Thursday, September 4, 2008

Maybe the Indians were the first bloggers.

Click on photo to enlarge. Photo by Robin Shelly.

This is a reprint of an article that I sent to The Redwood Times

There is a Round Rock on a road, a few miles north of Laytonville. On that rock is what we used to call “Indian Writing”. I recall that the rock was quite intact and well detailed when I was a kid. I was deeply offended, for my own personal reasons, that people have chipped artifacts and writing off the rock. I can only imagine how the Indian people feel.

All human beings like to communicate… Bear with me here because this gets a little crazy and weird, and maybe a little irreverent, because nobody really knows. But, maybe it was started by Little Running Fox, or someone with a name like that. He scratched on the rock as fancy as he could, like carving his initials plus hers on a tree, but instead to really impress his sweet little girlfriend he carved them on a rock. He pledged his eternal love to Little Spotted Fawn.

Then, when Little White Rabbit saw what had happened, she went and told on Little Running Fox, because she was so jealous! Chief Big Smoke told little Running Fox to knock it off, and to quit scratching up the rocks, and that The Great Spirit in the sky didn’t like his rocks being all scratched up.

Little Running fox went out into the woods with his feelings hurt, and in his embarrassed anger, he swore that he would grow up and become the Indian Chief of all the north coast, and as the first declaration of his mighty Chiefdom, he would pass a rule that all little kids could scratch on the rocks all that they wanted to.

And lo, little Running Fox Grew up to become Chief Standing Wolf. He was to become the most powerful Chief that the north coast had ever known, and true to his word his first declaration to all the children of the land was to go forth and decorate all of the smooth rocks, in any way that they wished to. Soon they learned that in their travels to the sea and back inland, that other little Indian kids had left messages on the rocks for their girlfriends and boyfriends from other tribes.
Having gained this great knowledge of how to communicate on rocks, the adults started leaving the history of where this years great hunting and fishing could be found. Some of the Indian people were not as good at rock carving as others, but the great chief declared that it made no difference how the Rock was carved, as long as we knew what it said. Soon, Eel River Ermine was telling fishing tales of great interest to all that passed. Soon word got to them from the Oregon tribe, about how Oregon Wolverine killed eight bear with eight arrows. EchoFox wrote about tying four stings to a hollow log and made wonderful sounds with them.

Great Chief Standing Wolf married Spotted Fawn and they had many children. They never counted how many children that they had or how old they became. Because how well you lived life was more important.

Chief Standing Wolf died a very old and wise man and he was to become the most loved Indian chief ever, ever.

Few people today know it, but the rock beside the road was the first rock that Standing Wolf carved on. It would be a shame to see such a legend end, from people chipping at Standing Wolfs great words.

Epilogue:
This story is not true! The rock is real, and it is defaced. It was written from my history and compiled out of things from my past. When I was just a child of about eight, I had a little girlfriend that I would meet on the hill behind the house. Being a child of great chivalry, I would meet her at the “Old Pine Tree”, way more than half way. Either that, or I was much more anxious to see her than she was to see me.

If I arrived, and she couldn’t meet me, I would leave a note in the pine bark. If she was there and I wasn’t, she would leave a note in the pine bark. Imagine my distress when one day the tree was destroyed in a fire. Standing wolf was wise to use rocks to write on because they don’t burn. He never imagined that vandalism would ever be allowed. And as you might guess, the vandals are anonymous.

54 comments:

Hank Sims said...

That's up Spy Rock, right around the school!

Hank Sims said...

Ah, wait -- you want to keep the location secret. Delete at will, no hard feelings. My message was for your eyes only.

Kym said...

There is another rock like this up above Miranda. The story I heard was that there are a series of them along an old Indian trail. Anyone else here that?

Robin Shelley said...

The rock's location isn't a secret, Hank. LOL! It is right alongside Spy Rock Rd. just below the elementary school... on the right hand side going up. People here aren't going to rush out & deface that rock. The vandalism was done years ago... some anonymous, some not. There are candles, sage & trinkets scattered around the rock which denote some type of homage... whatever. The rock is not protected from public view or the elements.
There are other rocks here & there, Kym, not all as easy to find & visit as the one posted here... more on Spy Rock even. I have heard tell of an "old Indian trail" leading, perhaps, from the Sacramento Valley (Maidu tribe?)to the coast.
I love a mystery & these rocks & the petroglyphs they contain are intriguing.

Robin Shelley said...

