echoes are all there today, locked within the concave chambers of the
red and orange, yellow and white, smooth cliffs that wall in the little
village of Fruita. They bring memories of the scorpion that stung my
thumb as I dug into the red shale on a bank along a dry wash. They rushed
me down to Oyler's place, where a good stiff glass of homebrew, peach
brandy took away all the pain and the poison. Otherwise I would surely
have died. (The brandy was for medicinal purposes – so it was said).
I hear the yelling I did when Mama took the school kids on a spring
hike up through Cohab Canyon (so named because in the days of polygamy,
men with more than one wife would hide there from Fed). I sat on a sandbank
to rest, but suddenly I rose with a howl that filled the echo chambers
of Capitol Reef for a millennium. I yelled just as loudly when Clarence
Chestnut, the oldest boy, plucked the needle-like stickers from my bared
behind with his pocket knife. (Clarence was a good fellow. He was to
grow up in Fruita and operate a commercial fruit ranch there until the
Park Service bought him out).