Silver Heels – Yesterday, as I was driving over Boreas Pass photographing Colorado autumn gold, I looked to the south and spied Mount Silver Heels in the distance and remembered the legend of the one who the mountain is named after. Here is my version of the Colorado story.
In the Buckskin Joe gold camp, she arrived by way of the Denver to Fairplay stage,
Exquisitely dressed in a long black dress no one could guess her age.
She was inescapably beautiful, petite, quint, with raven colored hair,
Lifting her dress above the snow and mud, she seemed to dance in the air.
Gold miners, freighters, and men of the mountain were taken in by the girl,
As she stepped up to the boardwalk and gave her parasol a suggestive twirl.
Among the soiled doves she became the “Fancy Lady” in Bill Bucks dance hall,
In the loneliness of the mountain winter snow – she won the hearts of them all.
In this gold camp of Buckskin Joe in the Colorado high mountains so remote,
The local newspaper it appeared of “The coming of an Angel” – someone wrote.
Her real name remained a mystery – there were rumors, but no one ever knew,
Adorned in, tight-fitting satin gowns and silver heels – the miners love for her only grew.
It was the girl’s shiny silver heels that would give her the immortal nickname,
Back then and forever in those isolated mountains “Silver Heels” – she became.
With a vengeance in the fall of 1861 another visitor came to Buckskin Joe,
Extremely painful, debilitating, and disfiguring – “Smallpox” put on a show.
Death and disease was about to devastate the mining town of Buckskin Joe,
During those cold and desolate days and months of the autumn and winter snow.
Amid the heartbreak, disease, and death, that the Silver Heels’ legend would be made.
She cared for the sick and dying from cabin to cabin – heaven sent and never afraid.
She held the sick miners and comforted them risking her only asset – her beauty,
Songs and dance were lost in the panic – caring for those in need became her duty.
In the final hours of the epidemic – tragically – Silver Heels would catch the disease,
As the last of the sick – she was carried to her cabin down by the river and the trees.
In her isolated cabin Silver Heels declined deep into delirium and the darkness,
Smallpox had all but vanished from Buckskin Joe, but still proved forever heartless.
As the gold miners, children, women, and the town, healed and returned to what was,
Silver Heels, pockmarked, her beauty gone and would nevermore hear the applause.
Grateful miners gathered a purse of five thousand dollars for Silver Heels all in gold,
When they went to her cabin – she was gone – vanished – or so the legend is told.
Some say for numerous years following the smallpox epidemic of Buckskin Joe,
In the cemetery a mysterious veiled woman wearing a satin gown, silver heels – forever strolls.
By Kurt James
Kurt James © 2017
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