Wow, Ernie! I didn't know you were going to post this. Nice photo, cute story! Did I get credit in The Times? LOL.
Robin ShellEy

Anonymous said...

Secret petroglyphs .... old Indian Trails .... mysteries of a conquered culture ....
I see it's time for more fantasy folklore from the Old West, huh? Gee, I wonder if Black Bart's hideout is somewhere along the trail? Better check your Roy Rogers comic books to find out for sure.
If there are any "old Indian trails" in existence, they should be easy to find, what with the cultural skills their descendants have taught us: The trails should be covered with empty firewater bottles and abandoned, rusted horses.

spyrock said...

I really appreciated having a chance to watch Roy Rogers when I was a kid. We only had a radio at home and my favorite radio show was Wild Bill Hickok with Jingles aka Andy Devine. It was a real treat to watch tv at Grandma Nye's. Pappy's dog Bruce looked just like Bullit. We had several Palomino horses like Trigger on the old Stinson Ranch and one of our Jeeps that Pappy took salt blocks up to the cattle in the hills was called Nellybelle.
It was great driving along the old Indian trails up to Mount Tamalpias in old Nellybelle with the Pacific Ocean laid out before us down below stretching to the horizon.
The Grateful Dead were big fans. It almost seemed that when they finally came down from that long acid trip they reincarnated as the "grandsons of the pioneers." Who could forget Gabby Hayes? Is it true that he was one of Pigpen's ancestors.
We were just as happy as hogs in slop in those days. Sort of makes you feel sad that the youngin's these days missed out on all that culture.
"happy trails to you, til we meet again."

Anonymous said...

I read about Oregon Wolverine and his eight bears. I also read he killed many more bears, all with single arrows. The interesting thing about the first eight is he did it without arrowheads tied to the arrows.

Robin Shelley said...

Out with it, 11:36! Tell us what you know.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Robin, you did get photo credit in the Redwood Times, in bold print. I do appreciate them! Not many people have pictures that make it into the paper.

Hank, I'm very torn between wanting people to know all about these rocks, and the Indian culture, but knowing that the fewer people that know about them, the better chance they will have to survive for another year or two. It only takes one irresponsible person to ruin something forever. But, I guess that nothing is really forever is it?

Hans said...

Good post Ernie- I recently came accross this article about a fire in the moors of England exposing a stone from neolithic times that may have been used to demarcate boundaries between tribes http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2008/aug/21/archaeology. I wonder if the purposes of both are similar.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I made Hans' URL into a link for you, to make it easier to access. a stone from neolithic times

Under the heading of "You learn something new everyday", down near the bottom I came across the sentence "...the 18th century alum industry, which used shiploads of urine from London to break down shale and produce the chemical for dyes and other ground-breaking uses in the Industrial Revolution." Wow, How'd you like to work on a "Urine ship"???

Ernie Branscomb said...

From "SYMBOLS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
"

"Contrary to common belief, most symbols were not spiritual in nature. Some symbols were directional signs placed to mark a trail, identify territory, show the way to water, important places or some other natural or cultural feature. Other symbols identified tribes or clans. Symbols were used to record history such as a memorable hunt or extraordinary deed. Stories were told using symbols to illustrate characters or events."

Ernie Branscomb said...

Here's a little bit more Indian culture for you. North Coast Journal

ben said...

Ernie... These picture rocks or petroglyphs remind us that a very different culture lived here for thousands of years before whites showed up and ended that culture in about twenty years. Some of my Indian friends do maintain that the rocks are trail markers. there are certain figures that appear: spirals, concentric circles and bear paw outlines. Often there are long grooves which some explain are from sharpening arrows but , of course one would never sharpen chipped flint or chert. Apparently, these grooves were made as women rubbed stoe powder from the rock, then mixed it in water and drank it. It was believed that the rock itself contained the spirits of unborn babies which then traveled to the unborn child. Rocks of this sort are called "baby rocks". Some rocks have the circle designs and indentations called "Cupules". These may be "rain rocks". The local Indians were great ones for controlling the weather and the medicine maker would sing, pray and pound on the rain rock to imitate thunder. Even into the twentieth century there are stories about the old men contesting with each other to make it rain or even bring lightning. The rock at Spyrock is pictured in Vol. 8 of the Smithsonian Handbook of the American Indian. There is a copy in th Garberville library. I have seen one near Sherwood that is spectacular and includes a "seat", a place to call the spirit helpers. Each Indian community needed such a place to carry on their religious life, so there were (or are) many of them. Bear Butte is one for our area.

