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#1 2012-11-13 20:39:45

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5701

Life is as strange as fiction

I've been reading a book about Jim Bridger, the trapper and guide.  He was hired as a guide for a scientific survey of the Yellowstone commissioned by the U.S. Congress.  The book is written by a historian who has compiled information on the life of Bridger from documentation - letters, contracts, etc.  The survey had a scribe who recorded the events of their journey.  In it, he records how the younger guys enjoyed hearing what they called "Arkansas Traveler" or "Munchausian" stories around the campfire at night.  One of their favorites was a stream which started out ice cold as a spring out of a mountaintop.  Bridger said it fell so fast and over so many rocks that by the time it got to the valley it was hot on the bottom.  They thought that was a very good tall tale - until they crossed the stream barefoot and learned that it ran over a crusted over hotspot.  It was hot on the bottom just as Bridger said but they did not believe. 

Of Baron von Munchausen, Bridger said he was a "durned liar" (being illiterate - not quite getting the idea of fiction) but then softened his opinion upon thinking of it saying some of his own exploits would sound as ridiculous had they been written down.


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#2 2012-11-13 23:53:15

Dirty Ed
Senior Member
From: Chillicothe, Ohio
Registered: 2010-08-17
Posts: 463

Re: Life is as strange as fiction

It would have been great to have had the chance to sit around a campfire and hear old Jim spin his yarns. Luckily, because of his youth, Hugh Glass didn't kill him when he finally recovered and caught up to him after Bridger left him for dead. Guys like Bridger, Kit Carson, Hugh Glass, Jedediah Smith, Jim Beckwourth and the Sublette brothers sure led exciting lives and had a lot of exciting tales to tell. They were some pretty tough hombres.


"If Einstein hadn't discovered the theory of relativity someone else would have because its a basic science truth.  Same for Watson-Crick and DNA.  But if Beethoven hadn't written "Moonlight Sonata", no one else would have.  If Van Gogh hadn't painted Starry Night, no one else would have."

I don't want to play songs, I want to create songs.

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#3 2012-11-14 13:34:34

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5701

Re: Life is as strange as fiction

Just about every one of those folks has made an appearance in this book.  The Sublettes and Bridger had a long standing business relationship.  Kit Carson and Bridger hung out together at trapper rendezvous, etc.  I had a lot of respect for how one of the Sublettes died.  He had a long-standing infection in one of his legs that kept him in St. Louis and away from the trapping grounds and his business prospects.  So he became a lawyer and took care of the business interests of the folks he knew.  After his leg was amputated and it was fairly apparent he was going to die from it in time, he got his butt on a mule and headed back to the mountains while still learning to use his wooden leg.  It took him a long while to die too.  Drank himself to death trying to kill the pain.


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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