Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Savages, Mile High Saloon, Jerome, Arizona


Previously, Evening Star caught Max and Lilly together in her Yavapai-Apache gold mine and sealed their fate.

Bo Savage owned and worked the bar at the Jerome Mile-High Saloon. Bo's world collapsed when his wife died suddenly, causing Bo to take to drink.
       His world brightened when Miss Lilly, an alluring piano player, walked into the saloon one day and offered to play the piano for food and board. As Miss Lilly settled in each evening, Bo's fondness grew and he became convinced that she was singing her love songs for him, and only him.  
       But then Lilly ran off with Max, a prospector married to an Apache Indian Princess, who  knew the location of the fabled Yavapai-Apache gold mine, also known as the Lost Dutchman Gold Mine.
        At night Bo would sit on his back porch overlooking the Verde Valley. After a bottle or two, he would swear he could hear Lilly calling him on the night winds, pleading for Bo's help.         
       One evening a neighbor saw Bo leap from his chair, wave his arms as he called, -Lilly, what yellow mine?
       Bo cupped his ear and swayed in the night breeze. He peered into the darkness seeing a vision in white among the Valley mists. Then Bo tripped, toppled off the porch head first and fatally broke his neck.
       Lilly and Max were never found. And Evening Star, the Apache Princess, vanished.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Lost Dutchman Mine, Dead Horse, Arizona

Max Bueler and Evening Star, a woman of Yavapai-Apache descent, lived on a mesa outside of Dead Horse, Arizona.
       Handsome Max prospected, but they survived on nuggets Evening Star gathered from her ancestral yellow mine.The location of the mine was known only to her and Max.
       Years before a drunken Dutchman had stumbled upon the mine, taken some nuggets, but to protect his fined, he claimed his nuggets came from a remote mine in the Superstition Mountains, southeast of Phoenix.
       One evening Max stopped at the Mile High Saloon, washing down a few with Lilly, the new piano player, who was curious about Max's gold nuggets and she plied Max with drinks and hints of delights to come.
       Later in the week, Evening Star rode to the  ancestral lode and saw two horses tied to a Pinon Pine. She heard familiar voices and echoing laughter inside the mine where Max and Lilly were gathering nuggets. Visions of San Francisco finery and high society danced in Lilly's mind.  Max thought only of the alluring Lilly. As they hugged in the shadows, Lilly slipped her stainless steel hunting knife from her thigh sheath. Max dreamily whispered in Lilly's ear and in response, she sank the 6" blade into Max, just under the ribs, angling up to his heart.
       Max reared back with a roar and Lilly stood wide-eyed as blood dripped from the serrated blade. Instinctively, Max drew his pistol and fired a shot into Lilly, and then he dropped dead. At that moment, boulders cascaded down and blocked the entrance to the mine. Lilly stumbled to the sealed entrance, clawing furiously at the rock, calling out hysterically and clutching her nuggets to her chest.  Bleeding profusely, she fell prostrate in the swirling dust.
       Enraged and panting hard, Evening Star stood above the mine with her fulcrum tree limb and howled in despair. She clamored down and inspected her handiwork, satisfied that a casual traveler wouldn't notice the sealed entrance. The Yavapai mine was in a remote canyon between the Black Hills, tucked back in a sage-blocked draw and left no tell-tale tailings. How the drunken Dutchman had stumbled into the mine was always a puzzle to the Yavapai-Apache.
       Later that evening in the dead of night, Evening Star packed her essentials and a cache of nuggets and left her beloved cabin above Dead Horse. She rode east along the Mogollon Rim to start a new life. As she traveled, the wind whistled in the stately Ponderosa Pines causing Evening Star to pause. In the half-moon light she glanced a figure in white, as if someone was there amongst the pines singing a mournful tune and calling her name.
      Was it just the wind?
      Or was it Lilly?