Monday, December 6, 2010

This is post 500 of a series of 2,656,912.

Be the first kid on your block to collect them all.

I don't believe that I have gotten up and faced the laptop for 500 consecutive posts, yet I guess I have. The little counter thing says I have so I guess I'll believe it because I am too damned lazy to go back and count them all.

If you care to dig back and snoop around, you will find that some days have had missing posts, but I can account for those. Either there was no internet service or I was jammed up with work so hard that I couldn't sneak off and write something up, but all in all this has been a daily discipline for me.

My kid sister turned me on to this little spot where I could vent and rant and rave,, which is a pretty good deal for me as I have needed something like this for quite some time.

Oh, hell. Sea story time.

Right after I got out of the army I moved into a tipi in the Rockies where I lived for well over a year.

During the first summer I managed to buy a horse from someone that really wasn't much of a fiery steed, but the price was right. Old Paint seems like a pretty good name for a horse like the one I had. It was a pretty lazy, well along in years gelding and I actually did pretty well as the saddle that came with the damned animal was worth more than the horse itself.

A couple of the local rancher types were pretty helpful teaching me to take care of the hapless animal because they thought that it was pretty funny watching a guy trying to tackle a winter up on Ute Pass in the winter because they knew that the Indians had enough sense not to winter there.

Anyway, I decided to take Old Paint down the pass and go for a little trip downtown to Colorado Springs and see how my luck would turn out on the social scene. I knew it wasn't going to be a fast trip, maybe a two or three days, so I packed a little chow for me and Old Paint and decided that maybe Old Paint could graze here and there and maybe mow a lawn or two. I saddled up and stuffed my .50 cal Hawken in the scabbard.

The ride down through Manitou Springs was pretty uneventful in that Manitou at the time was a pretty off the wall place chock full of hippies and the like so I guess the police had better things to do than chase after some guy passing through on a horse. They left me alone and I passed on through.

I was moseying down West Colorado Ave when a cruiser pulled up alongside me and turned on its lights. The officer gave me the 'pull over' sign, but I turned Old Paint into an alley and I guess the cop simply made a mental note to keep an eye out for me rather than drive the cruiser down an alley to give chase. I immediately got off of the main drag and rode on across town through residential neighborhoods and soom I crossed Academy Boulevard and headed up to an upscale socialite bar called 'Sir Sids'. It was one of the phoney cool places where the phoney cool set hung out and I really knew I wasn't welcome there by most, but I also knew a lot of the women there were a bit jaded and looking for a change from time to time. They sometimes got tired of the phoney cool and would sometimes be interested in someone that was actually doing something interesting for a change.

I handed the reins to the doorman and watched him freak out a bit, then took them back and tied up Old Paint where the doorman suggested and got told that if he made a mess, I would have to clean it up. Then I wandered in carrying a freshly stretched beaver pelt clad from head to toe in beaded buckskin, bearded with a tomahawk in the back of my belt and stumped up to the bar. I ordered a beer.

Some jerk shouted "Hey, Buffalo skinner!" to me and I responded by throwing my tomahawk across the room where it stuck into a pine upright beam and I offered to skin him. The man paled and the bartender blew up and took ran over and took the tomahawk from where it was stuck and chewed me out and told me that if I even blinked, I was gone. He put the tomahawk behind the bar and told me to claim it when I left. I still own the old tomahawk and right now it hangs in my basement cieling joists.

Then he told the mouthy guy that he was tired of him starting trouble and threw him out. I guess he was a regular trouble maker and they were fed up with his crap.

I was astonished, as I thought I would be banished on the spot. I had already planned my escape, figuring to hop on Old Paint and head east onto the prairie and hole up somewhere. I didn't figure they would take very kindly to a thrown tomahawk at all. To this day, I still can't figure why I didn't get the boot.

It wasn't long before some curious woman approached me and asked me what I was doing there and I explained that I was in town for a day or two from my home up the pass. She asked me a little more and after a couple of beers, she told me she wanted to see my tipi. When I told her I had Old Paint outside and that it was a very long days ride, she looked concerned and asked me where I was staying. When I explained I was going to go about a mile east and camp in the prairie, she offered me the comfort of her bed. Her apartment was about a mile away and because she had offered her honor, I honored her offer. All night long, I was to find myself myself offer and honor.

I followed her home on Old Paint. It was funny following a car up Academy Boulevard on horseback and as cars passed us the looks on their faces was priceless. She had to drive practically at an idle. Traffic was light, so there were not too many problems.

