photo by Jean L. Hays
“It makes me smile every time I see it,” said the shade of one old Navajo to the ghost of the other.
“Yes. White men got it wrong,” harumphed the ghost.
“Old Theroux would not be pleased. An Army paymaster being called by the same name as a nature poet and recluse. Amusing, yes?”
“Maybe, but I have no fondness for Theroux, either. He would have driven us all into the sea.”
The two shades wavered and disintegrated like smoke from a dying fire. “Our people hang on by a thread,” said the shade.
“Yes. But they do hang on.”
P.S. I think this needs some clarification. This little town had been an army out-post, and the paymaster’s name was Thoreoux, pronounced “through.”
When the army eventually left, the town was named for Mr. Theroux, but
it misspelled his name to be the same as Henry David Thoreau of
“Walden Pond” fame. Thoreau was more than just a poet, though.
He had some unusual philosophies for his day and time that probably
would have been acceptable to the Navajo in some cases. So maybe the misspelling was no accident. Who knows?