"The Indian …. stands free and unconstrained in nature, is her inhabitant and not her guest, and wears her easily and gracefully." – (Henry David Thoreau)
Wedge strained his eyes trying to see who I was calling out to. A moment later, a man, mounted on a dark horse, emerged from the forest, via the logging road, and urging the horse forward with a nudge of his knees, rode toward where we stood in front of the Lodge. I watched Wedge's face as horse and man drew closer, interested in his reaction to the man, older, grey-black long hair hanging loosely about his shoulders from beneath a battered and worn western style cowboy hat, and dressed casually in a long-sleeved denim shirt and pants. The man sat easy on the horse as if he and the horse were one. His face, wrinkled with exposure to the elements and age, was the same coloration as Wedges, perhaps slightly darker. Wedge's face showed no discernable alarm or surprise, instead remained passive, but his eyes were alert and I sensed tenseness in his body, almost readying him for a "fight or flight" response!
Halting the horse near the porch, the man dismounted, dropped the reins allowing them to drag on the ground, and climbed up the steps.
Smiling, addressing me, he said, "Jeremy; hello there Little One – long time no see, yes?"
I grinned in response, stepped forward and hugged him. "Hello, Uncle!"
This brought a confused look from Wedge.
"She," the man said pointing at his horse, "caught the scent of that sow bear and her cubs hanging around here and she snorted before I could stop her."
He looked at Wedge then back at me. "Someone has company so maybe this person should come by another time."
"No," I insisted, "this is my dear friend Winston De Lacy or Wedge as he prefers. He's going to live up here with me for a while."
"Wedge," I said turning to him, "I would like you to meet George Carlson, a treasured and dear friend of our family and the men who built the Lodge."
Wedge extended his hand in greeting and, as it was accepted by George, he held it just a moment longer, looking deeply into Wedge's eyes as if he was examining the inner being of the young African-American lad standing before him. Having made his measure, he smiled, "Welcome to Hunter's Lodge. You must have captured the Little One's heart to have him let you stay with him, yes?" Before Wedge could answer, George asked, "Would someone be related to my friend who helped build this Lodge?"
Wedge nodded his head and said, "He was my grandfather."
George just nodded his head knowingly.
Vernon De Lacy, Wedge's grandfather, was one of the original owners of the property and was deceased and George knew that. Out of respect for the dead, George was hesitant to mention his name.
"Are you really Jeremy's uncle?" Wedge asked.
I laughed, answering, "No, he's not, but it's a sign of respect for an elder and our closeness. He calls me 'Little One' because when I first started coming up because I wasn't very old or very big. George would ask Grandpa if he 'brought the little one with' and if he did, I got to sit up either in front of him or hold on behind him on the horse and we'd go for a ride. Sometimes, Patrick, George's youngest son and maybe ten years older than me, would load me up on his horse and we'd ride all over the forests."
George is a Native American, on his mother's side, a member of the Great Lakes Chippewa's, and was raised on a reservation north and east of here. His wife Louise, who he calls "Lou", was also part Native American, also on her mother's side, but a member of the Oneida Nation in the eastern part of the state, but raised here, just down the road about four miles on the family farm. How and where she and George met was unknown to me. I just know ever since I can remember, they lived down the road, raised five strapping, handsome boys, and started their married life living there with her folks. Lou was an only child and when her folks passed away, she inherited the farm.
George and Lou, early in their marriage, and her parents, lived off of what the farm produced and the fish and game George caught and killed. George also trapped the surrounding forests, lakes, and marshes and the furs he obtained provided cash money for the family. Odd jobs also kicked extra cash in the coffers, but those jobs were few and far between since many of the people were still quite prejudiced in those days, reverting to the old stereotypical response for not hiring Natives as "they're too lazy to work" which was the farthest from the truth as far as I was concerned. George and his family were the hardest working people I'd encountered in my short life!
After Grandfather Hunter and his partners bought the land and began constructing the Lodge, George and Lou, usually with a child perched on one hip, and one or more tagging along behind, would wander down the lane from the town road to watch, ever curious what was going on, but respectful enough not to be directly nosey by asking questions. Grandfather Hunter once said he'd noticed them right away, but made no effort to invite them down, figuring the visitors would make up their own mind concerning that.
One day, when the walls, roof, and windows were up and in, George and Lou (and children) finally walked down to the work site. He walked up to Grandpa, introduced himself and his family, twitched his head slightly toward the Lodge, and as Grandpa relayed to me, said, "It looks like someone is building a house or something."
Grandpa thought a moment and replied, "Yes, someone is trying to build one, but I think they might need some more help."
George just nodded, responding, "Perhaps this person knows someone who would be interested." With that, George became a regular, paid member of the work force.
