobias that have wrecked havoc in his life and relationships, David has come to see Dr. Harlowe, an expert in Past Life Regression therapy. Nothing else has helped. David is desperate to be free of these fears that have turned his life upside down, impeded his every chance at advancing, and affected every corner of his existence.
David is just coming up from his latest experience in this session with the good doctor...
“Hyarima's evil grin revealed a mouthful of sharp teeth. The sun glinting off the blood dripping down his chin. Dripping...the white milky liquid...fading... the tightening in my chest, my throat...Oh! Great Spirit! Oh Yaya, forgive me!”
A moment of rushing in my ears like the greatest storm winds blowing the ocean surrounds me. I look around at sparkling darkness and then down, confused. There am I, Chuchupe, eldest son of the feared Caribe cacique, Chief Hyarima! I see myself, the spilled manioc liquid seeping into the sand from the lip of the gourd I hold loosely in my hand. Confused, I am down there and yet here, where is here? I am in a panic! The thoughts in my head are in a strange language and yet I understand. There is nothing to make sense of...
I faintly hear Dr. Harlowe's voice as if coming from a room far away from me. Can't make sense of it. What is he saying? The tightness in my chest persists as I am inexorably drawn forward, sound and time rushing past in my ears. The roar in my head is deafening, crushing. I am now aware of slowing. The tightening in my chest is still there. I hear the rattling of each breath as my tiny chest lifts my smock fighting for air.
Mama says I was kissed by the angels in Heaven. There's a little port wine-red heart raised up slightly from the smooth white of my skin on my chest that I was born with. It's my special birthmark. My throat is on fire. I'm so sick to my stomach but there is nothing left inside to wretch.
I see mama and papa, my older brothers Liam, Jedidiah and Joseph, our neighbor Mrs. Spencer through fevered eyes.
“She hasn't got any strength left in her, Abigail,” says Mrs. Spencer. “The doctor still hasn't come from Salt Lake. The men said they have their hands full with the flu up there. And everyone that is standing upright is nursing the others. I don't think the turpentine rub will help at this point and she can't hold down the chamomile long enough to help the puking”. Mama curls in on herself and papa takes her into arms that are shaky and thin.
“Dear Heavenly Father, please not another one of mine! I know that this is Your will at work, but there's been Sarah and Joshua, and now my little Becky!” Mama is weakly slumped over with papa trying to hang on. Poor papa! He looks like he is ready to fall, too. Only my big brothers didn't get this awful sickness. The people in the Ward think that we all got sick because we took turns chewing Louise's cousin's gum. But when I get better, I'm going to ask papa to get me some when he goes to the Ward meeting in Salt Lake at the Temple next year anyway.
“Hugh, I don't think I can put another one of mine in the ground this week! This is my baby...”
Mama is caterwauling now! She's so loud! I hear Mrs. Spencer sniffle, too. I just want to sleep. The fever is making my skin ache and the chills shake my bed down to the woven slats. I see Liam bending over me. I'm so weak I can barely reach up my thin arms to him. I can't breathe....Liam. He picks me up and he cradles me to him.. I'm so sleepy.....So tired...
I look down to see me and Liam. That is me! I'm tiny and blond. My long sleeved smock is tangled around my thin legs and Liam is rocking me, the blanket is around my back and falling off of Liam's long legs. I like it when Liam rocks me....I'm skinny and kind of blue looking...and Liam is rocking, rocking.....
Rushing noise. Loud. Sensations of falling backward....
“David? David, can you hear me? I want you to go to the next death experience you remember.” Dr. Harlowe's voice is steadying. I feel myself drift forward again for just a short while. My child's body is transformed into a heavier, more solid one...I feel the weight of it through the somnolent trance Dr. Harlowe has put me in.
“What is it you see? Where are you?”
My name's Ransom Gray Hewitt. Leastwise, that's what my maw stuck me with. She was always reading them old Godey's Ladies Books stories and got a hankering for me to have a romantic name. I shucked that name the same day as I signed on with our neighbor, Mr. Liggett's brother Jim. I was 13 and big enough to be wrangler on my first Spring drive up the to Kansas.
