A to Z Blog Challenge -T- The Chicago TRIBUNE

I hope you will continue to follow me after the #challenge is over so we can explore life together.

InjunSummerA

Children waited every October for the Chicago Tribune to reprint the 1912 copyrighted story called Injun Summer by John T. McCutcheon. The reprint was referred to as a cartoon, but it looked more like an illustration in a children’s book. The cartoon story was a part of my early years reading the newspaper. I included this experience in my new novel, Facing East. I remain grateful to the Tribune for this childhood memory.

InjunSummerB

Yep, sonny this is sure enough Injun summer. Don’t know what that is, I reckon, do you? Well, that’s when all the homesick Injuns come back to play; You know, a long time ago, long afore yer granddaddy was born even, there used to be heaps of Injuns around here—thousands—millions, I reckon, far as that’s concerned. Reg’lar sure ‘nough Injuns—none o’ yer cigar store Injuns, not much. They wuz all around here—right here where you’re standin’.

Don’t be skeered—hain’t none around here now, leastways no live ones. They been gone this many a year.

They all went away and died, so they ain’t no more left.

But every year, ‘long about now, they all come back, leastways their sperrits do. They’re here now. You can see ’em off across the fields. Look real hard. See that kind o’ hazy misty look out yonder? Well, them’s Injuns—Injun sperrits marchin’ along an’ dancin’ in the sunlight. That’s what makes that kind o’ haze that’s everywhere—it’s jest the sperrits of the Injuns all come back. They’re all around us now.

See off yonder; see them tepees? They kind o’ look like corn shocks from here, but them’s Injun tents, sure as you’re a foot high. See ’em now? Sure, I knowed you could. Smell that smoky sort o’ smell in the air? That’s the campfires a-burnin’ and their pipes a-goin’.

Lots o’ people say it’s just leaves burnin’, but it ain’t. It’s the campfires, an’ th’ Injuns are hoppin’ ’round ’em t’beat the old Harry.

You jest come out here tonight when the moon is hangin’ over the hill off yonder an’ the harvest fields is all swimmin’ in the moonlight, an’ you can see the Injuns and the tepees jest as plain as kin be. You can, eh? I knowed you would after a little while.

Jever notice how the leaves turn red ’bout this time o’ year? That’s jest another sign o’ redskins. That’s when an old Injun sperrit gits tired dancin’ an’ goes up an’ squats on a leaf t’rest. Why I kin hear ’em rustlin’ an’ whisper in’ an’ creepin’ ’round among the leaves all the time; an’ ever’ once’n a while a leaf gives way under some fat old Injun ghost and comes floatin’ down to the ground. See—here’s one now. See how red it is? That’s the war paint rubbed off’n an Injun ghost, sure’s you’re born.

Purty soon all the Injuns’ll go marchin’ away agin, back to the happy huntin’ ground, but next year you’ll see ’em troopin’ back—th’ sky jest hazy with ’em and their campfires smolderin’ away jest like they are now.

PERHAPS YOU CAN SEE WHY I HAVE NEVER FORGOTTEN

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About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her: Stephenyhoughtlin.com
This entry was posted in AtoZ Blog Challenge April 2015 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to A to Z Blog Challenge -T- The Chicago TRIBUNE

  1. John Holton says:

    Are they still running it? It’s a classic. I loved the front-page cartoons by Joseph Parrish that used to run on the front page almost every day.

    • I don’t know. I got so busy trying to finish the novel and get it published in April to match up with the #Challenge, I never checked. John, did you grow up in the area too? Sounds like you KNOW the Trib. Thanks for taking the time to read the blog.

      • John Holton says:

        I lived in Rogers Park most of my early years, moving to Northfield for high school and part of college, until I graduated from Loyola, then lived in Back of the Yards after I got married until we moved to Atlanta. I met my wife in a training class at Marshall Field’s; does that ring a bell? 😉

  2. noelleg44 says:

    Clearly I missed a wonderful part of childhood!

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