We met Crazy Ted after one
of our strangest days on the road. A day of stale
coffee and continuous driving through the dust
and desolation of Oklahoma where the waitress in
the truck stop had never heard of rye bread.
Through the God country of Texas where we saw a
railroad style motel with a sign outside that
said Clean Rooms Run By Americans.
We were relieved and
ecstatic when we saw the bright yellow New Mexico
welcome sign. We had arrived in the land of giant
saguaros and big black mystery birds. And
ocotillo trees with their long skinny branches
reaching up in all directions like they were
trying to grab onto the sky.
Shortly after the
borderline, we pulled up to an Indian craft shop
that was a giant tee pee crammed with shelves and
cases of turquoise jewelry, rugs, pottery,
moccasins. As soon as we entered the store, a
small man with a big cowboy hat and a big yellow
mustache looked at us like he'd been waiting for
us to arrive and asked us if we were the help. We
looked back at him with confused, squished faces
and he clarified by pointing to a sign on the
window that said Help Needed. We told
him that we were not the help and at this, he
hopped up from where he was sitting on top of a
counter and came down to greet us like the buying
customers we were.
He looked , talked and
moved like Yosemite Sam. He smiled wide and proud
showing all his tarnished teeth beneath his big
Allow me to introduce
myself, he said, the name's Crazy Ted.
He then went into an autobiography detailing his
trip to Arizona from Pennsylvania. He said he
never felt at home in the East but that here on
the res as he called it, he was home.
He said that the Indians on the res adopted the
name Crazy Ted for him and that he
was known as the crazy white boy in these parts.
Soon after he moved here, he fell in love with a
beautiful Navajo lady and had two children- girls-
with her. He even offered us some of the food she
made him for lunch- hominy and lamb- which was
bland and nutritious tasting.
We left the store after
buying two necklaces of multi-colored beads that
were made from some kind of seeds and sat outside
the shop watching the sky turn from blue to pink
to orange. A fat drunk man, sombrero on his head,
stumbled by us and got swallowed up by the great