Monday, May 23, 2011

One Indian's Weekend!

Boy, was this a busy weekend for me. On Saturday, I went to the Farmers Market early and loaded up on supplies for the week, hit some garage sales and went home to do some work. In this order, I did the following chores:

I have some building project orders to fill, but first of all, I have to find my tools. I try and I try but I can’t seem to get my work-shop area cleaned up and it doesn’t help when my two daughters throw stuff in there. I need to build a shed just for that valuable item that needs storage for years at a time. Well I tried to get some of that in order and made some progress. I mowed a bit. I had to trade in my mower because the other was a lemon from the start, but this mower does well. Pushing a mower is fine and good but my yard is way too big for that and besides I have other things to do beside mowing for hours at a time.

I also did my best imitation of a being a plumber! I have a sink in my back bathroom that decided to start leaking water all over. To be truthful, I start shaking when I know plumbing work has to be done. It took me awhile but I did get the water stopped, I replaced some of the pipes and (crossing my fingers) and it hasn’t leaked yet. It took me a lifetime, but I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none. I went to Horton on Saturday night and talked for a supper. Sometimes people ask me to help in that area, but most of the time my services are no longer needed.

While there, we had a storm hit our reservation. With hail the size of golf balls breaking windows and skylights, I fully expected to see my garden flattened out but for some strange reason, it was spared and I'm sure thankful for that. My corn also started to come up the next day! I remember a good number of years ago, my garden was coming up great and the hail hit and tore up my garden. I felt bad about this, but replanted and I’m glad I didn’t have to do that this year.

On Sunday, I did more work on my work area and the sun came out and heated up good to the point where I was able to finish my mowing. At one break my daughter gave me a hair-cut. You have to look right mowing your yard, right? Once I finished my mowing-work, I drove over to my sister’s house and help put up a purple-martin house I build for her last winter. It took about 25 minutes for me and my nephews to get it set in the ground. I wanted to get it up because when I was mowing I noticed the Purple Martins came back on Saturday. Seeing those pretty birds makes me want to build more bird houses in my back yard. Another reason I wanted to get my sisters bird house up is once these birds come to that house, they will return every year. The Purple Martin can eat 2,000 mosquitoes a day.

By that time I was pretty worn out. That’s how one Indian spends his weekend!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tara and Graduation!

Our granddaughter Tara graduated with a AA degree from Haskell the 13th of May. It has been a long journey for her or so it seems to me. She started out at KCK, a junior college on a basketball scholarship, but things never worked out there for her and she transferred to Haskell and the environment seems to suit her better. I wanted her to stay in Kansas City but sometimes a controlling grandparent needs to step aside and I did.
 As we normally do, we had a large group of family and friends at the ceremony. We sat and listened to the speeches and the whole thing took about an hour. I shed no tears but it came close when they announced Tara’s name and she walked across the stage. I thought about when she was a baby, I took a picture with her and she had a hat on with the words “Grandpa’s pride and joy.” (My daughter called her PJ for pride and joy). She was the first grandchild to come through our home doors and to say we spoiled her would be an understatement. My sister, Sandy, later told me “everything was Tara this and Tara that” and how she had to look at every picture and to hear every baby move. I suppose it was out of hand. I guess I was guilty of that. We took her everywhere and boy was she a headstrong kid. I think she was not only spoiled but stubborn.

Over the years we had more grandchildren come along and some visited our house and never moved out, kinda like Tara did, but that was alright too. I suppose it caused some hard feelings because we showed her that favoritism, but we spread out the necessary cash to sooth those feelings and today it’s not too bad. I suppose those tears will always almost fall down over that high cheekbones of mine when my other grandchildren graduate because I will remember all those special times I shared with them over the years. I did love them equally. And I’m damn glad I lived to see these occasions.

Sometimes you have to reprint something for others to know!

In the line at the store, the cashier told the older woman that she should bring her own grocery bag because plastic bags weren't good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained,
"We didn't have the green thing back in my day."

The clerk responded, "That's our problem today. The former generation did not care enough to save our environment."

He was right, that generation didn't have the green thing in its day.

Back then, they returned their milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.
So they really were recycled.

But they didn't have the green thing back in that customer's day.

In her day, they walked up stairs, because they didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. They walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time they had to go two blocks.

But she was right. They didn't have the green thing in her day.

