AN ORGANIZER'S TRAIL IS LIKE THE OLD WESTERN OUTLAW TRAIL  [HUNTER GRAY,  JANUARY 13 2005] FOLLOWED BY, THE SEX BOOKS OF BEAR MOUNTAIN  [HUNTER GRAY, JANUARY 16 2005]  AND THEN, NEBRASKA COLLOQUY, 1958-59

Thanks for this morning's posting, "It's an Outlaw Trail." .  . your posting is great.  Eldri's insights are good for me to read, too. . .
 Alice Azure    1/13/05
 
 amen to that!
sam [friedman]   1/13/05

Hello Hunter,

Thanks for the e-mail and eloquent writings.  I'm always thankful for our
friendship and the things you've helped me with; some you may never know -
others that you may have intuited.

Thank you.  Always.

All the best.
Walk in Beauty, Peace.  Scott
  [Colborn]  1/13/05


You write beautifully.

 Julian William
s  1/13/05

 

I really enjoyed your email memo of 01/13/05 entitled "It's an Outlaw Trail", about your community organization career. 

Donis [Dawn]  Lough  [Mitchell]  2/11/05

 

An Organizer's Trail is like the old Western Outlaw Trail

In response to a quite recent question from a professor, I wrote "We had
entered the South in the late Summer of 1961 and, when we left it in 1967,
we went on to climb a continuing series of Organizing Mountains.  We always
maintain our connections with Dixie, and our many good friends there, but in
the end we never really looked back.  We simply kept on going."

I noted, in a recent post of mine which quoted my long article on our late
and fine friend, the great radical poet, John Beecher, that he once
commented of me in a strongly affirmative reference for my University of
Washington career placement file [at the end of the '60s], that " he wears
no man's collar."

I like that much.  And so did my son, Peter [Mack], a newspaper editor.  But
he went on to say matter of factly, "That's why you haven't been able to
hold most jobs."

I have to say that Pete has a very good point.

The other night, I couldn't sleep and Eldri and I sat at our kitchen table
and had a long conversation. [We have, of course, many of these.]  Given my
weird and ghostly and malevolent illness, I cannot say in all honesty at
this point whether my particular personal Sun is still High in the Sky, or
just barely hovering with one more moment of brightness over my western
horizon.  Although, frankly, I don't think much about that one way or the
other, I'm not planning to cash in and pull out of the game.  And, if I'm
yanked out of This Life, I don't intend to become ensconced in the Next
One's Blissy Bog.  I'll fight to Return -- here.

And, of course, always as an Organizer on the social justice battlefront.

But I wondered, at our table the other night, if there is a point on the
Other Side of the Fog, where one reviews and assesses one's past life.
Maybe so, maybe not.  But that's what we did with me the other night in some
detail -- at least as far at this point as we could go.

First, we decided as always that it was damn good  we met and married -- now
almost 44 years ago -- producing a little herd of contentious but wonderful
offspring.  I could have, early on, gone into very lucrative family business
ventures [ a dimension of my Anglo mother's side]  as soon as I left the
Army at the beginning of 1955.  A fraternity was offered.  And the Wharton
School [of Business], University of Pennsylvania, was proferred.

I turned it all down, nicely and politely.  I much like Mother's side of the
family, but I have always heard The Other Drums. [And so did she, of course,
when she married my Native father.]

The Wharton School, which eventually became a think tank for Phelps Dodge
Copper, would have taken me into a Social Cemetery.

Two later management offers from a section of Bell Telephone, softer perhaps
and maybe more congenial, would never have worked for me.

"Besides," Eldri pointed out, "You would've had to have worn a suit in all
of those things."

So, if you are an aspiring young social justice Organizer -- "bright eyed
and bushy-tailed" -- recognize that you can't practice that always
critically needed vocation and have the things about which Thorstein Veblen
wrote so well and indictingly.

You'll get your skull cracked, your hide cut, and you'll often get fired.

But I'd rather have Those Memories than Money.

Semper Fi - From the Cold and Windy Mountains of Eastern Idaho

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk --
and UAW and United Association for Labor Education
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]

THE SEX BOOKS OF BEAR MOUNTAIN  [HUNTER GRAY, 1/15/05]

Good story material for your autobio.
Bill [Mandel]  1/15/05
 
Good to hear this one in expanded form.  Glad you're doing more of the youth pieces.
 
Otro dias   John Salter    1/15/05

I truly enjoy your posts Hunter!

You bring a unique viewpont to this list which I really appreciate.
My wife is part Abenaki (legally Metis though) and I'm part Maliseet
with no status, as a Green I've faced some arguments for my hunting
and firearms, but hey, it's who I am, and I haven't hunted in years
because I haven't had to. If I ever have to hunt again I will, and
I'll follow the rule my Grandfather taught me, "Don't shoot anything
you don't need to eat."

