Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Claiming the Real Estate

Mine.
You can look, but remember who it belongs to . . .
Mountains. Beautiful. Majestic. Snow-capped. Towering.
Noticeable.
I love the mountains. Maybe not as much as my husband, who is a true connoisseur, but why quibble over details?
All my life, I have lived in the 'shadow' of the great Rockys. They were the immovable, dependable wall immediately to the west of us.
Our friends.
Companions.
Source of direction.
One distinctive peak, in particular, was familiar to us on the ranch. It was our nearest neighbour in the immense range. A huge block of stone, standing alone, with a large, rather squared-off top.
Boy scout troops had been know to clamber to its very summit. Of course, that was in the early days, before danger was invented.
I loved it.
It was my mountain.
I just couldn't remember what it was called . . .
Mom and I were heading toward the ranch.
She was driving.
I was bouncing around in the back seat.
This was before such safety measures as . . . seat belts. Shoulder harnesses.
Discipline.
I had been laying on the back seat, staring up at the roof. Suddenly, I thought of my mountain. I don't know why.
Because.
I sat up and leaned over the front seat. “Mom?”
“Mmm?”
That was her usual response. It didn't necessarily mean that her attention was yours, but it was a start.
“Mom!”
“What, dear.”
Okay, the line was open.
“Where's the Old Indian Hill?”
“The what?”
“The Old Indian Hill.”
She laughed. “Do you mean Old Chief Mountain?”
“Umm, okay.” Whatever. I just knew that the name had something to do with the Native tribes.
“It's right there, Sweetheart. Straight ahead. When we're driving to the ranch, it's right in front of the road.”
“Oh.”
She was right. There it was. Rising before us in all its purple glory.
Cool.
I stared at it. My mountain.
From then on, whenever we were travelling home, I would look out the windshield for my stalwart, immovable beacon.
My guardian. My defender and protector.
The Blackfoot Tribe called it, Ninastiko.
The Peigans, Minnow Stahkoo.
The white man named it many things.
But, to me, it would always be my beloved 'Old Indian Hill'.

Read the legend! http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/ChiefMountain-Blackfoot.html

21 comments:

  1. We all need a touchstone, to remind us of home or to tell us we're heading there. Old Indian Hill fits the bill beautifully. Lucky you.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Standing tall. And invincible. Never changing and yet changing with the weather and the time of the day.
    Oh yes. There are mountains in my heart too. Even if our mountains are hills on a global scale.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know, EC. I've seen pictures of your Ayers Rock. Stunning! On my bucket list of things to see!

      Delete
  3. You made me feel like I was there with you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My whole purpose in writing, Donna! What a nice compliment!

      Delete
  4. It's so different to what we have here - a sentinel watching over your place - very cool!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep. Old Indian Hill. He looked after us . . .

      Delete
  5. That's beautiful! No wonder you claimed it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A secret, Jenny? It's the only one I could recognize. All the others simply looked . . . mountain-y.

      Delete
  6. P. S. The legend is very sad, though ...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Awwww…I love this post! I spent my summers on a ranch in Whitehall Montana when I was a teen. There was a mountain at the end of the road that I loved----it looked purple each night when the sun set. I cannot remember the name of that mountain but I used to sit on the front porch of our ranch house and stare at it for hours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Love this! Let's name your mountain! I'm good at it . . .

      Delete
  8. Thanks for sharing this endearing memory! Blessings~

    ReplyDelete
  9. "before danger was invented" aka the fun days, right?
    I love your Old Indian Hill.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They don't allow anyone to climb up there without a permit any more. Safer? Probably. As exciting? Something's definitely missing!

      Delete
  10. Memories from childhood are always the sweetest and especially when it involves a beacon with a native name! Old Indian Hill it shall be named!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Of course your mom knew exactly what you meant - even when you had the name wrong!

    ReplyDelete

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