by Michael Murray
Sat, Feb 10, 2007
My folks were visiting my aunt and uncle that day in 1955 and my brother and I had gone along hoping we would get to spend some time fishing. They had a small place in a rural setting at the base of a mountain. We knew there were a couple small streams around their place close.
While my folks were in the house visiting, with permission from our uncle, my brother and I decided we would get our fishing poles out of the car and walk back down the road about 1/4 mile where we had seen a small stream crossing the road. Driving past there earlier, we could see parts of the stream through the thicket of willows. Uncleís cow pasture was on that same side of the road extending down hill slightly and back down to that spot.
Back in those days, in western Montana, most of the small streams like this one yielded really nice cutthroat trout. Knowing that, we marched happily to where the stream crossed under the road, then made our way through the wire fence. After exiting out of a thick patch of willows on the field side of the fence, we were on the very lower end of the pasture right on the edge of that perfect little stream. With the fishing excitement mounting, we started anxiously moving ahead looking for that ideal fishing hole.
We were following a well-worn cow path, crouching as we approached different holes in the curves of the stream in an attempt to not been seen by the fish. My brother, who is a little over a year older, was a little faster and better at fishing than I was back then. He had gone ahead of me a few yards upstream. Suddenly, I noticed a strange looking rock lying in front of me on the edge of the path. It caught my attention because it looked like it had a piece of dark brown dried cowhide on it about 4" square on the top. To a young country boy like myself, that was something interesting. I think about that time, if memory serves me correctly, I said something out loud trying to get my brotherís attention like "Hey, this rock looks like it has a hide on it." When I was recounting this to my brother just recently, he had no recollection of me saying anything like that.
Well no matter, I remember the rock, because it was so unusual. I remember picking it up and holding it, turning it over and over in my hands, taking a good look on all sides and noticing the unusual weight of it. After getting a good close-up look, I realized that it wasnít hide on it but that part of the outer surface of the rock looked burnt and wrinkled, making it look like a dried piece of cowhide.
The rest of the approximately 6" diameter rock was a grey/white color with an occasional darker spot here and there and actually kind of bland and not so interesting. I remember looking at the dark brown patch on the one side to the point that I remember to this day it was quite thick. Maybe thatís partly why it looked so much like cowhide to me. I examined it for at least a half of a minute probably, and although my brother didnít remember this part either, 50 years later, I think I yelled to him at the time saying how it looked burnt.
He didnít stop. He had that big pole-bending cutthroat trout on his mind, not rocks. Me too! I dropped the rock right there on the ground where I had found it and went on up stream following that cow path in and out of willow patches, passing him up every-so-often in order to reach the next fishing hole first.
I have often wondered what that area looks like now and who owns the land. Would you suppose that little stream still meanders through the bottom end of that little cow pasture? Iíd like to go back to take a look for sure. If I could get permission from the owner, Iíd take my magnet cane and metal detector and make a day of it. If thereís one piece of a meteorite in the area, there should be more. It would be really interesting to see at least that one piece again. Maybe someday.
Michael Murray nom de plume - Rockbiter