If anyone was tied to a
world wrapped up like scraps of different colored yarn into one large
ball, possibly it was Mary Sue. Each strand of the yarns was tied onto
with another loose thread creating a variegated colored sphere of
experiences as varied too.
Anyway, this was the way
she felt as her friends expensive car was leaping over the long stretch of
prairie highway to the ranching town not too far away. When the two women
slowly wheeled into the broad streets Mary Sue knew exactly where they
were. Tall men in blue jeans and cowboy hats were striding with their long
wide steps across the streets and down the sidewalks too.
The two women were
searching for ancestors but, the driver of the car who had retired from
the medical world and was ever alert in her observances. Mary Sue smiled
to herself as her friend commented on one or another unusual aspect of
this different world not so far from them but still obviously miles apart.
When the women decided to
go to lunch with two other women at the church one of them offered the
suggestion, “The Whiz Bang Café is a good place to eat.”
“Oh? Whiz Band? How
interesting!” Mary Sue and one of the older citizens of the town both
exchanged knowing glances with each other while grinning big grins. They
were too respectful to make any comments while they were in the church,
but this didn't keep them from thinking back to another time and place in
history when the rowdy town of Whiz Bang was no more than a story to be
told today on television.
Sure enough the little café
was unbelievable rich in lore and legend by the way of artifacts, real
country cowboy music, slim beautiful Indian girls with slick black hair in
braids waiting tables. Business men who were native but so much
Americanized only the beauty of their physical appearance and the color of
their skin made a knowing person aware of their heritage. The reserved
controlled quiet dignity of the Native culture made a strong statement.
There was such a difference one might almost feel they were about to pull
a flap back and enter the cool dark of the interior of a teepee. Although,
as we looked to our feet the rough boards of a country store floor told of
the Anglo culture.
The women chatted with such
pleasure covering subjects with which each one of them was acquainted as
to the history of the area. The time too soon came when they had to be
about their own business.
Now Mary Sue and her
friend walked into the trade store. Her mission was to pick up some fringe
for a couple shawls for her mother but her friend was ever alert to the
interesting contents of the store where
Indian Jewelry was lined up in glass cases, Pendleton blankets rested on
shelves and Native artwork hung on the walls.Mary Sue considered picking
up some of the dried corn but thought better of it, since the store was a
smoke shop also, and she wasn't sure the strong sweet smell of the
tobacco might have permeated the cellophane sacks holding the corn.
Again the women were on the
long stretches of highway where Mary Sue was having to direct her friend
as to every turn. The woman was nervous and rightly should she be. It was
very easy to become hopelessly lost on the great prairie by simply
slipping onto one wrong fork of the road. They drove the expanse to slip
across the meadow to the old home place as Mary Sue was prone to do from
time to time.
After a short visit with
her sister-in-law Mary Sue told her friend, “We must get along. Time can
slip up on a person out here. We don't want to be too late getting home.”
With that they said their good byes and were off and gone one more time.
Mary Lou turned to look
back at her brother's beautiful sprawling ranch home rich with heavy dark
stone. She knew this was a rare privileged to be able to share a bit of
his life for just a whisper of time, while time was so quickly moving
Her friend drove a Buick
and Mary remembered how her own folks easily covered these miles also in
Buicks over the years, even when the roads weren't this well kept.
She wasn't home but for
what seemed an instant when she was busily arranging Crepe Myrtles, sage
and purple cone flowers from the garden in a bright brass drum looking
container. While picking up this small painting, folding a length of
fabric, draping a beaded ornament, and placing bits of ground sage wrapped
in plastic Mary Sue was readying a small give away basket for a friend's
evening services at the Baptist church where the woman's husband was held
for the traditional “wake.”
Again the still quiet of
the Native world seemed to call to Mary Sue as she walked across the
grounds toward the modest church. She could hear the sounds of the songs.
They were not hymns of the Caucasian world but had the softness of the
Indian songs. There was a guest book standing beside the closed doors
there in a small atrium and this she signed.
Mary Sue would not enter
and break into the services but waited and in a little while a petite
woman she knew well from years now came out into the space. A few words
were exchanged and loving expressions made by the woman.
Now, as Mary Sue walked
back to her car she could not help but think how really fortunate she was
to have the joy of walking through so many worlds and in such a short
space of time too.