Oct 11, 2013

Captivated by Caddo

Captivated by Caddo

Caddo, Oklahoma

I'm sure everyone is familiar with those occasional associations we experience or observe that occur spontaneously, usually in groups of three, over a short period of time which we call coincidence, happenstance, synchronicity, etc. My latest experience with such a phenomena happened yesterday.

By way of preface let me say that until a few years ago I was blissfully unaware of the existence of the Caddo Indians. Only when my wife and I took a 'road trip' to Oklahoma and Texas in 2009 to trace her relatives, living and dead, did the Caddo indians swim into my ken. My wife's grandfather died, was murdered, in 1909 and was/is buried in Caddo, Oklahoma, The Antique Town on A Buffalo Trail, so that was an obvious destinations. Curious name for a town I thought, and mused about its derivation. In order to find the cemetery we stopped at the public library which was housed in what seemed to also be an antique store on the one main street for directions and information. The gracious librarian let us finger our way through several volumes of historic cemetery records where we eventually found the location of the gravesite of James Franklin Lamb. She also explained the origin of the town's name and its Native American origin. After a pleasant walk through what I thought was a rather large cemetery for such a small town, we located Mr Lamb's grave, paid our respects, wondered about his life in a frontier town like Caddo at the turn of the last century, took a few pictures and moved on. Other than the purchase of a facsimile license plate advertising 'CADDO' I thought that was the last I would ever hear of Caddo.

Last night, reading The High Lonesome by John Long, a collection of epic solo climbing stories, I reached a chapter describing solo winter attempts to scale Denali, Mount McKinley, in Alaska.  One of those to make the attempt was Vern Tejas from Texas. From the book: ". . . he changed his surname from Hansel to Tejas, which is pronounced Tay-hoss (the Spanish way of saying Texas) and means friendly in the dialect of the Caddo Indians." (emphasis mine)

Earlier, in the same chapter, what was likely the first successful solo winter ascent of Denali was described. Again, from the book: "On February 12, his 43rd birthday, he (the Japanese climber Uemura) was spotted above 18,000 feet. He radioed pilot Lowell Thomas Jr. that he expected to reach the summit by 4 P.M." (again, emphasis mine)

From Wikipedia:

His son, Lowell Thomas, Jr., was a film and television producer who collaborated with his father on several projects before becoming a State Senator, and later the Lieutenant Governor of Alaska, in the 1970s. Today, Lowell Thomas Jr. remains an active bush pilot and environmental activist in Alaska.

What makes this reference so interesting is that just last week I picked up a book at our local Salvation Army titled: Pageant of Adventure, a signed, first edition by Lowell Thomas! His name may not be familiar to the vast majority of Americans today, but in the first half of the last century his name was a household word. So it was a surprise when his name suddenly appeared twice after so many dormant decades. Just a coincidence, I suppose.

From Wikipedia:
Lowell Jackson Thomas (April 6, 1892 – August 29, 1981) was an American writer, broadcaster, and traveler, best known as the man who made Lawrence of Arabia famous. So varied were Thomas's activities that when it came time for the Library of Congress to catalog his memoirs they were forced to put them in "CT" ("biographies of subjects who do not fit into any other category") in their classification

Now, what will be the third unexpected Jungian connection?

Hoping for a word from Whinkla. Over a year now and not even a postcard.

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