THERE IS NONE SO BLIND AS HE WHO WILL NOT SEE.
We buried Gene. In his fringed leather jacket and three cornered hat he looked as though he had just walked out of a history book. And a history book is what he was. When I first knew of him I only knew him as Gene the Barber. He cut hair for forty nine and a half years in Medicine Lodge.
The first time I saw him it was on Sunflower Journeys on channel 8 public TV. A segment on the Gypsum Hills, he was setting on a piece of cap rock and explained the geology of the area. As much as you can in a few moments on a TV segment.
I met him after moving to the Medicine Lodge area and found an unending source of information and opinion. Many would just ignore the stories that he told, but he was a story teller. He spent years all over the hills finding artifacts, gems, minerals, fossils, and meteor fragments. I never had the chance to do any of the roaming with him and it is my loss.
On top of everything else he was an artist. he could draw and paint as well as any artist that makes a living from their creations. He had an imagination and a vision as big as the hills. Those driving west on US 160 through the hills will see a cross on a hill that he had put there. Then there is the beginnings of a super structure of a sculpture on the side of the highway 50 feet high. There has been so much speculations and opinion of it, it has a life of its own. What it was intended to be was an Indian made of barb wire. The design was active in his minds eye til the day he died.
Several would like to see the project completed and an artist and sculptor is willing to undertake the project. Will it ever happen? Who knows? I would like to dream the dream with his memory and see it completed.
There is so much I don't know about him. I wish I would have known him when both of us were younger and full of energy. I am sure he will be missed in the next Peace Treaty, I don't know how many he wore his leather fringed coat and carried his black powder rifle in but it is like a fixture will be gone.
As best as I can define Gene it is that he was a free thinker and lover of history. There are so few of these among today's youth. If there is a heaven of our own dreams I am sure that he is riding across an endless prairie with his rifle and tri cornered hat leading a mule. In the evening he is knapping a flint knife to leave for those who come later to find.