My visual, audio and literary stuff is free here, but my hold-in-your-hands books, prints, and CDs cost real money. If you want to buy something tactile from me, contact me at stujenks at gmail dot com, or message me on Facebook. If you simply want to look and read for free, that's fine too, but don't hesitate to send me your sofa change. My snail mail address is P.O. Box 161, Tucson, Arizona 85702. Keep those cards and letters coming. And sofa change too. Love and light, Stu.
"The Abyss, Rockwell Kent, 1930, Woodcut at Tucson Museum of Art's Into The Night show." Photograph 2016 Stu Jenks.
23 years after this woodcut was made, a friend of Rockwell's and his wife came to stay at their home on Monhegan Island in Maine. Sally Moran was going through a messy divorce from an ad exec and had lost her apartment in New York City. Sally had been a model of Rockwell's back in the day and perhaps his mistress too. (Rockwell seemed that have fooled around a lot.) Rockwell and his wife, also named Sally, were away from Monhegan in early July, but their eldest daughter and her two children were home at the time. On the night of July 9th, 1953, Sally Moran went for a walk before dinner along the cliffs. She never returned. Three weeks later her body was pulled from the ocean. Months after that, the Kents sold their house.
Life imitating Art, in the most tragic way.
"A Dale Nichols at the Into The Night show at Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona." Photograph 2016 Stu Jenks.
I love his work; the palette, the forms, the exaggerations. Like those saguaros. No cactus are that tall or that smooth. Great stuff.
"Catalina State Park, Arizona at the Tucson Museum of Art's Into The Night show," (c) 2016 Stu Jenks.
En plein air. French phrase for an artist who makes his work out of doors. Art curator Julie Sasse says I'm one of those artists. She's right.
Thanks Julie for selecting me for the show.
P.S. I'm two pieces down from a freaking Misrach and across the way from a Jeff Smith, a Tom Willett and a Bill Lesch. I'm in very good company. Shows up until July 10th.
Below is a very kind review by David Moyer of my first novel "Step Zero." Book four of this series, "Victor Mothershead: U.S. Secret Service" will be coming out in early July of 2016. "Step Zero" is now available at a new low price of $1.99 on the Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks. Book two, "Air & Gravity" is now $2.99. Book three, "Balthazar & Zeeba" is also $1.99.
Start at the beginning is what I say.
"I wasn't sure at first if a book heavily influenced by and full of references to the 12 step program would be to my liking, but to my surprise, it added to, rather than detracting from the story. Stu Jenks has written a great adventure story that takes place in a very plausible future, and he has made it very intimate by bringing you all of the characters in the first person. I felt that I knew and empathized with his characters, even those I didn't like. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the sequel." - David Moyer.
Spring: 2002. Dad's been dead nine months. Mom has to sell the river house so she can invest the cash and survive on the interest. Dad didn't leave Mom enough money to live on. Dad didn't believe in life insurance.
People loved my father, for he had the public persona of a funny, happy-go-lucky, smart, old Southern man. But his private face was darker. At home, he was a cynical loner who feared poverty and preferred his own company to that of his family.
But oddly, all that doesn’t seem to matter now, the man he was when he was alive, for I can feel him around me. I can call him to me, simply by saying his name. He seems to be this pure good soul now: loving, tender, accepting, and kind. I feel he actually likes me today. (And whether I'm making it up in my own head or Ghost Dad is really hovering around, the kind energy of my father is nice to be around.)
Months ago, I had to send Dad away for a week because the new-glowing-light-Dad was interfering with my grieving process of the newly-dead-Dad. I needed to be mad at my father for a while, but when God’s-Light-Bulb-Dad was around, I couldn’t feel that feeling and then let it go. But I called him back after awhile, after I released that rage. Unlike the living Stuart, Ghost Dad understood completely.
When I'm worried about money and going further into debt around my failing art photography business, I hear him softly say, "Don't worry, son. The money will come, and if it doesn't, it doesn't matter. You have the love of your friends, the love of your Art, the love of us." Other times, when I'm filled with self-doubt and internal hatefulness, I hear him whisper off my left shoulder, "I love you just the way you are, Son. You don’t need to change a thing." A month ago, when Ghost Dad was saying another ethereal message of Love, I actually said out loud, "Who is this guy?”
A little about Ed-Lil, The Jenks’ ancestral summer home on the Rappahannock River, which Mom is selling:
It was bought by Papa Edgar Jenks, my grandfather, in the 1920’s from Johnny Mothershead. It consisted of a two story house with five bedrooms and a bath, and a smaller one story house that had the kitchen, the dining room and a tool shed. My father deeply loved the Rappahannock River, the Ed-Lil house, and the people who lived along its banks. Loved them since he was a teenager.
Every August, Mom, Dad, Pamela and I would come to the river for two or three weeks. I hated the river as a kid. Hated the mosquitoes, the fleas, the stinging jellyfish but mostly I hated being around my parents. They were so judgmental, so critical, so volatile in bullshit ways. I couldn’t wait to get back to Raleigh and back to school in September. But then, 25 years ago, I started coming here because I wanted to, not because I had to. I always had a car, so I could come and go as I pleased, if things got too dark.
After Dad retired from IBM in mid 80's, he built himself and Mom a modest three bedroom house next to the old houses. He then tore down the bedroom house and the kitchen and left the old dining room as his workshop. The dining room/tool shed was and is gorgeous, with its ancient tongue-in-groove wood walls, the rusting gas fixtures from the 1920’s that still hang from the ceiling, and the tattered and stained white lace curtains that haven’t been washed since the Eisenhower Administration. The new smell of gasoline is added to the mix, that comes from the riding lawn mower that’s parked on the shed’s stained hardwood floors. An old map of Richmond County is pinned to the wall. It’s been crudely attached there since before I was born. Change is good sometimes, but consistency and tradition are beautiful, too, if they are humble. That is one humble map. This is one humble room.
I'm standing in the old dining room this afternoon, with the lace and the tongue in groove and the old map on the wall. A big rain is coming. Spirit Dad is here, but I sure wish Old Living Stuart were here right now. Dad and I so loved watching big storms cross the river.
The window facing the river looks great. So would a flame spiral next to it. Wonder if I can pull it off. It’ll have to be a short exposure, maybe ten seconds. I put all the red filters I have on the lens of my Rollei and hope for the best.
I open the window, get out the Zippo and wait for the storm.
A line of rain crosses the seven-mile width of the river. The river slowly goes away, replaced by a dark gray of big rain. Halfway across the river now. Just a mile away. Almost here. Now it’s here. The storm is here.
Thunder crackles in the corn fields behind me. Lightning highlights the lace curtains. Heavy dense rain blows in through the open window. The river completely disappears.
I open the Rollei’s shutter and ignite the Zippo. I paint a spiral to the left of the window. I close the shutter after ten seconds. I do this a few times.
