Some terrific excerpt from a book of Kent Nerburn which I found on Jean Haines’ Blog ,,
It’s taken me a long time to prepare this article, but as I listened to the video, Shocking Documentary about mind control, and as I considered as well the Exopolitics article/video about the 13 steps towards a new way of doing the people’s business on this planet, I knew I had to get this out to everyone. As you read, I hope you will ask yourselves if what we from the West did to the Native Americans, and, indeed, the indigenous people all over the planet was any different than what is happening to all of us right now at this very moment..
Often, I have pushed the importance of Kent’s work, Neither Wolf Nor Dog, and The Wisdom of Native Americans, edited by Kent. Reading this latter book is to me what church is all about! In this book from which I quote here, Kent has an uncanny ability to interpret for us all what life in these residential schools must have been like, from the children and adults and their families who experienced them to the white people who worked there, to how the surrounding community dealt with them being there.
I offer this excerpt to you all, and with the other two articles/videos I mention above, I want to ask, when you take them all together, if you all can see what the future holds for our species, as we begin to leave this terrible nightmare behind? It didn’t happen overnight, and I don’t think it will go away quickly either. I hope you will be able to see the depth of healing that is necessary. I believe we are going to have to earn the earthly heaven we are all anticipating, and it’s going to be a lot of work, work that I hope will be a joyous enterprise for all of us.
Love and hugs,
Source: Kent Nerburn’s book, The Girl Who Sang to the Buffalo: A Child, an Elder and the Light from an Ancient Sky. Available at Amazon.com
I hope Kent will forgive me for using such a long excerpt – but it is necessary, I think, to make my point, and I hope he will sell a lot of his books as a result. ~J
Chapter Sixteen – Priests and Pelicans
Kent tells the story. Grover is his Native American friend.
We drove north from town along a dark highway. The twilight glow had faded and the stars had begun to come out. The ghost of a moon was just beginning to show itself over the bald Dakota hills.
My curiosity was great, but I knew better than to question Grover further. I had learned long ago not to push him on issues of importance, and whatever was on his mind seemed to be such an issue.
After a few miles of silent travel, he slowed the Buick and turned onto a dirt path. We rattled across a cattle grate and veered down a rutted trail toward a shadowy stand of trees. The car bounced and scraped along the dried mud ridges.
The silence and increasing isolation were beginning to concern me. “So, what’s up?” I asked, trying to sound as casual as I could.
“I got some things to say to you,” he said, “and you got some things to say to me.”
“And we couldn’t say them back at the gas station?”
He shook his head and kept his eyes on the path. “Nope.”
The trail had deteriorated into two weedy parallel ruts. Small ground animals scurried through the grass in front of us, illuminated by the weak cones of Grover’s headlights.
We passed through a stand of gnarled, stunted oaks and low brush before coming to a stop in a clearing at the edge of a tiny, torpid stream. It looked like the kind of place kids came for late-night drinking parties or to park with their girlfriends. Beer cans and used condoms littered the ground.
“So this is where we needed to go to talk?” I asked.
“Is there something special about this place?” I said as he stopped the car and shut off the lights. I was losing my veneer of nonchalance.
He stepped out of the car and limped over to the clearing by the edge of the creek and began gathering twigs. “Get some wood,” he said.
I did as he instructed, picking up pieces of deadfall from beneath the oaks. He formed the wood into a precise teepee and lit it with a single match. In a few minutes a small fire was glowing and crackling in the growing darkness.
Grover pointed to a stump on the other side of the fire. “Sit down,” he said.
He got down on his knees, took a foil pouch out of his back pocket, and fashioned a small pyramid of what looked to be tobacco on the ground between the two of us. His actions were focused and meticulous. He was speaking under his breath in Lakota.
He took a second substance from his shirt pocket, added it to the pile, then extracted a burning twig from the fire and lit the small mound with the flame, all the while continuing his low incantation. The sweet smell of tobacco and sage rose into the night.
When he had the mound burning well, he settled back and nodded toward the smoldering pyramid. “You know what this is?” he said.
“You know what it means?”
“You’re calling on the Creator.”
“That’s right. It means it’s time to stop the bullshitting. Both of us. It’s time to speak the truth.”
He touched his chest and thrust his hand forward, palm out, like he was throwing his heart to me. “This is man to man. There must be nothing clouding our hearts as we speak.”
It was rare for Grover to stop joking. Whatever was on his mind was something he did not take lightly. I returned the gesture, hoping I was doing the correct thing.
