just back on the rez from a road trip. i travelled 2100 miles and made alot of stops along the way. the destination was the gathering of nations but the road trip was the thing.
i left the rez last wednesday and headed west. went to indian springs colorado. it is named that cuz some indian liked to soak there long ago. my hip and back have been hurting lately so this injun needed to soak. the hot spring water fixed me up. i love a day without pain. the casinos were not too far away in the hills. i found a place in black hawk where they had prime rib for $3.99 if you signed up for a players card. cant beat that, so i got a card and ate..then gambled.
the next day i decided to head to taos on a whim since i have a niece there. been there before so didnt do much sight seeing. i was looking for the casino since i was up from the previous nite of gaming. broke even there and headed out. i like to soak my feet in running water while traveling. there was a stream by the roadside south of taos.i found out the water was real cold cuz it was snow melt. it was also invigorating.
i stopped at anutha indian casino where they had a $3 buffet for new card holders. it was a good meal and I had a good time on the floor. got back on the road and made it to alberqueqe and stopped at the first casino. they gave $20 of free play to new card holders. played that and some of my own money. ended up ahead. there were lotsa indians there. probably in town for the pow wow.
next day, friday, i went to the gathering of nations. checked out the stands in the big tent but didnt buy anything. then watched them dance.i heard them call out my name on the loudspeaker. wasnt sure what they said. found out later they wanted someone to be a judge. that nite a bunch of us went to comedy on the mesa. it was at sky city casino. it featured the comedy of james and ernie–two indian comedians. then williams and ree came on, they are billed as an indian and a white guy. both acts were funny. i laughed the way thru. most of the audience were indians. i went casino hopping on the way back to town. the casinos had live bands playing. it was funny the indians were dressed up like cowboys and dancing to the music. i just played the slots.
next day went to the big flea market at the state fair grounds. seen alot of indians there too. that took 5 hours to cover all the stands. got a few good bargains. my feet ached from all that walking. went back to the gathering of nations pow wow. i wanted to do some taping with my camcorder. i got some good footage of dancers. will mix it with other footage to make a dvd.
headed out of town sunday. got to oklahoma and hit one of their indian casinos. it was storming. they had tornado warnings out, so holed up in a motel for the nite. woke up this morning with just a short jog home. first had to hit another indian casino. that made it eight casinos on this trip. i ended up losing just 12 bucks.i got some free gifts for signing up for a new players card. i had some good meals on the road too. i had green chile in several meals down in the southwest. i met and visited with indians all along the way. i shared a laugh with many of them. i sure had a good time. cant wait til the next road trip.
we have had so much moisture this spring that the ground was saturated. i have been waiting for it to dry out somewhat so i can get it tilled up and ready to plant. the weather forecast said it may rain again several days next week, that would put off tilling anutha week. so i checked it out today and it was tillable, though in some spots still wet. i tilled both plots. i went thru the plot that is new ground 3 times. it had roots from bushes that had to be broken up. that ground should really produce this year. my garden is all ready to plant. i will do that after i get home from the gathering of nations pow wow. i didnt want to leave until the garden was ready. now i can pow wow. the lady at the greenhouse where i buy my plants and seeds said to wait to plant. so i am ready for the road.
i will pack tonite and leave in the morning. dont know what route i will take. i like to take different routes to see new things. so far i have seen the worlds largest hand dug well, the worlds largest ball of twine, dodge citys boot hill, the pueblo ruins in kansas and many small state parks. i dont like to drive straight thru to anywhere. i like to stop and see the tourist traps.
i will stop at a hot springs though. i have to do that every chance i get. i really enjoy soaking in them. they give me relief from back pain. it is so relaxing. they have alot of them in colorado. i have been to a few of them and like to check out new ones when i can.
i am planning on just catching one day of the pow wow, that will be friday. i have prepaid for a day by going online. i dont have stand in line, just go to the will call window. usually one day of pow wow is enuff. i will take some pictures and do some taping with my camcorder. i go hit the bit flea market on saturday. they have a big one. some of the vendors from the gathering set up there. and i always look for the fresh oven baked bread. it never makes it home.
