Sunday, March 03, 2013
Leonard Parker, Quanah's grandson (he was in the photo of the old man's reburial in 1956, wearing his Army uniform) is back in town on a quick run with his nephew. He managed the BIA dorms for Floyd Mansell, ran the Spur for Steve Grayson, and eventually moved back to Anadarko with his late wife LaRue, one of the governors of the Caddo Nation. Leonard ran a firewood business with me and we have a long history, not always smooth- he is Coyote the Trickster when he wants to be, as well as , as he puts it not entirely ironically, "Indin aristocracy". (He may whip you in a pool game but his other interests include oil and cattle!)
He is one of maybe four men I would call mentors. He is also the one who used to call me (remember, my Italian ancestors were from the Swiss border) "You South Sicilian Sonofabitch!", usually when we disagreed over felling a tree: ""Parker, they don't have trees this big in Oklahoma, but we did in Massachusetts..." "what do you know, you Yankee South Sicilian sonofabitch?"
(He also listened to a coyote, while we were in the field, and predicted "death or money" two hours before I received news of the biggest, unexpected, check of my life. Sure, his father was a medicine man, but don't expect me to say much about that--I was there and I don't believe it).
I had John Graves inscribe a copy of The Last Running to him, and John's inscription brought a tear to his eye. I'm not sure I ever saw another one.
He is 87 and still standing, telling his tales, wheeling and dealing, and dispensing cryptic wisdom-- or possibly bullshit. He sometimes needs a cane, but then so do I.
Parker, with pistol and cane (click to enlarge):