Deranged Mind

October 14, 2007

Fort Courage

Filed under: Arizona — The Deranged One @ 9:57 pm

Can anybody tell me what Houck, Arizona’s claim to fame is? Anybody even know where Houck is? I’ll give you a hint, it’s in Apache county. Okay, it’s on Interstate 40 a few miles from the New Mexico border. If you blink, you’ll miss it.

But what’s special about Houck, you ask? Fort Courage of F Troop fame. I’m sure you’ve seen it if you’ve had the good fortune to travel through Arizona on I-40. There are billboards for miles around telling you to “Stop to take your picture at Ft. Courage.” And what’s Fort Courage? It’s a painted plywood mock-up of a frontier army fort which accompanies a little trading post. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven past it – 50, 100 times? And every time, I look away.

Why do I look away, you ask? Because of the stupid cartoon characters up in the towers. There are two or three soldiers (presumably meant to represent the F Troop characters) made of plywood. And they just insult your intelligence.

I’ve never stopped at Fort Courage. Maybe it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Who knows. But those stupid cartoon characters drive me nuts. They each have a stupid look on their face. And the geographic location makes it worse – we’re talking the heart of the Navajo Nation here. I just checked because I was curious, and when the Census Bureau did their thing in 2000, of the 1,087 people living in Houck, 95.58% were Native American. That means that 1,038.8459 residents are Native American (don’t ask me about the .8459 – I just report the facts, not create them.) Do you think those residents are thrilled to see some stupid looking cartoon characters on the side of the highway? Are these characters meant to represent the soldiers that enforced the Long Walk? I hope not, but given the history, it’s a slap in the face. How long do you think a cartoon character of a slave driver would last in say, Atlanta? I can see it now, billboards across the state that encourage you to come have your picture taken with a buck toothed grinning whip-wielding masta. Right.

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