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As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Bluff...

Yesterday, I hiked along the rocky bluff that juts out in places above the small creek that flows north just east of our house.  It is along this trail that I always think about those who have walked here before us.  Over the years we have found stone arrowheads and grinding stones scattered about the place, so we are sure Native Americans were once here.   It would have been a spot chosen because of the springs of fresh water that flow from the sides of the hills and mountains.  These Native Americans could have been Quapaw, Osage, or some other wandering tribe.  Judging from the shallow depth of the grinding stones, it would be a reasonable guess that they did not remain here for long periods of time. It is not known what kinds of shelters they had, but it is possible they might have taken refuge in caves and under ledges of rock such as the one in the picture.  Our family of five could sit comfortably under the ledge and remain quite dry during a heavy downpour.  A crude wall of skins, or one thatched of limbs and grasses built on the open side, could have made this a warm and dry shelter.  I have searched for markings on the rocks under the ledges but there are none.  Nonetheless, they were here.  

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