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Writins of Weakeyes Cody

                                  Talented and witty writings

November Fires  @2005

The Sierra's blue granite slopes are taking on that frosty haze and the aspen are turning gold in the down slope valleys. Livestock linger closer to the tree lined streams for shelter from those cold breezes and the smell of wood smoke permeates the air. I leaned back on the slanted board chair provided by one of my fellow Muleskinners and watched the cheerful groups of men and women gathered around the fires to ward off those Sierra breezes of November, while they spoke of everything from dress material, kids, wagon wheels, six guns, leather, and whisky.


The California Mojave Desert, is a gentle land. But if one doesn't dress properly for it it can kill you. But naturally, most Muleskinners know this. I enjoy watching this assembly of friends who gather to simply enjoy the company of one another and frolic among the settings of yesterday. And I have to smile as I consider what our allegedly modern or politically correct media would deem this gathering. That is to say, most all if not all,  enjoy guns. Handguns, rifles and shotguns proliferate the waists of all the men and most of the women. They lay on tables, lean against posts or walls, and are handled and revered by all. Everyone's wife is respected both as the wife of a friend and as a friend in her own right. And those who aren't wives are respected as women were in the late nineteenth century. I must concede however, that it is not a gathering where members of the local church would feel comfortable, for aided and encouraged by Jack Daniel, some of the skinner's antics stray far afield of what would be politically or even socially correct. It is however, done in good humor and with enthusiasm. There also awaits a drink known as apple pie, formulated by various Skinners, that sets in jugs atop tables waiting to ambush any gullible soul who partakes of it's sweet appealing flavor. I once partook generously of this ominously camouflaged drink and my mind instructed me very quickly that it could become my master. I am simply too old to allow any further 'morning after's,' to infringe on my personality.


But to continue; as I observed my friends all gathered here at Whitehorse Ranch, I was pleased to hear the laughter. It was reminiscent of a family gathering. The ones I knew long ago. There was an abundance of food and drink provided by the proprietors, that made us all feel at home. The kids and dogs all ran unconstrained in the sand without irritating their elders, and the gun fighting skits were more fun to watch than to participate in. It took longer to huddle and plan the performance than it did to achieve. It is always a contribution to humor when there are too many cooks to spoil the broth.

There have been numerous organizations of old west reenactors come and go since I became involved with the Muleskinners. Each disintegrating for assorted reasons. But the catalyst that seems to hold the Muleskinners together is the simple fact that we all enjoy each other. We share the love of the American yesterdays that embraced a period where we stood shoulder to shoulder against everything from disease, thievery, lawlessness, fire, hunger, loss, and even sorrow. It's good to sit around the fire and sing songs or try to sing them, to talk and tell tales of our feeble attempts at something. And to be genuinely happy to see faces we haven't seen for a long time and marvel at how the children have grown.


Yes, there's no doubt in my mind that most by-standers would judge us harshly relative to this early twenty-first century perspective that seems so prevalent today. But it sets well upon the shoulders of every Muleskinner. I really enjoyed my time spent here and I hope we can meet again with this Arizona/California band and maybe next time have some songs written on paper that we can all sing. Since I can't sing, I'll bring my harmonica. See you all as you ride by,


~ Weakeyes Cody

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