Monday, June 9, 2008
This story begins years before I became a Lawman, 1974 to be exact. I look at it as an omen of what was to be. As a young airman stationed at Ellsworth Air Force base in Rapid City South Dakota, I spent many of my days off wandering the vast prairies with rifle in hand. My purpose was to kill prairie dogs which burrowed their homes on pasture land grazed upon by cattle owned by my first wife’s uncle. The sun beat down without remorse and the wind blew prairie grass as if dancing to an unheard rhythm. As I crested a bluff I saw a man on horseback riding toward me. He came to a stop about twenty feet from where I stood. The man turned out to be a Native American, perhaps a member of the Sioux tribe. I wiped the sweat from my brow and before either one of us said a word he turned his horse and rode away. It was a strange encounter and for some reason at the time it meant more then just a trespasser on my relatives land. I sat on the bluff among the prairie grass and watched as the horse and rider became a speck then disappearing altogether. I convinced myself that my imagination had simply got caught up in the sun and winds of the Dakota’s. Looking back at it today I am convinced that the man on horseback was a messenger of sorts. He was there to tell me that my life would one day run parallel with the lives of his people. I returned many times to the prairie and just walked amongst the grass to feel the sun, wind, and the spirits of human beings as they moved across the Dakota prairie.