In the fall, when the Lodge was completed, the men were up to celebrate with an open house for their families to see the Lodge. George and his family were invited and came, but shyly stood to the side, not certain what to do. Grandpa and Grandma made certain they had plenty to eat and introduced them to everyone there. At the end of the day, George, talking to my Grandfather and some of the others, said, "All this work done and it would be a shame if some careless people disrespected it."
The men all agreed, and Grandpa said, "If we knew someone who could watch over it while we were gone and hunt, fish, and trap the land to make certain others did no harm, we could rest easy. Of course, if we did know someone, we would want to offer some money to help with someone's expenses."
George nodded his head, answering, "This person may know someone who might do that work."
George and his family became the caretakers and guardians of Hunter's Lodge. They watched it well and it helped provide for them also. George was given an annual "gift" of money each year and in return, he or the boys made certain the Lodge was opened up and ready for occupancy every time the men called and said they were on their way up. It couldn't have been easy work sometimes, but George never complained. He and his sons added the Lodge land to their trap lines and hunting and fishing territory and the land thrived under their care.
"Uncle, how about some coffee?" I asked knowing full well he wouldn't turn it down.
The three of us walked on into the Lodge's kitchen where Wedge insisted on making the coffee while George and I visited.
"How did you know I was here?" I asked.
"I generally check the place every day of so," George replied, "but a couple of days ago, someone had a phone call saying the Little One would be coming up here to live, so I watched extra close."
The only people who could possibly know were Grandma and Grandpa Hunter and Tom Sutton, the young attorney I'd met with.
"Perhaps," I asked respectfully, "it was Mr. Sutton, the attorney, who was concerned for my welfare and wanted Uncle to watch over me?"
George, smiled, and for once, instead of speaking in the abstract, replied, "No, Little One, it was Patrick; he and Tom are mates, kind of like Lou and I are."
Before I could say anymore, George continued, "Patrick is what we call, in the old ways, as 'two-spirits' and thought someone should keep an eye on one of his brothers."
Patrick gave his father the bare essentials of why I was hiding out in the north woods, but I proceeded to tell George the entire story from the death of my mother, the incident with Harvey and his son, and my decision to come up here to live. There would be no doubt in my mind, now that George was on guard, I'd make it just fine here and if any danger from outside threatened me, I could rely on George's help!
George listened quietly, nodding slowly as I unraveled my story and when I finished, he said, "Someone smells fresh coffee."
Wedge brought the pot, three cups, and cream to the table. George accepted the full cup, added cream, and looked about the table.
Wedge noticed him surveying the table, walked to the cupboard, brought out the sugar bowl, and watched quietly while George scooped three big teaspoons full into his coffee, stirred a couple of times, blew across the top to cool it, and slowly took his first tentative sip, savoring the hot brew. Only then did he look at Wedge, thank him, and say, "Someone didn't say the Little One would have company with him."
Wedge cast a glance in my direction, questioning whether I felt it advisable or not to reveal why he was here; I nodded my approval and he outlined the entire sordid story for George.
"So," Wedge concluded, "if that crooked cop finds out where I am, I'm toast – gone, buried in some swamp or under some construction site, covered with three feet of concrete. There is no way he's gonna let a witness live and testify to what he did in that alley!"
George listened patiently and quietly while Wedge spoke and when he finished, did something I thought quite unusual for him.
"Take off your shirt," he instructed Wedge.
We were both puzzled; me, because George was rarely that direct, preferring not to offend someone and; Wedge, even though he had no clue why George would request such a thing, complied! He peeled off his shirt, tossed it on the chair, and upon doing so, revealed a light brown, almost tan, and hairless chest. George leaned forward, inspecting the bare chest and midriff before asking,
"Wedge, please turn around."
I'm not certain why George wanted him to do that either, but I was certain, watching Wedge standing before me half-naked, the view was starting to stiffen me!
"Okay," announced George, inspection evidently complete, and Wedge sat down, sans shirt. George sipped some more of his coffee and noting the cup was almost empty, looked at Wedge expectantly. Wedge immediately refilled the cup!
After another sip or two, George finally said, "This person thinks his nephew has come to live with his Auntie and Uncle," and nodded approvingly.
"That's it!" I suddenly exclaimed, realizing what George was saying. Wedge was dark enough, but also light enough to be mistaken as a Native American who spent a great deal of time outdoors. The members of the various tribes in our state really were all shades of brown so Wedge wouldn't look out of place.
"Is your hair curly or straight, Wedge?" I asked.
"Don't know; I've always kept it short!"
"This person," George interrupted, "doesn't think it would make much difference if a baseball cap or something covered it."
Of course, how stupid of me! Wedge just grinned, looked at George, and said respectfully, "Hello, Uncle!"
George smiled, nodded, and responded, "Nephew," finished his coffee and rose to leave. "Your Auntie Lou would be happy to see you, Nephew, and you too, Little One, if you should ever desire to visit our humble house," walked out to the porch, down the steps to his horse, mounted, and rode off.
