Under The Gaze Of Chief Mountain
I’ve been working hard. There’s plenty to do. Tom’s been working on the plumbing. I’ve been painting the bathhouses. Todd works at the gas station. Sunny, another hired hand, does the backhoe work, and everybody is friendly. The entire Power’s family, Tom, his wife Iva, Mike and Kian, (the teenagers) and Joe, the youngest, with his dog, Sam, are just about as nice as they come. Todd, a teenager himself, was spending the summer working for the Power’s family. He and his parents made friends with the Power’s family last summer when they were out here vacationing, and Tom invited him back and offered him a job too. So far, both Todd and I seemed to be considered part of the family. At the dinning table we took our places with the rest of the family. Meat was served with every meal (beef or pork served at breakfast). Today, Sunday, was a bit different though. In fact, I’m afraid things are changing as I speak, and it would be a bit foolish to think otherwise.
After almost a week of work, I needed a break, so yesterday I took a half-day off. I used the time to clean my bike and wash my clothes. After an early dinner, I decided to go to the bar in the little town of Babb. For the most part, the land around here was Blackfoot Indian Reservation, and, according to the Power’s family, you needed to tread lightly in order to stay out of trouble. They warned me about going to the bar, but I went anyway.
Babb had a population of about sixty people. Basically, Babb was
a bar, grocery store, post office, two gas stations and a café, and
the town’s houses were built on the hill west of Main Street. Saturday afternoon when I walked into the bar it was actually hot outside. Approximately ten patrons were inside when I sat down at the bar. The Indian, sitting two seats from me, started up a conversation. After a few beers, we got pretty chummy. I was the biker from back east, and he was the cowboy (the role of the cowboy had been taken over by the Indians). The sun was going down when Mead, my Indian friend, asked me if I wanted to see what the mountains looked like from inside Indian Territory. Mead was pretty drunk, so I didn’t know what to say. When he said, “We’d be back before dark,” I said, “Okay.” I put my bike in
the back of his truck and we were off, but not in the anticipated
direction. Mead headed straight for East Glacier, more than thirty
miles south. When Mead pulled into our first bar his real intentions
became obvious. Glacier National Park hired college kids for summer work from all over the country and many of them, especially the girls, fraternized East Glacier bars. Mead was using me to get him a white girl.