Lately, there’s been some kick and growl out in the 15-mile country about the name of a couple of badland buttes named Squaw Teats. What a dumb name.
I said that 50 years ago and I stand by that statement now. Historical, my butt. Changing it to something else doesn’t even register on my meter, like the change did when the liberal revisionists had to change the name of Brown’s Hole to Brown’s Park. That ticked me off. Originally it was called Brown’s Hole after the mountain man who discovered it, and that’s simply because the old mountain men referred to any large, open park or meadow in the tree-choked mountains as a hole. Which it is, a hole in the landscape. Something I guess one can’t expect educated liberals or penthouse types to know about or understand.
But the whole thing about naming particular anomalies in the landscape after people’s private parts essentially escapes me. Who does that? The Frenchmen who named the three mountain peaks over by Jackson, (which, by the way, is a hole, with discovery and naming credited to early mountain man Davy Jackson, I believe) must have been single-mindededly thinking of women – or delusional. Really, the “Breasts of the Earth”? Who comes up with that?
As far as the Squaw Teats designation goes, just the term “squaw” makes me want to retch. It’s like regarding certain ethnicities in derogartory terms. We should be able to do better. I’ve spent the better part of 40 winters messing about in that country and, after extensive introspection and examination of said anomalies, can find nothing that suggests to me a pair of breasts in their size, shape or conformation. At least not the ones I’m acquainted with. Surely, we can do better. Or are we all still only 9 years old?
Changing the subject a bit, how many times have you looked at, fondled or just appreciated some inanimate object and thought, “If it could only talk?” This happens to me mostly when I’m appreciating an ancient, perhaps even obsolete, firearm that has emerged from someone’s safe or estate and is being offered for sale. It’s usually at a gun show. Complete with worn blueing, scratches and scrapes, even dings and a lot of honest holster wear. Especially with frontier-era firearms, “If they could only talk.”
Some years back, I owned a model 1926 Smith and Wesson in .44 Special. It had, due to information from its original seller, been owned by the marshal of Globe, Ariz., back in the 1930s, if memory serves. Finding out about him from his grandson is probably the closest a firearm I’ve owned has come to really “talking” to me about its past. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was kind of a big deal for me.
Then, there is the used S&W Military and Police revolver (modern terminology is a model 10, I believe), a police turn-in that I traded for some years ago. Produced in the late 1940s or early 1950s, and chambered in .38 Special with a tapered, 5-inch barrel and original grips. Well worn, but dependable and still accurate. It was probably a police department trade-in that showed decades of holster wear. You know, carried a lot, shot very little. There used to be a lot of these around, but they never brought much money on the marketplace, so most people just stuffed them into the back of the safe.
After the big one, World War II, S&W quickly transitioned back to civilian and police production from its previous military production. Many of those S&W M&P .38 Specials rode out their duty hours on a street cop’s belt. It was a popular revolver for uniforms because it worked. The old saying was “six for certain.” Many times, after shooting it and cleaning it, I’d study the old gun and think again, “If it could only talk”.
Handling the old revolver, I’d wonder not only about the officer to whom it was issued, but where he served. Was he young back then, like the gun, whose newness was reflected in the deep blue of the metal and the sharpness of the checkered wooden grips? Was he working in Boston, where he’d probably have been Irish or maybe Fargo, N.D., where he’d have been Norwegian or maybe German?
Odds are he’d have been a returning veteran, having served in WWII or maybe Korea or both. He’d have memories of growing up during the “Dirty Thirties” and growing up working class, understood what the real impact of the Great Depression was. He was probably really proud to have done his service for this country. When he returned to civilian life, unlike many of his contemporaries, he had a job in a respected profession with the security of a regular paycheck. Things many of our spoiled millennials proclaim disdain for these days.
It probably didn’t take long to knock the new off the gun, or the man wearing it. Likely, when he showed up for his first roll call, a shift sergeant called over an older patrolman and told him to let the newbie ride with him for a few weeks and, for God’s sake, don’t get him killed. He, like most of us, probably didn’t notice the years passing by, while the revolver slowly started to show the effects of constant holster wear. The wear was covered up with an occasional touch-up of cold blueing as best it could be, same as the stress of the job and eventual scars of a life of public service remained concealed beneath a freshly pressed uniform.
I wonder if you were like Officer Macintosh, back when I was growing up in a “north of the tracks” neighborhood. You could say he was like my mentor, or even a guardian angel in blue and gray. Except for the fights. Kind of an every week sort of thing and I swear he and his partner would even be betting on the outcome before Mack stepped in. Sometimes he’d even let me win.
Whoever you were or are, I hope you had a great family and time for Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays together. I know you couldn’t always be there because sometimes you were busy bailing an over-adrenalinized red-headed kid out of the pickle he’d gotten himself into. Or just making sure the good folks in town could sleep well each night. You always had our backs, even when we fidgeted under your attention occasionally.
Yeah, whoever you are or were, I’m proud to be the custodian of your old duty revolver for a few years. I’ll take good care of it and even take it out for a walk and some exercise on occasion. Hopefully it’ll be as comforting to me as it was to you when the streets were dark and ominous shadows flitted through the back alleys.
Trust me, LEOs aren’t the bad guys, unless you are.