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Dakotah - A Yin and Yang


http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Jan/19/Press_Pass.jpgI’ve come to understand that everyone has a story. Whether it is Dakotah driving his team down an interstate or county road, or the people who actually stop to talk to him; we’ve all got a movie being played-out to some conclusion on the big screen of life.Possessing a Press-Credential is not a license to kick-in the doors of people’s lives; however, every once and while a door is opened and the invitation is given to enter and explore. This week, such an invitation was received; and for a few hours, Dakotah entered the world of Jack Smith of Modesto, California.The Ukiah Daily News published several stories about Dakotah. The most recent story prompted one of their readers to post the following letter to Dakotah’s MySpace page:“Hi, Ron. I live in Ukiah and saw the article about you in our paper. When I read that you were heading to Turlock I wanted to give you my father's phone numbers...you two would have a lot in common. He is 83 years old...owns his business for many years...has been married to mom for 60 some years and raised five children. You are probably wondering at this point what you guys could have in common. Well, in his dreams he has lived the life you are now living. Meet him and you will understand… His name is Jack Smith (we fondly refer to him as "Jack Wayne"...you'll understand that too… Hope this works out...I want to hear about it. I have told him about you and he is looking forward to hearing from you. Jill Hartmann - Ukiah, CA” http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Jan/19/SW_Tire_2.jpgAt the time of the Jill’s note, Dakotah was camped behind S &W Tire Service in the little levy-town Walnut Grove, California. Dakotah’s horses needed a few days rest and new horseshoes, so S & W owner, Trini Jaime, offered the pasture behind his shop for as long as needed. Additionally, Dakotah had been looking to replace the tires and rims on his supply trailer (in tow behind the wagon) to decrease the drag created by his current set, so the tire store was a welcome sight.Traveling to Modesto from Walnut Grove, by wagon standards, is about a four and half-day’s journey, so Dakotah obliged my request to pick him up and take him to Modesto this past Friday to meet Jack Smith.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Jan/19/Dakotah_in_Sunglasses.jpgDakotah dressed for the occasion in his Wild West buckskin suit, Open Plains hat, and a vintage pair of Varney sunglasses he found at a Good Will somewhere along his twenty-five year journey. When I called Jack to get directions, he offered to meet us near his home and guide us back to his house for a visit.Jack pulled in behind us as we stood at the rear of my pickup on the Chevron lot. He was driving a gold Lexus sedan, and Dakotah looked up and gave me a grin and said, “this could be interesting’. Jack is a man who possesses a persona bigger than life, and as he exited his car, I knew what his daughter meant when she said we’d understand why they affectionately refer to her dad as “Jack Wayne”.Even though Jack is eighty-three years old, he walks tall (about 6’1”) and had a strong handshake as we greeted one another. Jack was tan and looked fit. His face bore the rewards of a life lived under the shadow of responsibility and, at that moment, I knew this was a man whose feet were solidly on the ground.http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Jan/19/Dakotah_in_a_Lexus.jpgJack asked to have Dakotah ride with him, and so Dakotah opened the passenger door and climbed in. It was quite a site to behold. Dakotah started his morning in a horse-drawn covered wagon, and by the afternoon, he was traveling in a Lexus sedan; what a paradox.We spent the next hour sitting in the living room of Jack’s home as he and Dakotah bantered back and forth with stories of the great outdoors and travel by horseback. At age sixty-five, Jack started a five year period of summers leading “city-folk” on horse excursions through Yosemite park four times a day. Jack’s daughter, Jill, told me, “…I was single at the time, so I would go up on the weekends and take a rubber raft and float down the river all day and meet dad back at the camp at the evening. You should have seen him. He would keep up with all those young cowboys until two O’clock in the morning and then be up and ready to go again by five…”http://worldonline.media.clients.ellingtoncms.com/img/blogs/entry_img/2009/Jan/19/Dakotah_Poem_on_the_wall.jpgJack showed Dakotah pictures and mementos of the cowboy life he was able to muster between his other life as husband (for 62 years), father (of 5 children), grandfather (of 10 grandchildren), great-grandfather (of 20 great-grandchildren), and employer (of over 160 employees in three locations).As I listened, it became evident that Mr. Smith lived his life to the benefit of everyone else; and in such he found fulfillment. But, as evidenced by his cowboy hat collection that lined the ceiling perimeter of his study, and the few photos that adorned his wall, Jack has been able to keep his cowboy spirit alive all these years. And so it remains.It is said that to every Yin there is a Yang, and balance is maintained. The truth of this belief was never more evident than when I stood in the company of Mr. Jack “Wayne” Smith and Dakotah. Two lives lived at diametrically opposite poles, yet holding a common passion that brought them together for a moment of time. Each with a gift for the other; the acknowledgment of worth and respect for the life each chose. And life is good.Drive on Dakotah


Alia Ahmed 9 years, 2 months ago

Dakotah and Jack Wayne are great examples of people being able value and find commonalities instead of differences. I enjoyed the story immensely, Charles.

Charles Edwards 9 years, 2 months ago

Thank you Alia;I am blessed to be a witness as every layer of this story is uncovered, and am glad to have your company along the way.Best to you.Charles

Ronda Miller 9 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Chuck...you are correct in that Dakatoh does clean up nicely...and you may tell him I said so. I suspect neither of these gentlemen know a stranger...they seem to be able to fit into any world, space, moment.I appreciate the hard work and time you are putting into this "event" of a lifetime....and look forward to traveling along on the journey....

jill25 9 years, 2 months ago

Hi Charles...loved your take on dad & physical description. Can't imagine dad ever thought his "cowboy room" would ever be on the computer/internet! He really enjoyed meeting you& Dakotah. Wish I could have been there as they exchanged memories & experiences. I am so glad I happened upon this most interesting story & look forward to it's continuance as written by you. Tell Dakotah hello for me & if he ever gets back to Ukiah area be sure to look me up (not that this area was such a "happy" experience for him!!) But it is beautiful. Also, be sure to call next time you & Jennifer come thru. Good bye for now, Jill-Ukiah

Charles Edwards 9 years, 1 month ago

Thanks so much, Jill. It was a pleasure to speak with you the other day and I appreciate your words as they rounded out my story about your dad.Until we meet again; peace to you and your family.

Charles Edwards 9 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the link Tang; I thought about using the same in the article too.

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