Robin Shelley said...

I've heard of "baby rocks", Ben... I think there's one in Lake Co. (which I have never seen) that is generally referred to as Baby Rock. The main "belief" about this particular rock on Spy Rock Rd. is that it is a "rain rock"... or so I'm told.
Thanks for the info.

ben said...

You can see a smaller carved rock outside the Mendocino Museum in Willits. It burns me that they move these rocks to museums. There is an extraordinary rain rock at the Ft. Jones Museum in Scott's Valley near Yreka. It is finely carved and has several of the bear paw icons. The Indians say that it was stolen from the Klamath River area.

Ernie Branscomb said...

I’ve seen a lot of “Cupules” as Ben called them. I had no idea what they were for. I thought that maybe they used them to grind their Pinole (Wild Grain Flour). They seem to be everywhere. I’ve also seen lots of zigzag groves, and I wondered if that they were snakes or lightning. They never have a head or a tail, just a zigzag line. One of the more common markings that I’ve seen are plain straight lines. Sometimes parallel, and sometimes all coming to a central point. I’ve been told that those were fertility grindings, and like Ben said, the females drank the grindings to have sons. One version that I heard was that the male did the grinding of the rock and fed it to the female to make sons. The rocks with the straight lines seem to always be serpentine based rocks. Did they only use serpentine for fertility?

The circles in an ever expanding patterns look like rain hitting water. So maybe that represents rain, but what do the spirals mean? I don’t recall if I’ve seen spirals. I’ve seen boxes with lines in them, and they have always been faintly carved. If you look at about the center of the above photograph, maybe you can see what I mean. It’s very faint, but it is there.

Ben, what you can’t see in this photo is that the whole top of this rock is missing, I seem to recall that it was there when I was a kid, or maybe it was another rock. but the rock has definitely been vandalized.

A long, long time ago when my cousin Jim Newland and I were talking about the rocks, he was the one that first said that he thought that the rocks getting all scratched up was probably started with kids trying to outdo each other, like we would do with our knives in the smooth Madrone bark.

I got to thinking that he was probably right.

Ernie Branscomb said...

If you look at the photo, you will see two large circles, one on each side. Then in between those two circles there are three smaller ones. Right in the center of the three smaller circles is the faint box shape, if you can see it. I don’t know what that represents either, but if you look carefully at the rocks, you can usually find them.

ross said...

i used to carve on those madrone trees myself,about a quarter mile south of garberville on the east side.LOL

Robin Shelley said...

The rock outside the Mendocino Co. Museum in Willits came from a (Hanson?) ranch in the East Valley there. I don't know if it's exact location & position were documented before it was moved, Ben, do you?

Robin Shelley said...

I understand you're a Willits boy, Hank... have you seen the rock on Sherwood to which Ben refers? I haven't... is it on private property? The Rancheria, perhaps? I would love to see it.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Hey Ross, I thought we had lost you!

Did you get all of the tires changed? And all the fires out?

Ernie Branscomb said...

We all mess with history to a certain extent. How many people that have found arrowheads actually documented where you found it, and gave it back to the Indian people?

Me neither.

But, you should make notes about where you found them. Just for posterities sake.

Anonymous said...

I found a rocky outcrop on the upper Tooby ranch that had pieces of arrow heads and a couple of full points. I never did go back to really search it out, I always planned to but never made it. I was busy at the time. That spot is probably dozed over for a house by now.

Oregon.

Robin Shelley said...

Documenting where the petroglyph rocks are (or were) can help determine what they were used for, Ernie... some of them may have had astronomical purposes & it helps to know the position in relation to the sun.
I've never documented my arrowhead finds, either, but I suppose that's a good idea, too, as far as the location of tribes & such.

Robin Shelley said...

Astrological?
Anyway, I appreciate all the info & conversation here about this. Thanks!
BTW, it's been awhile since I've been published but I don't believe I've ever made "The Times". Thanks for that, too - LOL!

Anonymous said...

