Story telling is an art that never developed in our family. I do not recall anyone in our family telling me stories as I grew up. The closest thing to story telling was if someones mind was prompted by a picture or a drive by viewing. For example, when ever we were on one of our family trips from our home in central Utah to some relatives place in southern Utah, we would always pass by or stop at a rest stop just north of Beaver, Utah. The rest stop was unique in that it was surrounded by a fence made of cedar posts. The post were all standing vertical and butting up next to each other much as a grape stake fence would be today. My mother would always say "your dad hauled all those cedar posts over here by horse and wagon. But there never was a story about the trip, the wagon, the horse or horses, how far he hauled them and who cut them down. I really never heard the story. I have a lot of stories like that in my family history. Not really stories, just the titles. Your dad owned a coal mine...Your uncle Joe got hurt in a cave in... Titles, teasers, like movie trailers. But no one made the movie. Because no one told those stories and I did not ask, they are probably lost forever. So, I guess the story telling in our family has been left to me. When I was thirteen years of age, my Mom (Beth), my Dad (Cecil) and me were camped atop a small hill in the desert area south of Moab, Utah. We were with a group of rock hunters that were friends with my mom & dad. Our camp was among some small Cedar trees. We were on top of a hill because my dad had seen to many flash floods in that area and he did not want to wake up under water. He told me that he seen thunder and lightning 5 to 10 miles in the distance and in a few hours there could be a 4 or 5 foot stream of water coming down the gullies. No son he said, never camp in a wash or a gully, you're only asking for trouble. It was just getting dark and we were all bellied up around the camp fire. We had just finished a dinner consisting of steak broiled over the open fire with corn on the cob and potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil with lots of butter cooked under the hot coals of the fire. A few of my parents friends had joined us at our fire. Jimmy Duncan had his guitar and he played and we all sang the good old camp fire songs like "She'll be coming round the mountain" and "500 miles". It started to get cold so my dad put a shovel full of hot coals under every one's chair. That warmed everyone up and Jimmy started singing "Rock of Ages" and I joined in. I had a pretty good voice for a 13 year old boy so Jimmy stopped singing and I finished the song by myself. Just as I finished some coyotes started yelping and howling and everyone laughed and said the Coyotes wanted me to sing with them. Everybody laughed and Jimmy started playing again but the Coyotes howling reminded Stan Jones of a story about the old west and the Coyotes. Of course we all had to here it. Seems like there was an old Prospector by the name of Jasper Jones. Old Jasper Jones and his mule, "Charley" had gone out in the hills alone to prospect for gold. Charley was spooked by a rattler and threw Old Jasper off, breaking his his leg when he hit the ground. Charley, not caring a whole lot for rattle snakes took off for parts unknown and left poor old Jasper alone to fend for himself. Jasper was able to pull himself under an overhanging rock and get some protection from the sun. There laid old Jasper, no water and only a light Levi Jacket to keep him warm at night. Jasper knew he was in trouble and that his only chance for survival was if that lousy bird brained idiot of a mule high tailed it for home and someone came looking for him. That night Old Jasper laid curled up against the rock to keep as warm as he could. Around 10 when the moon came up, the Coyotes started howling. Because of the cold and Coyotes Jasper got very little sleep. The second day it was very hot, over a hundred degrees and Old Jasper began to dehydrate and hallucinate. That night the coyotes began to howl again and Old Jasper was sure that they were just behind his rock. He was also sure that he had seen there eyes reflecting in the moon light. And he knew that if he fell asleep that they would be on him like them dammed buzzards he had seen circling just before dark. He was very sure he was going to be some body's main meal before the next day was through. He shivered and hallucinated most of the night, He fell asleep about 4 AM. He jumped with a start, swinging his fists and screaming like a banshee. They were on him. The Coyotes had him. Hey, Hey,.......hold on. Your OK, here take some water. Careful now, not to fast., a weathered old face said. Who are you? Jasper said. Where are the Coyotes? They were after me. No, the old man said. They were calling me here to help you. Help me? Old Jasper said. Why? Who are you anyway? Why, I'm Coyote Pete, the withered old face said. I live here among the Coyotes. I help those in trouble out here. Coyote Pete loaded Old Jasper on his mule and took him to the closest town and left him where he would be found and then disappeared back into the mountains. So if your ever caught out on the desert with the Coyotes howling, remember, they are not after you. They are calling old Coyote Pete to come and help you. A coyote howled and we all laughed. Jimmy played a few more songs and then we turned in for the night.
Posted by George S Batty