Monday, October 18, 2010

Buck's Cabin

Oct. 18

Today is Oct. 18 and I have 18 days left of this residency before I fly home to Ohio. I'm sitting in Buck's log cabin at Ucross. The internet has been very spotty in my studio and here at Buck's, well, this is internet central. Computer-wise, this is the G-spot, the eye of the perfect storm, the hole in the donut. Who in the hell is Buck? Well, he was a local character in this part of Wyoming. A hunter. A drinker. A guy who liked women and guns and must've been a real hell-raiser. A throwback to a time I can barely imagine.

I'm creeped out by Buck's cabin. There are photos all over his little cabin featuring photographs of him and his buddies hunting. In one photo, Buck is smoking a cigar and holding a woodchuck over his shoulder. It looks like he's about to toss it like a football. In another photo, a badger (stuffed?) sits at a table, smoking a cigarette, a can of Budweiser between his paws.

There are lots of black and white photos of Buck posing with dead animals like moose, deer, elk, elephants, and other animals I can't identify.

The picture that really gets to me though is of the bear. Buck, rifle in one hand, stands next to this big bear. The bear is seated on a chair and there's a rope muzzle looped around his jaws. Buck looks like the master of his domain, exuberant, proud. Maybe the bear was a pet. But I don't think so. The bear looks helpless and sad. I feel really sorry for the bear. Considering how Buck's walls are plastered with photos of animals he blasted from here to Kingdom Come, my bet is he killed the bear.

There's some weird mojo in his cabin. Seriously. I get a bad feeling there. Or, maybe not a bad feeling per se, but a sense that normal dimensions are porous, that the regular rules of time and space didn't necessarily apply in this one particular location.

Nosing around his cabin, I noticed a pair of stiff leather chaps nailed to the wall. There was a dusty black piano built by Vose & Sons (estab 1851) and a peace pipe. There were also lots of deer antlers and a framed document stating that Lloyd "Buck" Bader was a member of Buffalo Hunters of America. This organization, the document states, was composed of men who were "boys at heart. Men who, while shooting a buffalo, were probably thinking of early history." The document was dated Nov. 9, 1955.

I don't mean to sound judgmental. Buck donated his cabin and the land surrounding it to Ucross. Here's another thing. I think Buck was from Ohio.

On his library shelves (in the kitchen) there were dozens of books, including "The Outdoor Life Bear Book (50 Great stories! Terrifying Attacks! Exciting Hunts!) and "Fix Your Chevrolet." Also "Scrub Dog of Alaska" and "The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures."

At dinner tonight, I learned that Bucky had a glass eye (like my literary hero Jim Harrison), and that he had lots of women in his life, some, maybe, even his wives. In one picture of Bucky, where he looks old and frail, he sits in a chair surrounded by four little boys. There's a bottle of Early Times Bourbon at his elbow. I wonder if those are his grandsons. I wonder where they are now.

Can you tell I'm just a little bit fascinated by this bad boy? Ah, life, Ah, time.

I could tell you lots of stories the other residents have told me about things that go bump in the night, but let me save them for another time.

I had a good day today. I'm making progress. I miss the boys and I miss the dogs and I miss TV (but not that much, TV, that is).

If you are reading this, thank you. It's a little lonely out here sometimes. And Buck, if you're out there, I'm sorry if I upset you by nosing around in your cabin. I just couldn't help myself.

Good night.


  1. Don't worry about what Buck thinks-I bet he likes women with potty mouths who aren't afraid to call it as they see it.

    GO D'Arcy!


  2. Thanks, Teri. When I was in his cabin yesterday, I had the real sense that he was lonely and glad to have a little company, even if it was a snoop like me.

  3. Buck was my great Uncle and yes, he was from Ohio. He lived to be 86 years old.


    By Joyce L. Alig, President, Mercer County Historical Society

    Sunday afternoon, October 27, 1:00 – 4:00, will open with the exhibit about Buck Bader, at the Mercer County Historical Museum, 130 East Market, a block east of the Courthouse, in Celina.

    “Buck; Stories by Lloyd “Buck” Bader,” is the title of the book by Jim Garry, and printed by Post Printing Company at Minster. Anyone who knew Buck or whoever went hunting with Buck, or visited Buck at U-Cross, Wyoming, remembers Buck and his stories. No one could read this book about Buck’s stories, without smiling at his ability to “tell stories.” This book about Buck will be on exhibit at the Museum.

    On exhibit will be the knife and sheath, which Dr. Gilespie made for Buck Bader to take along on his African Safari on December 29, 1965. Also on exhibit will be the exhibit of the Fur Takers of America full page article about “Trappers in Action; Featuring Buck Bader,” from Murray, KY. The “Trapline Journal,” Buffalo, WY, September 1984, also featured Buck Bader in the 1920’s, on their Cover.

    For those of you who drive on U.S. 127, just south of Celina, at the intersection of St. Rt. 219, you are passing Bader’s Corner. Buck’s former building is still standing there, at the northeast corner of the intersection. Today, Buck’s building it is a silent reminder of the exciting life of Buck Bader. How many of you, who pass this building, recall the many adventures of Buck?

    For those of you who knew Buck, please come and share your memories about Buck, one of Mercer County’s famous hunters, so that the Mercer County Historical Society can record these historical stories.

    This exhibit about Buck Bader will be in conjunction with the Sunday October 27, the 14th Annual Military and antique Gun Exhibit of Historical Weapons and Brian Williamson’s military time in Afghanistan this past year.

    This exhibit about Buck Bader will continue through the Sunday, November 10, the 13th Annual Autumn Post Card Exhibit about Post Cards around Grand Lake Saint Marys, and Mercer County scenes, and the Mercer County Post Mark and Autograph Collection of David Gray.

    October 27 and November 10 will be your last chance this year of 2013, to visit the permanent exhibits and the temporary exhibits at the Mercer County Historical Museum, The Riley Home. The Mercer County Historical Society will be making plans for the 2014 exhibits after the New Year.

    If you want to preserve Mercer County’s History and make sure the Mercer County Historical Museum continues to exist, the best way to do this is to become a Member of the Mercer County Historical Society. Dues are your choice; the address to mail is Mercer Co. Historical Soc., PO Box 512, Celina, OH 45822. We hope you want the Museum to stay open another year, and many years after that.

    Pictured: Buck Bader exhibit at Mercer County Historical Museum

    [The Mercer County Historical Society President Joyce Alig, may be contacted at 3054 Burk-St. Henry Road, Saint Henry, OH 45883, or 419-678-2614.]

  5. Grew Up in my High School years {at Celina} in Montezuma, and visited Buck's Garage on the corner of US 127 and St Rt 219 many a times during my early driving years....stood around his old stove in the shop with my dad and listened to Buck's stories hour upon hour....A Legend in this part of the Buckeye State.