Soon's them men asked me what my hanger was and I tol' em, they put up such a hoot that I got pure-T aggravated with all of 'em and commenced to try to fight ever dang one of 'em. They'as bigger'n me, but I took my punches and kept after worryin' 'em all 'til they got me calmed down thowin' a bucket o'cold water on me from the trough. After that, they called me Rowdy and it stuck. No one mentions nuthin' 'bout Mr. Ransom Gray anymore. I'm Rowdy Hewitt and no different lest you want to fight.
My first drive, I looked after 'bout 50 head of hosses for them cowboys.The older fellas showed me the ropes on the trail and I got so good with them hosses that I started rowell trainin' them to cut. Every trail hand has a bunch of hosses. They's night hosses that are good to see them cattle in the dark and take off after'n stray. Then they's big, heavy chested water hosses that can bust through water and keep the calves from floating off downstream. You got your roping hosses that are part stubborn jackass who know when to haul back on a rope wrapped around the pommel on one end and a cow at t'other one. You also got you a few of them trail hosses who will put in up to 18 or so mile a day, all day long, one leg after another, carryin' rider and his tack, too. That's the mustang in 'em. ' Course I think them cutters are the most important because they know how to cull out the herd, heifers from steers and calves from their mams.
Ole Hamp the cook said that there ort'ento be a dressin' up pretty horse for the end o' the ride when we get our pay and clean up to go see the ladies. He used to wink when he said it. Took me a year or two afore I knowed what his meaning and that wink was hintin' to.
I earnt enough that first Spring to buy myself a good used Colt .44 single action. It was a cavalry gun and a little banged up on the grips, but it shot true and cleaned up nice. Hamp helped me soak leather to make me a decent holster for it and a matchin' one for my Browning rifle and I've had both to this day. I keep an old Lyman mold, primers and some reloading tamps back at the soddy we use for a bunk house to keep my bullets up to stock. I went off to work fer other ranches over the years but always ended up back here at the Double LL.
There. One more post straight and the wire hammered back into place. I'm glad Mr. Jim stuck by Glidden's wire 'stead o' some of the more nasty stuff I've worked with. Two barb is enough! All's you need is a poke to keep them old heifers from pushin' through. Some o' them fancier barbs come unwound at the slightest breeze and just hang there like an ole cow tit.
This ain't been the best o' my days. Mr. Liggett got me up afore sunup to go put back up fencin' down close to the river. Vaqueros from over the border brung up a herd o' Spanish cattle and drove 'em right across the edge o' Mr. Jim's ranch. Went through fence and all just a leavin' it lay where they pulled the posts down. Mr. Jim's worried they might a made their herd a little bigger with some of his strays ridin' through. Won't matter once they get 'em to the stockyards with the Double LL brand on their backsides.
He'll have a couple of the boys ride on up ahead and catch up with them vaqueros see what they got minglin' in with theirs once we head out o' Big Springs.
We're headin' out with our herds for the Spring drive o' '89 this Thursday come sunup. I'll have my 24th birthday out on the trail. Ole Hamp will have some concoction fer me. Last year he baked a dang number two horseshoe in a cornbread cake. Said the shape reminded him o' the shape o' my legs with the air whistlin' betwixt 'em. I thanked him and allowed as how his ole ass wouldn't be so flat if he'd get down off'n that buckboard and aback a hoss once in a while. He just grinned at me with what few teeth he had left.
I like my life just fine. I get steady pay and three square's a day. Mr. Jim's wife Ethyl is a dang fine cook, too. Makes the best biscuits and cornbread just like it wuz cake in them big ole iron skillets of hers. She serves up some pie ever now and agin when me or one o' the boys brings her some apple or berries back from movin' cattle.
