After a long battle with cancer, Charles (aka Chief Sitting Bull) moved on to the big pow-wow in the sky. I'm reposting his story as a celebration of his memory.
Chief Sitting Bull
H.H. Kramer used to always play his first game of the night with Charles. Charles was like playing a computer. He never took any risks or did anything fancy. He always kept his pawns connected and if he could trade you pieces, he'd do it in a heartbeat. His style was simple, moderately effective, and methodical to the point of approaching boring.
If you played Charles in a game a chess you could count on two things; the game would take at least an hour, and in the end the only pieces on the board would be kings and pawns. And at face value, that's pretty much how Charles lived his life. Charles would walk over to club, say a few pleasant simple words, play his games, and go home. We knew he had survived pancreatic cancer, we knew he was married, and we knew, by the occasional t-shirt logo of simple piece of jewelry, that he had an interest in American Indians. Other than that, there wasn't really much more to know....or so we thought.
One night we were out having a couple of beers and ran into a guy. " You guys play chess ? My wife's ex-husband plays chess. His name is Charles, do you know him ?"
Then we heard the story:
Charles was living a normal life... get up, go to work, come home, hang out with his wife, watch a little TV, etc. etc. Then one night he saw a television program on American Indians. Intrigued, he went to the library and got a couple of books. Months later, the local university had a demonstration of local Native American dance. Charles and his wife went and Charles found the dance and dress of the native Americans to be as interesting as their history. At the event they received information about some gatherings ( pow-wows I suppose) on the east coast. Excited, Charles made reservations ( no pun intended) and scheduled their next vacation to attend one of the pow-wows.
Now Charles' wife was being supportive of his new found interest and attended this pow-wow, but frankly she really wasn't interested. After the trip to the University and to the pow-wow, she felt that she had put her obligatory time in. She told Charles that she supported his interest, but that she really wasn't that interested in American Indians...but that if he wanted to go to the weekend events, he could go on ahead without her.
A month later there was a big gathering in Maine and with the blessing of his wife, Charles went off to pursue his hobby. Sunday night, the door opened and Charles returned home. Accompanying him and his overnight bag was a short middle aged woman.
" Honey," he announced, " I have someone I'd like you to meet........ This is my Indian wife, Marta, she'll be living with us for now on."
Somehow, Charles had convinced himself that it was perfectly appropriate for him to go up to Maine, to meet a woman, to marry her in a Native American ceremony, to bring her home, and that his wife would understand.
She did not.
I suppose the moral of the story is that people do not always appear to be what they seem. That the mild mannered man sitting across the board from you boring you into a draw very well might be a mild mannered dellusional bigamist.