Then suddenly, in between exposures, a small gray finch flies through the open window. Confused and wet, it lands on the lens of my camera. We stare at each other. He's scared, fidgety and soaked to the bone. My first thought is, “Don't shit on the lens. Please don’t shit on my camera.” The bird's first thought is probably something like, “Where the hell am I? How did I get in here, and who is that guy?” He stays perched on my camera for at least a minute. We continue to look at each other. I don’t care about bird shit anymore. I just care for the little bird.
Suddenly he flies off the camera, but now, poor thing, he can’t find the open window. He’s feverishly flying around the dining room. I quickly grab a broom. I open the ancient screen door and prop it open with an old gas can. The finch is banging itself on the ceiling of the room, completely frantic now. I gently put the straw broom head on the ceiling and usher the bird to the door. He see the open door and streaks out into the pouring rain. Success for both of us.
I go back and paint another Zippo spiral, this one for the bird. The exposure feels right. I call it a day. I put the lens cap on the camera and sit in an old chair now, looking at a large puddle of water forming under the old cedar tree out front.
I love the River now. I'm going to miss it. But you got to do what you got to do. Mom needs money to survive, and she really doesn’t like living this far away from civilization anyway. She only came here because Stuart came here to live. Now, he’s gone. Now, it’s time for her to live where she wants, for her to have her own life now.
She’ll be soon living in a cute little house next door to the organist from church. Glen’s his name. He’s a wonderful guy. I'm hopeful. For all of us.
Cowgirl Pam Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011 Raleigh, North Carolina
(Excerpt from my book, Pamela's Baby Rocking Chair. Also available as an e-book, wherever they are sold. Images and text (c) 2016 Stu Jenks.)
“Hello, I’m Stu Jenks and I’m Pamela Jenks’ brother,” I say into the answering machine, making a new outgoing massage.
“Pamela died yesterday at 5:30 p.m. Her funeral will be at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, here in Raleigh at 2 p.m., this Saturday. Please come if you can. Thanks again for loving my sister.”
Now, I need to work on Pamela’s eulogy again. I’m not have a very good go at it. Usually, I have no problem writing a nice eulogy for family members. I usually do a mix of sad yet touching truths along with a few jokes. But it’s hard to write something nice about Pamela Jenks.
My sister was a deadbeat spiteful alcoholic, who judged people harshly and felt entitled to more than her fair share. The nicest thing I can say is, ‘She loved dogs, liked Scotch, and lived to cross-stitch.’ The list of what she hated is too long to mention.
It’s sunset. I’m walking along a bike path that meanders beside Crabtree Creek just a mile from the house. Beautiful green colors in the trees. (I think they are called leafs. We don’t have this color green in the desert.) Pungent musky smells drift up from the creek. Water lazily laps its banks. Lovely.
Then it hits me: The eulogy I could give, but won’t. Honest and true and a hell of a good metaphor.
Pamela Jenks was born 140 years too late. She’s been quite happy living in Northern Virginia circa 1880.
The War of Northern Aggression has destroyed most of the family’s holding. Her father died ten years ago of his war wounds. Her mother moved out West to live near her son five years ago, in the little frontier town of Tucson, Arizona.
Mother was never quite right. Definitely not in her right mind now. Pamela chooses to live in the old ancestral home, outside of Alexandria. No one has done maintenance on the Old Home Place for twenty years. The fruit trees need pruning. The roof leaks and a raccoon now lives in the attic. Her brother in Tucson wires her money every so often, so she doesn’t starve, but she mostly lives on bread and whiskey. More booze than bread. She stitches in her high bedroom, late into the night. Neighbor children are scared of her. She has developed a liking to the word ‘cocksucker’ and uses it often in conversation. She hasn’t had a lover in 40 years. She rarely leaves the property.
One day a neighbor finds her half dead in her bed. They call the doc but by the time he arrives from town, she’s already dead. She dies at the age of 62.
I would love to tell that story at St. Mark’s on Saturday but I won’t. Pamela has planned her funeral down to the very last hymn. Maybe I’ll pass on a eulogy all together.
Maybe I’ll do this. I’ll just say to everyone at church:
“Pamela Jenks suffered a lot in her life and she isn’t suffering anymore.”
That’s good. That’ll do just fine.
Two hours later, my cellphone rings. It’s the Reverend White. She’s giving me an update on the plans for the service. Then she says...
“...and we don’t have time for a eulogy.”
“Really?” I say.
“We just don’t have time,” she says again.
That pisses me off.
If it was any other family member’s service, I would have said, “Reverend, make the fucking time,” cussing in homage to my sister, but I don’t. I just close my eyes, take a deep breath and connect up with my intuition. I know the answer before I even asked.
“Charlotte,” I say, pausing for affect, “That’s just fine. Do the service like Pamela wanted. You do the homily. I’ll just attend.”
I’m guessing the Reverend was both relieved I agree to not speak and surprised that I didn’t put up more of a fight.
I would have insisted to speak if I had nicer things to say.
The Eulogy of Pamela Jenks Saturday, June 25, 2011 St. Mark’s Episcopal Church Raleigh, North Carolina
(This is an imaginary eulogy. I didn’t speak this at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church that day, yet I decided to write a very truthful speech, the day before, nonetheless. I thought I might be able to use it somewhere, like in a book or something.)
Pamela Jenks was born in Richmond, Virginia on June 1st, 1948. She died in Raleigh, North Carolina from metastatic breast cancer on June, 21st, 2011.
I’m probably not the person to write this, for I’m often honest to a fault. Then again, I may be just the right person for the job, for I know much of the history. I have compassion for my sister but I’m willing to tell the truth here, especially since Dad is dead, Mom’s dying of dementia in Tucson, and I’m Pamela’s only sibling. There is no one else in our family to speak. There is no one else in our family but me.
Some people her in attendance may take fault to what I’m getting ready to say, for it sully Pamela’s memory. But really? What positive memory is there to diminish? Most of you all here I’m guessing were friends who tolerated Pamela’s strong personality, vulgar words, selfish attitudes and lazy behaviors but tried to love her as an act of kindness. And that is greatly appreciated by me. But frankly having ‘pity friends’ is f’ed up, yet it say much more about Pamela then it does about any of you.
No, I’ll speak these words as a way of giving answers to some of the questions you all may have and my hope is simple. Once you know the truth about Pamela Jenks, I hope you will have even greater Christian compassion for her and her life.
Pamela was born sickly and was put in an incubator for weeks. She wasn’t touched at all for the first few weeks of her life. That alone will mess you up a little. But more so, she was born to a Jenks man and a Saum woman. That had more to do with it than anything else.
My mother and my father did a number on my sister.
