Hi to all my wonderful rambling friends. I am glad to be back for another story from the past. Last Tuesday, I had a call from a school wanting to bring 100 third graders to Frontier Theater for their annual spring field trip. I told the teacher that I was no longer hosting school field trips. Folks, for those who do not know, I started Frontier Theater in 1989. For five years, it featured many different venues. In 1994, we hosted our first school field trip. Long story short, the park entertained and educated over 100,000 kids. We featured Native American Skills, Early Settler Adventures, and Civil War Reenactments. Plus: old-fashioned games and much more. Friends, I can not begin to tell you how wonderful our artisans and reenactors were. The best of the best! The kids loved and respected them greatly.
Today’s rambling, I want to focus on one who died in 2017. His name was Les, and I gave him a park named The World Famous Mountain Les. He was a man of many skills and talents. He could create, build, and make anything you could imagine. His carpentry skills were magnificent. I met Les through his abilities as a carpenter because he came to the park to repair and fix everything that broke and went wrong. As a hobby, he was also a reenactor of Indian culture. I soon realized his skills were needed to entertain the kids on school trips that were by then coming by the thousands each year.
Friends, he was a master arrowhead flint knapper. Also, primitive fire building, tanning skins, and much more, having a genuine love for teaching children the past. Now let us pick up on a typical field trip day 20 years ago. A crew of 6 to 10 artisans and helpers would arrive for work about 8:00 a.m. They would all go to their post and prepare for 200 to 300 kids coming for the day. When we were all ready for the kids, Les and I would stand at the end of the road and wait for a caravan of buses to arrive around 9:45 a.m. We always joked and had a good time.
When the kids came to Frontier Theater everyone was given an itemized schedule. Mountain Man Les would teach 4 to 7 different classes each day. One day, I took 50 fifth graders, teachers, and parents into his building, and someone asked, “How did you get your name?” Les looked at me, and I looked at him. My two brain cells collided, sparks came out of my ears, and I told everyone there a story of how I met the World Famous Mountain Man Les.
I looked at the kids and began: “Well, about 20 years ago, I went hunting out west. Now realize, that I am not your regular hunter. I have a magical mule that flies. All I have to say is, Miss Molly, let’s go huntin’! She begins to bray, and in the middle of the night, we gallop unnoticed to our hunting destination. This time, I was going grizzly bear hunting in Montana. Well, we landed the next morning before sunrise and in no time located the biggest grizzly on earth, 15 feet tall and over 1200 pounds. However, my slingshot, which I normally hunt with, did not affect this monster. I soon became the hunted. He chased me for 15 miles up and down the mountains until I found a cave to dive into. Instantly, the big grizzly knew he couldn’t go through the entrance I went through with one sweep of his arm and covered the entrance up with tons of rocks. Oh no, I thought I was doomed! However: I soon realized that I was not alone. I heard someone say, who are you? I am Roger Herman, the World’s Most Average Person. Who are you? My name is Les and I am a mountain man! Been in this cave for 50 years. I can’t get out of here for all the thousands of rattlesnakes that have blocked the entrance. Hey, I said, If I can get you out of here would you come back with me to Missouri and entertain and teach kids your skills of being a mountain man? Sure he said. OK, now being the (World’s Most Average Person) I can be bitten 100 times by rattlesnakes, and they will not harm me. However, after 100 bites, I gain superhuman strength. Les agreed, and I began stomping rattlesnakes until I got bitten 100 times, received my strength, and busted out the tons of boulders blocking the entrance. I carried my new friend out and called for my magical mule. We galloped back under the cover of darkness and a bad thunderstorm and eventually slid down a lightning bolt. Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, that is how we have the honor to present the (World Famous Mountain Les).
That day everyone, clapped and applauded my good friend. Afterward, I told this story many more times to let everyone know how he got his name and how fortunate we were to have Les as a teacher of ancient skills. Rambling friends, I need to keep this story short, so I better stop for this week. More stories and adventures next week. Tell your friends to join in with us for more fun!
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