The assignment seemed simple enough, almost benign at first, however that is because I forgot it has been nearly a quarter of a century since I left school and just less than that since I escaped the reservation. I am finding out that my thought process is rustier than my first Dodge pick-up, which still sits out back of my parents’ government home.
In college, I hesitate to say university, because I did more partying my first two years than my last two years…besides it was a state run facility…I did a little writing for the newspaper. But that was mostly to impress the women, who did not know any better or didn’t really care as long as I supplied the beer.
That’s the funny part.
It would be ironic, if it weren’t so sad knowing that there was an Indian and a beer in the same room. I was convinced that a beer or two prior to writing a story would loosen me up enough to cause the juices to flow. I regularly got printed and ‘by-lined’ so I felt satisfied.
Unfortunately I now realize I could have been a much better journalist and reporter. And I could have been the family’s academic star.
This brings me to the memory of my first beer.
It involved a group of us kids down by a mud wallow. A wallow is where the cows would come to roll around, seeking relief from the heat and insects that plagued them.
Evening was falling and we heard a cow coming before we could see it. Someone had a great idea of tipping a cow so they called for us all to be quiet.
We waited and we drank.
When the animal appeared, it hesitated just long enough to sniff the air, sensing that we were near and up to no good. At about the same time someone let out a war-whoop and we raced down on the cow.
The poor beast nearly jumped out of its skin as it tried to figure out what was happening. But it was too late.
We were already trying to tip the cow.
Suddenly I saw a bright burst of light. I felt a crashing sensation as my body slipped through the nighttime air. I don’t recall hitting the ground.
But it must have been a funny sight, because the next thing I do remember is waking up to a bunch of faces looking at me, laughing. When I finally gained enough of my wits about me to sit up, I looked over at the cow which stood with its sharp-horned head down, prepared to defend itself in a charge and realized that we had picked the only bull in the field to try and tip.
It would be years later that I would come to understand how this random act had affected me. I sat down one after noon and randomly pounded down a beer with one of the neighbor guys.
Next thing I realized I found myself ‘tipped’ into trying my hand at writing again and I thank my lucky star.