VINGENCE IS MINE .............

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Nov 7, 2011
The truck was running perhaps sixty miles per hour and just as it got to where Whiskey was standing the driver swerved to the right and hit her full force.  The man had done this on purpose and  for no reason what so ever.  I immediately ran across the road to see to Whiskey.  In the process I got a good look at the truck and memorized the last three numbers of the license.  313 on what looked like a Texas plate.  Black truck with a big light bar.........  At the top of my lungs  I cursed the man to everything I could think of.  I cursed his family, all his kin his children and his wife.  I swore vengeance upon him if I ever got the chance to hurt him.  I believe that if I would have had a gun, I would have shot him on the spot. 

I scrambled over to find Whiskey.  She was laying probably six feet back in the ''scrub''.  One look in the fading sunlight told me she was probably dead.  I sat down beside her and lifted her head over to my lap and just held her.  She looked up at me and ''thumped her tail three or four times'' on the ground and then she breathed no more.  I came apart like a cheap watch in a washing machine.  All I could do was hold her head and cry. 
I sat there holding her head for a long time.  Crying, cursing, swearing vengeance on this person.  I finally got up and took the dead dog in my arms and carried her to the cabin.  I explained to the guys what had happened.
Whiskey slept on a ''sarape's'' over in the corner of the cabin so we carefully wrapped her in her ''bed''.  We used half hitches to secure the blanket around her body.  We went out behind the tack house and dug a hole about three feet deep and gently put her inside.  We covered her over with dirt and then  I layered  a covering of large stones on top of her grave.  This was to keep out the wolves and coyotes.
I sat out by the grave for a long time that night, just sitting and remembering.
I know it is stupid but I still sometimes get sad when I think about Whiskey.
The next day we started moving to Union Cow Camp.  I mostly just went thru the motions without saying much. 
Every evening I would go looking for strays.  I would go by myself and just wander the hills.  Art knew I was looking for the poacher's truck and he refused to loan me the 30/30 Marlin or the 44 Remington pistol.
On our next to last day at Union I found the truck parked on a logging road.  I did not vandelize the truck in any way but, on the drivers side window, I wrote ''VENGANCE IS MINE'' in the dust on the window.  I knew it was the right truck because Whiskey's hair was still stuck in the grill.

We came down out of the hills and back to Jim's parents ranch for a day or so and then headed out to Denver and then on the military hop back to Andrews AFB and home. 
A couple of weeks later Letra sent me a letter telling about a bad wreck of a black Texas pickup coming down the mountain on Cotton Wood Pass.  It seems that this truck blew a right front tire, lost control due to excessave speed and kinda ''rolled down the mountain''.  No one was killed but the driver and the passenger got really  banged up, as it were........ Really sad, but stuff happens some of the time. It was later discovered that something had cut a deep ''V'' on the inside of the tires side wall and that this had probably caused the blowout and subsiquent wreck.

Taylor Park is, or was a little piece of Heaven back then.  I googled it and looked at some pix and found all four wheelers, tourest cabins, noise, pollution, and pix of idiots riding four wheelers in some of the best trout fishing streams you can imagine.  I did not see one cow, horse or cowboy anywhere.  Really sad I think but such is progress.
These are the memories of an old man reliving a wonderful time in the heart of the Rockie Mountains in Taylor Park a very long time ago. 

I still think of Pie Plant and all the good memories I made out there back in 1961 with two really good friends and a wonderful dog named Whiskey...