Our father, Stuart Jenks, was an OK guy, I guess. Some of you here knew him. I have some of his sense of humor and a little of his sense of design, but I hold to none of his politics, nor any of his views on women. Stuart was the son of a judgmental alcoholic, Papa Edgar, and a very good woman, Mama Lillie. Edgar was a son of a bitch, a mean boss at the C and O Railroad and a jerk at home. My only uncle on my father’s side, Edgar Jr, became alcoholic himself but died sober. My dad was a daily drinker but he wasn’t mean or violent or really that unkind to me. He just didn’t really give a shit about his family. He should have stayed a bachelor, if you ask me.
As time progressed, Dad grew to loath his daughter. She was loud and spoiled and learned to say the word ‘Fuck’ as a teenager. Dad, needless to say, hated how she talked. But he wasn’t cruel to Pamela with words, but he didn’t like her very much and he showed his disdain by just shutting her out, barely talking to her, and just ignoring her. That was tough on Pamela, for she placed my father on a very high pedestal. When Stuart left Raleigh in mid 1980’s to retire to our summer home on the Rappanhanock River in Virginia, he allowed Pamela to live rent free in the house on Amherst Lane. He took out whatever furniture and tools and such that he wanted in Virginia and said goodbye to Pamela and to the house here in Raleigh. He allowed his wife to send Pamela some of his money now and again, and in later years, our mother Mary and then I, gave her a few hundred dollars a months so she didn’t starve.
Pamela worked for the Psychology Department at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for a while, for IBM, for an even shorter while, and for The Raleigh Art Gallery part time after that. Employment was not something Pamela Jenks felt she had an obligation to do. Frankly, she was a dead beat, playing on the fears of my mother and father that she would kill herself and/or drink herself to death.
Dad wanted to kick her out of the Raleigh house at some point, but Mary wouldn’t allow that. Mary couldn’t throw her only daughter out on the street, even though that just what they should have done, yet after a number of years of enabling their daughter, they realized that they needed to give her a bit of tough love, but then Stuart got cancer, died of cancer, then Mary got sick, then sicker, then I took over the finances, and so kicking Pamela to the curb became a low priority for me. Taking care of our mother in Tucson was way more important.
Which brings us to Mary Jenks.
Mary Saum was born into landed gentry in Northern Virginia in 1926. Earl Saum was a farmer and a banker and had land, money, and servants. He was also a violent alcoholic, forcing the family to watch often, him beating his son Courtney to an inch of his life in the front yard of the farm, with all the Saum girls crying from the porch. He did this a lot, I’m told. Single handedly, he screw up all three girls and his only son. Nice guy. Earl died of a heart attack in his early 50’s, a few years before Stuart and Mary even met. He was never spoken of in our house, even though Nannie, his widow, lived with us for the first ten years of my life and the first fifteen years of Pamela’s. Nannie lost all the money and all the property before I was born. My mother and father were kind enough to take her in. I have nothing bad to say about Nannie. She was the one family member who truly seemed to give a crap about Little Stu. Anyway, Earl Saum was never mention. I didn’t even know his name until I was twelve when we buried his widow.
None of the Jenks kids born to Edgar and Lillie Jenks were close, nor were the children of Earl and Nannie Saum. As soon as they could, all of my aunts and uncles and my parents got far away from their parents and siblings. I have two cousins who I just learned their names this year.
Much sadness and great shame comes from being raised by alcoholic and violent people. You are taught as a kid, by alcoholic and addicted parents, to see the world as an unsafe place, to not talk about your feelings to others, to not trust others, nor even trust what you think, what you feel, and what you perceive ss real, valid and honest. Children of Alcoholics tend to be caretakers, or loners, or addicts and alcoholics themselves. It leaves a wound that seeps for a very long time.
Those were the lessons taught to Pamela and I by Stuart and Mary. Our parents didn’t mean to screw us up. Again, they were not cruel. But even though they did their best they could, they did a pretty shitty job. Then didn’t mean to fuck us up. They just did.
Through my own recovery from addiction, a lot of therapy and the Grace of God, I’m pretty OK now. Odd, yes, but not that weird. OK, I am pretty weird, but in a funny way, not a harmful way. Mostly. Feel free to laugh.
I know who I am, I love people a lot, I have my place in this world where I make a small difference, I hope, and I can give and receive love. I do have my father’s tempter and my mother’s chattiness but I try to keep those in check. But this eulogy isn’t about me. It’s about Pamela Jenks.
Pamela never really had a chance. Or maybe we just enabled the crap out of her. But here is what I want you to hear.
Stuart never really wanted kids but he had them anyway. He didn’t know how to father nor really wanted to. He just wanted to work on his cars and watch a little TV.
And Mary? Mom messed with my sister’s head for so many years. Pamela didn’t know where she ended and where Mom began. Mom had servants as a child and decided that’s what she wanted from her daughter and her son too. I got wise to this pretty and loaded up an old Chevy and left North Carolina for Arizona soon after college. But Pamela got stuck here. She was cute when she was young but really not that pretty as an adult, and with that loud voice of hers, my sister scared men away. And if Mary Jenks had her way (and she usually did), Mom would have Pamela at her beck and call, 24/7/365.
The house on Amherst Lane appears like a freebie to Pamela, a home she lived in alone for over 20 years, rent free, but it wasn’t. Pamela paid a terrible price for decades before she became someone who could barely work for a living. Hell, Pamela could hardly buy groceries without causing a scene in the store.
And all of us here, at St. Mark’s today, know these traits of my sister: vulgar when she didn’t need to be, selfish when it was out of place, judgmental seemingly all the time, and unpredictable in a not fun-fun way.
But understand where Pamela came from. Most if not all of her personal power was stripped from her by a narcissistic mother and a disinterested father. She sought approval and never got any.
And when I, the cute Buddha baby arrived when she was five, she hated me because I got some love, some approval, and some power. But she never did.
Pamela and I were never close. She made it clear very early that she would just as soon not ever see my cute little face. Around age 10, I figured out my sister was kind of nuts and gave her a wide berth. We exchanged Christmas gifts later in life and talked a few times a year on the phone but that was about it.
That is, until I moved Mary Jenks out to live near me, in Tucson, in 2008.
Many of you here too, know my mother.
Long story short, Mary developed a fast growing dementia soon after she arrived in Arizona. She has been in a wheelchair, unable to walk and hardly able to feed herself since the fall of 2008. She knows who I am and can still talk a bit but the selfish, self-centered mother that I knew has now been replaced by a petulant four-year-old girl who tries to manipulate me. Yet Mary lives for the kiss on her forehead from her son a few times a week. We sold the old home place in Virginia to pay for her care. That money is just about gone now.
But since Mary has been out in Tucson with me, Pamela has actually been nice to me for the first time in my and her life. True, I did continue the tradition for sending her a few hundred bucks a month, to keep her in tuna and booze, and I’m sure that helped her mood toward her brother, but I have to admit, I’ve enjoyed Pamela liking me. It’s new and fun and filled with stories.