other than that i dont know what else i will do. but i probably will do a few other things. never know what comes up. i cant wait. i am up for a road trip.
i can see why indians lost america. we believe anything. too damn trusting. all last week i was reading the hype bout this mile runner named alan webb that was gonna break jim ryuns record at the ku relays. the record has stood for 40 years or so. this dude has run many sub 4 minute miles and has broken other ryun records. he broke ryuns high school mile record. so i motored over to lawrence to see the record fall. the relays have been running most of the week. i only attended saturdays event but i had to pay the full price of 10 bucks for a ku relays button.the button got you into the event. i kept it for a souvenir. i figured it would be worth it. i remember when ryun was at the top of his game. track and field, especially the ku relays, ranked high in the state of oz. i thought the stadium would be packed like it used to be. seemed like just the athletes and their families showed up. didnt matter. i wanted to see the mile run. the race was alright. it was like a 2 minute half mile. so it was conceivable the record could fall. it didnt. webb won with a 3:58 mile. it was a good race, anutha dude finished under 4 minutes also. i was slightly disappointed tho. i wanted to witness history. to see ryuns record get broke. in a way though i am glad it wasnt. it will give me a reason to go back anutha day to watch the mile run again.
after i left the relays i walked around the stadium and to the parking lot. i needed to get some walking in. ku campus has alot of hill to climb no matter where you walk. i remember i went to school there years ago. i didnt last though. i still had my alky head on. just wasnt disciplined enough to attend class and hit the books. still regret that. i went to an auction after that. i bought a slot machine bank there. then left.
i met my boys and my sister to eat. we had mexican food. not that taco bell kind. thats gringo food. we had a good meal. we headed over to haskell to see the boxing matches. it didnt start on time. surprise there eh. so we ventured over to the gym where they were suppose to have a pow wow. it was gourd dancing. they had about 5 dancers. so we watched the indians watch the indians. they had a blanket dance to pay the singers. they got 36 bucks for 7 of them. not a big payday but is a fortune compared to what some get for running a ceremony.
we headed over to the old gym to watch the boxing matches. it was billed as the missouri state championships. why they had missouri state championship bouts in a small gym in kansas escaped me. but it was a good show. i always did enjoy boxing. i liked the look in the eyes of some boxers. they had that look of determination. you knew they were focused on what they were doing. they didnt have all weight classes. i enjoyed the bouts they had, they even had some women box. you have to wonder why would someone enjoy watching two men or women trying to put each other out. kinda like why laugh at americas funniest videos when someone gets hit in the nuts. you know that aint funny but laugh anyway. boxing is kinda like that, why watch someone fighting. there is an art to it when it is done right. its not like a bar fight, where they just throw punches til one quits. boxing requires some skillz. though not all boxers have skillz. the ones that do are good.
i heard they mighta had better fights at the general council meeting. didnt go. someone was gonna slap the ugly off a council person or sumthin. good thing we got peacekeepers. they probably cooled things down. or not since they aint paid. maybe the ethics folks chilled them out. but they aint paid either. at any rate no violence erupted. no wonder we cant get people to run for office. our own people make it so undesirable that some dont want any part of that. wonder how much we could accomplish if we worked together instead of against each other.
i guess they were mad that the minors trust fund lost millions. not surprised there. people have lost money all around the country. maybe our investment strategy wasnt right. did we enter into high risk investments. payoff is higher but so are the consequences if it dont pay off. i dont know. it is part of the economic crisis we are in. it was in all the papers. someone wanted the tribe to replace the money. didnt happen. guess if they would, then the tribe would have to make up what many lost in their retirement accounts. some lost 1/4th of what they had saved. others more, others less. some wont be content until the tribe is broke. then there will be nothing left to fight over.
after a weekend out i stayed in sunday. had a nice dinner. visited with some friends and family. i’m glad i am not around all that negativity. why expend so much energy into something so counter-productive. there is so much more to life. i think life is meant for us to enjoy. and i am enjoying it.
