If a story-teller is only as good as his stories, then I'll always be looking up to Skookum. His tales, which I believe are always first-person, factual accounts, are constantly magnificient in grandeur and moral.
Skookum makes his living as a horseman in Southern California, but longs to return to the Peace River country of his youth, the setting for the stories he contributes to Flopping Aces. And those stories make me yearn for the same thing, or an adventure very similar.
If, like me, you get addicted to Skookum's stories, you'll soon see that he knows more about horses and trapping and hunting (and by extension, people), not to mention literature, philosphy, theology, and politics than the most well-rounded folk you've ever met.
Here's an excerpt from his most-recent tale:
The weather that fall was terrible; well actually, it was just a little worse than normal. We were in a hunting camp in the mountains about one hundred miles North of the Peace. There were three guides with three hunters. Knarley Manners my best friend had a nice quiet hunter that was serious about hunting and wasn’t worried about the cold, miserable conditions. I had one of a pair of hunters from Chicago: the two of them had won the hunting trip through a company contest and they were as different from each other as two men can be: my hunter was a former small game hunter who had grown up on a farm in Illinois, this was the trip of a lifetime for him and he wanted to have a successful hunt. The other hunter was a huge man, he stood at least 6 foot 6 and weighed way over three hundred pounds: he was as out of place in the mountains as a person can be and never stopped complaining or telling us of his personal accomplishments. Hunting was not his way to have fun; but he won the trip and was determined to take advantage of the prize, even though he hated every minute he was there.
He was quite proud of himself to the point of being arrogant. He would have taken over the whole camp and passed out orders to everyone, except in these conditions, he knew nothing, I was in charge and I wasn’t about to relinquish control over to this arrogant giant who tried to convince us that he knew everything. Since he couldn’t give orders, he made do with complaining about the weather, the food, his saddle, the fact that we had not seen game (that’s why they call it hunting), the sleeping arrangements, and his horse. I used the biggest pack horse we had, Ol’ Moose, because our favorite hunter – who became known as Mr. Big – couldn’t ride a lick and I didn’t want him hurting one of the smaller horses. Because of the constant complaining, I put him with John Belcourt; John was a Chips Indian and a good sized giant himself. John was always cheerful and would never let this guy’s attitude get to him. Neither would John be intimidated by the size of the surly one, for if there was a guy who could wrestle a Grizzly bear, it was John. He was as strong as 4 or 5 strong men and could move like a cougar.
The value of the story is eclipsed only by the value of its lesson.
Tell me, is Skookum a racist per today's popular definition...simply based on who & what he criticizes?