Saturday, March 18, 2017

I am a visitor

Today I am sharing the blog I wrote for Neff Road.

At only three years old, she could capture a heart and hold it forever. A sweet little thing with a winning smile and a connection to the earth and its creatures that I could not understand.

Glued to the old Raytheon TV, I sat watching cowboys ride the range fighting Indians and establishing new territory. They came in wagon trains. They came in land grabs. No matter how the natives fought, they came in numbers too big for them to hold on to the very land that sustained them. I watched and watched. Loved every minute of these wild westerners shooting and finding love when the show needed a little more story line. I watched and watched totally oblivious to what the shows represented, what they were planting in my young mind. Shooting, killing, fighting, stealing of land, violent interaction with one race bullying another. And, I grew up loving those old shows. No wait, I wasn't grown up.

In looking back, I wonder what the adults in my family were thinking allowing me to watch these shows. We had cap guns and BB guns, things that make killing a make-believe game. Whether you agree or not, that is the bottom line.

Native - adjective
1. being the place or environment in which a person was born or a thing came into being
2. belonging to a person by birth or to a thing by nature
3. belonging by birth to a people regarded as indigenous to a certain place, especially a preliterate people

We had many tribes in Oregon. I am going to list them because I feel it is important to acknowledge them: Alsea, Cayuse, Cheto, Chinook, Clatskanie, Coos, Galice, Kalapuya, Klamath, Modoc, Molala, Multnomah, Nez Perce, Paiute, Shasta, Sinuslaw, Takelma, Tillamook, Tolowa, Tututni, Coquille, Umatilla, Umpqua, Walla Walla, Wasco, Wishram. There are now only nine federally recognized tribes. A few tribes with few people have created confederations. There are no federally recognized tribes in Ohio, and only two unrecognized: Munsee Delaware Indian Nation of Ohio and Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band.

Then I grew up. I realized that this earth is truly precious. In finding native stones on our land, I came to realize that this was not really our land. I wondered whose blood was deep beneath our home and barns. Where were the families whose roots truly were part of this land? What in the world had we done to them all.

"Are you home?" asked Mom. June answered that they were home and had a beautiful little girl. I grabbed my jacket and told Mom and Dad to get ready. We were heading to Indiana. My niece Jobi was not born to our family. No, she was a sweet, little, half-Indian girl who was up for adoption. June and Bob wanted her. We all wanted her. They took off to Montana and came home with a sweet, little girl who had a winning smile and who brought pure joy to our family. A little girl whose brothers and sisters still lived on the reservation. A place where Native American families struggled to make a living.

I am a visitor to this land. I came on the trail of blood and war. My roots lie in Germany, Switzerland, England. The Mexicans who lived here, the Native Americans, all have been pushed away from the land they loved and were born to. A little three year old taught me the meaning of acceptance. She gave me understanding into the beautiful spirit of one born of the earth. I am a visitor here.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Ides of Everything

Ides of March. Yep, March 15. A day we think of the demise of Julius Caesar. However, since that was in 44 BC, I see no reason to don togas and sing soulful dirges. Perhaps we should embrace an event more upbeat this year. Maybe even a little known holiday that we have failed to recognize in the past.

According to Holidays and, we have been missing a wide variety of special days. One will surely suit your fancy. For those in rural areas, we have Ag Day, a celebration of our bountiful food supply. Of course, if your cupboard is empty, this might not be your holiday.

This day has also been called Brutus Day. So, we say, "Et tu, Brute". In keeping with the death of a murdered ruler, it seems apt that this is also Buzzard Day. I found that Buzzard Day is a notable day for many Ohio residents who, on this day, look to the heavens watching for the return of the buzzard. Hard to imagine waiting joyfully for a bunch of bald heads and red beaks coming in for a landing. 

It is ironic that the next notable day is Dumbstruck Day. Not at all surprised since we just passed Buzzard Day. I am rather dumbstruck myself.

Happy Kick Butts Day!!!! Yes, indeed this is KBD. Now, I have worked with greeting cards for a long time and have not as yet seen a card for this occasion. However, I guess if the need arises, celebrate.

I think that this next one happens not only on the Ides of March but many other days as well. National Everything You Think is Wrong Day. So if this column does not show up on Wednesday, March 15, please understand that it is indeed an 'everything you think is wrong day' at my house.

If you are Greek, you might want to celebrate National Pears Helene Day. Yes, I had to look that one up. Pears Helene is not a name but a dessert that was served in celebration of  the operetta La belle Helene (aka Helen of Troy). Auguste Escoffier offered a dessert made from pears poached in sugar syrup, served with vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate syrup. Might be worth celebrating just to eat the dessert.

And, we come to True Confessions Day. My aunt Bess had a stack of True Confessions (and True Romance) next to her bed when I was a kid. I did find that this day has nothing to do with publishing unless you want to confess all of your secrets publicly. It is a day to free yourself of all of those little hidden treasures you have kept to yourself that occasionally give you pangs of guilt. Or, you can still get the magazine and read the secrets of others. Your choice.

Happy World Consumer Rights Day. This day came into being way back in 1983. It is a day set aside to promote basic rights for all consumers. JFK outlined the definition of consumer rights, and today we are protected by these rights.

So much to celebrate on such a simple day in the middle of the week in the middle of the month. You could chose to celebrate all of them which would involve wearing a toga to a local market to buy pears and a magazine being aware as you walk home that buzzards could be coming in for a landing, because then it would be a day with everything going wrong as you are trying to take home your bounty hopefully not to be dumbstruck when you have your butt kicked by some bully who was trying to interfere with your consumer rights. Hm.

Happy March 15!