by Steve & Barry Simpson
Last week, I was manning the sales counter at Twin Rocks and visiting with customers when a strong storm blew in.
Because the weather has been pleasingly moderate, we have been leaving the Kokopelli doors wide open so we can experience the outside world while working inside.
As I casually conversed with a California couple concerning several pieces of Navajo jewelry they had recently inherited, I became interested in what was happening on the porch.
As I watched through the open doors, several tumbleweeds rolled clumsily past, heading east along our wide red porch.
A few minutes later, those same high desert travelers rolled back in a westerly direction.
As the man rambled on about an old turquoise, cluster style bracelet, the woman noticed my distracted gaze and followed it out the door.
“Ooh!” she commented, interrupting her husband, “The wind must be gusting in circles. It reminds me of that old cowboy song, the one about tumbling tumbleweeds. Who sang it anyway?”
“I think it was The Son’s of the Pioneers,” I said. “They also sang Ghost Riders, they were great.”
“Yes!” she said exuberantly and began to hum, then sing Tumbling Tumbleweeds.
Let’s just say her singing voice was . . . less than great.
I smiled amicably as she sang. Then her husband scrunched his face, put a hand on her sleeve and shut her down.
“That’s the one!” I said with gusto, trying to ease the hurt.
The woman had her own way of dealing with the man, she punched him a solid blow in the upper arm. Hard enough, I witnessed, for him to visibly flinch.
“I could have been a cowgirl,” she said, “riding all day, nights underneath the prairie moon.”
“I’ll bet you could have,” I agreed, looking to her husband who was rubbing his bruised appendage.
“You seem tough enough.”
The woman laughed merrily and made another playful jab at her companion, he was not amused. The couple soon departed, with the woman humming and her guy keeping his distance.
There was plenty to do, but the golden light filtering through the doorway and cottonwood trees across the road were beautifully soothing so I lingered a while. The dancing tumbleweeds continued their awkward pirouette across the porch and graveled parking lot.
I relaxed back into the stool I was sitting on and thought about how it might have been to be a cowboy, drifting along with the breeze and living the lonesome life. Just then a whirly-gig sprang-up in the middle of the parking lot and began to toss-about tumbleweeds, red dirt and anything else it could whisk-up into the disrupted air space.
All heck broke loose, causing me to jump the counter and force the Kokopelli doors shut in an effort to keep the oscillating debris cloud from entering the trading post.
Moving to the plate glass windows, I watched the dust devil crank its way across the parking lot. The wind ripper stripped yellow leaves from the trees and hurled tumbleweeds, which looked like bundles of barbed wire, into the atmosphere.
I saw my guests racing to their car, dodging stickery masses as they went. Followed closely by a cloud of dust and debris, they jumped into their car, slammed the doors shut and drove away. I guess the romantic notion of being a high-plains drifter had dissipated with the first stiff breeze.
I too have had romantic notions of being a historic cowboy or mountain man, living off the land, free to go anywhere I like and do what ever I want.
That lonely life, however, was not my lot and I would not want to live without the love and joy my precious family and friends provide. Bluff is a great place to be, so I will settle for straddling the intersection of tradition and innovation here at Twin Rocks Trading Post.
Anyway, if I had lived back then I probably would have lost my top knot early on. Even in these modern days, Steve and I have been scalped a time or two. Luckily though, there has been no hair loss.
I truly am satisfied with my life, so I’ll just keep rolling along. Deep in my heart is a song, here in Bluff I belong, drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.