Deer Run Trail, By David R LewisNodaway Trail, by David R LewisOn the Calico Trail, by David R LewisOn the Payback Trail, by David R LewisOn the Ogallala Trail, by David R LewisOn the Killdeer Trail, by David R LewisOn the Cutthroat Trail, by David R LewisGlory Trail, by David R LewisEndless Journey Toward an Unknown Destination, by David R LewisIncidents Among the Savages, by David R LewisFear of the Father:  Call Me Crockett, by David R Lewis

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About This Site

Several years ago in Kansas City, a popular weekend radio show called Radio for Grownups featured a regular segment by co-host and Master Storyteller David Lewis entitled “That’s How It Seems To Me”, generally a story he wrote and performed from growing up in the Heartland of America (more biographical information about David can be found at our “About” page) . The show has since gone off the air, but the interest over David’s tales has continued through today.

In response to the loyal fan base and continuing interest, we have published this blog/podcast of David’s stories. You’ll find posts of his anecdotes below. We plan to add further yarns to the collection regularly – on a weekly basis – for your enjoyment. Each post contains an excerpt from the narrative (the first paragraph or so) to give you an idea of what it is about, and an audio player so you can listen to the story in its entirety.

We hope you enjoy these tales and chronicles. Feel free to comment on them if you like.

David has produced a collection of four CDs over the years containing pieces not found on this blog/podcast which we call the “David Lewis Memories CD Collection”. For more information or to purchase any or all of his CDs, please visit this web site.

While the cost of providing these tales and maintaining this web site is not enormous, the time consumed in doing so is significant. This is why we have provided a Donate button and why there are advertisements on this site. We appreciate any contributions you would care to make if you have enjoyed the stories here.

David has a blog of his own as well – check it out here – and he has an eBook review site here.

The Smell Will Tell

Here Kitty, Kitty

I never did understand why Steve Seymour wanted a skunk.  When I was small, my Uncle Floyd had a skunk, de-scented, that lived in the house with him and his wife, Flo.  It was a low-slung, black waddle with white stripes that would occasionally scuttle out from under the couch, putter around aimlessly for a time, and not allow me to pet it.  It wouldn’t cuddle, fetch, or do tricks.  I didn’t understand the worth of owning a skunk.  I still don’t.  I have known three people and several dogs that have been involved in bad business with skunks and, save one, none that I’m aware of willingly have gone back for more.  The one who did go back, a dog, a black lab/Chow crossbred to be more precise, has been dealt with harshly by skunks nearly 20 times.  She doesn’t seem to mind, or perhaps she just doesn’t remember.  She is, after all, part Chow.

Age

When Will It End?

I’m getting old.  I know that I’m getting old – that’s no big secret – but I was reminded of that ugly fact recently when I realized that I need a computer monitor slightly larger than a picture window.  The one I have just isn’t big enough anymore – or it could be that my bifocals are, once again, inadequate – another sign of aging.

Certain points in our lives mark milestones in our long descent into the abyss.  The passage of time leaves its mark on all of us and I am not as young as I once was – I’m not even as young as I once thought I was!

August in the Afternoon

Down and Dirty

It was hot, heavy, and humid at about three o’clock on that August afternoon.  The air was totally calm, the sky slightly hazy, and I crouched in the dust, sweat rolling in muddy trickles down the back of my neck, a mask held tightly to my face by straps over and around my head.  I was wearing thick cotton clothing, a heavy short-sleeved shirt that was belted into equally heavy pants, two pairs of socks under stiff padded leather coverings on my lower legs, and additional insulation nearly an inch thick swathed the front of my body from neck to crotch.  The heat was immense, and I was breathing through my mouth to get enough oxygen, as the large man leaning over my back said, “Ball two.”

Jackpine Jolly

Too Tall, Big Fall

His name was Roger Brooks, but we just called him Jolly.  We called him Jolly partially because of “Jolly Roger” and partially because the Jolly Green Giant was popular in those days and Jolly was a little over 6 feet 7 inches tall, and partially because everybody had nicknames in our insular, motorcycle-motivated society – my best friend for instance, Lee Walter “The Duck” Griesheimer.   Duck was five feet four.  Looking at Jolly and Duck as they stood side by side could make you dizzy.

Stranger in a Strange Land

When I was a child, racial tension in my small hometown did not exist.  There was no them, only us.  Everybody was white.  The caste system was in effect, to be sure, from the apex of the Caucasian ladder to the depths of the pale trash heap; but all of us were white.  The only American-Indian I was familiar with was riding the range on a horse named Scout with Clayton Moore.  The Cisco Kid represented the Mexican contingent, and, because the only TV channel we got did not carry Amos n’ Andy, black people remained absent.  If there was an African-American living in town, he would have been blonde, from Johannesburg, and named Günter.  Racial diversity did not exist.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  One summer we had a lifeguard at the lake who was Hawaiian.  He was pretty dark.  A lot of us kids marveled at the depth of his tan and the sometimes strange way he talked, but the real marvel was his total relaxed ability in the water.

