Friday, September 3, 2004

The Greatest thing in the Old West

The Way I See It


There have been many stories of the brave pioneers who settled the Wood River Valley and, believe me, I know most or all of them. But, here?s one story that has been grossly overlooked over the years and now, because this is our most sacred of weekends, I feel it?s my duty to reveal the tale of this very special man who was instrumental in the settlement of this valley.

This is the story of Isaac Ira Irving Inwood or as every one knew him, ?old I-I-I-I.? One hot afternoon just this past summer, I was rummaging through the contents of an old box given to me by an old-timer left over from the Sun Val-ley Employees Reunion Picnic. Suddenly, I found an old reel-to-reel tape, which turned out to be an oral history of I.I.I. Inwood done in the 1950s when he was 104 years old.

The interviewer on the tape claimed to be the curator of the Picabo Historical Society and Museum, a fact that I?ve failed to corroborate. His name was Warren Prickly and the following is an excerpt from this valuable piece of history:

WP: ?Tell me, I-I-I-I, how old are you?

III: ?What??

WP: ?I say, how old are you??

III: ?Say, what??

WP: ?Your age. How old??

III: ?I?m not cold.?

WP: ?No! I?m trying to find out your age!?

III: ?Wha???

WP: ?HOW OLD ARE YOU, I-I-I-?

III: ?STOP STUTTERING AND ASK ME A QUESTION!?

WP: ?OK! WHEN WERE YOU BORN!?

III: ?Could you stop with the shouting? I was born in eighteen hundred and forty-nine, the year of the ?Gold Rush? in Californi-?

WP: ?Goodness?that would make you 104 years old!?

III: ?Wha???

WP: ?You?re 104!?

III: ?I?m hungry for what??

WP: ?ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR YEARS OLD!?

III: ?You are? Well, happy-frickin?-birthday, bucko!?

WP: ?NO! Uh, never mind?uh, III??

III: ?Could you stop with the stuttering, again? Take a breath or somethin??

WP: ?OK. You?ve seen a lot in your life in the Wood River Valley. Uh, what was the greatest thing you ever witnessed in your life??

III: ?Maude Henderson?s rack.?

WP: ?I beg your pardon, I-I-I?

III: ?Take a breath. Look, I?m an old man and this interview is taking too long!?

WP: ?Wait a minute. You?re telling me that a person named Maude Henderson was so well physically endowed that you?re claiming her attributes to be the greatest thing you?ve ever seen in your life??

III: ?Huge.?

WP: ?But, what about the Indian wars, the trappers, the mining boom, the sheep ranchers, the railroads, the building of Sun Valley???

III: ?Monsters, Prickley. They had a life of their own.?

WP: ?This is outrageous! Of all the history you?ve???

III: ?Should have seen ?em, cowboy.?

WP: ?I?m appalled and I?m ending this interview right now!?

III: (hands outstretched) ?WOW!?

WP: ?Our guest has been 104 year-old I.I.I. Inwood, famed pioneer and-?

III: ?MOMMY!?

WP: ?I?m turning off the machine!?

III: ? Unbelievable, Prickly. Nice talking to you?.?

Perhaps I should have reviewed that tape before I played it for you. What do you want from the ravings of an old man? Anyway, there are a lot of great stories that came out of the Wood River Valley and this weekend there?ll be op-portunity to hear many of them. Somehow, I don?t think the name, Maude Henderson will come up. If it does, however, call me for historical research purposes, I?d like to archive the photos.




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