I have always been a person who reads the newspaper and watches local and worldly news and it is hard to stay positive when you hear all the negative sides of the world. Our social media is more than willing to bring out the bad in any story because that is what sells and people like talking about all the drama.
My daughter Vikki always talks about having a newspaper that only highlights the good parts of the world because that is the side that is worth reading about. Everyone makes bad choices why focus on those when most people have good aspects of who they are. Looking back at our United States history and all the great measures people made through blood, sweat and tears to make our country a place of freedom. Great lengths people made so we can express ourselves freely. Unfortunately now because of leadership examples us Americans live in a world where hate is become the normal. Now days there are several reasons a person can hate another person. For example you can be hated for the color of your skin or for your beliefs or your economic status. People can dislike you for your political party or whether you are straight or other wise and it is tolerated and made minimal. Our world is struggling to right itself but we need to grab what is good and make that our priority.
What makes me feel good is reminiscing about the past when for the most part we didn’t out right hate each other. I will write about the mysterious things that happen in the animal world. Things that people have seen all unexplainable can’t seem to find logical ways to understand. I’m sure some readers have had experiences of this nature. First I will write about my own experience which took place about 15 years ago when my father passed away. The funeral service was held in Red Shirt gymnasium and a bird came into the gym and flew around. After the service was over they took my father out of the gym and the bird flew out the door.
Weeks later at that time I was working on skirting a trailer house on Red Shirt table. I was wearing a baseball cap and I was sitting out in the shade. A bird came and sat on my head then hopped on the bill of my cap. It was probably less than 10 seconds it flew and landed on the fence for another 8 seconds. Words came out of my mouth without thinking, “Is that you dad?” I don’t believed that way but that’s what happened.
The next story is so unusual so I wanted to include it in this writing. The Cheyenne were having a run from Fort Robinson to Montana and were stopping at Oglala. My cousin Betty Sanders who I share the same great grandmother Sara Long Jaw. Sara was a Northern Cheyenne who was married to David Talton Gillispie. Betty wanted to help feed the Cheyenne so I got some food together and left Rapid headed for Oglala. I stopped at Red Shirt Table to visit my cousin Jerry Two Bulls. As we were standing outside there were four golden eagles circling coming from the East. The eagles got above us and continued circling. Three bald eagles came from the East a little lower than the golden eagles. Then a golden eagle and a bald eagle got in a fight almost directly above us. Maybe things like this happen all the time I thought this to be very unusual and glad we got to see it.
I thought about it for quite a while before writing about my cousin Orville Two Bulls. Orville told this story to my brother Johnnie Swallow who told me more than 25 years ago. Unfortunately both have passed on quite a while ago. Orville was a policeman in Manderson South Dakota. Orville was living with his in laws when he went horseback riding. He was coming back and he had to ride through a stand of cedar trees. Orville got part way through when his horse stopped. It legs were spread and quivering and wouldn’t go any further. Orville looked to his side and he saw an old man with long white hair sitting against a dead cedar tree.
The old man was looking down at the ground then he looked up. All of a sudden the horse bolted and began running down toward a closed gate. Orville tried to stop the horse after failing he had to bail off the horse and it busted through the gate. He asked everyone he came in contact with if they knew who this old man was and nobody knew.
Sometime later Pine Ridge police department called Orville to come to Pine Ridge. It was during the winter and it was snowing and at night.
He said he saw a man walking beside the road. As he passed the man, the man turned and looked at Orville. Orville knew that was the man he saw in the stand of cedar trees.
Later Orville attended an Uwipi ceremony, I won’t say what happened there out of respect for the believers, but the interpretation he got of the story was Orville was the old man and would live a long life. Within the last few months I asked my cousin in-law Rick Sanders if Orville told him that story he said he did. The only difference between the stories was that the long hair was in braids. Some years after the story Orville was partying with some people on the dirt road from Red Shirt Table to Oglala closer to the Buffalo Gap junction. He walked away and was found months later about ten miles in some rancher’s pasture. Orville had many good qualities with a good sense of humor.
These three stories show how experiences with animals can be unexplained. Although animals are less intelligent than us humans but for the most part they are more consistent and reliable.
(Victor D. Swallow was born in 1939, Oglala Lakota, U. S. Navy Veteran, 50 year member of Bricklayers Union, Optimistic realist and fair. Victor can be reached at his daughter’s email address at firstname.lastname@example.org)