News item from the Beehive State:
"Black bear busts Utah pot farm"
(The Associated Press)
Panguitch, Utah
"One Utah community is cheering a special bear - but don't call him Smokey. Investigators say a large black bear raided a clandestine marijuana growing operation so often that it chased the grower away.
"This bear is definitely law-enforcement minded," said Garfield County Sheriff Danny Perkins. "If I can find this bear I'm going to deputize him."
Deputies found food containers ripped apart and strewn everywhere, cans with bear teeth marks, claw marks and bear prints across the Garfield County camp on Tuesday.
Perkins said the operation on Boulder Mountain included 4,000 "starter" sacks of pot and 888 young plants.
"This particular bear apparently was not going to give up and basically chased these marijuana farmers away," Perkins said. "Our county is so tough on drugs that even the wildlife are getting in on the action."

suzy blah blah said...

the great chief declared that it made no difference how the Rock was carved, as long as we knew what it said.

wow that is soooooo mysterious and interesting about Chief big Smoke and everything and im even typing this from my medical garden via i-phone so that makes it even more inter arresting ...uh no uh...but EARnie --congranudalations on having yr the story in ink and Robin too not Robin in ink LOL but her picture u knowhatsuzymeans... i luv toheose mysterioeus ritings of yours and the ones on the rocks also it sparaks the imagination LOL and the but i mean yr story is great and its so cewl that indians had blogs sort of rock blogs and they didnt have trolls but they had trails with markers and everything like that and that is soooo cewl too but not totally cewl because there are as many blogs as stars in the sky and that is bueatiful but theirs not so much praying on many rain rocks anymore but like yuo said not to be irreleverant but but Suzy is sooooooooooooo jealous cux yr story is so good and but i guess i am the rabbit LOL but i like the pictures on the rock and Suzy will try to mello out and will try a little prayer for rain while i play bongos and look at Little spotted fawns er i mean Robins photo ... ... ... dear Gawd, man we could sure use some rain but no lightning thatll start fires and so but Suzy undrestands what yr storys moral is i think rite Earnie? --always mark ur trale with a sign in the rock no matter what Chief Big Smoke says that Graet Spirit in the Sky says... and do not mark it with breadcrumbs like hAnsel and Grettle did cuz Steller MUnchie Jay will eat them and cause then if it rains in yr heart youll be lost if yuo dont make a mark somewhare ... so do like gabby Hays did LOL when yuo get lost gabbing too much just jingles yr tamborine like Buffalo wild bill Hiccuph and ride that pal o mine o trigger into the sunset with neel young at hravest to the one u were in love with when the fox turnd into the wolf and quit running and eating breadcrumbs but stood still and ate rock dust instead ... and the one yr still in love with and ... but LOL or do i mean stands reborn in the middle of a greatful dead show wearing a cowboy hat or was it runs into the pigpen? or but where was i oh yeah always bookmark yr uh uh maybe i shoudknt have taken so much or maybe i took the wrong kind of rock dust medicine... does this mean im pregnant...? or only that i cant remember how the story ends? ah ah ah i am spiraling upward oh oh im evaporating i mustve prayed the concentric circles backwards or soemthing do something quick ahhh i am praying '''all beings communicate who art in uh uh how does that go? in uh on blogs uh no hallowed be thy water from the rock uh i mean spirit from the rock and roll n if yuo saw Roy Rogers at the blues fest then i hope yuo tokld him that running bear loves little white dove with a love big as the sky... but maybe chief big Smoke was wrong or do i mean rite? .... ahhh we need rain rai n please send rain oh wow what a flash wow i think yr rite Robin --its like totally astro logical oh wow now the spirals are reallly really looking pshychedelic oo ... i think i feel some rain... theres no lightning but i here thunder booming but Suzy cant tell if its real thundre or... im all wet ... im all wet ... halleuluia!!!

uh, gotta go that wasnt thunder it was billy yellin... i gotta go help him he says some wood rats just bit into our water line,
S

Anonymous said...

Geez, how embarrassed to sh!t must Suzy be in the morning?
Hey Ernie, why don't you leave her posting up on the board as a "sober" reminder to the rest of us?
Hey Suzy, how many 'delete' buttons do you see on your keyboard? And are you still "LOL"ing like we're "LOL"ing? Good thing you don't carve your messages on rocks, huh?
Old Indian wise man say, "It better to crash & burn in private than on Internet message board."

Anonymous said...

Good to see you back Suzy. Missed you.

Oregon

Robin Shelley said...

It's not wasted on everyone, Suzy...
Love ya, man!
Girl.
Woman.
Suzy.
Peace & all that blah, blah stuff on you,
R.S.

suzy blah blah said...

Geez, how embarrassed to sh!t must Suzy be in the morning? Hey Suzy, how many 'delete' buttons do you see ...?

