A Different Path For Ethel


        Today’s words began coming to my mind as I relaxed on my patio swing, and for some reason, I began remembering that right where I sat, and really not too long ago, is where Indians lived.  And I mean my home-site is  exactly where they also lived, sat,  ate, walked, worked, loved, and slept. Yeah, in a different manner, but all else, the same.

        The placement of my home is in the identical place where their home had been, and I also knew that the change from them to me, hadn’t been their choice.  And a streak of guilt hit me like a ton of bricks.

        I suppose my guilt actually began back in 1948 when we asked Joe Mash, son of Frank and Felicia, to plow a garden spot for us, and almost on what is now my east, and my son, Bill’s west lawn, Joe unearthed a circle of Teepee stones, still in place for their teepee, and  to one side, there were scorched rocks ready for a cooking fire.  It was rather like walking, uninvited into someone’s home. 

        I didn’t forget, just put the knowledge to one side.  But a week or so ago, I decided that a certain storage shelf needed to be cleaned to see if it held anything worth keeping, and there I found several Indian  mortar and pestles needed to grind their dry corn. Actually called the Mano, the grinder and the Metate, the dished out stone ‘bowl’.

        And the guilt returned, for I knew that the ‘stuff’ I had saved, held in my hands and wondered over, was not mine, but were loved and well-used remnants from some Indian woman’s home. I was holding the very tools she had used hundreds of times as she cooked and cared for her family.

        I had heard family members tell how, for many years, the Indians came back each Spring hoping that this time there would be room for them, but of course there never was and they were told to get away.   

        Our early pioneers found this spot as an ideal place to call home for the very same reasons those Original people, the Indians,  made it home.  We wouldn’t want to live in one of their Wigwams, but just the same, to them they were home, and just as we love our homes, they did too.

        But, there were more of us, and in addition, (and more and more my words sound like today’s  headlines), the primal cause of Indians leaving and our being here is that there were more of us and we had more guns. After all, the men didn’t build Forts, just to have something to do with their time.  Nearby the ones casually spoken of, and  were Fort Union, and Cedar Fort which had been restored to a certain point, and used as a tourist site.

        Makes me wonder if, in many centuries to come, another group will see this lovely place and decide to call it theirs.  And, also wonder what weapons they might have to force our descendants to move on, or become  their vassals.

        Oh, me, we think life is so permanent, but as I sit here, I suddenly know that ‘permanence’ is transient, ever changing. Dukka.  Many, in various parts of the world, and even as I type these words, are being forced from their generations-held homes.  And done so, by others who. right now, happen to have the larger stock of weapons.

        But this road I live upon, which we have made and re-made,  would not be recognized by Indian people, but  nevertheless, it was their  chosen location and their foundation that we built upon.  The very place my home rests upon was a home-site for them, and for much longer than it has been for me.

        And so, now it’s our turn.  And in centuries to come, who’s next? Who knows.  Who can tell. But while it is ‘our turn’ let us enjoy the moment and know that across  Time, we’re sharing it with others.

        When ‘we’ came to this valley, which is only a ‘blink of an eye’ in Time.   ‘We’ planned to make this our home, and there were more of us, and also, ‘we’ had guns, and that made the difference.  Even away back, when the weapons were nothing but arrows, clubs or big rocks, that made the difference.

        Sadly, my words are true, and all history books we have studied, are ‘stories’ of people coming, overcoming, and forcing other  people to move, change,  or be killed.  No?  Well, maybe you’ve read different history books than I have, and, also, we must remember that history books are always written by the victors. I’ve found no History book, even The Bible, that  tell of  eras of peace, love and joy. Or maybe there never have been such epochs.

        Either way, my words today are  triggered by those Indian tools I have, which really are  not mine, and yet would be of no use to any Indian woman, either, but, TYG,  they have the Power to make at least one woman, me, stop, think, remember, regret, and pass those thoughts along to others.  You.

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Inquiries have asked the meaning of TYG.  So simple, so meaningful:
Thank You, God.

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