“Now I want you to listen to me,” he said. He spoke slowly and precisely. “I don’t know what you’re doing out here. But I know it’s something, and before we leave you’re going to tell me what it is. Agreed?”
I started to answer, but he interrupted. “Careful, now. No bullshit. Agreed?” He pointed at the tobacco smoke streaming its way into the sky.
“Agreed,” I said, reluctantly.
“Good,” he said. “But first, I’ve got to talk. Now, this ain’t easy for me and I don’t like it. But the old man made me promise that if I saw you again, I would take away the shadow on the ground between us. He said the people who had come together around his life should not hold anger against each other. He said he wanted this all cleared up before he passed. I gave him my word, and I don’t break my word.”
“So that’s why you brought us out here?”
“That’s right. I want to honor the old man’s wishes, and I want it to be done in the Creator’s sky, not in some parking lot next to some fucking stoplight.”
He blew on the glowing pile of tobacco and sage until a thin ribbon of smoke rose sinuously into the air. “Now, I’m going to talk first. If you’ve got something you want to know or something to say, you stop me and go ahead and say it. But mostly, I’m going to talk and you’re going to listen. It’s going to take me a while, but I need to lay this out on the ground before us. Then when I’m done, you’re going to place what you have on the ground between us. Understand?”
“Yes,” I said.
He pointed toward the pile of smoldering herbs and followed the rising smoke with his finger until it pointed to the sky. “Remember, the Creator is listening.”
He sprinkled some tobacco across the ground in front of him, like a man sowing seed, then straightened his back.
“You think I don’t like you much,” he began.
“That’s fair,” I said. “And you don’t like me much.”
“I respect you, but I don’t like some of your ways.” “
Good,” he said. “You’re talking straight. That’s what I like.”
He sprinkled some more tobacco on the earth in front of him. “You remember when you first came out to the rez?”
“Like it was yesterday.”
“Well, so do I. That was a hard time for me. One more white man on our doorstep, all full of ‘help the Indian’ and wide-eyed bullshit, come out to visit an old man I honored like a father.”
“I only came because Wenonah asked me. You knew that.”
“Yeah, I knew that. But I still didn’t like it. Neither did she.”
“Then why did she call me?”
“Because her grandpa told her to. When an elder tells you to do something, you do it.
“We both thought the old man was making a big mistake. He didn’t know you. We didn’t know you. Nobody knew you. It’s not the Indian way to take a white man on trust. No Indian ever got hurt by doubting a wasichu. We learned our ways from the animals. We like to watch for a long time before coming close.
“But the old man, he doesn’t see things that way. He thinks everything’s a message. A bird flies over, it’s a message. A dog barks twice while it’s facing the east, it’s a message. He’d been looking for someone to tell his story, and when he saw those Red Road books you did with the kids at Red Lake, then he saw that Fatback liked you and heard that you were about the same age as his boy who got killed, he thought it was a direct call from the Creator. He was ready to trust you with his life.”
He spit into the fire.
“Well, Wenonah and I weren’t. We don’t agree on a lot, but we’d both take a bullet for the old man. When we saw how much he trusted you, we got worried. So I said, ‘Let’s rough this white boy up a bit. See if we can chase him home.’
“Well, I tried. I knocked you around pretty good. Figured you’d be out of here in a couple of days. But you stuck around. You kept coming back and trying to help the old man. You and that damn tape recorder. Pretty soon we realized you really liked him. It didn’t matter that he was an Indian. You liked him as a man.”
“He reminded me a little of my father,” I said.
“Whatever it took,” Grover went on. “Thing was, you stayed. You stayed and you didn’t push. You respected him. You respected the job he wanted you to do. You respected the distance between our people and yours. You had patience and you kept your mouth shut.”
“I was a guest. I didn’t want to go where I wasn’t invited.”
“And it was a good thing you didn’t. It helped me learn to respect you. But I still didn’t trust you. There was something about you that didn’t add up. Most white people who come out to the rez, they’re easy to figure. They start poking around, asking all sorts of things, want to get close real fast. ‘Take me to ceremony. Can I do a sweat? Can you give me an Indian name? How do I earn an eagle feather?’ They bring a box of used clothes and think that gives them the right to stick their nose in everywhere. Or else they come out here all Native with ponytails and Great Spirit talk, claiming they were an Indian in a past life or that they had a Cherokee grandmother.