my brother in law, tom wabnum was fishing on the rez yesterday. on his 5th cast he caught this 9 pound bass. the state record for a big mouth bass is 11.80 pounds. this one wont reach that size cuz we ate it. it tasted as good as it looked. he caught it at the secret bass pond, which requires a native guide to find.
i am heading to haskell this saturday evening for night of boxing. they have a club that is putting on boxing at the old gym. dont have much info on it. i imagine they will have some indians boxing. they gotta be good. should be should good entertainment for 5 bucks. i am suppose to meet my sister and nephew before it starts to eat. we probably will sit together.
years ago indians were really into boxing. you could find an all indian club in many parts of the country. i boxed in a few. one of my regrets in life is i will never know how good i could have been. my speed was unbelieveable. i could land several punches to my opponents one. we went into a state prison to box once. i went a whole round without the other guy landing one punch on me. i just toyed with him after that. i had a coach that said we would go pro. my drinking ended that dream. i was so fast i felt i didnt need to train and all that. i can see how stupid that was years later.
i went to a few boxing exhibitions at our casino. i enjoyed the fights. it seemed that lotsa people did. then we didnt have boxing over there anymore. we must have someone working there that likes to stop things that people enjoy. the reason is measured in dollars. gotta save money so we can waste it on other things.
got a road trip coming up. cancelled my train trip, taking a car instead. heading to the gathering of nations. it is the biggest pow wow in the country.got more indians there than a sale at walmart. i bought my ticket online. i am only going one day. i like pow wows but i am not a fanatic about it. it is so crowded. someone finally had some sense about the seating. you cant save seats by putting blankets them like some do. after paying $18 you cant find a seat and see whole rows with no one sitting there.
i want to go to that big flea market they have. i go to it every time i am in town. i can usually find something i cant live without. if i am lucky they will be selling fresh oven baked bread. then i want to soak in the hot springs on the way at least once on this trip. it is good for the arthritis, and now bursitis. sadly it is only temporary relief, but any relief is good.
i will miss our earth day on the rez cuz i will be on the road. they have a walk every year. i walk every chance i get though. and they give away trees or shrubs to plant. i still have some growing in my yard that i got from there.
might not be planting anything soon. someone on t.v. said to wait til maybe the first of may. it is still possible to have a freeze this month. i dont remember it being this cool this late into the season. i went mushroom hunting, found none but felt it wouldnt hurt. it is still early. when i was walking thru the fields and timber i seen that the ground is saturated. the water is still standing in some places.
seen in the paper yesterday that the royals were in first place. no it wasnt a typo. i want to go to a game this year. the tickets are so high though, even the cheap seats went up. gotta see that guy named coco crisp. dont know if he is any good, but he got a name you can remember.
got a call a few days ago and someone asked me that. i know how much hard work is involved in cleaning a buffalo hide. i reluctantly answered yeah, i’ll take it. i also know how hard it is to come across a hide. not often that you can score one. i was still sorting porcupine hair but had to put it aside.
when you get a green hide you have to go to work on it immediately. if you allow it to dry, then you have to soak it for days to loosen the hair. the hair will come right off though when the hide is still green. the hide is so big that i cut it into pieces. i tacked some pieces with the hair still on it, to some boards. i cut around the legs and the hump. these are drying, they will be rawhide on one side and have the long black hair on the other. i will use them for other things. then i cut out pieces large enough to make a pow wow drum with. i cut my lacing out too. so i started scraping..and scraping and scraping. first i had to scrape the flesh side. then i had to remove the hair. my muscles burned from all that scraping. i remember hearing once that this was womans work. if so, my hat is off to indian women.they were strong people. this is hard work. i had to take a pain pill at the end of the day.
i had two old oak whisky barrel sections that i bought at a garage sale. i wanted them for drums. i once told these young guys it is ironic that they used the whisky to rip our people off, now we make drums out of the barrels. the two sections i had are about 25 inches across and 18 inches deep, this allows for a good rich bass tone. i had to cut a large section of the bottom, which was a solid 1 inch thick piece of oak to allow the sound to carry all through the drum. if i left the solid piece on it, the sound would bounce back. now the sound goes thru the hide in the bottom and resonates fully. i wish i could post a sound of it on my site here, as my nephew suggested but my computer skills are lacking. you have to hear it to really appreciate the sound.
