Mark Henry Bodio 1952 – 2019

My difficult brother, Mark, died in the St. Croix, in the islands that he loved last week. He died alone of lung cancer, emphysema, and general organ failure, and I expect in excruciating pain after refusing any palliative treatment or a move off the island which would have given him more time. He systematically cut himself from all family and refused all calls from family at the end. Though he would occasionally accept gifts, he would not return the favor. He never met any of his many nephews and neices.

I have been brooding on Mark for the past week. There are two easy ways to misread him. One is to see him as a romantic Jimmy Buffett character as some of the younger nephews and nieces are inclined to do.Jimmy Buffett knows that his characters are not romantic — they are sad failures justifying their failures with sad excuses.

The other way to see him is bad which is even dumber in the long run. For Mark, things started hard and they just got harder. When he was born he couldn’t drink milk, either mother’s or cow’s. He had to drink a soy preparation known as Mulsoy which he loathed for four or five years. He used to compensate by eating spoonfuls of dirt in the back yard. The doctors said he was compensating for missing vitamins. He was also unable to eat eggs. I don’t think in all of his sixty-some years he ever swallowed one.

In grammar school, although he was bright, what was mostly noteworthy was his criminality. At Jean D’Arc Academy which he attended after me, he was caught after enabling two high school girls to steal their tuition and run away to Florida and was expelled. At Bishop Sheehan he blew the doors off the men’s room walls and was expelled again. After that his brief academic career was spent at Oliver Ames in Easton. He left school permanently at sixteen. He had discovered the joys of the pot smuggler’s life, which he was to identify with ever after. My first wife, Bronwen, said the first time she met him was when he was having a fistfight with me on the steps of the Barnstable County courthouse. As he was underage and I was not, I had agreed to stand up for him. But I was furious because he had called the judge “Asshole” because of his refusal to listen to Mark’s speech on the injustice of pot laws.

The rest was doubtless mostly inevitable and a cliche — expansion, a big federal bust, acquittal by an attorney named Albert (“Bert — don’t call me Al!”) Capone, decline, exile to the Islands, and a sort of long goodbye. All this is true bu doesn’t take into account one thing: in his twenties, Mark fell in love with a girl named D. K. She wasn’t bright but she loved Mark with all her heart. More incredibly, Mark loved her back just as fervently — I’m not sure she wasn’t the only person Mark loved that much, or loved at all.

And then she got cancer. And died for two horrible years. In the end she could hardly eat or be touched without breaking a bone. I think she screamed for most of her last month. And it broke Mark, helpless to do anything about it.

He was not all bitterness and anger, of course. He was a talented if unfocused musician and even attended art school for a while. He kept ,e in touch with the music of Tom Rush, which I still enjoy. Ironically, Rush almost bought Libby’s house in Jackson Hole many years later. He enjoyed science fiction and watching birds.

So when you see pictures of “Marccus”, smiling like a shady character out of a bad movie, and are berating him for never giving a damn about anything, remember a scared little kid who couldn’t make anything come out right, and hope that both of them are at peace.

Tom Kelly

1926 – 2019

We buried Tom Kelly today, 100 yards from the house he was born in and lived jn for 93 years, It is a good spot overlooking the well-watered canyon bottom, with a view of the peregrine nest which has been there since time before mind (Vadim Gorbatov painted it once.)

Frank Hibben, the famous anthropologist and hunter, wrote his about him in 1948: “Young Tom Kelly, the son, had just returned from the wars. He still looked a little military even in his battered sombrero hat and his cowboy boots. Tom had spent many months in the Philippines and there was a big set of caribao horns mounted on the wall to prove it.

We all sat around that evening with our feet on a bearskin rug to talk over the situation. It had been Rancher Kelly that had sent word to Cass that there were lions in these lava cliffs. Rancher Kell’s black hair was plastered to both sides of his head by the sweat of his sombrero. He reached up occasionally to smooth it back and always spoke in that same quiet manner, whether the subject was exciting or matter of fact.

“Sure been seeing lots of lion kills,” he would say. “Right up there on the mesa came across one this afternoon.” He pointed vaguely with his gnarled thumb in the dark where the edges of the overhanging cliffs only dimly showed their outlines in the night. “Been fellows here to catch them too, in years past but they never seemed to be smart enough to do it.”

The talk droned on, far into the night. The conversation turned from lions to the bear whose skin lay at our feet, He had been a stock killer and a hard beast to catch. There were stories too, of the mining camps in these same mountains and of gun fights in the streets of Magdalena in the early days. An evening with some of these old timers at a western ranch is as exciting as a hunt itself, but then there was the morning and we would be up before the stars were dimmed.