I know each of you in this congregation have Pamela Jenks stories. You know you do.
Here are just a few of mine.
After Pamela was diagnosed with late stage breast cancer in the Spring of 2011, I came back to Raleigh for a number of days, to take her to her radiation treatments, get my name on her bank accounts, check out the condition of the house (which was still owned by our mother), and get a general lay of the land. I went to Pamela’s church, this church, and meet a few new people and saw some old people I hadn’t seen since I was 18. (I especially enjoyed seeing you, Art Warner. You haven’t changed a bit.) Anyway, the house was a challenge as were the banks (Pamela and I found a little common ground. A great dislike for her IBM Coastal Credit Union. What ever works.) But being around Pamela, with her loud voice, her perpetually anxiety, and her extremely judgmental words felt like I was strapped to the bow of a ship in tall stormy seas, with the sirens of the ocean screaming in my face.
Pamela expressed, at some point, she would like to have a good steak before she died. I thought, sure. Why not?
After being seated at the very posh place in North Hills, the waiter said, “Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Jenks.”
“Thank you,” I said, “but I’m her brother and she is my sister.”
And at that moment, in her dog-barking voice, so everyone could hear, Pamela yelled:
“We Jenks aren’t into INCEST! No! No! INCEST isn’t our thing! Ha, ha, ha, ha. No, we Jenks don’t do INCEST!”
I heard the words INCEST echo off the steakhouse walls. I felt the eyes of the rich upon us. I was only slightly embarrassed. This wasn’t my first Pamela Jenks rodeo. But I did think, ‘This is going to be a very long dinner,’ and it was.
And I could tell more stories, but one’s enough.
Pamela did have a few fine qualities. She was a very good cross-stitcher. She was a good cook and she loved the beagles she had over the years. She was a Democrat and voted all her life, yet sadly she had too much Southern landed gentry in her to really feel comfortable around people with more melanin in the skin than her. But she wasn’t really a racist. She just disliked everybody.
But she did like some things. Not many but a few. One of those was St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Unlike her brother who is an odd mix of Buddhist and Anglican beliefs, she believed in the Risen Christ and the community of The Church. She gave some of her time and what money she had to this church. And you, the people of St. Mark’s, came and helped my sister in her final days and weeks, and for that, I am truly grateful. I know it wasn’t easy, given that I’m sure Pamela told you exactly how she wanted you to give your love, but you did it anyway. You came. You helped. Thank you. Thank you so very much.
So from a distant brother like myself, it seems like a wasted life, with only her resentments and her booze to keep her company, and perhaps, a few very tolerate friends who are here with us today.
So rather than just give a eulogy of ‘She loved Christ, she loved Art, she loved dogs.’, forgive me this very blunt assessment of why Pamela lived and died in a lonely, moldy, old house, all by herself, with no one to tenderly touch her in the middle of the night.
She was damaged, not beyond repair, but she was never fixed, never made right, never made whole. She did the best she could, but she didn’t do a very good job at living. But she wasn’t afraid to die. Maybe a little but not very much. She believe in The Life Everlasting and The Kingdom To Come.
Let’s hope. No, let’s pray that Heaven gives her just what she needs. The Eternal Light and Love of God, and maybe a beagle puppy or two.
And also, say a prayer for all the angels and archangels in Heaven, for Pamela Jenks is coming to town. They won’t know what hit them.
I love you, Pamela. I miss you, Pamela. I feel your presence today and it feels good. Truly, rest in peace, my sweet sister.
“Drink The Same Water, Eat The Same Bread:” Near Council Rocks, Dragoon Mountains, Arizona Fall, 1872 & Summer 2005 & “LSD and Buffalo,” Bear Butte, South Dakota Summer, 1982
Images and text (c) 2016 Stu Jenks and Fezziwig Press.
An excerpt from the e-book The Transpersonal Papers by Stu Jenks.
Sweet Jesus. I've never been so happy to engage the 4-wheel-drive in all my life. That dirt road out of Tombstone is, by far, one of the worst washboard roads I've ever driven on. Huge standing waves of dirt and rock. And trying to drive on the shoulder, like I do up on the Navajo Rez, just doesn't work here. There is no shoulder, no ditch, no narrow smooth strip of dirt on the far right, to drive on. Just one wide carpet of washboard from edge to edge. But now, after ten miles of teeth-rattling, I've turned onto the smooth, gently rolling Jeep trail that leads deep into the western side of the Dragoon Mountains. Then again, the bumpity-bumpity I’ve just experienced may have had more to do with these very stiff shocks on my very old truck than anything else. I really shouldn’t blame it all on the road. I’ve never been on this side of the Dragoons before, but I've felt pulled to it lately after I started researching Cochise and his Chokonen band of Chiricahua Apaches. On the outside of the Dragoons, on its eastern slope, is Cochise's Stronghold, a place I've been to a number of times over the years, but this Jeep trail on the western slope is brand new to me and that's saying something, given all the dirt roads and jeep trails in Southern Arizona I've driven on over the past twenty-some years. I stop the truck after about a half-mile, grab my Forest Service map and study it. I look in the rear view mirror. No one there. No one in front of me. I take a little time. On the map, there seems to be a place called White House Ruins. Doesn’t look far. And near that to the south, are something called Council Rocks. I wonder what those are? I wonder if any thing significant happened there, back in the day?
A couple of weeks later, I discovered a lot did happen on this side of the mountain, but I didn't know it at the time. Just had an intuition. But in the Fall of 1872, Cochine negotiated a peace near Council Rocks, and a few years early, further north in the Western Stronghold, he meet Tom Jeffords for the first time. Or so the story goes.
A little about Tom Jeffords, the man who will forever be known as Cochise's best White friend. Born in 1832, Thomas J. Jeffords was a tall, thin man with red hair and a long beard. In the 1850's, he sailed on the Great Lakes. He helped lay road in Kansas and Colorado after his stint as a boatman, and he prospected in New Mexico before the Civil War. In the Civil War, he worked as a scout for the Union General Canby, in the area of New Mexico and Arizona.
After the Civil War, things get a little foggy to say the least. It is said that he either started or managed a mail run that traveled between Santa Fe and Tucson. He probably met the Chihennes clan of the Apaches in New Mexico before he meet Cochise and his Arizonan Chokenens. My guess is, it was through his knowing the Chihennes that he learned to speak Apache. After not too long, he quit the mail business and went back to prospecting and trading. Many say he met Cochise in 1869 in Canada Alamosa, New Mexico when Cochise briefly came to that area to talk peace. The peace failed, mostly because the U.S. Army and government wanted Cochise and his clan to move to New Mexico, but Cochise wanted to stay in his beloved Chiricahua and Dragoon Mountains. Anyway, some accounts point toward Tom Jeffords first meeting Cochise there, in New Mexico, but two stories strongly contradict that notion, one of those tales I believe is closer to the truth.