Yes i was ...um bare assed to sh!t this morning, if yuo really really raelly want 2 know --like so like i dont shit in my pants knowwhatimean? its like totally basic, rite? LOL, uh but i havnt laerned teh modernn way 2 do everything yet, im an old fashiond cuontry gurl --i guess maybe i could just press a delete button instead ... and that would mean i dont haveto get bare assed?

huggles to oregon and Robin,

oxxxo,
S

Ernie Branscomb said...

Welcome back Suzy. Rumor had it that you were on a trip.

Anon, Suzy's comments have always been good fun, and are not to be taken too seriously. Well, maybe some of us have taken them too seriously, but that’s our problem.

See Robin, you got photo credit in the paper! Why did you quit writing??? Papers always need good writers. Sometimes they even publish the crap that I write.

Anonymous said...

Suzy,
I used to have trouble with the rats chewing through the water lines too. Then the possums showed up and it was double trouble. Tell Thunder Mouth to bury the dang water lines,,,,,,,Deep.


Oregon

Anonymous said...

Hey Spyrock,
Nice recollections of Roy Rogers' tv show. Without looking, what was the name of Dale's horse?

Robin Shelley said...

BTW, Suzy... love your pyschedelic tye-dye picture, too... how does one go about activating a link here?
(-:

suzy blah blah said...

Robin, the code you need is in teh 1st blue box --halfway down this page
luv,
S

Oregon, our water line is like abuot a mile or so long --gravity flow-- and teh groud is hard as concreete rite now sooooo ....... yesterday we spent all day tying our 3/4in black plactic line to trees with hemp twine so that now its running 5 or 6 feet above teh gruond where they were biting holes in it... LOL krazy, and were only gonna run water in that line a couple hours during teh daytime now to fill up our tank... cuz the rats are nocturalists --thats what Billy calls them... and he says they know theres water in the line cuz they hear it gurgling but when its in the trees and empty at nite they dont know where to look ... he says we can trick them maybe for a little while that way like he did once when he lived in white thorn, til they figure it out again ... so instaed of spending the day at the baech like i wanted to -- we crawled around in the poison oak on the hill, above our house, 105 degrees, sweating and getting scratched up and like that... but i think its working (crossed fingers)... so far so good .... so but were DEFINATELY gonna bury the line when the rains come. Thatll be fun...thnx 4 the advice

ooxxoo,
S

spyrock said...

Sorry, I didn't remember that "Buttermilk" was the name of Dale's horse and if you are a big fan you can still see Buttermilk mounted at the Roy Rogers Museum in Branson, Mo. Trigger too.
I remember the name of the first horse I ever rode or got bucked off. His name was Johnnie and he started bucking me off before I was one year old. They would always sit me on him to take my picture but he would usually buck me off before they got a shot. That wouldn't stop them though. They just kept trying to take my picture on him everytime we went there. In most of the early pictures I wasn't too happy. But when I got bigger I would use him as my bucking horse in the rodeo game we played. The only time Johnnie'd be good was when we'd ride up into the hills with the big horses and all my older cousin's and sister on them.

spyrock said...

Actually, Roy was a musical pioneer in many ways. Tumbling Tumbleweeds was one of the first cowboy blues songs and inspired Bob Dylan to think of "like a rolling stone." So we could have had the rolling tumbleweeds but not to be plagerists we got the rolling stones all thanks to Roy.

spyrock said...

I never really cared for girls back in my Cowboy days. I always thought Roy would rather sing to Trigger than Dale so I never paid much attention to her or her horse.
Sometimes they would make me play with my little cousin Karen who had short curly hair. I thought she was some kind of poodle dog for a long time because all she did was follow me around. One day up in the saddle barn when I found some tar and feathers I was inspired by a Little Rascle Movie I had recently seen to decorate little Karen much to the displeasure of her mom and dad although Grandma Nye got most of it off her before they showed up
which was really a lot of work because she was looking more like Buckwheat than your normal poodle dog. Of course, Karen and I laugh about it now, and even in her mid 50's she's still a stone cold fox.

Ernie Branscomb said...

well, I knew it was Buttermilk, but nobody asked me!

Carol said...

Great post, Ernie.

Suzi, it is always a pleasure to read your stories.

suzy blah blah said...