We were out of bed and had saddled our horses before there was a suggestion of light. Mrs. Kelly had prepared for us one of those memorable ranch breakfasts that belies he old adage that man eats to live. Those eggs and bacon and that aromatic coffee made from te pure spring water from the cliff were experiences in themselves.

The saddles were cold to the touch as we swung up in the stirrups. Even on a May morning it was still chilly in the Magdalenas. Rancher Kelly and his son Tom rode with us. Indeed I had never seen a rancher yet who couldn’t leave his cattle and his chores for a day or two to join in on a lion chase. “

From Hunting American Lions by Frank C. Hibben 1948

Tom Cade

Tom Cade was a friend of mine, but we had not seen him since we watched sage grouse dancing on their leks on a Nature Conservancy property in Idaho over ten years ago. From the New York Times:

Tom J. Cade, an ornithologist who was a leader of a remarkable effort that re-established the majestic peregrine falcon on the East Coast after the pesticide DDT had wiped it out there, died on Feb. 6 in Boise, Idaho. He was 91.

The Peregrine Fund, a conservation organization he helped found, announced his death.

Dr. Cade was director of the ornithology laboratory at Cornell University in the late 1960s when he and others began contemplating how to help the endangered peregrine falcon. The bird had disappeared from the East Coast and was struggling elsewhere in the United States because use of DDT had had the unintended effect of weakening the shells of its eggs.

Dr. Cade rallied falconers, conservationists, universities, businesses and more to join in trying to reintroduce the bird in areas where it had once thrived. But that required overcoming all sorts of obstacles, including how to breed birds in captivity and how to acclimate them to life in the wild.

The effort was so successful that in 1999 the federal government removed peregrines from the endangered species list.

“The message here,” the secretary of the interior, Bruce Babbitt, said at the time, “is that the Endangered Species Act works.”

The Peregrine Fund, started in 1970, has expanded on Dr. Cade’s original vision to provide support and protection for many kinds of raptors in the United States and beyond.Dr. Cade and a friend in 2008. “His reach extended around the globe,” said the president of the Peregrine Fund, which Dr. Cade helped found.CreditKate Davis, via the Peregrine Fund

“His reach extended around the globe,” Rick Watson, the fund’s president and chief executive, said in a news release, “to inspire raptor research and conservation on virtually every continent and on behalf of hundreds of species.”

Thomas Joseph Cade was born on Jan. 10, 1928, in San Angelo, Tex. His father, Ernest, was a lawyer, and his mother, Ethel (Bomar) Cade, was a homemaker.

Dr. Cade was also a falconer; he became interested in that sport when he read a National Geographic article about it in the 1930s. The interest became an infatuation when, at 15, he was hiking with a friend at the San Dimas Reservoir in Southern California and a peregrine zoomed by.

As Dr. Cade began to look at breeding peregrines in captivity, one problem he encountered was that their mating rituals involved acrobatic courtship flights. Another researcher, Heinz K. Meng, at the State University of New York at New Paltz, succeeded in breeding a pair in 1971, then lent the birds to Dr. Cade. Those birds and two other pairs produced 20 young falcons for Dr. Cade’s team in 1973.

Meanwhile Dr. Cade, with Frank Bond, Bob Berry and Jim Weaver, had started the Peregrine Fund, which has since worked on helping scores of species in 65 countries. He was the organization’s founding chairman. In the mid-1980s the fund relocated to the newly built World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, and Dr. Cade finished his career at Boise State University, retiring in 1993.

“No one who sees a peregrine falcon fly,” he said, “can ever forget the beauty and thrill of that flight.”

Resucido

Resurrected — not too strong a word. Tiger Country is a logical extension of Querencia because my querencia is the country the old man called Tiger Country. And as Querencia symbolized the first part of my time here, so Tiger Country symbolizes the second. I hope you enjoy.

The subject matter should be as eclectic as the first version’s, but I hope you don’t mind my beginning with a few obituaries.

We’ve moved!

Every decade or so, technology requires us to lurch forward into modernity.

After almost 14 years, on the Blogger platform, Steve Bodio’s Querencia has been moved to a new WordPress website that combines blogging and a home for Steve’s writing life.

It’s taken some time to drag 4200 posts and their 12600 comments to the new platform, and it will take a little while for Steve to become comfortable banging out more fascinating posts and replying to your comments, so please be patient.

The Blogger site will remain up but inactive, so your old links will still work. And you can use the search function in the navigation bar to find the new version of the old posts here.

Karen Myers, Behind the Ranges Press