Vol.IX No.V Pg.8
July 1972

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

There was this Indian who just would not be reconstructed to the new ways. His friends drove new pickups over the Interstate, but he rode his pony up the dry wash. They lived in new government housing, but he stayed with his Hogan — taking beams and rocks from abandoned Hogans to enlarge the shelter for his stuff.

And how the neighbors laughed at the collection. He cared not at all for the in thing, but traded new Levis, obtained from the post, for old worn-out buck-skins — storing these as carefully as others did new suits, and seemed just as proud of them. He would work for a week to make a new katchina doll, then trade it to some child for her old broken one, made by her grandfather — and stack it with his other treasures. No wonder they called him Crazy.

His cache was an unknown cave, somewhere back in the hills. No one bothered to look for it for everyone knew it held nothing but shells, bits of petrified wood or beads which the Indians once used for coin. While others tended cattle or worked the arid land, Crazy Charlie hunted for arrowheads, soapstone pipes, scrapers, or anything out of the past.

Other Indians laughed and wagged
their heads when Charlie talked about retiring on his treasures. His coin was not current, they said. But Charlie had learned that todays gold is not necessarily the gold of tomorrow. What a shame, what a shame, that Charlies perception was not applied to something other than material wealth. The white man who thoughtlessly robbed his ancestors grave could have taught him that tomorrows gold remains behind, and does not accompany the spirit to eternity.

So, Crazy Charlie opened a chain of stores handling Indian Artifacts. He made a pile of bread selling old jewelry, ancient ollas, corn grinders, etc. Worn-out buck-skins brought a fortune on the New York market; and the katchinas, made by early Medicine men, were priceless. I would like to report that Charlie died a happy man: but this tall tale will sound more real if he spent his last days wishing he could again ride the dry wash and live in his mud-plastered Hogan.

For lifes greatest treasures are in the getting, not in the having. And if we have not provided for eternity, even great getting is an empty, meaningless trip. (Matt. 6: 19-34)