Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A scorcher update!

I had the opportunity to speak at a conference yesterday at Kansas University.  I enjoyed talking about our history, language and gaming to a crowd of about 40-50 people.  I guess they were from all over the place, this state, that state, this country, and that country.  The session lasted about 45 minutes and I welcomed the change in a work week, plus I got to meet some new people some who were right friendly.

Trying my best to be “country,” I went to the wrong building and the people said I need to climb this mountain of a hill to get to the right location, so I did.  I’m lucky I left a little bit early because I made it to conference only a few minutes late.  I thought this is why KU has such great athletes because they have to fight these hills every day, but of course they are a lot younger and in hell of lot better shape than I am.  To make it worse when I got done, I went back down that big hill, but it wasn’t as bad as climbing it and I tried to get out of the parking garage but it only accepted Visa credit cards, not Discover, but a Visa card.  I had let my granddaughter use my Visa for a gas purchase and the little girl hasn’t returned the little evil card.  Well anyway I finally found a machine that took cash and I was able to get out of that parking garage, but not before I had gotten completely flustered over modern technology.  Geez, we don’t have that on the rez.  After all this, I passed go and proceeded directly back to the reservation where I belong. 

Speaking of KU, they added another guard, 6’4 Milton Doyle from Chicago.  I’m so looking forward to watching this young team in the coming year.  KU reloads, they don’t rebuild and watch for that to happen this year again.
We are absolutely burning up here on our reservation.  I said in the past those idiots making fun of Indians doing rain dances should have to pay for those stupid remarks and not get any rain until they apologize.  Maybe we should all ask for rain and forget those transgressions.  I’m lucky I moved some of my garden closer to my house so I can water it more or it would have all burned up.  The ground is cracking up and it’s like the blazing hot days of August.  Oh, well we will hang in there, because what other choice do we have?

Monday, June 11, 2012

The heat, the pow-wow and a good weekend!

The 2012 PBP Pow-Wow has come and gone. As usual, it was a scorcher. I didn’t dance or sing or volunteer for anything, but I came home tired every night. I should have just camped and I could have rested there during the day or hung around there during the slow times.  Oh, well maybe next year. The pow-wow was well-attended and some said we had 427 dancers, a bunch for sure and a new record.  Rest assured when you offer $100,000 in prize money, they will come. The whole pow-wow was an organized event, but the specials can take up oodles of time which can cause things to go late into the night.  Also when you offer that much cash, people don't come to see you, or your grounds or really give a damn on how it's run, it's all about the cash. That too is the name of the game these days!
We sat behind the bleachers under some small trees, and it was good shade but it wasn’t good for watching the dancers.  It was good for watching aspiring politicians work the crowd.  We are having an election this July and the campaign is on and the pow-wow was the time to catch voter attention. Some said what they hope to do, others didn’t say, evidently confident in the final outcome.  Some gave gifts away and they weren’t incumbents.  And the candidates did many acts of kindness throughout the weekend.  It’s too bad that can’t last for four years.

Our seating, although not in the front row, also gave us a chance to visit people as they went by.  I must have looked hungry because my niece Soga brought me a plate of catfish - top of the line cooking and Larry Cole, the man from Texas brought me 12 Cd's of all kind of music. They made my day!
At the end, an elderly lady started to tear down her vendor tent.  We were right there and she was working away and at first we thought somebody was going to help her, but that never happened so we got up and did our good deed for the week.  My brother, me, my wife and my sister helped her.  It was a struggle at times but it got done. Many young people just watched us without offering a hand, that was troubling, but it was more troubling that a candidate didn’t run across the arena to lend a hand.  Geez, I hope that isn’t an indictment on the work we will see out of them for the next four years. Flip Wilson used to say “what you see is what you get.”  Sometimes politics is like that!

I hang around the pow-wow to watch my grandson, Pat ko shuk, dance.  The boy loves to dance.  He doesn't win, he is disappointed, but just moves on to the next pow-wow and dances again.  He's a winner in my heart though. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ceremonies, pow-wows, old singer and Shug!

We are winding down our Spring ceremonies here on our rez. We had our 4 day dance, a baby-naming and an adoption.  It is time-consuming but I’m glad I got to witness all of this.  It takes dedication for sure to fulfill our religious obligations.  Dedication is what it takes to keep a religion going strong, that’s for sure. We are tired after it’s over, but our batteries get recharged and we go again. 
This week we have our annual pow-wow.  I’m not into this too much, although I like watching my grandchildren dance and visiting people.  They used to get me to do invocations but I guess they got tired of hearing Potawatomi prayer words and got others to do it. It’s less for me do. Also it’s a good time for candidates to fall over themselves to get a vote or two.  Speaking of candidates, we hardly see them at any of our events so they must have chumped our votes off, in fact, only one person asked me to vote for them.  Usually we get rain at our pow-wow but this year there is none in the forecast. 
My garden could sure use some rain though.  I use my hose in times like this.  Since I moved my garden closer to my house it is easier to water.  

On another note, we hate to lose musicians who we listened to while growing up.  A case in point is Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like "Only You" and "The Great Pretender," recently died. He was 83.  I saw the Platters perform locally once  and often wondered how it would have been to see them sing when they were young.  This guy said in an interview that he spent his money made from singing frugally and bought homes.  Others in the group spent money like it was going out of style and ended up with little. 
I like music of all kinds and watching old singers perform was a treat.  When I was young, we had no opportunity to go any concerts since we were poor as the proverbial church mouse.  I remember my Mother and her husband Al Wamego asked Voncile and I to go to a Johnny Cash concert in Topeka in the 1970s.  It was a good experience.  I became a Johnny Cash fan for life after watching the man in black sing that day. Yet, it was much later that I attended more concerts.  The local casinos and ours have singers come through and we try and make it over to hear them sing.  Merle Haggard came to our casino once and although I heard he didn’t care for injuns, I still went to listen to his songs.  He is a good singer but you could tell it’s hard for him to sing because of his age. 

Gracie Slick said once that it was stupid to perform after age 50 and she quit altogether, but I would have went to listen to her sing in a heartbeat.    
And no writing is complete for me unless I mention my great granddaughter Shug nob go kweh.  She is a jewel and is starting to crawl and has a smile that can melt this old guys cold, cold heart.  Damn I’m a lucky man to see five grandchildren and now this.