Newspaper Archive of
Pahrump Mirror
Pahrump, Nevada
February 27, 1997     Pahrump Mirror
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February 27, 1997

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8 Thin.day, February 27, 1997 Pahrump Valley Gazette Two men of the l00iest There was a meeting in Baker last week. There's a gov- ernment plan a foot to close off another 300.000 acres of land and lock it up so the army can go practice invading Hati, Nicaragua, or maybe even Granada. The story is written elsewhere in this journal. At the well attended were many people both tbr and against the expansion of Fort Irwin into the lands on the edge of Death Valley. There were mighty warriors from the United States Army. There were important adminis- trators from our Ministry of the Interior. There were old time desert families and men and women of good reputa- tion and sober habits. People stood and spoke with feeling and sincerity. There was something to be said for both sides of the proposed land closure. While the important and the established were expressing their concerns, a bit of the real spirit of the west came quietly into the assemblage. There's a fellow who lives out on the far side of Silurian Dry Lake. Nobody knows much about him. He come,, te town a couple of times a month to flirt with the young woman who staffs our town office while he fills his an- cient water truck at the town hydrant. Deitch is the name. Herb Deitch. There's man down in Barstow named Reid. He's the Area Manager of this part of the desert tbr the Bureau of Land Management. He's a nice enough fellow, but is truly just about as important as a man can be. We met him many years ago when he was just starting out and his has been a steady and calm rise in the Bureau. We've never been close and seldom find need to deal with him on his high level. At the meeting there was a General of the U.S. Army. There were famous people of the press, both print and elec- tronic. There were elected oflicials and there were men of commerce. There was Area Manger Tim Reid and a desert prospector named Deitch. I had never met Deitch. I was standing at the front of the hall listening to the speakers, taking a few photographs, and flirting with the nice lady from CBS. Into the back of In The Thermometer's Shadow by Mike Doughtery the hall came a very roughly dressed old man. His clothes were work worn, his hair un- kempt, and his skin darkened by the desert sun. The old fellow looked around and walked towards the front of the hall. He came up to me and asked if he could speak. I gently explained that those who wished to speak had filled out forms earlier in the meeting and were being called up one at a time. The old fellow said he wanted to speak and could I help him. Area Manager Tim Reid was standing in the back of the room and I pointed him out to the old fellow and suggested he ask Tim to put him on the agenda. The salty old man ,';ked which one was Reid. I again pointed and said the only guy wearing a necktie. The weather beaten old ti.mer looked up at me and explained he couldn't see very good. Well, that's different. I laid my expensive camera aside, took the old man by the arm and led him back to Tim Reid. I asked Tim if he could help the old timer speak to the crowd. Tim gave a warm stnile to the old man and said he'd see what he could do. Returning to the front of the hall, I watched Tim lead the grizzled old star to the reception area and help him fill out the simple form to speak. Tim guided the old man to the front of the hall and handed the fonn to the man chairing the meting and bent forward to give him a quiet word. Reid returned to the back of the room and the old man stood quietly waiting his turn to speak. And speak he did. The old man took his place at the podium and the crown hushed as he looked out over them. Quietly he spoke of the land and his life. Herb Deitch is his name and he's both a prospector and a miner working be- side Silurian Dry Lake. He spoke of minerals of the desert. He spoke of his efforts to mine the desert riches. He spoke of monies spent on drilling and exploration. He told of riches just bursting to be found and of his life upon the desert land. His greatest message was unspoken. His is the True Spirit of the West. He is what we all might be were we not con, strained by contemporary comforts. The room was silent as Deitch spoke. The Mighty Warriors were silent. The bustling Bureaucrats were still. The politicians were hushed and quiet. The spirit of Herb Deitch filled the room as this small old man spoke of his love of the desert. An old man of slight stature and not much importance anywhere/ Grey hair and worn soiled garb. A man hard- ened by labor and browned by the sun. A man of the west. Tim Reid, a bright rising star in the bureaucracy. A man of the times controlling more land than most ancient kings. A thoroughly modern man. Also a man of the west. Baker California, February 20, 1997, a small dusty desert town on the road to Death Valley. 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