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Little Big Horn or Nothing


For my 31st birthday, I took a trip to Little Big Horn.

Me who had never been on a horse.

I paid some amount of greenback to ride with a group of 7-10 people out to the place.

I had never seen photos, never watched a video or anything like that.

Somewhere on the drive to Little Big Horn, I saw Crazy Horse climbing out of a mountain.

No feather, no adornments.

I think I could just make out the shape of a stone behind his ear.

This mountain chiseled into the likeness of Crazy Horse almost made me drift into oncoming traffic.

A drawn-out honk.

I looked at the old woman sitting next to me. She had standing hair, thick and gray.

She was 85 and completely unmoved by our near collision.

I was giving her a ride to a national bowling tournament. Little Big Horn was on the way.

Her bowling ball was in a red bag on the back seat. Our clothes were in 1 suitcase in the trunk.

Her bowling ball was 8 lbs. It had Don Quixote painted on it, his arms spread.

She averaged 180 per game.

There were many evenings when she bowled even higher.

She knew the lanes inside-out.

“When your time comes,” I said, “I’ll build you a monument.”

“Out of a mountain?”

“No, Marion, I’m not a mountain carver.”

“And why not? I don’t want any little thing done in my likeness. If you’re going to do something, do it big.”

“Big or nothing?”

“Big or nothing.”

February 8, 2011 8:40 am

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