Thanks again Hunter,

Dan Murray  [1/16/05]

Hilarious story...especially the last paragraph, where poor Good goes off to find a "lady coyote."  You know, it's bad enough that Coyote has more than his (her)  share of hormones, so to speak.  And add to that the fact that Fire is associated with our Little Brother (Sister).  It's a wonder the whole darn Moutain didn't explode with that free-wheeling lending library going on! 

Alice Azure    1/16/05

Read your story about the lending library and had a  great laugh today.

Dawn Lough  1/17/05


 

BEAR MOUNTAIN FIRE LOOKOUT  [Apache National Forest, Arizona].  I spent the
entire Summer of 1960 in solitary, reflective, and very pleasant isolation
'way up there -- many trail miles indeed from the Blue River and the nearest
[rudimentary dirt] road.  My small cabin was close to the base of the tower.
I had a wood cooking stove and two white gas Coleman lanterns.  The Lookout
itself was equipped with a large, short-wave radio.  Hunter Bear

 

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:

Now and then, a few discussion lists -- which can become too staid and
proper -- can use a bit of Sensible Spice.  Here's mine:

Jeff, trained as a mining engineer and a very key BLM [Bureau of Land
Management] staffer, came by the other day -- both to see how I'm doing and
to ask me to spend an hour or so on January 24 [2005] giving a King Day-type
talk on the Civil Rights Movement to their staff.  Of course, I'm always
glad to do this and was pleased in addition to learn that some people from
the Caribou National Forest will also be present.  Jeff is an inveterate
hiker and runner in these hills, always with his faithful dog, Stormy, a
Golden Retriever -- who a few years ago sustained a really bad rattlesnake
bite.  After rudimentary first aid, he packed her back down -- more than two
rough miles -- only to learn that Pocatello was out of anti-venom.  Salt
Lake, not far away at all by air, provided that in a hurry and Stormy
recovered.  Jeff did not kill the rattler.

After we quickly settled the details of my talk-to-come [I do this every so
often], I reminisced about old days with the Forest Service in Northern
Arizona.  Starting out as a 16 year old -- but claiming to be the legal work
age of 18 -- I helped fight extremely dangerous forest fires on the Coconino
National Forest out of my home town of Flagstaff.  The next summer fire
season, I was again "18" -- and was hired as a full-time regular Fire
Control Aid.  Fairly soon, I was also given occasional fire lookout work --
spelling off the old-time lookouts when they took a few justifiable days
off.  It got into my blood -- the isolation, the responsibility.  I also
grew to appreciate the old-timers like Bill Pratt, a Laguna from New Mexico,
and old family friend who served for decades on Mount Elden Lookout
immediately above Flag.  I replaced him on a number of  his days-off
occasions, traveling a long trail well before a rudimentary road was finally
constructed.  Bill -- like all of us who climbed so very high -- loved to
read the "Sun and Sky and Listen to the Wind."

Nap Naranjo, who for 17 years was lookout on very remote Bear Mountain,
rising above the
Blue River [south of Alpine on the old Apache -- now Apache Sitgreaves --
National Forest] liked all of those natural wonderments.

But he also liked some other things.

Like sex books.

Joe Janes, who had left the Coconino for the Apache, called me as I was
finishing my Master's work in sociology at Arizona State University -- I got
the first Masters in Soc ever given by that department -- and asked if I'd
be willing to spend a long fire lookout season on extremely remote Bear
Mountain. Nap Naranjo had retired.  I was glad to say Yes.

Before long, Darrell [the Assistant District Ranger] and Frank [mule
skinner] and I with my coyote [Kay-Oh-Tay-Good] arrived via long and tangled
trail at the fire outpost that was almost 9,000 feet above sea level where
the yellow pines were giving way to spruce and fir.  The lookout itself was
almost forty feet high with a ladder and the cabin sat at its base.  Number
9 wire, miles of it, provided some communication through an old time " hand
ringer" telephone and the fire tower had a fairly up-to-date short wave
radio.  Night lighting in the cabin was through Coleman white gas lanterns.
A drinking well and an outhouse and a garbage pit [into which a friendly
bear often fell and foraged] completed the basic arrangement.  Darrell
checked things for winter wear -- all basically OK -- and Frank unloaded my
blankets and wolf robe, groceries, a few books, and my .35 WCF Winchester
1895 lever action [whose long obsolete cartridges even in that far off time
were costing me almost a buck per on special order.]

