Me and L.D.
LD Hinds and I could not have been more different.
I was the poster boy for "country bumpkin" having been raised on a remote ranch north east of Cooke City, Montana, LD, on the other hand was a street wise Chicago orphan brought west for adoption under a program run by the Methodist Church and the Federal government. While many of the children in this program ended up as virtual slaves on farms and ranches, LD was adopted into a loving family.
Yet, here we were, 6 year old best friends for all of two days, in Gardiner Montana, walking to our first day of school.
I was proud to be his friend. His winning smile, quick wit and good looks made him a natural leader.
LD's good natured mischief made my first school day a mixture of laughter as we enjoyed one prank after another, and outright fear as I thought of getting expelled on my very first day.
When school ended for the day LD had one more prank to complete. "Follow me", he said as he climbed a ladder attached to the back side of the school building leading to the roof. Looking down on a group of kids waiting for the school bus, LD grabbed a handful of the pea sized gravel covering the roof and showered the kids below. With each handful we threw our laughter grew louder and louder. As I let my last handful fly, my laughter turned to panic as the gravel struck a large angry looking woman I believed to be Mrs Whalen, the fourth grade teacher.
"Get Down here you two", she roared in a voice so loud I shook.
"Holy Cow!" I had never been in so much trouble.
"Relax, tenderfoot", LD said confidently, "It's the first day of school, She doesn't know who we are, so whatever you do, don't give her your real name."
We climbed down the ladder as Mrs. Walen charged around the corner and grabbed me by the arm.
"What's your name boy", she demanded.
I stood there frozen. I was in such a state of panic I could only think of one name other than my own. Clear and loud, I blurted out "LD Hinds ma'am".