The first story comes from Jeffords' account told to Robert Forbes in 1913 when Jeffords was his eighties, a story that was told again in the movie "Broken Arrow," and in the book "Blood Brother," by Elliott Arnold. Basically, what Jeffords said was that in the early 1860's, when [according to him,] he was running the mail through Cochise's land, he grew tired of getting his couriers killed by Cochise’s men. Seems most riders never made it to Tucson from parts East, with perhaps as many as twenty of Jeffords' employees being killed running the mail on horseback along the old Butterfield Stage road. Tom said he took a big risk and rode alone into Cochise's camp in the Western Stronghold of the Dragoon Mountains. He was armed but he did not show his guns. He just walked right up to Cochise's wickiup and introduced himself. Cochise was so impressed with Jeffords' bravery that he spared his life and through some discussions, Cochise agreed to let Jeffords’ mail pass through his land unhindered.
A few problems with this story. First, only Jeffords tells the story this way. No Apaches, no U.S. troops, nobody, ever heard this story, besides Tom. Secondly, Apache raids on the mail continued until the eventual peace in 1872, and lastly, Jeffords probably wasn't carrying the mail at that time. Many said that after the Civil War, Jeffords was mostly prospecting and a number of good sources say that Jeffords met Cochise while prospecting in the mountains of Southeastern Arizona.
The account that I think is probably closest to the truth is the story told to Mrs. Eve Ball, an historian of the Apaches, by Daklugie, son of Juh. Tom Jeffords didn't go find Cochise, according to her and her sources. Cochise (or his scouts) ran across Jeffords while he was prospecting and due to Jefford's fearlessness, Cochise and his men didn't kill him. Judging from what is often written about Jeffords, he was a straight shooter, didn't bullshit anyone, and told the truth no matter what. He was also fluent in the Apache language. That, I believe, is incredibly significant, for he could talk directly to the Apaches and to Cochise. Also, Apaches, as a people, prized candor and truthfulness as very high virtues. They also believed in just being silent instead of telling a bold-faced lie. (The exception to the rule being, lying to your enemies in order to get him off guard so you can kill them. Makes sense to me.)
I picture Tom’s and Cochise's meeting, something like this. Remember though, I'm just making this up: Tom’s digging a hole, looking for gold or silver or copper, maybe in the Dragoons, maybe in the Chiricahuas. I'm guessing the Dragoon Mountains. He hears a horse whinny, then another. Then through the trees, he sees five to ten Apaches on horseback, slowing riding toward him. He probably thinks he's screwed but you never know.
Perhaps he speaks first:
"Hello, how are you doing?" say Jeffords, in Apache.
A number of warriors flank Cochise. He pulls up his horse. He's surprised a white man speaks his language. His warriors rest their rifles on their laps. They look intently at Jeffords. Only Cochise speaks.
"I'm good. How are you?” replies Cochise.
"I'm good too," says Tom.
"My name is Cochise."
"Mine’s Tom Jeffords. Pleased to meet you."
"So you speak my language?" says the chief.
"Enough to get by."
"You know this is my land, don't you?"
"I sure do," says Jeffords.
"What are you doing?" asks Cochise.
"Looking for gold, but not having much luck. Mostly just digging a hole."
"You also know I've killed a lot of white men."
"Yep, I know that too. Seen your handiwork quite a bit."
"Do you think I'm wrong to kill the white man, to kill the Mexicans?"
"Not my place to say. I would rather you not kill this white man," say Jeffords, pointing to himself.
Cochise smiles again.
"You don't seem that frightened," he says.
"Oh, I'm pretty scared,” say Tom, “But frankly, you'll either kill me or you won't and there ain't a goddamn thing I can do to stop you. But, Cochise, Sir, I'd prefer that you let me live."
"Are you always this blunt?" say Cochise, now laughing.
"Pretty much. At least that’s what my friends say," says Tom.
"I like you, Tom,” says Cochise “I don't think I'll kill you today. By the way, would you like to come to my camp and have some dinner with the wives & me tonight?"
"Thought you'd never ask," says Tom, taking off his hat, wiping his forehead with the back of his arm.
Both Tom and Cochise laugh. Even some of the other warriors crack a smile.
I bet you this is closer to the truth, but hell if I or anyone else really knows for sure, even if they say differently. Daklugie, the prominent elder Apache who told Eve Ball a similar story, was only a boy at the time, and he wasn’t there. He said it was Apache scouts and not Cochise himself, who first found Jeffords, and that Cochise’s men first brought the white man into camp. I took some poetic license making the first meeting between these two men at Jefford’s mining claim. And yes, there is a very strong tradition with the Apaches to pass along stories as accurately as possible, since they had no written language. But everyone, Whites, Mexicans and Apaches alike had their own agendas. Daklugie, I suppose, would have had his too. But I tend to believe what the Apaches say over what the U. S Army officers report, or even Jeffords himself.
But I don't blame Jeffords for sweetening the story when he was an old man. Seems quite a few young women, interested in the Apaches, visited him when he was elderly. He was just trying to impress the ladies, I suppose. Hell, I'll probably be telling people, if I make it to my 80's, that those flame spiral photographs I made in my 40’s and 50’s were actually not created using a Zippo lighter but rather, were the visual records of ghosts I photographed in the desert moonlight.
And as far as agendas go, I have mine too. I want to present the Chiricahua Apaches as good people, who like most other American Indian tribes, got the short end of the stick. They were killed, lied to, made sick and treated like crap, and if I had a magic wand, I would give Apache Pass and the Chiricahua Mountains back to them before today’s sun goes down.
But regarding Cochise and Jeffords, one thing is certain. However they met, they became fast friends. They trusted each other, cared for each other, and neither ever betrayed the other. Ever.
This is interesting land. The huge rocks of the Dragoons seemed to have just tumbled down from the sky, coming to rest on an almost flat plain of tall grass and Mesquite trees. No foothills to speak of at all, in this part of the mountains. A little rising and falling through the shallow arroyos, but the driving’s mostly flat and smooth. Campers are here and there, hidden in the trees, but not too many. Maybe three bunches in the hour I've been on this road. I've just past camper number three, when up ahead I see a majestic cluster of boulders, rising to at least a thousand feet or more. Even from the distance of a mile, I can see how I might be able to bushwhack-hike, if not to the top, damn close to it. I drive a bit faster now, and within minutes, I've crossed that mile. I take a right on a side road and quickly find a place to park.
I gaze up at the rocks. I wonder if these are the Council Rocks? Are the White House Ruins nearby? I suddenly don't care. I'm here. Those boulders are there. I want to climb as high up as I can. I stow my Kodak Brownie and my 35mm Pentax in my Camelbak water pack, shoulder the pack and head for the base of those rocks.
