Spud photographs Monument Valley

Annoyed with the crummy signal he was getting from his local cable supplier, Spud cancelled his service and invested in a satellite dish. The tuber would soon find out that satellite offers much more than a better picture. Most notably, his 18" dish would unlock the door to literally thousands of mindless television channels - everything from Toupée TV to The Fish Cleaning channel. The tater spent hours glued to his television, surfing the galaxy's veritable pot pourri of programming.

One stop along the way featured a channel that broadcasted an endless marathon of spaghetti westerns. The potato had always had an affinity for the old West and often dreamed what life must have been like back in the late 1800's in the dustbowls of Utah and Arizona. Feeling compelled to relive history, Spud jumped a plane and made his way to the remote American West: Monument Valley in Southern Utah.

Spud pitches his tent at the foot of Monument Valley's East Mitten butte

The giant monolithic buttes and spires, extruded from the desert floor, rose hundreds of feet in the air. As Spud walked along the plateau, his mind drifted back to the days when Billy the Kid may have crossed this very land while fleeing from a posse of lawmen. Longing for a true old west experience, Spud pitched his tent on the Valley floor; ready to spend the night under the stars like the outlaws and gunslingers before him.

The air was thick and silent. A hawk soared far overhead; its wings slicing the air as the wind combed through its feathers. Just as the tuber pulled his eyes out for the night, the tranquility was broken by the squealing of tires and the rumbling of an engine. The tater poked his head out of his tent to see that his old West had become a location shoot for an Audi car commercial.

Somewhat disenchanted, but determined not to let this modern intrusion interrupt his nostalgic experience, Spud made his way to the Navajo Tribal Park the next morning. Spud knew that the Navajo people are very protective of their land and their traditions, so he was eager to learn how the Indians of the old West adapted to living in such harsh conditions.

Spud emerges (somewhat baked) from the sweat lodge

A Navajo elder offered Spud an invitation to participate in a Sweat Lodge ceremony on the reservation. Somewhat resistant after his last experience in a dark and steamy room, the side dish hesitantly agreed.

The tato followed the elder and three other tribe members into a tiny earthen mound that belched a stifling heat from its blackened doorway. Inside, the four men removed their clothing and began chanting in Navajo. The men took turns throwing cedar seedlings and pine boughs on the smouldering lava rocks that were piled inside. Soon the smell of evergreen was overpowered by the aroma of roasted potatoes.

Noticing the others were beginning to salivate, Spud seized his opportunity to flee the sweltering hut before the situation got ugly. Not that the sight of four wrinkled and sweaty natives wasn't already a bit on the unattractive side...

Spud takes a puff from a ceremonial peace pipe

Interested in trying a less-threatening native American tradition, Spud was offered the opportunity to share a ceremonial peace pipe with one of the tribal chiefs. Having a fear of mesquite and briquettes since childhood, Spud had never acquired a taste for smoke, but could not refuse such an incredible opportunity to partake in a tradition that was hundreds of years old.

The chief produced a fine pipe that was hand crafted from deer bone and buffalo skin. The great leader lit the pipe with some flint and drew in a long puff before handing it over to the potato.

Spud took a long draw as well and held it inside his mouth until the smoke filled his plastic cavity. The scent was definitely familiar to the potato, having experienced something strangely similar in Jamaica...

Hey!! That's not tobacco!

Within minutes, Spud's head was swirling with images of Roy Rogers in a sequin gown singing songs of the Village People as he crossed the desert plain in an Audi convertible. With images like this dancing through their heads, its no wonder that the Native Americans have been after the white man's scalp for so long.

Concerned that he may have to check into rehab if he continued delving into the Navajo traditions, Spud elected to call an end to his old West adventure.


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