Wedge and I stood on the porch watching George, the horse at a slow walk, ride up the lane toward the entrance to the Lodge and the Township road. Standing there, comfortable in Wedge's presence, I realized he had his arm around my neck, his hand resting on my shoulder and had an arm around his still bare midriff. Neither of us made an effort to alter the situation until Wedge finally said, "That's one hell of an idea!"
"Yeah," I answered, my arm still in place enjoying the smoothness and warmth of his body, "you'll probably had to run around naked for a while just to get the right skin tone."
We both laughed, but realized George was right; who would really know the difference? Wedge could hide in plain sight and be known and recognized as another Native American, nephew to George and Louise Carlson. George would set the stage by letting it be known around the area that Wedge was his nephew and no one would think otherwise; clever – no?
Dinner that evening consisted of the brook trout Wedge caught in the Osage earlier, a baked potato, and garden salad. It was an excellent meal and was absolutely delicious. After dinner, when everything was cleaned up, we sat on the porch, just to enjoy the evening sounds and gathering darkness. Fortunately, the porch was screened, since the constant whine of millions of mosquitoes, sensing our presence, were clustered on the screens, seeking entrance and the opportunity to feed on our young blood.
"Dammit," I muttered, "that's what I forgot!"
"What did you forget?"
"Insect repellant; I've got some in the bathroom I brought with me, but it won't be enough for the summer if the mosquitoes and ticks are going to be this thick. I'll be the ticks are out in full force this spring!"
"God, I never thought of that when I went wandering through the brush while fishing," admitted Wedge. "Suppose I'm covered with them?"
"I don't know; let me check."
Checking his back, front, hair line (not much hair up there to check since he had it cut really, really short, and under his arms, there were none of the little blood-sucking insects buried, trying to make a meal.
"Strip!" I ordered and he did, completely, pants, socks, shoes, and all and stood there in all his magnificent glory, the epitome of beauty in his natural state, almost reminding me of a Native American, sans breech cloth, comfortable in his element or a nubile African (sans spear) guarding his herd from lions or the other predators lurking on the grassy savannas, both serving, not only as a sentential, but inhabitants of their surroundings. I thought he was beautiful!
Running my hands down his legs, I discovered two of the little devils crawling, seeking a spot to sink in, where the elastic of his socks had encountered his legs, and one more just below his beltline on his back. Fortunately, it hadn't attached itself to his skin either.
"Better hope you don't have any attached to any important parts," I chided and, kneeling in front of him, placed my hands on his hips, and urged him to turn so I could examine him from behind. His firm butt cheeks were warm, muscled, and clenched when he felt my hands rub across them, softly, lovingly as I carefully spread those firm mounds, revealing to my dancing eyes and libidinous mind his hairless, brown, wrinkled, almost tiny, rear portal. I as much as I wished to taste that part of him, bringing pleasure to him and to me, I acquiesced and gently turned him so his uncircumcised, "not your average sized," penis and his egg-sized gonads, encased in a low hanging almost hairless sack, rested behind it.
I encircled that gorgeous phallus with one hand, ostensibly to maneuver it out of the way so I could do a thorough examination of his perineum with my fingers of the other hand, hunting for any little creatures which might be lurking there. As I did, I could feel him grow, his once hooded cock-head beginning to emerge from that soft, velvety sheath encasing it. I found nothing in hiding behind them, so I directed my investigation to those large orbs; those semen and sperm producing wonders of his, holding one and then the other in my hand, luxuriating in their warmth and smoothness.
Looking at his sex and the black collection of pubic hair at its base, I remarked tenderly, "Man, you're brown all over, except the head of your cock; it's sort of pink, just like mine, but much, much bigger!"
"I wouldn't know," he whispered, almost weak from my ministrations.
His foreskin was slowly slipping back as his penis became more and more engorged, growing longer and fuller, the heart shaped knob of the head beginning to ooze small drops of clear liquid, the precursor of what was to eventually spurt out of the widening slit at the end. To me, it was the perfect penis; my delight and my desire!
Wedge bent over, raised me from my knees, and kissed me, deeply, passionately, expressing his desire for me and encouraging my desire for him. Our lips mashed together, nibbled on the others, until our mouths opened and our tongues tasted the other for the first time! I was shivering with desire to make love to this man and allow him to take me to whatever level he so desired.
"Let's go inside," he murmured.
Leading him by his now very stiff and throbbing maleness, we walked toward my bedroom.
"Are you afraid I'm going to leave you or do you just enjoy holding on to my dick?" he asked with a giggle.
"Both," I answered quickly.
"Not to worry, Little One," he responded affectionately, "I'm not about to leave considering I enjoy having you hold it as well," and allowed me to lead him to my bed.
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