By 1872, Cochise was ready to stop fighting the Americans. Many of his warriors were dead. His women and children were tired and hungry and so was he. Yet, two U.S. Army Generals, who jockeyed for power in the Southwest, had greatly opposing ideas on how to solve the ‘Indian Problem.’ First, there was General George Crook, a man who had been fighting the Apaches all across Southern Arizona for the last year. He was not for the placement of Indians on reservations. He wanted to defeat them and kill them. But then another General arrived in 1872 who outranked Crook.
O.O. Howard was a deeply Christian man who lost an arm in The Civil War. Howard saw the Indians as people, not as vermin to be exterminated, and he had a mandate from Washington to do anything he could to bring peace to the area and to lead the Apaches onto a reservation.
General Howard arrived in New Mexico and soon found out that a man, a white man, was a close friend of Cochise's. He summoned Tom Jeffords to his camp and employed him to find Cochise and invite him to come to Howard's camp and talk peace. Jeffords was straightforward and direct with Howard, telling him that Cochise would never come to Howard, but he would be happy to take Howard to see Cochise. Jeffords also said that he must not come with force, but to come unarmed. Howard agreed. In the coming days before their journey to find Cochise, O.O. was so taken by Tom Jeffords, that he appointed him to be the agent of the 'Cochise Reservation,’ if and when it was formed. Within a few days, Howard, Jeffords and three other white men began their trek to find Cochise.
With the help of some Apaches along the way and a bit of luck, The Howard-Jeffords party found Cochise in the Western Stronghold of the Dragoon Mountains. Accompanying the party were two of Cochise's relatives, Ponce and Chie. Ponce and Chie burned smoke signals the day before their arrival, to say who they were and why they were coming. Cochise's scouts, high in the hills, had seen the group’s progress for days, plus the smoke signals gave Cochise the knowledge that a couple of his cousins were coming too, which really helped the cause. Jeffords' being there also gave Howard the extra clout he needed.
Jeffords, Howard, Ponce, Chie and the others camped that night near the Western Stronghold, and the next day, Cochise came to see them. Cochise immediately hugged Jeffords and Jeffords then introduced Howard to the chief.
"Do you think the General and his men will be honest and do as they say they will do?" asked Cochise.
"Well, I don't know," said Jeffords, "I think they will, but I will see that they don't promise too much." The two men laughed. After briefly talking with Ponce and Chie, Cochise went to Howard and asked why the General was here.
"I have come from Washington to meet your people and to make peace, and I will stay as long as it is necessary," said Howard.
"Nobody wants peace more than I do,” said Cochise. “I have done no mischief since I came from Canada Alamosa, but I am poor, my horses are poor, and I have but a few horses left. I might have gotten more by raiding the Tucson road but I did not do that."
Howard then proposed his idea of a reservation at Canada Alamosa in New Mexico. "I'll go, but I am sure it would break my band," said Cochise, knowing his people would not go to New Mexico.
Then, to everyone’s surprise, Cochise asked, "Why not give me Apache Pass? Give me that and I will protect all the roads. I will see that nobody's property is taken by Indians. But I need to talk this over with my captains, and most of them are out making a living." (By the way, 'making a living' was the Apaches’ way of saying they were out stealing livestock in Mexico.)
Howard agreed to wait until Cochise had talked with his leadership. Cochise however asked Howard to go to Fort Bowie and tell them a truce was in place and not to fight with his captains as they came to the Western Dragoons. Howard first wanted to send a Lieutenant Sladen but Cochise insisted that Howard go himself. That night with the help of Chie, Howard made his way to Fort Bowie. Howard later talked about the tough crossing of the Dragoon Mountains that night, how the trees and brush tore his coat to shreds in the dark. Howard got to Fort Bowie the next morning, delivered the message of truce, and left the fort around 2 p.m. to make his way back to the Dragoons. The next day, Howard arrived after having traveled 80 miles in just a couple of days.
Then came the long wait until all of Cochise's captains came to the Western Stronghold. Lieutenant Joseph A. Sladen is our best witness of that week in Cochise's camp. Sadly, little was known by most Americans of how the Apaches lived until this particular peace parley. (Thanks, Lieutenant, for keeping meticulous notes.) Not even an accurate physical description of Cochise, post-Civil War, was available, until Sladen’s accounts of this meeting. Many thought Cochise was old and beat down, when in reality, he was still strong, relatively young and the best groomed of all, White and Indian alike.
During that week of waiting, Sladen witnessed Cochise getting drunk and having a fight with one of his wives, and saw Jeffords stepping in to calm down the domestic dispute. Another time, Sladen heard Cochise singing and praying over the severely wounded body of one of his warriors. The lieutenant had medical training and Howard offered Salden’s services to Cochise. Cochise thanked them but refused. He told Sladen the warrior was very ill, and if he died, and his people knew that the lieutenant had worked on him, they might think Sladen had given him bad medicine, hastening his death, and then they would want to kill the officer. Sladen didn't treat the warrior. The warrior died soon after.
One by one, the Apache captains arrived throughout that week, twelve all total, with two absent who were off raiding in Sonora, Mexico. The following day, the captains and Cochise held council to decide if they wanted peace. General Howard wanted to sit in, but Jeffords dissuaded him from this, saying that they would know soon enough by the sounds coming from the council camp. Sure enough, soon Cochise returned to where Jeffords and Howard were camped and stated that they were ready to decide on the specific terms of peace.
The terms were simple. Even though Howard initially wished for Cochise and his people to go to New Mexico, the General changed his mind and agreed to Cochise's terms that the reservation would be on land beloved by Cochise, namely the Chiricahuas Mountains, the Dragoons, and most of Southeastern Arizona, down to the Mexican border. He and the U.S Government also agreed to provide provisions of food and clothing to the Apaches. Cochise agreed to protect the roads and to keep them safe and open to travel. And finally, Tom Jeffords would be the Apaches' Indian agent on the reservation, representing their needs to the U.S. Army and Government. I believe that without Jeffords' willingness to perform this role, peace would have never been agreed upon.
During the negotiation with Jeffords and Howard, Cochise is quoted as saying that "Hereafter, the White Man and the Indian are to drink from the same water, eat of the same bread, and be at peace."
A couple of days later, everyone went home, except for Cochise who was already home. There were great concerns if the peace would last, especially among some of the Army officers, but the biggest concern was Mexico to the south. The Apaches would likely continue raiding across the border, taking cattle however they wished. Cochise himself said that, "The Mexicans are on one side of this matter and the Americans on another. I made peace with the Americans, but the Mexicans did not come to ask peace from me." But that matter would come home to roust later. This peace between the Americans and the Apaches was extremely significant and Cochise and his people would be at peace with the United States for the remainder of his life. Cochise never again fought with the U.S. Army, nor did he himself raid again into Mexico. General Crook was furious when he heard the conditions of the treaty, but he had very little power to change anything for he was outranked. And as the peace continued to hold, General Howard gained support from not only the hostile newspapers in Tucson, but also from the ranchers and miners of Southern Arizona.