“You weren’t like that. You were a little bit whiny, but other than that you stayed inside yourself. I couldn’t get a read on you. It was like you were all full of respect, but there was just this whiff about you like maybe you thought you were better than we were. Like you were slumming it when you came out to hang with the ’skins. It almost felt like you were some kind of anthropologist — that you were watching us more than trying to be with us. That really had me watching. Then, when I got to know you, I realized we had a bigger problem. You weren’t hanging back out of respect or even curiosity. You were afraid.”
The comment shocked me. “What do you mean, afraid? Afraid of what?”
“You didn’t want to piss anybody off.”
“So what’s wrong with that?”
“It was the way you were doing it. You were afraid to stand up. You always backpedaled whenever someone got after you, agreeing with things you didn’t believe just so they didn’t get mad. I’d say the damnedest stuff just to piss you off. Tear into white people. Tear into you. And you’d always back up, even when you knew that what I was saying wasn’t fair.
“That’s not a sign of respect, that’s a sign of fear. It’s the exact opposite of respect. It said you didn’t even respect me enough to tell the truth. And it sure as hell didn’t give me confidence that you were the one to do the old man’s story.
“I knew people were going to be angry at the old man’s words. They were going to be angry at what he said, angry that he let a white man write it, angry at a whole bunch of things. They were going to try to find him and try to get on him and they were going to jump on you for the way you did things and try to get you to cave in and tell them things you shouldn’t reveal. I was worried you’d roll over when things got tough. I didn’t think you could handle it.”
“Well, it’s been ten years now. Do you still feel that way?”
“A little. Like, take that hippie jewelry lady today. She’s ripping off our spirituality and selling it for love bundles. That’s wrong and you know it. But you wouldn’t stand up. You could have talked straight with her. You’re a white man; she would have listened to you. But you just stood there doing the nice guy soft shoe, telling her things were okay. You were more worried about her getting upset than protecting our ways.
“Suppose she’d been selling communion wafers for cheese crackers at cocktail parties? Would you have rolled over and played dead then? Sometimes wrong is wrong, and being nice just lets the wrong grow stronger.”
He stood up and stretched his back.
“Remember years ago when I told you that sometimes you’ve got to do what you’re supposed to do, not what you want to do? Lots of your ‘nice’ stuff isn’t about doing what you’re supposed to do, even though you think it is. It’s really just about staying out of the line of fire. You follow me?”
“I follow you, but I’m not sure I agree with you.”
“Well, trust me. A man can’t see the shape of his own house when he’s standing in it. I’m just trying to level with you.”
“Okay,” I said. “I understand what you’re saying. I just don’t know why you’re saying it. What does this have to do with taking away the shadow between us?” “I’m trying to explain why I’m always rough on you. Why I don’t trust you around the old man.”
He rubbed his chin, as if thinking. “But this is a two-way street. That’s how the old man wants it. So now I’m going to level with you about who I am. As far as I’m concerned it’s none of your damn business, and I don’t like doing it. But the old man wants the shadow gone, so I’m going to do it for him. Maybe it will help you figure a few things out.”
He flicked the cigarette end over end toward the stream. The ash hissed once, flared up, and disappeared into the darkness. He exhaled the smoke slowly, as if giving long thought to what he was about to say.
“To do this, I’ve got to go back a bit. I’ve been thinking about this the whole drive, and this is the way I think you’ve got to low it. I’ve got to go back before the white man tore up our world, back before my time. You need to listen and try to keep your ears open. Don do one of those white-man things where you’re not really listening but just waiting for your chance to talk.”
I nodded my assent.
“Okay,” he said. “This is for the old man.” He sprinkled more sage and sweetgrass on the fire.
“In the old days — what the elders cal ‘the long-ago days” — the whole community worked together. Everyone watched out for everyone else. They’d look at the kids, see which ones were the leaders, which ones talked to the animals, which ones hung around the old folks.
“They’d all watch and they’d see where our gifts were and they’d try to guide us. They’d set us with someone who could teach us, help us walk our path. Or maybe they’d wait until we’d done hanbleceya and see what vision we brought back, then give us a name we had to live up to. Everything was done in front of the whole community, so everyone would know who we were, how we could be raised to serve the people.
“When the white man came and started putting us in the boarding schools, everything changed. They didn’t want us to think about the people, they wanted us to think about ourselves. ‘You got to get yourself into heaven,’ they said. ‘Don’t listen to the elders, don’t follow the old ways. Those are the ways of the devil,’ they told us.
