Writing poetry is capped consciousness of mixed emotions exploited onto paper into formatted cowboy wit.

EAST-

     East is Washat religion and the proper place to have your feet facing when you are laid to rest in your grave. Louie Dick my elder told me this. Louie was a well-respected Indian cowboy from Thorn Hollow/Gibbon area east of Mission, Oregon on the Umatilla Indian Reservation.

     We called East up the River. The Umatilla River is a beautiful small river to play in during the summer and raging menace when the flood season is near when snow melts.

     Bar M Dude Ranch is up the Umatilla River where Great-Granddad John Hugh Hales built our family cabin. East meant celebrating Independence Day on the 4th of July with all my relatives at the family cabin in Bingham Hot Springs. My mother still owns the cabin and stays there.

     2nd cousin Heather Hales Corey died young of cancer complications and her Doberman pincher used to bite me as I rodeo my bicycle on the 4th at the cabin. Heather and her brother Mark loved the cabin. I wish I could of hit her dog with a pipe so I could ride my bicycle without getting chased and bit.

     Too bad Heather died young she was really getting political in the Pendleton Round-Up scene and I wrote her several times and she never told me she was dying. I found out reading the East Oregonian I was subscribing too it shocked me. My case monitor John K. took me for a walk around the Oregon State Hospital and I found some volunteer wheat about the same size as was in her father’s hand Uncle Bob when they buried him young. I clutched it in my hand and sobbed for a good bit. I didn’t like her politics though.

SOUTH-

     “Out South” was a good portion of our leased farmland on the south Umatilla reservation approximately a few hundred yards from the old Tutuilla Church Mission.

     Purchase Ranches long access road from our shop to Mission Highway passes right by the corner posts and gates to the Tutuilla Presbyterian Cemetery in Mission.

     Coyote Creek, Tutuilla Creek, Tutuilla Flats, McKay Creek, McKay Reservoir are some of the natural barriers or landmarks on the south reservation. I-84 runs right through the south Umatilla reservation splitting it from the truck stop and Wild Horse Resort and Casino. The tribe is lucky to harness the power of I-84 for tourism and now has a Tribal Farming Enterprise ranching a lot of the ground my ancestors had ranched for many years. 

WEST-

     If you headed west 4-hours from the Umatilla Indian Reservation down the scenic Columbia River Gorge you passed where Celilo Falls is under thousands of feet of water. You reach I-205 then onto I-5 corridor and you can travel to a lot of big or small towns to mainly rope at amateur or Professional Rodeos for me. I’ve entered at various rodeos in Portland, St. Helens, Tillamook, St. Paul, Molalla, Boring, Eugene, Central Point, Hillsboro, McMinnville, Canby, Sheridan, Roseburg, Cottage Grove, Salem, Vancouver, Sedro Wooley, Seattle, Roy, and Puyallup… I’ve won checks at all these rodeos in bold letters.

     Being able to travel to so many destinations had enabled me to become a man with many friends with many things in common.

     West means having things in common and not being unique. Not being above humility for achieving fame, but using their spotlight and public voice to bring about rise to a fall.

NORTH-

“North Side”

     North Side is a big field on Kirkpatrick Road (Kirkpatrick is my great-great grandfather’s name) with a south facing slope. North Side is the original Kirkpatrick homestead in Cayuse. Also the pea pit is still there from when great-great grandfather Kirkpatrick was harvesting dryland peas.

     I was never on a dryland pea harvest. Great-great grandma P.’s brother Finis ran the Kirkpatrick place until he died young heart problems then my grandfather took it over.

     I can remember Finis’s daughters asking us for our elevator tickets at North Side to make sure my over-generous grandfather didn’t rip them off. Whatever my grandfather’s opinion was about those two relatives sitting in the field collecting tickets, sure has stuck with me all these years. We pretty much never accused our uncle or relative of stealing from us. We would just let them have it if they needed it that bad.

 

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