There Are Dreams

Because of some of my extracurricular activities, occasionally someone asks that I interpret a dream for them.  I try not to.  There are certain generalities that apply to dreams and what they mean, and different cultures interpret dreams differently.  To the Plains Indians, for instance, animals in dreams have great meaning.  A horse often calls for the dreamer to be strong.  A mouse encourages one to view the whole and not get caught up in details.  A lynx advises the dreamer that secrets are afoot.  A snake counsels learning and wisdom, and so on.

I believe most dreams are little more than mental masturbation – a way for the mind to remain occupied so the sleeper does not awaken.  There are, however, some exceptions.  There are dreams, and there are dreams.

Four Lodges

His full name was “He-Who-is-Called-Four-Lodges-Are-His”.  Over two decades ago, my wife and I spent many hours in his company during a four or five year period.  We called him Four-Lodges or Grandfather, a term of respect – not relativity.  He was an American Indian of the Sioux Nation and why he chose to spend time with us was a mystery to me.  I asked him once and he replied it was because he had hope for us.

His age was hard to determine. He might have been in his 50s – or his 70s for that matter – it was not possible to judge, for he had not chosen to be of this time.  When he was only a boy, he was stricken by some type of serious illness, and spent nearly two weeks drifting in and out of a coma.  During that illness, he was administered to only by a medicine man, or man of magic.  When he finally recovered and regained consciousness – or as he phrased it, “Returned from The Great Mystery”, he was changed.  From then on, he lived much in the old ways.  He did not read or write, to my knowledge drove no automobile and, for the most part, shunned the trappings of what you and I might term civilization.

Gung Ho

Don Brook wore his time in the Marine Corps like a gold medallion around his neck.  Ten years after he left the armed services, Paris Island’s scent was still fresh in his nostrils.  While Brook had never actually seen combat and had been in “The Corps” only a few months, discharged because of the sudden death of his father and health of his invalid mother, he remained a jar-headed life-taker, heart-breaker, and widow-maker.  Hoo-rah.  He was also a good guy.

Midimist

Please excuse the arrangement of verbiage in this piece.  I have an idea how I’d like it to end, but no real concept of how to get there and will ramble, I’m afraid.  I ask your patience as I free-associate a bit.  Relax.  It shouldn’t take too long.

Mark Twain once commented that some people considered him to be a pessimist.  While he admitted that he often left that impression, he was in fact not a pessimist – he was an optimist who had yet to arrive.

Almost Arkansas

Once upon a time I lived in Almost Arkansas, Missouri.  In spite of how bizarre some southern Missouri towns are named, you will not find Almost Arkansas on any map, but it is there.  I’ve seen it.  Unlike the mythical “Lake Woebegon”, Almost Arkansas exists.  Sid, a German shepherd who brought home his own dog food and had a pigeon friend, lived there, as did Arlo and Mertie, an ill-fated veterinarian named Delmar Dawe, and many other people firmly lodged in my failing memory.  Cloud, a horse who saved my life was a resident, and it is where I used to cowboy and beat the sun to the top of the hill on horseback every morning.  It is real.  It is not named Almost Arkansas, but it is Almost Arkansas, as are several other small towns in that area.

Silverthorn

He was about 6½ feet tall, weighed maybe 280 pounds, and had straight blue-black hair to below his waist.  He looked down at me through hard dark brown eyes from a walnut face and said, “You’re white.  Where’d you get that necklace?”

He was referring to a Native American, deer-bone hair pipe, four-strand choker I was wearing.  I looked up at him and told the truth.

“I was gifted it by a Cherokee on the eve of her quest for her vision.”

“Why?” he asked.

“Because I gave her council,” I replied.

“It’s old.”

“Yes it is.  It was in her family for many years.”

“To be gifted such a thing is a great honor,” he went on.

“That’s why I wear it,” I said.  “To honor her and her family.”

He grinned at me.  “Right answer, Paleface,” he said, sticking out a paw.  “My name’s Steve.  Nice to meetcha.”

So began a relationship with Steve Silverthorn, a full-blood Lakota Sioux.

In the Gravest Extreme

I have avoided this subject because it cries out for a certain amount of objectivity that I may not possess, but a friend urged me to run off at the mouth a little.  Volatile to be sure, the subject is guns. From the idiots who actually believe we can take all the guns away from people and make the whole world sweetness and light to the lunatics who think they should be able to own .60 caliber machine guns and rocket launchers, there are some really committed (or should be) folks out there vocalizing their twisted views on firearms.  I guess it’s my turn.

Not Again

No More Horsin’ Around

The year was 1969 and I was in the market for a horse.  In horse shopping, “let the buyer beware” applies even more than when purchasing a used car, picking a mate, or renting John Wayne Gacy for a fun weekend.  Sellers of horses, often kindly, almost Uncle-like gentlemen are a suspect group with the social conscience of a pickpocket and the morals of a Columbian drug lord who runs a few ladies on the side.  Therefore, I turned away from auctions where fleecing some poor buyer out of his life savings on a cross-firing nag with fistulated withers and permanently waterlogged hocks is seen as a virtue, and went shopping at places with good reputations that actually bred and reared equines that could be traced back to where they’d come from.

I was – and still am, for that matter – partial to quarter horses.  In more recent years, quarter horses have become so badly polluted by thoroughbred crossbreeding that they are sometimes hard to distinguish from farther away than 50 feet.