“They took away the names we had been given and all the power that went with them. They cut our hair, changed our clothiers, stole our tongues, broke our hearts. They taught us to hate she we were and where we’d come from. Pretty soon we didn’t know what to believe or who we could be.
“You get a couple of generations of that, and everything starts to fall apart. The kids don’t trust the old people, the old people can’t relate to the kids. The people don’t know the language of the animals, they don’t know the traditional medicines or the traditional ceremonies. They’re ashamed to talk about the old ways and they don’t believe in the new ones. They’re lost and they got nothing.
“That’s how things were getting by the time I was born. Life had really fallen apart. People were drinking. Families weren’t staying together. Hell, people even forgot what a family was. The white churches and government had ripped the hearts out of us. The women were being raised by them damn nuns in their pelican suits and old white men with yellow teeth instead of by the grandmas. Men were having their whole reason for living taken away by a government that wouldn’t let them speak their own language or practice their own religion or teach their children the old ways.
“No work, no way to support your family, no nothing. Just sit around with your hands out waiting for the white man to give you enough to make it until the next time he comes around to give you more. Or else go off, cut your hair, get shoes for your feet and shoes for your horses until damn near nobody’s feet ever touches the earth anymore, and pretend you’re a white man. Our lives were nothing but shame.
“That’s how my parents were. My dad just sat around. My mom lived in the bottle. They’d fight and beat each other up, then the old man would take off and be gone for weeks. When he was sober he was a good man, but he didn’t know how to be a father. My mom was the same. She’d never had a chance to learn from the grandmas. She’d been raised by the pelican nuns and they didn’t know a damn thing about being mothers. All they knew was Jesus, Jesus, Jesus and some Virgin Mary, another lady in a pelican suit. The only time my parents ever touched me was to hit me, ’cause that’s the only time they ever got touched when they were kids. They were just passing on what they had learned.
“It wasn’t easy and I didn’t like it. But I didn’t think anything of it. That’s just the way it was. I’d get up and my mom would be passed out from drinking all night and my dad would be gone. I’d try to make myself some breakfast but there was nothing to eat. I’d go to my auntie’s to get something to eat and my uncles would be sitting there feeding my little cousin beer in his baby bottle and watching and laughing.
“One day someone found me outside digging in the garbage, trying to scrape some food out of some tin cans. I didn’t have any shoes on. There was snow on the ground. They took me away, put me in one of them boarding schools. I was eight years old.”
He inhaled deeply and stared off into the night. I could see how hard this was for him. He stood up, walked to the edge of the creek, then turned around and walked back. He took two more deep breaths to compose himself before continuing.
“From then on,” he said, “that was all I knew — little boy wearing an army uniform being told what to do by old white men with stinking breath and women in bird suits who hit you with rulers. I’d write letters to my mom, telling her to come and get me, then wait to get something back. Just a little boy, going down every day to see if his momma had sent him a letter. And every day, nothing. I cried myself to sleep every night thinking she was dead.
“It turns out the school never sent them. They never sent anyone’s letters. They thought we might be saying something bad against the school. The only time they ever sent letters was when it was to say, ‘Your boy died from smallpox last night,’ or something like that. Then the parents would come and pick up the body. We’d see them through the window, all crying and taking the body away, and we’d all jump back in our beds and cover our heads and try to pray to that Jesus that he wouldn’t let us die alone away from our families.
“That’s the way it was the whole time I was growing up. I was never hugged. I was never held. I never had ceremonies done for me, never was taught the old ways, never went on hanbleceya, never was taught how to be a father or a man. I was told that if I didn’t believe in some guy in a desert I was going to burn forever in a fire that never went out.”
He held his cigarette out and shook it toward me. “One time one of the priests thought I wasn’t praying hard enough. So he grabbed my hand and burnt it with a cigarette. Ground it right in. He said, ‘See how that feels? If you don’t pray right you’re going to a place where your whole body feels like that forever.’ God, I wanted to cry, but I wasn’t going to let that son of a bitch see any tears coming out of me.”
Grover stared at his palm. “Sometimes I think I can still see the scar where that holy bastard burned me.”
He flicked his cigarette away, as if by tossing it into the darkness he could toss the memory along with it. The ash threw off sparks as it spun into the night. “I learned early on that the world wasn’t going to look out for me, Nerburn. So I learned to be strong, not to need anybody. I learned to follow orders. I learned to be brave.”