Thnx Carol, hey i toltally luv Priscilla Ahn listening to her i am all goosebumps ... and yuo know how Suzy feels about a girl whereing a harmonica --its totally wear its at!! LOL rite? but now Suzys told her tale and ...she's ready now --shes ready now (almost) to ..... FLY

peace,
S

ben said...

Spyrock... I remember "Tumbling Tumbleweeds" as a Gene Autry song. I've forgotten the name of his horse but 'ol Gene had a great voice and he sure knew how to make money.
Robin... I don't know the location the Museum rock came from, but if we meet sometime, I'll tell you where to find the Sherwood rock. I'm sure you'll respect it.

spyrock said...

Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Bob Nolan

Prelude:

C F C
I'm a roaming cowboy, riding all day long
G7 C
Tumbleweeds around me sing their lonely song.
F C Cm6 A7
Nights underneath a prairie moon,
D7 G
I ride alone and sing a tune.

Chorus:

F F7
See them tumbling down,
E E7
Pledging their love to the ground,
F C C#dim
Lonely but free I'll be found
G7 C C+
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

F F7
Cares of the past are behind,
E E7
Nowhere to go but I'll find
F C C#dim
Just where the trail will wind,
G7 C C+
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

Fm6 G7 C Am6# B7 Em B7 G7
I know when night has gone that a new world's born at dawn,

F F7
I'll keep rolling along,
E E7
Deep in my heart is a song,
F C C#dim
Here on the range I belong,
G7 C C7 C+
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

Repeat from Chorus to end

Last time add:

G7 C
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

bob nolan was a son of the pioneers which featured roy rogers when they released this record which was used by gene autry in one of his movies the following year. gene's version has different words. I'm more familiar with the sons of the pioneers. but both of them sang this song. so dylan could have got it from gene autry. go figure.

Anonymous said...

Tumbling Tumbleweeds was one of the first cowboy blues songs and inspired Bob Dylan to think of "like a rolling stone." So we could have had the rolling tumbleweeds but not to be plagerists we got the rolling stones all thanks to Roy.

Wait a minute, Dylan took the phrase from the Hank Williams song lost highway which contains the line, "I'm a rolling stone, I'm alone and lost." Hank died in '53.

The Rolling Stones were around for a couple of years before Dylan wrote 'Like a Rolling Stone' in 1964. So obvously they didn't get the name from Dylan's song. The Stones took their name from the Muddy Waters song catfish blues which Waters recorded in the early 50s and contains the lyrics:
Well, my mother told my father,
just before hmmm, I was born,
"I got a boy child's comin,
He's gonna be, he's gonna be a rollin stone"


But, even though the his song came out after the group, Dylan's title is not a reference to The Rolling Stones. Dylan based the lyrics ("once upon a time you dressed so fine, threw the bums a dime, etc.") on a short story he had written about a debutante who goes on the skids which is modeled after his friend Edie Sedgwick. Edie is the one Dylan is referring to when he sings, "How does it feel, to be on your own... like a rolling stone".

It all goes back hundreds of years to the old phrase "a rolling stone gathers no moss."

spyrock said...

"LOST HIGHWAY by Hank Williams. Written by Leon Payne

"Lost Highway", often assumed to have come from Hank's pen, was written by Leon Payne...
Payne was a blind musician who worked out of Jerry Irby's nightclub in Houston and guested on the Hayride and the Opry. His original version... had been released on the Nashville-based Bullet label in October 1948.

Colin Escott, Hank Williams - The Biography, Boston, 1995, p. 98.