after i had the hide cleaned i laced the drum up. this took some time. the hide was slippery. i had to measure the spacing and cut the hide where the lacing went through. a buffalo hide is thick. i had to have a sharp knife. i cut my finger once and had to find a band aid. i tightened it a few times, pulling in the slack of the lacing each time. i then set the drum out to air dry the first day. i turned it several times so all sides would dry. there was a good breeze and it helped to dry the hide. i even flipped it over so the bottom would dry. it was getting dark so i moved it to my basement. i had a fire going cuz it has been a bit chilly at night. i dried the drum further by the stove. i again kept turning it to dry all sides. next day i got up i moved it back outside to dry some more in the air. it is still drying. i want to dry it slowly. so far it has a real good tone to it. i wonder what it will sound like when it is dried completely. it will be fully cured in a few days. i was happy it was finally done. it took me a coupla days work but i am happy with the final result. i kinda had to drop everything else to finish this but it was worth it.
this is what it ended up looking like, ko nu gish the wonder dog is in the background. the hide is drying a deeper brown color. i will make a stand for it sometime later. i still have one buffalo hide in the freezer all ready to make a drum with. i have one more tub to use, it is the other whisky barrel. after that is finished, i still have two elk hides in my shed that i will work on next. either i will make anutha pow wow drum or several hand drums.
i never know what i will be doing. have to go with whatever comes along. my gardening is gonna demand attention soon. i just got my tiller out of the shop. i checked my potatoes, they are starting to root out. i was afraid the cold and combination of rain and snow did them in, but they survived. now i have to get ready to plant my warm weather crops.
that weather forecast kinda sums up alot of things. like the governments approach to the economy, we spend a trillion or so it might fix it. or it might not. the republicans spent that much and caused the problems. the democrats say spend that much more and the problem is solved. gardening is the same way. plant some seed and it might grow. or it might not. we got a traditional gardening program that uses tractors. they might grow better. or not. we have people that show up at general councils to say lets not try anything, we might fail. the chicken little approach, lets stay inside cuz the sky is falling. lots of things in life are just basically a 50/50 chance. the fear of failure doesnt stop us tho. got to take chances. the possibility that it will work is the reason to try anything. when i walk into a casino i dont feel like i will lose. i believe i will win. after i lose my money i know the chance for failure was real. but reality is that i could have won. but then most gamblers dont consider gambling to be a gamble.
speaking of gardening. i dont know what to think of the weather. i dont remember when it has been this cool this late into spring. i still have a fire going cuz it is cold at night. tonight is suppose to be 20 degrees. the tv guy said to cover any plants. i see that my onions are greening up. they will grow. my potatoes havent broken ground yet, tho they should have by now. i hope i dont have to replant them. just have to wait and see. on the upside we have had alot of moisture. nothing grows without it.
got an email. some non native guy asked to have a spiritual leader from the rez to do a wedding. he dont want a justice of the peace to do it. i agree with him, that is so impersonal. i have married a non native couple in hoyt before. they said they didnt want a j.p. and they didnt subscribe to mainstream religion. so they thought it would be cool if a guy like me did it. i am like stephen colbert-i dont see race. i did it for them. they were such nice people.
i went thru the trouble of getting a legal opinion. the law governing who can perform weddings doesnt exclude native spiritual people, it just doesnt include them. everyone is mentioned but natives. i started with our county attorney and up thru the ranks to the state attorney general. they wrote me a letter that basically said ‘go ahead chief’. and our tribal court says a guy like me can perform weddings if i know my place. i can only do them on the rez. thats bullshit. no one can tell a priest, minister, rabbi or iman that they can only perform weddings in topeka or mayetta. thats why i agreed to do do that wedding for that couple in hoyt. i never really learned my place. to sorta paraphrase popeye ‘i yam what i yam’ —no matter where ever i yam.
