August 31, 2009

From happiness of life to the struggles of Life....August 31st 2009

From happiness of life to the struggles of all the farmers, bankers, truckers, doctors, but worst of all the animals such as fox, bear, beaver, raccoons, bobcats, mountain lions, wolves, rams, bison, and moose that hang from dress racks and are covered by a huge tent just along the side of the road.

While on my way back to Cody, Wyoming I had the pleasure or misfortune of stopping in Bridger, Montana at a local market called The Bridger Fur Company which has stood in Montana for over a hundred years working or trading as fur traders to the local and those passing through.

Les and Maybelle have been working there for over 50 years and married for 60 years. I do not believe in fur or the fur culture but here it was. Starring off at the hundreds of hanging skins, hanging heads, life-sized stuffed animals. This is no zoo, this is a trophy shack at best. I started shooting pictures of the place when I got introduced to Les and Maybelle asking what I was doing. I made a few jokes about life and explained I was working on a story about local culture and how the economy is affecting both the local trade and the tourist trade and wanted to see if I could ask them some questions. I was in asking questions and Les began showing me the best furs as he was telling about his best hunting stories but most of the time he was joking around about his uppity clients. In the land of the rich and famous the lewd and crude comes some of the funniest stories of Californiaians! Whether celebrity or other the people of the west coast take the cake. The bargaining, the bitching, the shipping, as it was told a movie producer client could not risk flying into LAX with 5 boxes of bear, moose and fox skins for his mistress’s home. It would be rude to get caught with all these furs and have to explain to your vegan /animal rights activist wife that these are not a sick joke for you but these furs are for my mistress…..

I am not here to make a stand but there are better ways to spend money… This is the Wild West, still. Where wolfs and coyotes are slaughtered and where cows have the right of way. Where a one light town meets a local private poster of speed signs posting messages to tourists that read “What about 25 M.P.H. DON’T you Understand?!” A place where skoal chewers and beer drinkers out number the tourists, and humans only being out numbered by the cattle or horses.

I loved Montana and Wyoming, I loved almost all the local beers that I tried and there were a lot…. The food: after eating at some of the best restaurants and at some of the dirtiest road side out house types of stands I can honestly say that the steaks and chops and burgers had been some of the best tasting flavors that I ever had.
But getting back to “From Happiness of life to the struggles of”, Struggles of what I am still attempting to figure out. Without water there are no crops, without gas we would have to figure out how to get to work, without nature there would be no nurture, without pain there is no pleasure, without all these hardships to make us think bigger, work more efficient, focus more on the needs and not the wants. Understand you are not special, you are not supposed to be anything more than who you are now.. Your destiny was then, your destiny is now and your destiny will be in the future….Your Destiny….. My destiny….Our destiny is just that….

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