HERE’S WHY

I am who I am.

Bill Lindgren was born Jan. 5, 1932 in Indiahoma, OK.  Square in the beginning of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.  If you missed Ken Burns’ PBS special, please do yourself a favor and check it out.  He and 8 siblings were raised by my grandmother Katie.  She was widowed to the “dust pneumonia”, my grandfather leaving the family nothing but the roughly constructed tent they occupied along with other families too poor to afford real shelter.  I got to see pictures of this accommodation for the first time this weekend and it was heart wrenching and inspiring.  Dirt floors, deer hide flaps trying to keep the howling wind and dust from the children.  Only eating what they could hunt or scrape out of the red dirt.

Dad and his brothers would all go to military service and that is how the “ascent” from the depths of poverty began.  Hard scrabble, fist fighting, Oklahoma Ridge Runners (hillbillies) deeply loyal to family and friends.  Crack shots by necessity.  Willing to work any and all jobs including picking cotton.  Train hopping hobos for a time, always searching for any form of honest pay.  Endurance and sacrifice the order of the day.

Still the rugged land always calling them back to what they knew best and loved most.  Family mainly, but also purifying hard labor and its reward.  You’ll never know this here in Mayoville, land of silver spoons and privilege and entitlement.   Fascinating to me that my dad’s dad actually lived in Omaha in the 1920s.  I think I would have preferred the city then to now.  When men were judged by their work and not their pedigree or social strata.

And though it lacks the clarity certain that still runs through my dad, there are glimpses of him in me and mine.  I prefer being outdoors every day of the week.  And every night if I could.  I’m as good or better with a rifle or a shotgun or a pistol or a slingshot than even my dad.  I was delighted to see Katie also in possession of the dead eye, earning the name “Crack Shot” from the gathered Lindgrens.  High praise indeed!

Dad still boasting that he would just as soon “whoop his ass” when dealing with anyone that doesn’t set square with him.  Even at almost 81 I’d still put my money on him.

A collector’s collector too.  His property an American Pickers episode in the making.  “Treasures” from the last century, some fabulous, most sentimental.  His collection of Rifles and Shotguns unparalleled, where children are taught to shoot before they start school.  Going back to his own father’s rifle and even further.  I was amazed as I filmed his describing each gun, recorded now for posterity.

My blood is calling me stronger than ever now.  I know it won’t be long before I answer.  It is who I am.

Dad’s most prized gun, his own father’s.  When we pulled into town he was taking a buck he had just shot to the meat locker.  Proudly proclaiming it was the largest he’d ever killed in Oklahoma.

Dad was thrilled to see that Katie has inherited the Lindgren eye.

And equally adept with a slingshot.

Its in the blood.  I nailed a mailbox 4 out of 5 shots from 60 yards.  The only miss hitting the post on which it was mounted.

The Wichita Mountains.  We climbed and bouldered for two straight days, exploring caves and crannies and some of the most rugged territory in the Southwest.

Reconnecting with old roots and planting new seeds.  Apropos , this is my last post from 18312 Ontario St., riding off into a not too distant sunset that calls me home.