Back then, they washed the baby's diapers because they didn't have the throw-away kind.

They dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts -

wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right, they didn't have the green thing back in her day.

Back then, they had one TV, or radio, in the house - not a TV in every room.

And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief, not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, they blended and stirred by hand because they didn't have electric machines to do everything for you.

When they packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, they used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, they didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. They used a push mower that ran on human power.

They exercised by working so they didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she's right, they didn't have the green thing back then.

They drank from a fountain when they were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time

they had a drink of water.

They refilled their writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen,

and they replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But they didn't have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked

instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service.

They had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.

And they didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful the old folks were just because they didn't have the green thing back then?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recollections of a baseball star!

Harmon Killebrew died today at age 74. If you hadn’t heard of him, he was a basher of the baseball in the late 50s and 60s, way before the steroid era. He knocked out 573 home runs in his 22 year career, and some went record distances. In fact, he had 8 seasons of hitting out 40 or more home-runs, second only to the bambino: Babe Ruth. He played alongside Tony Olivia, Zoila Versailles, Bobby Allison and Mudcat Grant.

Killebrew did it right, he didn’t cheat like the steroid abusers. The cheaters might have all the home-run records, but I doubt if any will ever make the Hall of Fame. Those guys have screwed up baseball for a long time.

Killebrew was a class act both on the field and off. How would I know? You might be wondering that about now! Well when we were kids during those years when Killebrew was in his hey -day, along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Henry Aaron, to name a few. We read about them in newspapers and magazines, listen to them on the radio (one year I listened to over 100 baseball games), but we never went to any games – too damn poor for that.  In fact, we rarely left the reservation. We collected the baseball cards and it was too bad we didn’t have enough foresight to save them in some shoe box in our attic. Hell, we woulda had some walking around change in retirement.

My dearly departed brother Larry lived in the Twin Cities and he went to a baseball card show there one time and got two signed baseballs from Harmon Killebrew, one for him and one for me. Larry said he was a class act. I still have that baseball. I regret that I didn’t get to shake hands with him too. Oh, well thanks for the memories Larry and Harmon.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunday Golf!

On Sunday, our golf course had its grand opening and the feature event was a “skins game” between the teams of former KU basketball coach Roy Williams and Randy Towner and current KU coach Bill Self and Notah Begay, the course designer. I wanted to go and I didn’t. In a way, I was still mad KU didn't get into the final four this year and Roy left town on the red eye out of Lawrence eight years back, but I decided to forget the past mostly because my grandson wanted me to watch him dance with the Royal Valley Singers and Dancers.

With those intentions in mind, I went to watch and right off I was verbally assualted by a couple of tribal members. They didn’t ask how I was or to go to hell but they asked why I was there. I guess they must perceive themselves as the new Potawatomi elites.   I always went to our functions here on the reservation and never had to explain why I was there, but it is stupid stuff I have to deal with at times. With not much choice, I shook those words off and concentrated on better things like watching my grandson dance and listen to the speeches. And I visited with other tribal members who weren’t like those two and started to enjoy the day again.

At first I was only going to watch them tee off on the first tee and go home and do some yard-work, but my grandson wanted to watch the match so I decided to do the walk. I did my best Forrest Gump imitation standing there watching them t-off and Channel 27 had a shot of Roy Williams teeing-off, the camera panned the crowd and that folks is how I got on the evening news and where else but on an Indian reservation could that have happened?

I normally get a cart when I get on the course and kinda wondered if I could walk the nine since it is about three miles or so, but I did. I enjoyed watching Self and Williams along with Notah Begay and Randy Towner. Let me tell you, they are excellent golfers. I'm glad I went. My grandson Pat ko shuk and some other kids got a free shirt from Notah Begay. The shirts were provided by his sponsor. The kids were also interviewed by some television station but I haven’t seen the clip yet. The kids, of course, didn’t know which station it was.

Now remember now I said I forgot the past, so I shook hands with Roy Williams as he walked by and he said “I saw you on tv in my room at the casino.’ They have a short piece about the tribe on the television there and in that film clip I talked a little about the history of our tribe. I thought damn he picked me out of this crowd. That exchange told me he was a people person who can remember names, faces and events and bring them up in a later conversation, which also indicates to me he has a top-of-the line personality. He’s probably an asset to North Carolina in fund-raising too because of this trait.

