Sunday, July 22, 2007

Johnny Sitting Bull

Thanks for the kind words from the post on Walt. Annie has a whole journal of interesting or inspiring people that she has met or whom have touched her life in one way or another over the years. I like to read those stories, and thought I might share of few interesting stories with you as well. So now you all know a little bit about Walt, and hopefully we can all be inspired a little by his faith, hard work habits, and his patient and enduring love.

Johnny Sitting Bull was young man who we met in central Colorado where my dad was running a construction job. Johnny's last name really wasn't 'Sitting Bull' but that is what he wanted to be called for the Native American ancestry that he claimed. He was probably in his early 20's when I met him. I was about 10 years old. He had a terrible alcohol problem which I suppose was mostly binge drinking.

All though the week he was a good worker but on Friday night he took his check and headed for the bar. I was pretty little but remember him showing up on our door step about 7:30 or so almost every Friday, having spent his check, paid his drinking debts and was now broke and wanted to borrow money from my dad. He always paid Dad back any money that he borrowed, and although Dad didn't really want to contribute to his condition, Johnny was so persistent and sooooooooo drunk that in the end Dad would give him some money and send him on his way.

We were lived in this little town on and off for about four years, and Johnny was a frequent visitor, at least in the first year or two. Always grateful for any help he would get, he sometimes wanted to make Dad part of his family. I remember one night- very, very cold. We lived in a poorly insulated trailer house and all the windows had ice on them, and there was some ice creeping onto the wall. Dad and Johnny were sitting at the kitchen table and talking. Johnny was trying to get Dad to become a blood brother. He had a knife and wanted to cut their wrists and mingle their blood. Dad was trying to talk him into using a needle, but Johnny was afraid of needles.

The last that I saw of Johnny was one of the last summers that we lived there. He had two younger men that were literally supporting him as he made his rounds of paying old debts and borrowing new money. We moved away and I forgot about a lot of the people in that little town. If I had thought about Johnny, I would have been sure that drink had taken him to an early grave. I didn't know anything about his childhood and didn't bear him any ill will. He was just a character that passed through my childhood, and one that seemed to be heading for a tragic ending.

So, as Gomer says: 'Surprise, Surprise'!!! It was probably in the late 70's or early 80's when Mom ran across someone from that little town. They compared notes on people that they knew, and she told Mom the amazing story of the redemption of Johnny Sitting Bull. It seems that some time later in his life, and he probably would have been in his 40's or so, he met a nice mormon girl that believed in him, and helped him to believe in himself as well. I don't know all the details to the story. I don't know if Johnny joined the Church or if the love of a good woman was just what it took to make the change. But it was a happy ending, and the world needs more of those.


AnnieOfBlueGables said...

sweet. All these 33 years of marriage, and I don't recall hearing that name. I remember the story of someone drunk wanting a loan, but I don't recall that name. . .
thanks Sailor. Keep writing. I love it!

Andrew said...

I really like where you're going with these stories. Keep them up - they're really interesting.

pixiestylist said...

was this a mean-mary/sweet-sally story? :)i feel like its bed time when i read these blogs. :)