They left to return to the base ranger station at Alpine, well to the north,
and I settled in.  I didn't have to settle far before I realized that Old
Nap hadn't left with exactly everything of his.  Several boxes, unnoticed by
Darrell and Frank, were piled in a corner.  Curious, I opened them -- and
found many years accumulation of books and magazines devoted very frankly to
Sex. [By the standards of today's early 21st Century, they were, I guess,
pretty moderate.]  But as attractive women literally leapt out at me, I --
suddenly once again an Explorer Scout in Monsignor Albouy's Explorer Scout
Troop -- abruptly stepped back.  [In my mid-twenties, I really didn't think
I at least needed that special literary stimulation.]

But I had a lot of other things at which to look.  Barely inside the Arizona
border, I could gaze directly eastward down into New Mexico's bloody Catron
County ["If you ever want to kill a man, get him into Catron and do it --
but never steal a horse or a cow."] Right close to Catron, I could see the
vast Mogollon Mountains of the Land of Enchantment -- and far to the east of
all of that, some hints of Albuquerque under the hazy Sandias.  To the South
directly lay the Clifton-Morenci copper mining district, with much smelter
smoke, and just to the southeast, I could see the omni-present haze from the
Silver City copper and zinc mining setting. To the north lay Escudilla
Mountain and sweepingly great forests. Westward from me for the most part
lay the White Mountains of Arizona and the great Apache reservations --
White Mountain and San Carlos.  Those reserves, too, had lookout firemen
with whom I frequently spoke.  Closer to me on the west lay Blue Lookout,
readily accessible by pickup, which was manned by one of my two [younger]
brothers -- a capable neophyte.

This was Lost Adams Diggings country -- the fabulous lost gold mine of
Legend.  This was Ben Lilly country -- hunted through and through by the
greatest Southwestern lion and bear hunter of the 20th Century.

And the sky was usually Bright Blue and the Clouds Big White Fluffies --
save when, after a very long dry spell, storms finally came and things grew
ominously and fascinatingly dark: followed by super heavy rain, big hail,
lightning strikes to the Four Directions, and brief and very cold weather.

Still, of course, I am Human and a Sociologist to boot.  In time -- perhaps
in fairly short time -- I browsed through the Books, especially at night in
the Coleman light, aware that these were hardly comparable to a cousin's
works of Honoré de Balzac which I had read surreptitiously at 15.

But my hands were full with my Work.  There were many fires to spot and
report that season. One young lookout on nearby Saddle Mountain  cracked up
because of loneliness.  I could handle isolation but, when John and Pete,
two kids from local ranch families came up to spend a few days with me and
do a little trail work, I was pleased to see them.  For their part, about 18
and 19 respectively, they were glad to see the literary remains of Old Nap
and moved with neither apologetics nor disclaimers toward those faster than
Coyote Good would grab his can of Skippy.

And the Coleman lanterns burned late and brightly.

When they left, after a few days of productive trail maintenance, they
wondered if they could take a few of the Books.  "Hell, yes," said I. "After
all, this is now our Little Lending Library in the Deep, Dark Woods."  They
grinned appreciatively and took many.

After Pete and John left, I saw no one for many weeks.  Later, at the end of
the summer fire season, several cowpunchers and others came by, ostensibly
to visit socially, but did take various items from Nap's boxes.  The news
was obviously getting around the Bear Mountain/Blue River country and with
much, much more than simply "deliberate speed".

And then, before long, I left -- for my first college sociology teaching job
at Wisconsin State College, Superior, and Eldri.  Then, about a year after I
had finished my Bear Mountain tour of duty, we were both on our way into
Mississippi and our Great Adventure.

I heard later, from Joe and others, that the Lending Library ran out damn
fast after I left.

My faithful coyote did not come with me off the Mountain.  He may not have
been classically literate but he was for sure telepathic.  When a young lady
coyote came by, Good got married pronto.


HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]
 

NEBRASKA COLLOQUY,  1958-59  [HUNTER GRAY  1/16/05]

NOTE BY HUNTER BEAR:

Light reading for BWB list only.