He stood up again and gazed off into the star-filled sky. “They talked about Jesus and love in that school, Nerburn. Well, there was a lot of Jesus, but there wasn’t no love. There was only rules. They had those Ten Commandments pasted up all around, with all that stuff about ‘covet’ this and ‘covet’ that. I didn’t even know what the hell they were talking about. All I knew was that being good wasn’t about doing the right thing, it was about not doing the wrong thing. And it sure as hell wasn’t about finding your gifts and serving the people, like it had been in the old days. It was about following the rules.
“And if you were bad. If you didn’t follow the rules…” He leaned forward and spit into the fire. It hissed and steamed. “Tsst. You fry in the hot place.”
“That’s how it was for me as a little boy, Nerburn. Every day. I was scared of dying. I was scared of being beat. I was scared of burning up in the Christian god’s fire. I was scared of dying in a white man’s bed surrounded by the bird women and the men with the yellow teeth.
“I was scared and lonely, and I didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know who I was supposed to be. But I knew what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to follow the rules. “So that’s what I did. That’s all that I did. I didn’t say nothing. I didn’t do nothing. I didn’t smile. I didn’t cry. All I did was keep my mouth shut and follow the rules. “When I was sixteen I ran away to join the service. I figured being a soldier was about being strong and following rules, and I knew I was damn good at that. But I wanted to get as far away from the rez as I could, so instead of joining the army like most of the ’skins, I joined the navy. I figured being on a ship in the ocean was as far away from those bastard priests as you could get.
“I was a hell of a sailor, I’ll tell you. Cleanest uniform. Best behavior. Never stepped out of line. Finally, I was getting a chance to practice the old ways. I was getting a chance to be a warrior. At least, that’s what I wanted to think.
“But I knew in my heart I was only half a warrior. I was acting tough and strong, but that ain’t the same as being a warrior. A real warrior serves the people. A real warrior protects the weak. A real warrior helps the elders.
“I was serving the country, but the country didn’t mean a damn thing to me. The land, yeah. The country, no. As far as the people — my people — I wasn’t there for them. I was just doing what I learned in boarding school — being hard and following the rules”
He paused to see if I was listening. “You with me?” he said.
“Yes,” I answered. I was stunned. He had never been this open with me.
“Okay. When I got out I knocked around a lot. Got heavy into the bottle, lived on the streets. Finally a ‘skin’ don on skid row grabbed me the collar. We were down under a bridge sharing a bottle. He was older than me, maybe forty, forty-five, but he looked like he was a hundred. He had these rotten yellow eyes and his nose looked like a goddamn purple gourd.
“He pushed me against a awl and breathed a mouthful of rot on me and said, ‘You get the hell out of here. Stop feeling sorry for yourself and get back to your rex and start doing something for your people.’
“He pointed to his face and said, ‘Another year on the bottle and you’re going to look like this. Then you’re going to die, just like me, lying in your own piss and shit under a white man’s bridge.”
“That ‘skin changed my life. Maybe he was sent by the Creator to teach me. Maybe I was just ready. But I left the next day, hitchhiked back to the rez, all stinking and messed up, ashamed as hell, scared as hell. I didn’t know what I was going to do. Didn’t know where to go. All I knew was I had to come home.
“It took me three days. I was out of money, out of food. I was sitting by the side of the road, just inside the rez line, hungry as hell, strung out with the dry heaves, feeling sorry for myself. I see this car in the distance. An old truck. The guy stops for me and says, ‘Where you going?’ “I said, ‘I got nowhere to go.’
“He says, ‘Now you do. You’re coming to my house. Get in the truck.’ It was the old man.
“He took me home, gave me a bed, never asked me a damn thing, let me stay there like I was one of his own. I stayed there for two years, living with his family, drying out. Him and his wife and their boy. Those were the best years of my life. I ate at their table, helped him with his chores, helped him teach his boy. It was the closest thing I’d ever known to family in my life.”
His voice trailed off and he stared into the glowing embers. I watched the emotions pass across his face as the creek moved noiselessly behind him.
“I got just a little more to say, then I’m going to shut up. I don’t like telling this stuff to a white man. But the old man wants the shadow gone.”
He threw some more tobacco onto the smoldering ashes and spoke silently in Lakota for a moment, touching his fingers to his lips as he spoke.
“How much you know about the old man and his family?”
“I know he married some white woman from back East and they had a boy who got killed in a car accident.” Danelle, Dan’s granddaughter, had revealed this to me years earlier on my first visit to the rez.
Grover nodded. “I’m going to tell you a little more now.”
