How I Got This Way...
The coveted Laura and I have been fortunate to live with some wonderful dogs over our years together. During the last couple of decades we have shared our lives with Australian Cattle Dogs. First came Digger, a Blue Heeler bought from a puppy farm in the hope of saving him. Independent and stubborn, it was he that securely tied us to the breed. A few years later came his sidekick, Clancy. Clancy was one of a dozen pups in her litter. We took her when she was only six weeks old because her owner was rather casual about the puppies living in the bed of his pickup truck, and Clancy simply wasn’t getting enough to eat. On her first evening with us came the great Kansas City Ice Storm. She and I spent the night in a sleeping bag in a living room well below freezing.
Clancy was a contradiction in terms. Sweet to both Laura and me, she was suspicious of every other person on the planet and prepared to fight at the drop of an attitude. As her pal, Digger, got older, he lost his eyesight; and Clancy took it upon herself to be his Seeing Eye dog. With that change, Clancy’s attitude toward the world also began to change. She discovered that people were pretty nice…especially Ulva the Magnificent and my pard, Joel Becker. Ultimately, Digger passed and Clancy blossomed as an only dog.
Years went by and our dear Clancy came to be old and rather feeble, so we got another Cattle Dog, a red heeler this time that Laura named Jethro. The puppy had no manners at all. We took him at nine weeks. He’d never been played with, never had a bath, never been held and loved, and never been appreciated by the people who owned him. The result? Bloody hands from needle teeth, and the weeks it took to teach him any manners at all. It was a helluva battle that I would have lost had it not been for Clancy. She knocked a couple of years off and took charge.
Clancy, in spite of her age and infirmities, became Jethro’s mother. She taught him not to bite everybody that came in reach, how to cuddle when the occasion called for it, and how to fight should that be necessary. Clancy‒selfless, wonderful Clancy‒gave the last year of her life to that pup; and when she passed it felt as if she took a part of both Laura and me with her. But she didn’t. Instead, she left a part of her to still be with us in Jethro.
Jethro will probably be our last dog, and that’s fine because in that glorious red heeler still lives his adopted mother, Clancy; and that is as good as it gets.
This month I'd like to share a second true story...
He was about 6 and a half feet tall, weighed maybe 280 pounds, and had straight blue-black hair to below his waist. He looked down at me through hard dark brown eyes from a walnut face and said…“You’re white. Where’d you get that necklace?” He was referring to a Native American, deer-bone hairpipe, four-strand choker I was wearing. I looked up at him and told the truth.
“I was gifted it by a Cherokee on the eve of her quest for her vision.”
“Why?” he asked.
“Because I gave her council,” I replied.
“It is old,” he stated.
“Yes it is. It was in her family for many years.”
“To be gifted such a thing is a great honor,” he went on.
“That’s why I wear it. To honor her and her family.”
He grinned at me. “Right answer, Paleface,” he said, sticking out a paw. “My name’s Steve. Nice to meecha.”
So began a relationship with Steve Silverthorn, a full-blood Lakota Sioux.
Steve disliked being called a Native American. He said that he was an Indian, aptly named by the earliest European explorers in this land who called the natives they encountered “Indios”, or Children of God. “Indios…Indians,” he said. That was good enough for him. Reservation born and raised.
We were at an art fair in Iowa, Laura and I, selling our bags and artwork burned into moose and elk hide. Steve was playing and selling wonderful flutes he’d hand-carved from red and white cedar. I bought one from him, and we spent several hours talking together during the three-day event. A year or so later, while we were setting up our exhibit at a Native American Show in Nebraska, massive arms surrounded me from behind and lifted me off the floor. From beside my left ear a voice growled. “You got your flute, white man?”
Steve was also selling at the show and had been asked to play an invocation for the participants before the doors were opened to the public. Even though he had dozens of his own instruments on hand, he expressed that he would be honored if I would allow him to play my flute. When someone the size of an upright Amana freezer asks to borrow something, you loan it to him.
A little later that morning he dropped by to chew the fat and spied an elk skin bag that Laura had made, graced by a standing buffalo that I’d burned into the flap. It was a nice bag, trimmed in buffalo hairpipe and wool. He snatched it off the table and studied it closely, his eyes shining. Finally he looked at me.
“My grandfather needs this bag,” he said. “He’s old, and it would do him a lot of good. I’ve got to take it to him.”
“Sure,” I replied.
“I don’t have any money,” he said, peering at the three hundred dollar price tag.
I glanced at my wife, the coveted Laura. “Take it,” she said.
His eyes filled with tears for a moment. He blinked them away and became very Indian.
“This thing you do for me is very good,” he said
Laura replied that we were honored for his grandfather to have one of our bags. It was nearly two years before we saw him again.
He turned up at another show in Iowa, but only as a visitor. I was playing my flute in the massive exhibition hall when I heard a flute call from the far end of the building. I answered the call. Another call came. I answered. And so it went until Steve finally walked up through the crowd. He grinned and hugged me. It was a little like being grabbed by a grizzly.
“I knew it was you when I heard your flute,” he said. “You don’t play like a white guy. You’re more like one of us.”
Must be the flute,” I replied.
We talked for a while, and he spotted another bag. “This is beautiful,” he said. “I’m getting married and I have to have something to gift my wife before the wedding. This bag is perfect.”
“Take it with you,” I said.
