My Brother, Brad

I spent all day Tuesday, May 20, with my brother before he headed back to Colorado where he disobeyed doctor’s orders – lifted a log helping his sister-in-law build something in her back yard. His third heart surgery was about 5 years ago and the doctor said he had never seen such a mess. But lifting logs is something Brad did most of his life.

That’s how he lived and that’s how he died.

Here’s the obituary:

I thought I’d copy an article by Brad’s youngest daughter, from a book “Women of the Roaring Fork Valley.” I don’t have permission from either Heidi, or the publisher, but I don’t believe in property rights, much less “intellectual” property rights. I fugure if someone says or writes something for the public, someone who likes it might repeat it – and that’s a good thing.

Heidi wintered several years at the Darwin Ranch which is 40 acres in the middle of National Forest


“Beyond the Power Lines”
Exerpt from The Gros Ventre Gazette
By Heidi Hendricks, founder, publisher and editor

Duane Kramer came up here yesterday and in passing conversation mentioned that he thought he might have been born 100 years too late. It’s a popular phrase out here. Seems like I’ve heard it a bunch. I think I’ve even said it myself a time or two. That the West, the real West, the wild West, was finished long before now. Was gone with paved roads, barbed wire, power lines, concealed weapons acts, progress, progress, progress. I have had silly visions of myself free and uninhibited. Horseback in Irish Canyon. Coming up to Wyoming to see my man. Before the days of cars, roads. Just me and the West, bra-less and bad. But a person forgets. I wouldn’t have been bra-less and horseback anywhere 100 years ago. I would have been corseted up as some man’s wife or whore.

People lament over what is lost and even I, when I go back to Colorado, can get depressed. Woe is the cattleman whose son is selling highballs out of a drink cart on a golf course that use to be his ranch. But let none of you be mistaken. The West is still here. There is still land. So much land. Rejoice that you can still get lost.  Would you believe that people still shoot at people’s feet and tell them to “Dance or get the hell out of here?” That people tie their hands to saddle horns thirteen miles from home “cause they’re so drunk and it’s so dark, and it’s blizzarding so hard that if the fell off they’d be coyote meat.” Peope still rope bears. Walk ten miles for one measly Bloody Mary. Dive over bars and into liquor shelves head-first. Trot thirty miles on a horse with a broken leg! Climb a 12,000 foot mountain to slide down on a trash bag cause there is no TV to watch. No computers to play on. I’ve seen a man grab a hold of a tow rope behind a snow machine and on skis, shit-faced drunk, two in the morning, get towed fourteen miles going eighty miles an hour. That was pretty western.”

That there are still places that you can truthfully say that you would kill or die for every single person within a thirty-mile radius. And that’s not even the land. What about the land? The valleys leading into valleys leading into valleys. Creeks and rivers and cliffs and forests and that is just what I can see from my window. There are still places where you are so alone, so alone that you go outside and scream, and nine times out of ten a dozen coyotes will answer you. Reassuring you that you’re not really alone. I can go on all day. Didn’t want you people up North, down South, back East to worry. There is a place that is the West and it’s still pretty western.


About Newell Hendricks

I have lived a good life. Maybe a counterculture life, maybe a normal life. I have written operas, built houses, been involved with cross-cultural education between Latin America and the U.S, and hardly ever had a job I have helped raise two wonderful children with my amazing wife. It's been a good ride. And I go to church. I've just finished a book of stories from my life, I am still connected to an organization in Nicaragua that promotes sister relationships between communities, faith communities, or schoold, and to the extent that my cancer doesn't pull me down, am attempting to share some of what I have learned, or at least tried out. Welcome, and let's share.
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