Tuesday, June 19, 2007
Warmed by the Sun, Rocked by the Winds . . . Stolen by the Shrub?
This is Geronimo. A fearsome Chiricahua Apache warrior who spent most of his life valiantly fighting the encroachment of the United States and Mexican governments onto his tribal lands. For nearly 25 years, and always outnumbered, he and his men and their families eluded capture. It wasn't until September 4, 1886, when they all finally surrendered to the United States government. After being incarcerated at forts in both Florida and Alabama, Geronimo and Co. were permanently settled at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1894, where Geronimo lived another 15 years. He died there February 17, 1909, for all intents and purposes, a prisoner of war. He was buried at the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery at Fort Sill.
This is a Yale Preppy.
Despite his propensity for pastels, the Yale Preppy can be a rather fearsome presence if it's oh, say, around 1:48 a.m. at a nearby New Haven watering hole and he's riding the crest of a raging Jägermeister high. And he does on occasion so enjoy playing at being a warrior. On the back of a horse. With a pith helmet and funny-looking stick. He, too, has spent the past 25 years eluding authority. As well as responsibility, maturity, and honest, productive work. Until graduation when the Yale Preppy is forced by his father to succumb to the forces of the family law practice. In the service of which he will most likely die, because he has spent his whole life happily unqualified to pursue anything else. Except maybe a senatorship or two.
So what else do Geronimo and Yale Preppy have in common?
Well, apparently, legend has it that in 1918 three Yale Preppies – including George W. Bush's grandfather– happened to serve as Army volunteers at Fort Sill during WWI. As members of the super secret Yale social club Skull and Bones, these three merry pranksters thought it would be such the good show to dig up Geronimo's grave and steal his skull, bones, and his prized silver bridle. Said items have supposedly been used in the society's super secret initiation rituals ever since. We won't, however, ask how they are used.
For years considered so much poppycock, today we're not so sure. A contemporary letter discovered by the Yale historian Marc Wortman was published in the Yale Alumni Magazine in 2006. In it Skull and Boner Winter Mead wrote to another Yalie: The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club... is now safe inside the tomb together with his well worn femurs, bit and saddle horn.
Which pissed Geronimo's great-grandson, Harlyn Geronimo of Mescalero, New Mexico, right the frig off. He wrote a letter to Dubya requesting the remains be returned immediately.
Says Harlyn: "According to our traditions the remains of this sort, especially in this state when the grave was desecrated ... need to be reburied with the proper rituals ... to return the dignity and let his spirits rest in peace."
As of today, no response from the Shrub. Most likely because he's too busy with his own forms of skullduggery.