Peace had finally come, negotiated by an old trio of men: A one-armed Christian General, a straight-shooting ex-prospector, and a tall fastidiously dressed Apache Indian Chief.
The hike up here wasn't all that difficult but there was a moment or two of some semi-serious bouldering. At one point, I had to force myself to move my legs as I spidered up a steep crevasse between two large granite boulders. I could feel myself freezing up with fear. I literally had to say softly out loud 'Move, Stu. Move your legs.' I moved. I'm OK.
I'm guessing I'm about 800 feet or so above the flat valley floor now. Off a ways, I can see Chesapeake, my truck, parked in a turnaround. Further west rises the gentle silhouette of the Whetstone Mountain range, and to the southwest, the large blue mass of the Huachuca Mountains.
I'm standing in a cradle of space created by more boulders. There is a sheltering feeling to this place. The granite hasn't been worn by cattle hoofs or hiking boot soles. It's still as rough as coarse sandpaper. A middle-aged Juniper tree struggles for purchase in a crack in one of the boulders, the tree wider than its height, gnarled by the westerly winds. There is no real soil to speak of. Only fine granite dust and pebbles, but life does find a way.
To the east stands a tall rock tower, another 800 feet higher than where I sit. That peak was my initial goal. I can picture the route up to the top, up that crevasse, hop that gap between boulders, spider up that side, but I decide not to attempt it. Over the years, I've learned that I sometimes prefer to stop just before a summit, for when I'm on the mountain top, I can't see the mountain top. I’m standing on it. But if I stop just a ways before the top, I can see the peak and feel the summit at the same time. Plus right now, this shelter of stones, these rock hands holding me, feels very healing, and healing is what I need, much more that a summit pitch. I take out the Brownie and squeeze off a couple of diptychs of that three-foot Juniper tree. I also have my Pentax with its 28 mm lenses with me and I take some shots of the tree with it, as well. I look around for some other images but feel a little lost in the moment and decide to put down the cameras.
I begin to wander around my large stone cradle, to those stones over there, then to that ocotillo, then back to the center again. I walk more lightly than I usually do. I'm so aware of how virgin this landscape is, how perhaps a hiker or two over the years has climbed up here, but it isn't really that dramatic of a spot to draw most people. I wouldn't be at all surprised if the last person up here wasn’t Apache.
My wanderings in this space take me to a granite rock that's shaped like those stone megaliths you find dispersed throughout the British Isles. Pointy at the top, wide toward the base, not a standing stone moved by men, but a stone left after all around it has eroded away. And I then see the shot; ocotillos to the left, the stone on the right, a group of even more dramatic granite slabs and boulders far to the north. Now those stones over there would attract the occasional weekend warrior looking to bag a few boulders. Apache sentries from a century ago might want to sit atop them as well. I compose the image. I pop a couple exposures. Then a couple more. I then put down the Brownie and grab the Pentax. I take some shots with the 35mm, but I can tell it won’t be the same as the images taken with the Kodak. The Pentax will create an actual record of the Standing Stone and the boulders in the distance. That’s not bad, but I'm looking to create a bit more of a dreamy image, not just an actual representation of reality. The Brownie’s great for that, with its cheap plastic lens, that’s only in focus in the center of the frame. But the Pentax does its job well too. Both cameras have their strengths and weakness. I love them both.
After a few more minutes, I pack up my gear and plan my descent. I'll go a different route down. I gaze down and kinda-sorta see a way to descend. Slowly, sometimes in reverse spider form, I make my descent. Takes no time really. Before too long, I'm out of the boulders and walking the narrow trail that’s leading me through the waist-tall grass.
Well, not out of all the boulders. To the south, I see in the grassy flat, a small group of twenty-foot high granite rocks, clustered together as if they are trying to stay warm, and I flashback to Bear Butte, South Dakota, 23 years ago. One of those fast visual memories with few words but with huge amounts of feeling and power.
Crazy Horse. Those Council Rocks in South Dakota. These rocks here reminding me of those stones there. I slowly walk toward that huddling cluster of stones and fall in memory. A very spacey, brightly colored memory.
Tom, John and I drove up to Chicago to be part of Bo and Cathy’s wedding. Great wedding: John was best man, Tom played his mandolin and I filmed it all on my 8mm movie camera. Cathy seemed really sweet too, (not like some of the other women Bo has dated.) We are hopeful for them. (Bo and Cathy are still married and their twin boys recently graduated from the University of South Carolina.) Tom and John had to get home to North Carolina another way, for I was taking my second-ever road trip out West. Just me and the Chevy.
My first trip out West in 1977 was more struggle than fun. I hitchhiked from North Carolina to visit friends of friends in Austin, Texas, and then I couldn't get picked up leaving Austin to save my life, and had to take a bus to Colorado. Bob, my old friend from Chapel Hill had transferred to a school in Colorado. Seems there were just too many distractions for him at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, if you know what I mean. When I got to Alamosa, Colorado, Bob had gotten me a room in an empty college dorm, but since I was hitchhiking and I feared getting arrested, I didn't bring along any dope to smoke and had to bum pot off people in Colorado. That really sucked in about half a dozen different ways. The ride back to Carolina with Bob’s brother, Ray was quite fun actually, drinking Lone Star and Coors as we drove, and the hiking up The Great Sand Dunes in Colorado was fabulous, but when I returned home, I was utterly exhausted, wondering if the trip had been worth the time, energy and money.
But this trip is different, at least I hope it will be. I was with close friends until Chicago and being part of Bo and Cathy’s wedding was a great beginning to the journey. I have plenty of marijuana with me, and a shit-load of acid and mushrooms, as well. I’ve saved up a little money by living at home with my folks, while waiting tables at a Marriott in Raleigh, North Carolina. And I’m in a 1966 Chevy II I inherited from my deceased grandmother, Mama Lillie. Four doors, build like a tank, with a big back seat, that’s great for sleeping and other intimacies. I am filled with hope, false hopes perhaps, of getting back together with Alicia in San Francisco. I’ll call her when I get there. In the back of my mind, I’m considering moving to a new city out West somewhere. I told my friends in Chapel Hill, it was like that Talking Heads song. 'Looking for a city to live in.’ Maybe San Francisco will be that city, or perhaps Tucson where my aunt and uncle live.
