Well, I was born in Kirtland, New Mexico, September 26, 1926. I was born right close to the LDS church, and I had five sisters older than I was, and they were going to school. The man that was laying brick on the church--they were redoing the church there at that time--he saw the girls and he said, "I heard that you have a new baby brother at your home." They said, "Yes, we do." He said, "Well, what did you name him?" And they said, "Well, they haven't named him yet." So he told 'em, "You go home and tell your mama to name him Loyd." So that's where I got my name...'Til he died, he almost always called me on my birthday.
His name was Loyd--Loyd Taylor. I kinda had to live up to my name.
(laughter) Not too well, but I tried.
Underhill: And what were your parents like?
Well, my dad was a slim fellow. He never did carry a lot of weight,
but he later in life was crippled most of his life. So he drove
a truck. And as I remember my mother, the best about her, and the
most important things about her was during the Depression times, we didn't
even know we were poor people. She made everything so good, and
we had it so good, that all the neighborhood kids came in, and they had
it so good. So they didn't even know they had a Depression either.
So she could make.... When she cooked, regardless of how many we
had there, they all left full. It was amazing, and it happened all
our lives. We could go there and have family get-togethers and I
don't care how many came late, they all went away full. She never
ran short of food. I think that was really what you'd call an amazing
thing about her. She just had a way about her that nobody else had.
We were real proud.
When Russell decided to go back out to the res there,[he got] the chance to buy Teec Nos Pos from Kenneth Washburn. His wife and I and Russell kind of lived together for a year, out there on this Gallegos. And I helped her with the baby and did a lot of dishes and helped her a lot there. So she told Russell that the only way she'd go back to Teec Nos Pos was if she could get me to go. Well, here I was a single guy working in the oil field business, making good money.
So Russell approached me and he said, "Loyd, I'm gonna buy all of Teec
Nos Pos and I'll cut you in on that when it's all done and everything.
If you'll come out and do a good job for me, I'll cut you in on part of
it. But my wife says you gotta get a wife first." So I was
dating Bernie then, so maybe the next date or whenever it was, I had to
do some proposin'. Maybe I wasn't quite ready, but I still....
(laughs) Maybe she was just lucky (laughs) ...and I approached her
to get married. And she said she would. So I told her where
we were goin' and what was gonna happen, and she accepted it, so we got
married, and that was our honeymoon home.
We had a big ol' rock hogan just across the street there. We had
a fryin' pan, a coffee [pot], and we kept coffee in it; and cookware,
you might say, just out of a big box there. We had the staples--baking
powder, salt, and all of that--right in this box. They had to buy
their other food--sometimes we furnished it too, if they were just gonna
be there.... I had some of 'em come and want to spend a week there,
because it was so nice and I waited on 'em so much and pampered 'em and
stuff. (laughter) That's a fact, they'd come with their family.
Not only that, but he got special treatment. He'd come in the store
early, him and I were usually the only ones there to do business, and
they liked that one-on-one. They liked that, staying over there.
They'd bring their wives, and some of 'em stayed down in the canyon under
a big ol' cottonwood tree there, and they'd spend two or three days down
there, just living there. Water was handy and everything was nice
there. It was shady. They just loved it.
[The Navajo], they're really a happy people. Their language is
kind of happy. I think that's why a lot of people, they hear it
and they'll see people react to what's said or goin' on. It's kind
of a reaction that people get from their language, it makes 'em happy.
They smile and they laugh. Mostly, that's what it's all about to
them, is laughing and having a good time--making a joke or something,
out of anything. They like to pull each other into it, if they know
Underhill: Well, what do you think separates a good trader
from a bad trader?
For what they come from, or for what they come for. A few come
for only money--that's bad. The traders realize they're
with people, they're your friends, they were your family, almost, 'cause
you were out there with 'em day in and day out. They were your family,
and their problems were our problems, and we made it our problems, and
I think that made the difference in the traders.... A lot of old
traders, they learned their language. A lot of people have been
out here all their lives and never learned their language.
The people out here have been real excellent to me, and I've enjoyed
it out here on the reservation--me and my family, my wife. We just
have made some friends out here that just think the world of us, and we
think the world of them. If they have something, they invite us
to it, and vice versa--we invite them to the things we have. So
it's been a real good relationship with most of these people. Like
my wife says, "You can't go anyplace else and find royalty, to where they
make you feel like (with emotion) that you're somebody."
I have kind of a philosophy: hang it on the shelf and put it up
there and don't take it down for a few days. Chances are, it's gonna
work its way out. Most of the time it has.
You just have to kind of forget about it for a few days and it'll work its way back. First thing you know, it's back into the circle, and you never know you had the problem. So I guess probably that's.... The good thing about it, that's what they tell me all the time. "Well, sure, I didn't pay you this month, but where you goin'? I'm not goin' anywhere, I'm gonna be here. Where you goin'? What's your hurry?" So that's basically their philosophy, "I'll be back. Where you goin'? If you're leavin', then that's too bad." So far, I haven't left. I might someday, I don't know. After almost fifty years, it's about time I do something, I think. But I enjoy this. My wife likes it. She doesn't come out all that much, but she does come out, and they make her feel good when she does. She really goes back home sayin', "I just really was blessed today to go out there and 'get them hugs,'" she calls it.