First, the well-known song, Home, Home on the Range, includes the phrase “where the buffalo roam.” I need some help here. Is the plural of buffalo buffaloes? Or is it plain old buffalo? Maybe we should use bison because I believe the answer to that is bison, not bisons. Nevertheless, since whoever, I mean whomever wrote the song said “where the buffalo roam” in the plural sense, I should shut up, as was frequently suggested to me by my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Platz, who assigned me a special desk in the hall. (I like to think that I was allowed the privilege of leaving the classroom to sit in my special desk in the hall so the other children would not bother me as I diligently prepared my schoolwork.) It was Mrs. Platz who pointed out to me with exquisite sensitivity that I don’t know much about proper grammar or many other things. So I’m probably wrong about saying buffaloes, but I don’t plan to change.
It was Mrs. Platz who picked my career for me. I felt compelled to stick up for the downtrodden. When she was picking on one of my classmates, which was often, I would advocate for the student. For example, if she said, “Gary, didn’t I tell you to stay in your seat?” I might chime in, “Mrs. Platz, you didn’t say we couldn’t sharpen our pencils and Gary here was fixin to sharpen his so he could do his work better and you could read it more easily.” Then she would say, “Look you little smart aleck, go out in the hall to your desk and stay out of this classroom.” In that way, Gary was off the hook and grateful to me. So when it came time to elect president of the class, yours truly was picked for the job by those indebted to me for protecting them from old Fat Platz. Well, like I said, Mrs. P picked my career. Actually, she just predicted it. I went to her retirement reception at Minne Lusa Elementary School and she politely feigned interest in what I was doing at that point. I told her that I was in law school. She was not surprised. “I figgered you for a lawyer,” she said. She said it in a way that I didn’t feel proud. It was an accusation. Still, she seemed real sincere. She said she knew that would happen and she was right.
So let’s get back to buffalo(es). Where my trophy wife, Miss Sugar, and I live, the pasture is full of Buffalo Grass. I believe it has been there since God put it there. We don’t have buffalo(es), but other livestock eats it too. However, this is an area where buffalo(es) used to roam and Indians, now known as Native Americans, used to hunt them. There are teepee rings about two miles from our place because, back in them days, Indians set up their summer encampment right in our neighborhood. The teepee rings are rocks arranged in a circle to hold down the bottom edges of the teepees. Some folks spell it tipi, but I doubt them buffalo hunting Indians spelled it at all.
There are other signs left from those encampments. There are old fire pits ringed with rocks in the centers of the teepee rings. Fortunately, here in the Rocky Mountains there are plenty of rocks readily available for such purposes.
Back to buffalo(es), I can tell you another interesting historical fact about them. There is a “buffalo jump” on the neighboring Roberts Ranch. The buffalo jump is a cliff over which the Indians stampeded a herd. Don’t tell PETA or the Humane Society, but the buffalo(es) were killed in that manner. There are old bones at the bottom of the cliff. Mr. Roberts gives a good tour for the school kids at Livermore Elementary School.
The buffalo do not roam freely anymore, but at Park Creek Ranch, which is on the other side of Roberts Ranch, which I mentioned in my Buffalo Bob post, they have those buffalo heifers fenced in. I like looking at them. Still, I hesitate to herd them and I sure would not want to run them off a cliff.
(Miss Sugar took the picture of the one at the top of this post. It is one of the heifers at Park Creek Ranch.)