He grinned at me. “I don’t have any money,” he confessed. I shrugged.
“My grandfather really liked his,” Steve went on. “We buried it with him.” Clutching the bag, he walked away.
A guy exhibiting next to us spoke up. “You just give him that bag?” he asked
When I replied that was what I’d done, he went into a monologue about how we’d been ripped off. I’d never see the money Steve owed me. Those people lived on reservation time with rez attitudes and morals. Debt didn’t mean anything to them, on and on. I didn’t tell him about the other bag we’d given Steve.
Over the next couple of years, Laura and I discussed Steve a time or two, and the five hundred dollars we’d never see, but it was okay. Those bags were much more important to him than they were to us. His need outweighed ours. If he showed up again and wanted another bag, we’d probably let him have it. He did show up eventually, about three years after the wedding bag incident, at a show in South Dakota. I saw him come in the other end of the hall, striding with purpose through the throng. He had a large bundle wrapped in brown paper on his shoulder. He dropped it on our table, hugged Laura, mauled me, and ripped the paper off the package. Inside was a white, brain-tanned buffalo hide. Nearly fifty square feet of soft, luxurious, incredibly tough leather with the consistency of heavy linen, cured by hand with brain juices for bleach, chewed by mouth for suppleness. From any of our normal sources at that time the hide would have cost fifteen hundred dollars.
“That square us?” he asked.
“And then some,” I replied.
Steve smiled. “Good. I guess them white folks was right, though.”
“What white folks?” I asked.
The smile became a grin. “Them ones that said you’d never git one damn dime outa that Injun.”
the TRAIL series
GLORY TRAIL is available as an eBook on Amazon, Smashwords, and other major distributors.
The release date was December 25th.
A wagon train of hopefuls have a chance for a new beginning and a better life by leaving the war-torn South and relocating in Kansas. Unfortunately, old habits die hard; and the truth can come to mean very little. Join Ruben, Marion, and Homer as they fight for justice on the GLORY TRAIL.
Update on the eAudio version
The eAudio version of the book has to be delayed. We have run into some problems beyond our control. It may take awhile, but we are still planning on recording. Please, don't give up on us...'cuz we sure aren't giving up on getting this done! Thank you for your kindness, understanding, and appreciation of David's work.
the TRAIL series: Another Update
There isn't a cover yet...and, there's no title...
the guys have hit the trail again!
Yes, David has been working on the next book!
It won't be out for awhile, so you have to be patient. The TRAIL books usually run between 60,000 to 70,000 words. This book, at around 6,000 words now, has "several" more words to go before it get done.
Finally--DEER RUN TRAIL, the paperback, has been formatted to our satisfaction, and we are happy with the proof, and it is available on Amazon in paperback format.
Just recently. Nodaway Trail became available on Amazon as a paperback, too! We are planning on getting Calico Trail ready for paperback and out before March is over. Keep watch for it!
the CROCKETT series
the 7th book in the CROCKETT series,
Behind the Badge: Small Town Troublemakers
is now available on Amazon!
It should be showing up shortly on all other major distributors, too. So, if you haven't seen it at your favorite distributor yet, keep watch. We promise, it'll get there.
Behind the Badge
Crockett takes a part time job as a small-town cop and becomes suspicious of a local nightclub. With the help of the Missouri State Police, a cute undercover operative, and the ever-present Stitch, Crockett begins an investigation that leads to murder, mayhem, and more when he goes BEHIND THE BADGE.
To get you in the right mood for Crockett and the gang, here's a link to the latest YouTube video...it just happens to be from SITUATIONAL FLEXIBILITY, the 3rd book in the CROCKETT series. Ole Clete is giving Crockett a little lecture on relationships versus committments.
Clete on relationships-youtube
AND MORE NEWS: The 8th and final book in the CROCKETT series is SIX CUT KILL. David has finished the script, but the book is not ready for release yet. Though plans are a bit on the "iffy" side right now, it could be out by late 2017--though it MIGHT be a little sooner.
We named the channel David R Lewis. So, you can just type in David's name, and the YouTube search engine will pull it up, or you can click on any of the links below.
New Video: Crockett Reunites with Stitch
David performs some excerpts from his books, shares some memories of his youth, and rants a little about the writing process.
AND, HERE'S A DIRECT LINK!
David R Lewis
The Crockett Series
The CROCKETT series:
Remember: eBook #1 of the CROCKETT series, FEAR OF THE FATHER, is still free everywhere. Here's the links:
Amazon Fear of the Father
Barnes and Noble Fear of the Father
iBook Fear of the Father
Kobo Fear of the Father
As we mentioned last time, David has written a total of 8 Crockett books. At present, 7 are out. Number 7, Behind the Badge, was released in eBook format, January 27, 2017 on Amazon and Smashwords and is making its way to other major distributors now.
Take to the TRAIL
DEER RUN TRAIL is free on Amazon and other distribution sites in eBook format. GLORY TRAIL was released on December 25, 2016. That makes 8 books in the TRAIL series.
Passing that information on to all your friends would sure be appreciated. Below, we've included a few of the links.
Amazon Deer Run Trail
Barnes and Noble DEER RUN TRAIL
iBook Deer Run Trail
Kobo Deer Run Trail
See ya again on April 1st! If you enjoyed this newsletter; please tell all your friends to visit our website and sign up for the fun.
Ironbear eBook Facebook link
Heartland Memories story page