i check the newspaper to see whos birthday it is, then i play one of their tunes. today is merle haggards birthday, so i am playing some of his music. i went to see him in concert at our casino. i took this picture of him and several others. i kept taking them til the security guards told me to sit down. dont know what they woulda did if i refused to sit down. maybe they would have shined their flashlight in my face. so i headed back to where the indians that paid for their own tickets sat. he put on a good show. i dont see why they dont have more concerts like that. the place was packed, couldnt find a slot to play. the reason given is that they dont make money. when i walked thru the casino i could hear the noise of the machines being played. indian casinos have revived the careers of many. you can see everyone that you missed years ago at a casino today.
my bracket in the ncaa basketball tourney has been eliminated long ago. i picked the jayhawks to beat mich.st. we are in the hunt to sign one more player for next year. we signed a point guard and power forward that rated high. and a 7 foot center transferred. two top rated shooting guards are still considering KU. if we sign either i will fill out next years bracket now with the hawks to win it all. even our debate team kicks ass.
my chickens are laying about 6 eggs a day. they are the big brown ones. this is after the doc said i had high cholesterol. suppose to give them up. oatmeal is my option. i hated that stuff when i went to a parochial boarding school. the nuns stood over you til it was gone. we had to eat it everyday, cept sundays. then we got stale corn flakes. i have to learn to eat it again. i am making a serious effort to improve my health. i want to live to be a cranky old man. most mean old guys arent cool. i think i could be a cool one.
i texted one of my nieces and told her i bought her a present. she texted back ‘no you didnt, its april fools day.’ then she told me that wasnt very nice. i guess not. the day has lost its meaning. used to be people would play pranks for the hell of it. i im’ed a tribal worker and said the tribe was closing down for the day. then april fools….wasnt funny. then told anutha niece they were getting a per cap. that wasnt funny either. today being funny aint funny. we live in a serious world. maybe the times call for a meanie day where you just do mean things. like if someone tells you good morning you reply ‘shut up’. or if someone asks if they can help you, you answer ‘leave me the hell alone’. i can think of several people that would make great spokespeople for that kind of day.
there was suppose to be some kind of worm that was to infect computers today. dont know if that happened or not. it was gonna take over your computer and send spam to others. i get spam all the time. all kinds of miracle cures. or get rich schemes. it just goes into my junk folder and i delete it.
got anutha email today. they are gonna have a 100 year anniversary of menominees statue. he was the chief of the band of potawatomis that got removed from their homes at gunpoint back in the 1830s then shipped to some place called kansas. evidently someone heard i offered a prayer in potawatomi before the retracing of the trail of death. so they want me back to do anutha one. i said maybe i could, but it is understood that i dont perform for cameras. i make sure they are turned off. i dont believe in prayer as performance. i aint no hollywood njun.
i find it odd that people from a distance know of the things i do, while some that live around here dont even know who i am. but then when i was growing up here there were just a few hundred that actually lived here. just poor country injuns. today there are many more people that live around here. alot of them just moved back when the tribe started to prosper somewhat. some dont have a clue about what we got here. some only have a concern of how do i get a piece of the money. like that is a native trait.
heard that a pack of marlboros cost 5 bucks at the nation station today. tomorrow they will go up to 6.70. so how much for a carton? damn…glad i quit smoking cigarettes. cigars went up too, glad i gave them up too. even them commodity smokes went up. they almost 2 bucks a pack. man…..i hope the price of gas dont go up too much before pow wow season. i plan on hitting a few again this year. all the local ones and some road trips. the price of everything went up….thats why the economy is in the shape it is in. the politicians tell us they will fix it. we’ll see.
woke up the other morning to find a coating of ice over everything. it was a mix of ice and snow. the weather vane on my toolshed was iced up too. first thing i thought of was my garden. cool weather things shouldnt be bothered, some of them havent broke ground yet. the cabbage and spinach plants i put out are hanging in there. i havent planted any warm weather crops yet so i dont have to worry bout them. i still need to get my tiller to the shop so i can retill the ground before i plant my main crops. plenty of time for that since it is still early and the ground is still wet from all that moisture.