MYRTIE (Mrs. Leon) PAYNE:
In the early days of Leon's career, he hitchhiked from one place to another, finding jobs wherever he could. Once he was in Califonia hitchhiking to Alba, Texas, to visit his sick mother. He was unable to get a ride and finally got help from the Salvation Army. It was while he was waiting for help that he wrote this song."
He was probably outside of Victorville, Ca on Route 66, site of the original Roy Rogers museum, when a big tumbleweed hit him on the head and being blind, he thought it was a rolling stone.
The Muddy Waters story holds more Water. Muddy was splashing around in Chicago in the early 50's and when he went to England in 58, he drove the Brits wild with his Hoochie Coochie Man, etc. the Stones made millions stealing his stuff. But Muddy was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi and called his music Delta Country Blues. Meanwhile, the only thing on the radio since 1934 was Roy and Gene and the Sons of the Pioneers and such so add up a rolling fork and a tumbling tumbleweed and when everyone of the musicians in those days always got stoned, go figure. That was an easy connection to make almost 20 years later.
Your little Segway story may be sad but true. little Edie was related to everyone since before the revolution including a signer of the Declaration of Independance. She was the star of many of Andy Warhol's movies when she became infatuated with Bob Dylan. Some say she was even pregnant with Bob's baby when Andy told her that Bob was secretly already married. Realizing that Bob had dumped her, she took too many drugs and wound up in a mental institution where they supposedly aborted Bob's baby because of the potential damage to the baby from all the drugs she had taken. When she recovered she hooked up with Bob's best friend so I imagine this was Bob's way of getting back at her. Sounds pretty stone cold to me. And it just doesn't make sense. That girl never escaped the shadow of her past and famous relatives, she was never free and on her own. They did the same thing to a friend of mine back in the 60's, he was related to famous rich people and when he didn't conform they locked him up in a mental institution just like One Flew Over the Cucoo's Nest. And always remember, if you smoke too much of that tumbling weed, stones start rolling all over the place.
I think it was Ishi, the last wild California Indian who said, "it was real tough to make glyphs on those rolling stones, so we usually wrote on the quiet, still, smooth round ones instead."

Robin Shelley said...

Ben,
I hope we do meet one day. I would be interested in hearing what you have to say about more than the rock on Sherwood.
As an aside, according to the all-knowing Web, Gene Autry's horses' name was Champion. I'm a bit too young to remember Gene Autry or Roy Rogers in their hay-days but they are not unknown to me. My dad was quite thrilled to meet Rogers at his museum a few years ago.

Anonymous said...

But does a rolling fork gather moss?

Ernie Branscomb said...

All right, all right! I know a Roy Rogers story.

Back in the early days of Roy Rogers history he had a friend in Garberville by the last name of Parkinson, (I think… It's hell when you get old and your brains turn to crap)Mr. Parkinson was no relation to the Parkinsons that live here now. He had a motel on the hillside south of Benbow on the old road. It was either called the Hillside Motel or Parkinson's Motel. Mr. Parkinson and his wife lived way up the hill behind the motel. The house is now above the freeway that was built in the sixties. The house is still there. I wonder if the people that live there now know that Roy Rogers slept there.

Anyway Roy Rogers and Mr. Parkinson were friends, and Roy would come up and stay at Parkinsons motel and eat dinner with them. He would come up and stay a couple of weeks every winter when the fishing was good. Mr. Parkinson never told anybody about him staying there out of respect for his privacy. So, Roy could come up here and have a good time fishing, and everybody left him alone.

Has anybody else heard that story? I got it from one of the horses mouths. Guess which one.

spyrock said...

my dad was 39 when i was born and grew up in the depression. they never had any money in those days and he got used to that. he never sent out bills, i was working in the shop when i was 7 and they expected me to do what they told me. i had about 10 bucks a week to spend when i went to usf. the avalon cost 2 bucks, the fillmore 3 bucks, the panhandle and park were free, monday nights at the fillmore west were 1 buck but the most i ever paid was 5 bucks at winterland. i stopped going when their prices went up. so i have a $5 limit.
for 4.88 at hollywood video or blockbuster you can rent the rolling stones shine a light video directed by martin scorsese. so i finally got to see the stones do a real concert and the highlight for me was the muddy waters song with buddy guy playing along and i can't get no satisfaction which was the most popular song at all the catholic colleges in the bay area in those days.

Robin Shelley said...

I like you more all the time, Spy. You're a interesting guy!

spyrock said...

hey robin, you are sweet, not unlike everyone else on this blog.
the stuff i told you in private was because of whom i'm related to, not really anything to do with who i am. and i started posting on the internet on the 49er board vs everyone that hated them back in the day. so i have an edge that can go different places but it's all in good fun. i sort of fashinoned spyrock after pete franklin, an old knbr announcer. so spy used to get feisty and got himself kicked off aol because the cowboy fans didn't appreciate his humor. so spy is toned down a bit. american indian style. but check out that stones video. IT ROCKS. AND IF SOME MIGHT BE CONFUSED BY MY WRITING STYLE. its a combination of e e cummings and jack kerouac. before that i just played the drums, i really didn't even talk in those days. i used to know some poets back in the city in the early 70's that would do the weirdest things to communicate, but my dad was all time in the hearing test he took just before he died, instead of pushing the button when he heard the sound in the earphones, he would just imitate the sound and say "beep beep" whatever works is what i say.