|Civil War Reenactors|
There, along the banks of the Navajo River on the
Jicarilla Apache Reservation, down by the old railroad
R.O.W. (That's Right Of Way).....I cut a striking figure.
I was wearing grey trousers with a yellow stripe on each
leg, Mid-calf length black military boots, and a pistol
belt with a full flap holster, cap box, and cartridge
box...In my full flap holster was a Model 1851 Navy Colt.
(replica, of course) I had on a butternut colored bib
front western shirt and my Kepi on my head....
In short, based on the theory that the Confederate Uniform was almost anything but uniform. I cut a pretty
good image of a Rebel Soldier of 1862.....
Oh you could find flaws with its authenticity, but, there, miles and miles from any critic, it would pass
I left my spurs at home....They tear up a car's upholstery, and my saber....Too danged tough to drive
a car while wearing it.
Now, why would a normal, late 20th Century male be
dressed up in such an outlandish outfit? Boredom!
Pure and simple......
Mary tolerated such nonsense....We had a kinda unspoken
agreement...I tolerated her trips to visit her relatives in Castlerock, and her trips with Brenda, and she tolerated my preference for my grandparent's war over my
own war in far off Asia. Maybe it was even a healing
experience, who knows?
In a little while, I saw the dust thrown up by an automobile. A car was coming.....9 chances out of 10
it was Tony Pena taking the short-cut to Pagosa Springs, or maybe it was Mike Duran going in the same
direction. We were all part of the Teacher's Colony
called the "Teacherage" up in Dulce.....
Nope, I could see glimpses of it....It was a Pontiac
sedan, blue colored, and pretty recent in vintage.
Well, Dog My Cats, if it weren't a passle of bluebellies. Genuine Yankees, from a place called Ohio.
I waved at them, and they slowed down, then, upon closer
examination of my uniform they stopped and fumbled for
what I presume was a camera......
They were typical yankees. Middle aged, the woman was
homely and she acted as if one smile would make her face
fall off. The man, her husband, I guessed was short, a
little too liberal with the vittles, and bald headed.
"Hi-die Folks," I chirped in my best Texas accent, "You
folks ain't seen a sorrel horse hereabouts, has Ye?"
The man shook his head but said nothing....His traveling
companion stared straight ahead....as silent as he was.
The man stammered, "You in some kind of movie they're
making, or something like that?" I painted a dumbfound
expression on my face and replied, "A Whut?" then, "Naw-suh, Ah jes got some Dispatches fer Captun McLaws frum
Genrul Sibley, an ma horse run off. a rattler spooked him."
The fellow was obviously flustered and was measuring his words carefully before he spoke....So, I took the lead,
"Y'al best be kerful, our boys has a battery up on them
hills a mile er so up th road, an yer thingamabob thar
you is drivin being blue, Y' might draw some fire."
The car window went up, and there was a hail of small gravel as Mister Ohio an his prune faced wife "Plum Skedadled" right up the road.
The whole episode proved a point...Remove people from
the environment they are used to, expose them to illogical scenerio's and they panic. In half an hour
or so, Mister Ohio would be telling this whole bizarre
experience to the first highway patrolman he met...Why,
he might even get his Yankee behind locked up for psychiatric evaluation......
In any case, it was time to get in some target shooting
with my Colt Navy an get on back home.....After all,they just might call out the SWAT team. My MG was a hundred
yards or so up the branch of the road that paralled the
river....Nestled in a grove of fir trees. Why, I'd even
take the river road home....It was about 5 miles longer,
but driving along a mountain stream, with mountain birds singing, and the aroma of Christmas Trees everywhere was not too terrible a fate......
I never heard a thing about the prank....As the nearest
town was 50 miles up the road....Well, live town. several others there were ghost towns....Maybe Mister Yankee finally calmed down enough to realize he'd been
a source of amusement for a tired old teacher in a
little Reservation town.