He touched his fingers to his lips again and began. “The old man, he had a hell of a family. It was small — just him and his wife and their little boy. He was so damn proud. He’d been hurt by the boarding schools, too. Just like me and all the others. But there was still something left in his heart. It wasn’t all dried up, like mine. He was trying to bring himself back to the traditions. He never hit anyone. He never raised his voice in anger. There was no drinking, no cursing. He treated his wife with respect and tried to teach his boy the old ways, bringing him to ceremony, talking to him in Lakota, having him sit with the elders.”
Grover poked a stick into the fire and watched the embers flare up and catch a moment of flame. He loved that family more than anything. He was one of the good ones, trying to reclaim what had been beat out of us.” He jabbed the fire violently with the stick. “But then he lost it. That wife of his tore it up.”
He looked up at me. “What do you know about that wife?”
“Danelle told me a little, that she was a social worker or something.”
“That’s right,” Grover said. “A wasichu woman from tree country. Come out here to save the ’skins, make herself feel good. Or maybe bag herself a buck.” He spit hard into the fire. I could see that the mere thought of Dan’s wife made him angry. He wouldn’t even call her by name.
“It was back in the forties. The big war was just starting. The Germans were killing everybody. Everyone wanted to go fight — ’skins especially. It was the only place where you still got to be a warrior. Plus, it was a paycheck and three squares. So everyone wanted to go.
“The old man, he tried to enlist. But they wouldn’t take him. He’s got this bad eye from getting hit by an arrow when he was playing around as a kid. Couldn’t see out of it. They said he wasn’t fit to serve with that eye. This hurt him really bad. Shamed him.
“Hell, back in the old times, when we fought with other tribes or against the soldiers, everyone picked up a gun. A bad eye didn’t stop anybody. I remember the elders telling us the story of one guy who lost his feet in a snowstorm as a kid. Got left outside; froze ’em up. They turned all black, had to cut them off. When the warriors went into battle he went right along with them, rolling off the horse and dragging himself along by his hands. Fought alongside everyone else. Now here’s the US Army saying the old man can’t join because he can’t see out of one eye. Saying he’s not good enough to be a warrior. Made him feel ashamed and worthless.”
Grover stirred the flames until sparks jumped up into the night sky.
“So, anyway, here he is, pretty much the only young man on the rez, good-looking as hell except for that eye, sad as anything because he can’t go and fight. That white woman had come out here a couple years before for some missionary thing. She saw him all sad, not able to go fight. Grabbed him like a mother grabbing a little boy. Was going to make him feel all right.”
“She made him feel all right, all right. Long blonde hair. Pretty as hell.” He drew an hourglass shape in the air with his hands. “Damn, she’d have made anyone feel all right.”
Grover gave a wan smile. “He must have made her feel all right, too. They went and got married. Did it in the white man’s way, in a church. Had that boy, Bobby. The old man was so proud of that kid. Took him everywhere with him. He was going to get to raise up a son, do it right, teach him the old ways. Give him the things he’d never had. But then that wasichu wife lost hold — spaces too big, life on the rez too strange. One day he woke up and she was gone. She’d grabbed the boy, gone back East, killed the family. It tore the heart right out of him.
“The old man started drinking. He was going down fast. He told me it got so bad he was going to put a rifle in his mouth and finish things off. Then, just about the time he hit bottom, his boy come back. He couldn’t take it back East in wasichu country. The same things that drove his mother crazy out here were the things he missed.
“The old man held wopila for him. Put him up before the whole community. He was so damn happy. Then the boy got killed. Car accident. Or so they said. Him and his wife. Left those two little girls, Wenonah and Danelle.”
An image of my own son, hundreds of miles away, flashed through my mind. “I can’t imagine losing a son,” I said.
“Neither could he. That’s what put him over the edge. He went back to the bottle. Sat all day, staring. Wouldn’t talk. Wouldn’t shave. Wouldn’t even go to sweat. I’d come over and sit with him and he wouldn’t even look at me. The only ones who could get half a smile out of him were the two girls, and even they couldn’t get near him. It was like all the stuff inside him was eating him up. And when it finished eating his body, it started in on his spirit.” He fell silent, as if the memory had taken him to a dark place. Then he grabbed a few more twigs and threw them on the fire. It flared and flamed and filled the night with a blast of orange light.
“I’m going to show you something now,” he said. “I want you to understand this.”
. . . . and this is where I’m stopping this story. If you want to find out what happens, and I hope you will, perhaps you will want to buy the book:)