been busy for the past 7 days. we had a funeral, spring dance and our spring ball games all in a row. havent had a day off. i have danced for 6 days and played in the ball game. i had to take a pain pill last night to relieve some of the soreness. every year i say this is the last time i will play in the stickgame. i have too much fun to quit now. i got hit in the head with a ball stick, good thing i am not a wimp. just brushed it off and kept playing. our danceground building is looking good. it is not done yet but the work on it looks nice. i am glad we got to take care of what we had to do. now they can finish the work on our building. they got til summer dance now.
i caught up with my bracket in the ncaa tourney. i have no chance of winning the pool. i picked a few teams i shouldnt have picked. and the jayhawks got knocked out. i am still happy that they made it to the sweet 16. hate to say it but ‘wait til next year’. that has been the chant too many years, but our team should kick ass next year.
checked my email. it was backed up. got a gig to do at the end of may. a road trip to quincy illinois. it is an archaeological bus tour of ancient indian burial mounds. some of the mounds were looted by sleaze ball grave robbers. so they want me to say a few words. they have mapped out 23 mounds so far. they are from the middle to late woodland period and several mississippian temple mounds. there are 100s of individuals buried there. this is an attempt by the archaeological community to include native people. they are afraid of “radical” groups. so they bringing me in.
i will have a road trip before that too. i plan on going to the gathering of nations. with a twist though. i want to take a train ride. i rode in trains in europe. i took one from paris to rome. the travel company that booked my tickets tried to tell me to take a night one so i could sleep during the trip. i said no i wanted to see the country. only other train ride i had was when i was born. they shipped my mother to pawnee to have me cuz they didnt have any money to send expectant mothers to hospitals around here. so we took a train back home. i have been traveling since then.
i have a bird in my yard that sounds like it is whistling. it is a very distinctive whistle. at first i thought someone was out there. i have gotten used to it. it whistles almost every day. i have planted so many trees and bushes in my yard that i hear birds sing all during the day. it is neat to hear them. i even feed them. soon it will be time for the hummingbirds to come back. i planted vines, flowers and bushes to attract them.
now i have to catch up on everything that had to wait…
for indians anyway. our new year begins now when life begins anew. the grass is turning green. trees are starting to bud. wild onions are ready. i like this time of year. probably my favorite time of da year. well i enjoy every minute i am alive, but i do like spring.
we had some serious wind yesterday. it was windy all day. winds up to 20-30 miles an hour. it was worse in other parts of the state. things were blowing all over. it was windier than a general council meeting. well maybe not, but it was windy.
we had a good rain last nite. i bet my potatoes and onions should break ground sometime this week. the plants i set out should also do good. i had good luck last year with cabbages, so i planted more this year. we made our own coleslaw last year. it was the best. and i put some cabbages away for stews that we had over the winter. dont know bout the spinach plants, i have never grown them before. its worth a gamble.
a few weeks ago i transplanted some gooseberry bushes. they were the tame kind. i had them growing by the ditch in front of the house. a tribal worker had that machine that annihilates every thing in its path last fall. it zapped my bushes. i could get a few gallons of berries from them every year. only the tops were cut off. the roots were still alive so i transplanted them to my treeline on the north side of my house. i had previously planted some wild gooseberry bushes there a few years ago. so i have over 30 gooseberry bushes growing now. gooseberry pie is my favorite. real njun pie. ‘cept them old njuns didnt have it with a scoop of ice cream on the side. guess that makes me a modern injun.
its been over a week since i had a cigar. besides saving a few dollars it is best i leave them alone. i breathe better without them. i will end up pretty boring when i give up all my bad habits. last thing to go is my gambling. but i dont gamble that much. well losing any money is too much. i do enjoy a night out at the local gaming establishments. its the only place besides walmart where i see indians.
i had a milestone of sorts the other day. i have walked 100 miles so far this calendar year. i take my faithful dog ‘ko nu gish’ with me. indians should do something for their health. preventative measures are best. lose weight, quit smoking, quit drinking, quit doping. doing that should better our lives and our health. and it would save us alot of grief. why kill ourselves? we should do things that make us live. after hanging around this long, we might as well keep on going.