this is the end of this series.  I hope you have enjoyed sharing my memories and you are welcome to comment, good or bad, as you see fit.
I have many more  recolections from my travels back then if anyone is interested....  Amazingly, these travels are what got me interested in RV,ing in later years............
God bless our troops for their service to this great nation ?.......cj
SeaJay, it is sad to agree with you. I still do business in Gunnison County and it not just Taylor Park that has changed. The whole county is no longer Cattle, Logging, Mining country. Since the Curcanti Project, developement of Crested Butte, etc.,  the County is now a large "Tourist Trap".  Even Cattleman's Days, held every July, is not the same. The Scenery is still there but the people have changed and even though I still have family there I try not go except to visit and business.
Rancher Will said:
SeaJay, it is sad to agree with you. I still do business in Gunnison County and it not just Taylor Park that has changed. The whole county is no longer Cattle, Logging, Mining country. Since the Curcanti Project, developement of Crested Butte, etc.,  the County is now a large "Tourist Trap".  Even Cattleman's Days, held every July, is not the same. The Scenery is still there but the people have changed and even though I still have family there I try not go except to visit and business.
    I know what you mean my friend.  A few years ago me and Willa went thru Gunnison and could not find the town.  No joke.  It has grown up with shopping centers and all kinds of development and it took great effort to find ''Main Street'' again.  I could not believe the Pizza joints and Mexican food joints that seemed to spring up on every corner.  When I was out there in 61 believe the only gas station in town was Gay Johnson's.  All the eating joints were on main street and I believe there were no more than three stoplights in the complete town.  We stopped at a Pizza joint and ate and talked to the waitress about the place.  She said they had moved out there about 20 years ago, bought a small ranch out of town and now ''town'' had grown up all around them. Housing developments and appartments were now all around them.  Big companies were trying to buy their land for development.  She said the taxes on the land had doubled and then doubled again because of the rising land values.  She said that it looked like they would have to sell some land in order to be able to afford to live there.  Life is strange....
I know that we have to have progress but I wish some of the old towns and places out in the Rockies could stay the same as they have always been ......  Taylor Park made me sad to see the changes.  People, Four Wheelers, and the unabaited growth in a place that was wild and beautiful just like God made it.  My friend Art Price would probably sit down and cry if he could see it now.  I still have difficulty getting over the the absence of cows and cow people in the park. 
Sometimes I am glad that I am old now and soon I will not be here to see the changes that are sure to come to this great land........nuff said..... 
God bless our vets and troops .....cj...
SeaJay, We understand each other. My comment was not to disparage anyone about Gunnison. I suspect that there is no place that is like it was in the 60's.

Your comment about prices reminds me of a conversation that I had with an old friend just a few years ago. As you now know Crested Butte, with a 3 block long Elk Avenue, that had only a couple hundred population 50 years ago, is now larger in population then Gunnison. My friend owned a ranch along one of the County Roads north of Gunnison, South of Crested Butte. He told me that a "developer" offered him, and paid, $1 Million for just the option to buy the Frontage along the County Road. Not the ranch, just the option for the road frontage.

I still have a Grand Daughter who lives in Gunnison with her family, and another who lives in Lake City with her family, so we visit there fairly often. The times have changed but I guess we all have changed. Gunnison is still a nice place to visit but for us oldtimers it is not like we used to like.

Also, did you know that there is a Mountain Ute Indian Reservation on Black Mesa just West of Gunnison? We still visit some friends there when we get a chance. The small group there still raises cattle as their main occupation.
TO RANCHER WILL  and anyone else interested.....

Yep, it sure has changed.  the first time I went from Mt Rose to Gunnison there was no dams on the river.  We crossed ''Big Blue'' and ''Little Blue'' mountains in an old pick up truck.  It was facinating because we could coast over ''Little Blue'' (i think) after we went down ''Big Blue''.  The road ''scrabbled'' along the canyon wall like a snake.  It was really beautiful thru there with lots of rock formations...  The last time across there the lakes were there and all the places I think I remembered in the mountains are now at the bottome of of one of the lakes.  I will also say that I meant no disrespect to anyone that lives in Gunnison now.  I just remember it as a small town with one street and three stoplights ......... Back in 61 I went into a ''store'' and got a pack of ciggies and cashed a 20 dollar bill.  The guy gave me 19 silver dollars and some change.  I thought they would pull my britches off.  (oh how I wish I had gotten all the ''silver dollars'' that I could)...
Back then the town was mostly pick up trucks and cow people.  It was a little piece of
Amricana and it is gone forever i am afraid.  Such is life I guess and I am glad I saw it before it ''grew wheels''.............................nuff said..... 
Thank you for sharing your stories. Living history is the best kind of history in my opinion. While I've never been west of the Mississippi River, your story of "cow men" and cattle country truly tells of a part of American history that some of us have only seen in movies and old TV shows. Your story filled in a part of America that I will probably never experience or have a chance to visit. I deeply appreciate that.
Thank you for your service, for sharing your experiences, and for your openness and kindness.
God Bless you,
p.s. It's winter now. The fire is going in the hearth, the coffee is done perking, the chores are nearly finished. Uncle Seajay, Tell us some more stories, pleeeaaaseeeee!!!!
to Mike and anyone else interested....
First of all, many thanks for your kind words.  You are very generous with your praise concerning my posts and I thank you for your comments. 
I have no idea how old you are but I will ask you to do this for yourself.
Every payday I want you to put aside a small amount in a special account that you can someday use to go see this great country that is ''west of the Mississippi''.  God was in a really good mood when he created these United States of America and I personally think it is some of his best work.  it is my wish that everyone could go enjoy this great land as much as I have in these 72 years of my life.  I have crossed this great nation more times than I can count and twice on the back of a Goldwing motor cycle. 
since you seem to like my stories I will include my Blog sight if I can figure out how to paste it on here .....Hang on for a minute .........
Give that a try if you got nothing better to do...
again,  many thanks for your kind words ....

God bless our service men and women ..........cj

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