Much drinking took place at her place and I was worried about my horse being left tie up in a parking lot all night, so bombed out of my mind, I went down and took Old Paint through the apartment doors and let him go in the courtyard of the apartments.

When we woke up the following morning there was a flurry of activity in the courtyard. I saw a number of people out there and realized that they were wondering what to do with an unattended horse in the courtyard. I also realized that there was a pretty good chance that someone would finally call animal control and I'd have to bail Old Paint out of horse jail so I put my buckskins back on, grabbed the saddle, goods and garbage and heavily overloaded with everything, I staggered down into the courtyard.

Right in front of about a dozen outrage people I saddled Old Paint up, put on the saddlebags and rifle scabbard and led him out through the apartment and out into the parking lot. Then I simply saddled up and headed east into the prairie country.

Back then anything east of North Academy Boulevard was pretty much settled only a block or two deep and then reverted to prairie. I wonder how it is now.

I had made plans with my newly found sweetie to meet up, so when the heat died down, I slipped back into the fringes of civilization, found a phone booth, booted Superman out of it and called her up. What had happened the previous evening had apparently just sunk in and she was terrified that the apartment people would find out she was responsible for bringing the guy who let the horse free in the courtyard into the apartment village and she would get booted out. She begged off, which was all right by me.

I just saddled up and headed east and found a place to picket Old Paint and I sacked out for a while.

When I woke, it was later than I had expected, so I planned my ride home, figuring to arrive in the sparsly settled area between Manitou Springa and Colorado Springs late where I would camp overnight and then return up the pass in the morning.

Things seemed to be working out as planned, as it was starting to get a little dark as I was paralleling West Colorado Ave. I was a bit hungry and checked my possibles bag and found out I had fifty-nine cents. I could afford for a hoagie, so I headed down to West Colorado Ave figuring on hitting the Seven-11.

As I was pulling up there was some commotion. Some guy was starting to run down the street and the clerk, a Native American, was shouting that he had just been robbed. This was back in the days before the India-born Indians moved into the convenience store game. Back then Indians were Native Americcans. I dug my heels into Old Paint's sides and the chase was on!

Now, Old Paint wasn't going to win the Kentucky Derby by a long shot, but he managed to catch up with the guy in very short order. I whipped my rifle out of the scabbard and planned on hitting the guy between the shoulders, but when I swung and saw him go down, I knew I had really brained him. He went down like a sack and something shiny flew out.

It was a revolver!

I had figured the guy to either be a snatch and grab or a shoplifter, but it was then and there I realized I had nailed an armed robber! The clerk was on him in a second, sitting on him with the pistol in hand, he looked up and started carrying on about how grateful he was.

When I told him I was coming in for a sandwich he told me to go inside and help myself, his treat. I was in and out in a flash and then realized the cops were coming and I really didn't want to be caught riding a horse on West Colorado Ave.

I looked at the clerk, thanked him for the sandwich and told him I had to leave before the police showed up and in a flash of inspiration, told him to tell the cops that a guy on a horse, wearing a mask nailed the guy, handed him something and shouted "Hi-Ho, Silver!" and galloped off. With that I reached into my possibles bag and handed him a freshly molded lead Mine ball that hadn't oxidized yet and still looked like it was silver in color. I hopped onto Old Paint, shouted "Hi-Ho, Silver! Away!" and galloped off.

I heard sirens in the distance and unassed the AO as fast as Old Paint could take me.

I had been away from the scene of the crime when it occurred to me just what had happened a few minutes and I started shaking like a leaf. I realized that I very well could have been shot dead by the robber and probably the only reason I hadn't been fired on was either that the thug had seen Old Paint and I coming like an avenging angel and panicked or maybe he hesitated to draw for some reason. It had probably been a close call and I was finally realizing just how close I had come.

The rest of the trip went as planned and I got home as planned. I overnighted where I had planned and spent most of the rest of the day riding home without event.

A couple days later one of the locals happened by and asked me a couple of pretty pointed questions about my whereabouts that I was on that particular night. He told me there was a blurb in the police blotter of the local downtown about the thwarted robbery and that the masked man that stopped the robbery had been on horseback, knocked the robber down, handed the clerk a silver bullet and shouted "Hi-Ho, Silver!" and galloped off.

I gave him an evasive answer, he gave me a dubious look, then me smirked and left.

A month or so later when I was riding Old Paint down to the Golden Bee at the Broadmoor Hotel for another thrilling visit to the big city, a cop drove by me on one of the side roads, smirked, shook his head and kept driving.

Maybe I'lll write about the visit to the Golden Bee some night.

Any of you guys ever ride a horse into a hotel bar?

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