It remains to be seen if and who considers my one school year of high school
teaching -- on an emergency or provisional certificate since I had no Ed
courses -- successful.  Many did in that turbulent situation but probably
not all.  It was in a rural Nebraska county on the edges of the Sandhills
[remember Old Jules by Marie Sandoz?]  The preceding  spring had seen a
student open fire on others at the Junior/Senior Prom, a kid was killed and
others wounded.  It was tough to get teachers.  I came for the school year,
and taught English, Journalism, Sociology. [I got regularly into the
Rockies for other reasons.] Journalism also involved handling the school
yearbook [I and the students did OK on that] and also the mimeographed
school newspaper, The Cardinal.  Early on, the school superintendent, who
really tried to run everything, informed the faculty that he was importing
something from Canada called the Calgary Plan.  This involved [according to
his interpretation at least] suspending students whose grades fell below a
certain level -- and in some cases expelling them!  I denounced this at the
meeting, as did a few other teachers.  We pointed out this would be a
violation of Nebraska school law. But the superintendent went ahead and
tossed a number of students.  Our school paper immediately took up their
cause with a huge special  edition for the community.  The students were
quickly reinstated and the Calgary Plan was sent back to Canada.  Then, the
local newspaper editor took after me.  We responded with vigor. Here, thanks
to son Peter and his series of "Memory Quizzes", is some of that
considerable correspondence and editorializing of almost half a century ago.
H

From my youngest son, Peter [Mack] to me:

Time to test your memory. Who said this:
"It is indeed regrettable that your commendable measure of courage is so
poorly matched by your general lack of any editorial soundness."

Later
---------------------------------------------------------------------
From Me to Peter:

Sounds precisely like me.  I cannot recall the exact context. [Perhaps the
GF Herald.]  Be sure to read my Sex Books piece [just sent.]  Best D  [Dad]

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Peter to Me:

OK -- half credit for that one.
How about this one:

"You have your right to free speech, Mr. ________. I had, however, felt that
such yellow sheet techniques as distortion, ridicule, implicit red-baiting,
and general reluctance to deal with the real issues in question, were tools
not present in your kit. I am genuinely sorry to note that it is otherwise."

Later.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------

Me to Peter:

This is me as well.  However, upon reflection I wonder if the first one
targeted Jack Lough of Boone County.  This second one might be focused on
him as well.  He did have courage and he was basically honest [if sometimes
dead wrong.]  D

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------

Peter to Me:
Congratulations. Right on both counts.
    I spent some time at the state archives today, reading the Albion News
from '58-'59.
    I was scanning front pages, and the first reference to you I found was a
piece that mentioned you and Van Voorhis staging the Christmas program (or
something like that). The newspaper said you wrote a poem.
    Then I found the exchanges between you and Lough that played out on the
front page (including a Page 1 letter to the editor by you).
    The last reference was an announcement of your resignation tucked inside
a school board story.
    I made copies of most; do you have any interest in them?
    By the way, here's how Lough responded to your red-baiting comment:
"Comment: If Mr. Salter will specify exactly what Red was baited, Albion
Newspapers will quickly and quietly notify the FBI."
    Later

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------

Me to Peter:

I would like [copies of] them.  I came to appreciate and like him.  In the
middle of the Jackson campaign, he wrote an editorial mention of me that was
very favorable.  D

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------

Peter to Me:

One more for now:

"Seems Johnnie has ideas about just about anything on the face of this earth
that are worth having an idea about ... and all of the rash confidence of
youth that each every one of those immature ideas are -- absolutely --
and -- completely right."

Sounds half right, huh?

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------

From John [Beba] to the Family:

That Nebraska stuff is interesting.  Never heard JRS/HG referred to as
"Johnnie."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------
Me:

Jack Lough -- at that point pres of the Nebraska State Press Association --
was well known for attacking various locals of influence.  I was honored --
but ever after many high school kids called me "Johnnie."  As this fight
progressed, our school paper's circ grew rapidly in the broader community.
In time, he suggested we meet for supper at the best local hotel, we did for
a long talk, and of course liked each other very much.  This is when he
said, "I have never -- never -- met anyone who is as absolutely wicked and
devastating with words as you." [Or words very close to that.]  Not long
thereafter, the school supt fired me for insubordination -- vis a vis the
school paper -- but the Mayor of Albion, Ray Medlin[later a Federal judge],
represented me in an emergency school board meeting, parents and students
were thick outside, and I was quickly reinstated.  Jack Lough then supported
our mimeographed paper being regularly printed [at his plant and he gave a
low price] and it was printed.  When I left, the kids gave me the baby
coyotes. As I mentioned to Mack, Jack Lough ran complimentary editorial
words about me while the Jackson Movement was raging and in the national and
international eye.  He was a good man, my kind of conservative.  [Of course,
I am certainly no conservative.]

D

HUNTER GRAY  [HUNTER BEAR]   Micmac /St. Francis Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
www.hunterbear.org
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

In our Gray Hole, the ghosts often dance in the junipers and sage, on the
game trails, in the tributary canyons with the thick red maples, and on the
high windy ridges -- and they dance from within the very essence of our own
inner being. They do this especially when the bright night moon shines down
on the clean white snow that covers the valley and its surroundings.  Then
it is as bright as day -- but in an always soft and mysterious and
remembering way. [Hunter Bear]




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