Sunday, January 27, 2019

The Showdown Between Sharlot Hall and Olive Oatman

January 27, 2019
   Finishing up a small, but special project, down at Cattle Track Arts Compound.

Brent Bond Ponders Olives

Daily Scratchboard Whip Out:
"Sharlot & Olive Face Off"

The Showdown  
   Sharlot Hall travels to Texas by train, witnessing all the incredible progress the country is making. At Sherman, Sharlot finally confronts the real Olive Oatman, who has married rich from a prestigious career on the stage. She handles all of Sharlot's questions with aplomb and sophistication. There was no child. That is a vicious rumor spread by bigots and the Mojave treated her as a house guest and never made any advances on her honor. 

   Sharlot busts through that bubble of decency (Spansa translates as "sore vagina"! What's THAT all about?) and then we get anger: "What I did with my body is none of your god damn business!"

   At the end, Sharlot is defeated, and stands to leave. She thanks Olive for her time and then remembers something. She reaches in her satchel: "Allow me to leave you a gift from the Mojave." She pulls out the small, crude hand-made doll. Olive is struck dumb by the sight. She knows exactly what it is. Her eyes fill with tears. "That was the happiest day of my life."

   So, when it came time for Sharlot to write about Olive's secret life among the Mojaves, she left that part out.

   Sharlot does, however, become the first woman in the territorial Arizona government as state historian and today, a prominent museum is named in her honor.

Every form of refuge has its price.

Late at night a big ol' house gets lonely. I guess every form of refuge has its price. Or, so said an Eagle perhaps privy to Olive's late night sadness. She went to an early grave, distraught over the losses in her life. She lost two mothers, two families and two children from two different worlds. Her only solace was her husband and now he was gone as well. If there is one silver lining it is possibly in the fact that the Mojaves taught her how to swim, and it became a balm to her, a way to relax, to move, at least temporarily, unencumbered by the past.
"Sometimes it's better not to know."
—Old Vaquero Saying

"The age demands an image, of its accelerated grimace."
—Ezra Pound

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