I was considered a loner during my youth. While other boys were thinking about girls I was hunting, fishing, trapping and camping out in the forest.
As youngsters, my brother and I trapped muskrat, otter, beaver, fox, and mink and one time we caught a bobcat. We tanned their hides and sold them to a leather shop in Terre Haute.
We trapped rabbits and shot squirrels. We made .50 by selling their meat to people who had money during the Great Depression. We were paid $2.00 for a turtle and $4.00 for a wild turkey.
I might watch a tennis match on TV, but I won’t pay high prices to sit in a noisy stadium. Hot dogs are cheap at home.
As I slowly drop off to sleep at night, I can relive one of my memories, fishing for Pike on the Wolverine River in Nunavut Canada. I was with a First Nation Doctor who takes a month off each summer to return to the old ways of the Cree Indian people.
We were in a shallow inlet where fish spawn. The Indian pointed. “That bear is eyeing us. Let’s go deeper; they are surprisingly fast.”
At that moment the bear headed toward our boat.
The Cree grabbed his bow and fitted an arrow. It was a great shot, the arrow piercing the bear’s neck.
“You can’t give bears a chance, you’ll lose,” he said.
The bear stopped and reared up. Two more arrows zipped straight into its heart.
We had roasted bear chunks for lunch.
“Eating bear on a wild river, that’s real atmosphere,” I said.
My friend saw me rubbing in my palm. “Let me see your hand.”
“You have atrophying of the tendons. How long have you had this problem?”
“A few years, and it’s getting worse.”
"It’s tendonitis. Today’s surgeons call it Dupuytren’s Contracture. It’s what you’re feeling under the skin.”
“Indian surgeons knew how to reverse the atrophying of tendons generations ago,” he said. “What do I do?”
“Some Orthopedic surgeons suggest surgery. Surgery is not necessary, with patience and effort the condition can be reversed.”
“Catch the condition early, before the tendons become too atrophied. We use sweat baths. Rub the spots when it hurts. Bend your fingers back often. It keeps your fingers from curling. It will take time, but it works. Untreated it can become crippling.”
“I’m glad you were here. Incidentally, your arrowheads are black. What is it?”
“What is that?”
“It’s old lava. It’s easy to chip and sharpen. I order it from British Columbia.”
“With those shots, I don’t understand why Indians lost the continent.”
“Modern beats primitive,” he said. “When are you going back to Winnipeg?”
“Next week,” he said.
Arriving in Atlanta, I got a cab. We discovered wrecks on the expressway, two cars aflame, smoke billowing, a dump truck mated with a motorcycle, an over-turned semi-trailer, lights flashing and traffic at a standstill.
I planned next summer…away from the chaos. Sioux2222@gmail.com