My son Hyrum and I recently visited with one of my life’s heroes, Harvey Russell. Harvey has been a mink rancher, tanner, mountain man, handyman, and friend to American Indians. He helped me build my chicken coop and brought me to a four-hour sweat ceremony led by Sun-Chiefs. His Indian name is Many Feathers. Arriving at Harvey’s place, Hyrum and set to work helping Harvey with his chores and projects, during which he told stories of the “old days” and we laughed and enjoyed just being together. The happy juxtaposition of these two men, one 16 and the other 81, struck me. They got along marvelously together, each respecting and enjoying the other. Kindred spirits, perhaps. Those ruminations led to this little poem.
the other 81
one coming up
the other moving on
little alike, perhaps,
to fashion with sinewy fingers
to be busy in doing
to stand back, dusty and bruised,
admiring their handiwork:
sitting, grinning, laughing
each helping the other up and on
Here are more pictures of our visit.
Roger is the author of Rabbit Lane: Memoir of a Country Road. The book tells the true life story of an obscure farm road and its power to transform the human spirit. The book is available in print and for Kindle at Amazon. See Rabbit Lane reviewed in Words and Pictures.