Hamp's a good cookie, too, although a bit rougher on the dough. He babies that old sourdough starter of his like it was gold. Claims it's as old as he is! But he cuts the rashers of bacon thick and cooks a bean pot with a red Mexican chili pepper so's if you find too much of it in your plate, you're off visitin' the bush right reglar' and you don't dare fart fer startin' a prairie grass fire. A trek through the Red River a day after Hamp's beans is a blessin', if you take my meanin'.
There's the ride up part of the Chisolm Trail with some real purty country along the way. I seen a spot next to a crick that fed into the Red River where I could picture my own little spread. 'Course, it would help if I was to have a missus. Ain't really nobody much to think on here outside Big Springs. I met a gal when I was up in Abilene once. She worked the counter at the dry goods and mercantile there where Mr. Jim picked up some calico for Miz Ethyl. I took my hat off, she smiled, I smiled back. She asked could she help me. I got plumb tongue tied and pointed to Mr. Jim. She smiled agin' and went over to Mr. Jim where he stood gawkin' at the cloth goods. Don't reckon she'd remember me from that far back.
Only other gals I know work at the saloon over in Big Springs. I don't reckon' they'd want to be givin' up the high life and them fancy clothes for the hard life o' ranchin' wife. I've visited a painted lady or two in my time. But they ain't the kind to trust out in the middle o' nowhere. Like to have vamoosed at the drop of a hat.
I'm almost done here. Got one more post to take it down to the crick...What the hell is that yonder?
I see part of a curly hide pokin' up amongst all them weeds right there at the bank of the crick. Looks like them Vaqueros might'a left something o'theirs behind besides all this downed fence...Let me just walk over here and see..
Aw, dang! It's a lil'ole hoss colt! Now, I'm right fond of a hoss and it's a shame to see one down and left on the side o' the trail. Lil' ole feller. Let me see if I can drag him up dry a little more. Can't leave him to fester in the water and take a chance the cattle will drink after him.
I'm just got a holt o' him when I'm hearing these wasps a buzzing together...big ole nest of 'em if you ask me! They sometimes likes to cuddle up to some dead thing out here. I don't see none o' them a flyin' but that might mean they're under the dirt some'ers.
Ow! Damn! It's hotter'n the top floor o' hell! Oh, damn! Somethin' has bit right through the leg o' my Levi's right above my boot and it burns like fire! And damn! There's another bite on my other leg, and one more on my left arm above my glove! I jerk my hand up from under the lil' feller and there's somethin' shiny as a penny attached to my glove a flickin' and a writhin' like a wild rope while my legs are being stung over and over agin. My mind just can't figure out what that....oh! Dear Lord in Heaven! It's a dang copperhead! I can't count how many a bitin' on me as I look around me!
Dang fool Rowdy! It's Spring and you know'd they'd be up and down this stream lookin' for a lady friend! Lordy! Must be a whole nest o' them death adders! And you just stepped in the middle of their parlor and het'em up some more. Poor lil' ole fella here just must'a stepped right in the middle o' them just like I did!
Aw, damn I'm pukin' as I jerk that one off of my glove with my right hand! My hand and legs all swoll up already! I can't get my glove off. I'm stumblin' back up to the post I just finished hammerin' on with one of them dang snakes a' hangin' off my leg. My hoss is so far away! Tied on up so I can't get him over here. I got to lie down! My Lord! The pain! Chest hurts bad. I'll just lay on down here.....
You'll be going to Vikki's Redchair Gallery in California for Part 16 of PLR.
(Note to readers: The brief life David lived as a tiny girl in 1870s Alpine, Utah is based on a true story. A child visiting from Salt Lake City brought a piece of chewing gum that was passed around in the small community. Unfortunately, as the children passed the gum around for their turn, they were exposed to the flu virus which the child from Salt Lake had been infected with. Many childred died from direct exposure to the gum, or to those who were infected. The Alpine cemetery can be a sad place. Situated on a hill, there are family markers with several children and parents side by side, all succumbing to the flu - some on the very same day.
Rowdy's life was one of my own PLR regressions from the 1970s. The spurs above are Kelly brand. I wore a pair just like them down to the blunt rowells for almost seven years during life on my Utah ranch.)