Plus after the match he took pictures with my grandson and his friends. So did Bill Self. That is great public relations and for the people who watched this event will have some memories to last for a little while.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Strange stories, Oprah and Gardens.

As sordid stories go: There was this woman in Florida who caused a 2-vehicle wreck because she was shaving her bikini area while driving. She was on her way to a date and wanted to be ready for the visit. The reporter said while performing this extremely personal grooming ritual, she asked her ex-husband to steer the wheel. I’m sorry I had to report on this, but it shows how crazy some people are in this great land. Apparently there are things besides drinking that don't mix with driving.

A worst story was this 17 year old kid in Pittsburgh who came across a 58 year man, who just had a heart-attack and was slumped over his steering wheel. He was returning home after a late baseball game. The kid took his billfold and rolled him out of the car and stole it. The fan later died. I guess the moral of the story is there was no compassion in Pennsylvania on that particular night.

I get off work at 4:30 and I try and watch the end of Oprah, mostly because my wife likes to watch the show. Well anyway, Oprah has these big giveaways on occasion and the people jump up and down and cry and carry on, which is good for them. But this one show they had all these black people who participated in the Freedom Riders movement – a fight for the rights of blacks in the early 1960s. It was not an easy time for black people, many died and others were the victims of senseless violence because they stood up for equality. It was a good show to highlight some of these folks contributions, but it was strange too. Oprah didn’t have any gifts for these old civil rights veterans. Damn, I thought these are the ones who deserve a little bit, but they didnt' make the give-away happiness.

With the help of my two grandsons, Patkoshuk and Nyeh Was sheh and Nicki, I planted 17 rows of corn, 6 tomatoes; 2 peppers and 14 hills of cucumber, plus I have 2 1/2 rows of tators coming up along with onions and guess what? The rains came the very next morning. Boy it sure makes it easier on me when my grandsons step up to the plate and help – but I hope this isn’t construed as breaking child labor laws. I have a few more things to plant, but I’m getting close to being set for this year’s garden. Am I hoping for a good crop? In a word, yes!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The start of a new season

I’m finally getting back to some normalcy. After my surgery, it seemed like I couldn’t get with it and some of my yard work and gardening suffered. Maybe as you get older, it takes longer to bounce back, but I feel I’m 90% better now and I truly appreciate all the concern. I don’t like that kind of attention so I will try to stay healthy as possible and if that means not ever going to the doctor then so be it.

I was able to do some yard work this weekend such as mowing and some clearing and I tilled my garden yesterday. My tators (I abbreviate this cause I’m afraid I might not spell it right like Dan Quale) are growing good, along with my onions. This week I will plant my corn. This old Indian lady told me once to plant corn on May 10th, but my trusty farmer’s almanac says May 3 and 4th is a good time, so I will try that, plus you have to plant when it is dry and the most important thing is to get it into the ground before the rains come.  I will also plant some more stuff the next couple of days, green beans, squash and the Metwe favorite: watermelon. I almost cut back on my garden, but now I’m glad I didn’t. I was pretty tired after this yard-work, but damn I’m glad I don’t have to depend on others to do my work for me. I hope I don’t reach that stage.

Speaking of yard work, gasoline will be pricey this summer! Can you imagine what it will cost people who make a living mowing? It, again, will be the consumer who will absorb the cost of this national nightmare.

My grandson Pat ko shuk is playing soccer with a team in Holton and I try and catch most of the games, but sometimes I have other obligations. He likes to play and wants to get into tackle football. My wife is adamant about not letting him play but he keeps at her so it will be worth watching to see who wins out. She saw me suffer for years with knee problems and go through three knee operations , which is the main reason she don’t want the boy to play the game. I would let him play, but I’m leery too. He will play though because I see some determination and desire and that oughta count for something.

Pow-Wow season is upon us with ours coming up in June. I will be there provided my yard is mowed first. I go and look at the stands, but hardly buy anything except food. Also in the summer, the Farmers Market opens in Topeka and we make a point to go buy this and that and this works for us until our crops come in. The Gathering is in Michigan this year, but I don’t think we will go – the drive is much too long. A few years ago, it was no big deal, not now though. I went to the Senior Site today for lunch and this guy said he was looking for somebody to help drive to Portland, Oregon. I told him “going to Shawnee County is too much for me anymore.”