Feathered Sculpture - Virgil A. Walker

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Pheasant, chicken, turkey, duck, partridge  
63" x 37" x 17"

It was 1950, I think, when I met Pete. He was called Crazy Pete and had the job of picking up debris in the parking lot and driveways of local businesses. He walked aggressively, looking at the ground, seeking papers, cigarette butts and other litter that he would grab and throw dramatically into the container he carried. He talked to himself often, to others seldom. He had wild eyes, a limited mental function and a childlike glee in his work, and was often teased by high school and college guys that enjoyed that sort of thing.

When teased, Pete had a few phrases he defended himself with. During the years I knew him, I ended up borrowing a couple for interactions with friends. When he recognized that someone was goading him he would say, "Keep your nose out of my back, partner." And at some point he added, "My name is Victorio, you will be sorry."

The first time my mother heard this, her head snapped around, with eyes narrowed, until she perceived the absence of danger. She had grown up in Colonia Dublan, about twenty miles from Tres Castillos in Chihuahua, Mexico, where in 1880 Colonel Terrasas led Mexican troops in wiping out the Apache War Chief Victorio and his band. Victorio, known as a particularly ferocious, elusive and tactical genius, fought both U.S. and Mexican forces in the Southwest.

It took another decade before the Crazy Pete appellation was dropped in favor of Victorio.  Anyone with such a tenacious, vigorous love for doing the simple everyday tasks of life is indeed a warrior and worthy of respect.


   Photo:  Richard K. Webb

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