I‘m a few days out of Chicago. I dropped some acid after I crossed the South Dakota line. Haven’t peaked yet, but I’m feeling a little overly connected. The hum of my tires matches the hum in my head. I exit Interstate 80 east of Wall and drive on a two-lane farm road for a few miles. I pull off onto the shoulder. I step out of my Chevy and watch, for about an hour, the wind blowing across the top of these huge fields of wheat that surround me. Grey rain clouds race overhead. Some rain falls, then it stops, then it starts to rain again, but always there is the constant wind through the wheat. They are waving at me. Hello, wheat. So these are the amber waves of grain they sing about? It’s so pretty. I’m sure glad I dropped this acid. But I wonder if it’s like Bo says, “You don’t really need dope when things are already beautiful. Dope just messes with the high that’s already there.” Maybe. Too late now. That night, I collapse in a fleabag motel in Wall, South Dakota. The next morning, I’m up early, pay the bill, get a cup of coffee, load a bowl, smoke it, and I’m back on I-80 West. My goal for the day is to make it to Mount Rushmore, timing the LSD I will soon drop, so I will peak right when I see the four presidential faces.
The morning light amazes me. I have never seen light like this back in North Carolina. Too much humidity I guess. Each blade of grass seemed alive, shining in the early morning light. Could be the pot. Could be the residual of yesterday's LSD. Could be the grass itself. Could be all three and a fourth-something I don’t know about. Yea, there does seem to be a fourth-something I’m missing all time. I light the pipe, inhale deeply and hold it.
I’ve been driving a little more than an hour when off to the right I notice a dome-shaped mountain rising alone out of the grassy plains. I exit the Interstate and drive toward the mountain. I know it isn’t in my plans, but Mount Rushmore will just have to wait. I soon discover I’m entering Bear Butte State Park. Through my open driver's side window, I suddenly see a small herd of buffalo eating grass near the roadside. Real live buffalo! I stopped at the first History road sign and read about this place.
Seems Bear Butte is sacred ground to many Native tribes, primarily the Lakota and the Cheyenne. Indians from all over the United States come here to pray. No kidding? They tie medicine bundles to the trees as a form of worship. The sign says that we Whites can hike to the top of the butte too, but to respect the closed areas that are only for the Native People, and to not disturb the prayer bundles. Prayer bundles? What kind of prayer bundles? I get back in my Chevy and quickly drive to the parking lot, next to the trail that leads to the top. I grab some water, some pot, a plastic whirligig to give as my own little prayer offering and head up the trail. Very soon though, the trail splits. Left goes up to the top, right goes to a number of boulders off to my right. I’ll go check out the boulders first before I head toward the summit.
There, I found another historic marker stating that this natural amphitheatre of boulders was a place where Native people would come and discuss the events of the day. Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, all stood here, it said, and they spoke to the members of their tribes about the troubled times they lived in. Wow. I walked up to the most obvious rock that looks like a pulpit. I place my hand on it. I’m all alone. It’s the middle of the week. Nobody but me and the buffalo. I looked at the surrounding boulders. I’m not an emotional guy, but I’m close to tears, standing here. I close my eyes. I don’t feel alone. I can almost hear voices. I swear I hear people talking.
These boulders are smaller than those at Bear Butte, but the feel is similar. I walk up to one and place my hand on its side. I close my eyes. I breathe in. That intuition from earlier returns. Something happened here. Maybe not right here but close by. Something important, something big, like Crazy Horse talking at Bear Butte. Maybe as I read more about Cochise, I'll find out. I breathe deep again. I think about taking a couple more Brownie images but reconsider. Isn’t the time for that. My hand on the rock with be my record, not exposed silver on plastic.
I close my eyes.
I breathe in. I connect.
I breathe out. I see a world.
I breathe in again. The world opens up.
I breathe out again. It is beautiful.
[Footnote: Many thanks to Edwin Sweeney and his great scholarly books, “Cochise, Chiricahua Apache Chief.” and “Making Peace with Cochise: The 1872 Journal of Captain Joseph Alton Sladen.” Of all the books I’ve read on the Apaches of Southeast Arizona, his, I believe, are some of the most accurate records of those times. The renowned Apache historian Eve Ball’s marvelous book “Indeh” and others of her writings are also great source materials. Also, thank you to Robert H. Forbes’ “Letters to the Journal of Arizona History”, Jay W. Sharp’s “Cochise and the Bascom Affair”, and Frank C. Lockwood’s “The Apache Indians”. And no, the above circle of rocks that reminded me of Bear Butte was not The Council Rocks. That historic and sacred area lies less than a mile to the north of the cradle of rocks I climbed to, that day in 2005. I’ve visited The Council Rocks many times over the past five years. And I’ve heard the ghost voices of Apaches there. And others have heard them too. And I’m sober as a deacon, these days – Summer, 2010]
Balthazar and Zeeba: A Christmas Novella is now for sale in all three formats; hardbound book, e-book and audiobook. It's an all-ages book. No sex or profanity. Most kids and parents will be fine with it. It's a Christmas book, don't you know. The story is set in the Step Zero world, but it is a stand-alone book, namely you need not have read any of the other Step Zero books to enjoy this one. A book you can enjoy year round as well as during Yuletide.
So push those buttons, type those words and we'll get Balthazar and Zeeba: A Christmas Novella the hardbound book to you in a couple of days. And you can buy the e-book and the audiobook immediately online where ever those products are sold. And thanks again for supporting Fezziwig Press.
Love, light, and luck,
P.S. Special hidden offer at the bottom of the post for 2015: Contact Fezziwig Press directly at email@example.com and we will send you a free epub and pdf of Baltazar and Zeeba via email. And thanks for reading y'all.
And as a special free treat to those who buy Step Zero, I'll send you a pdf of The Lost Images of Step Zero, a hundred plus images that didn't make the final edit, but are a nice adjunct to the Step Zero experience, whatever that means. Just send me a Facebook message or an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll send the PDF right to you.
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From The Lost Images Of Steps Zero PDF:
Top to bottom, "A Rose For Chessie, California", "Matt Antone's Ginger, Arizona", "The 41 Nights, Arizona", and "Michael and Chessie's Moon, California".
A very good day at Fezziwig Press. The softcover, first edition of Step Zero: A Sober Love Story In 2076 is now for sale, ahead of schedule.
The digital editions of Step Zero will hopefully be available on your iPad, Nook and Kindle and other digital platforms by November 1st. The files have been uploaded and we are just waiting to hear back when they will available for download. We'll let you know.
And if you live in Tucson area, you can buy the book at Tucson Tucson Therapies at Alvernon and Pima, starting Friday, October 26th, 2012, and you can purchase the novel, right now, at Betty Blue's Junk Shop at 262 S. Plumer. All books at Betty Blue's and T3 are signed and I'll be happy to sign and personalize any book purchased through The Fezziwig Press Store.
Again, the ebooks version will be up very soon. I love ebooks. I truly do. But there is nothing like holding a book book in your hands. And you can hold the first edition of Step Zero in your hands right now.