Life doesn't get any better
than when we are gifted with an opportunity to visit the city. The country
mouse is a happy mouse, you know. However, once in a blue moon she loves to
run off to the city while using care not to get trapped there.
Moving down interstate along
with traffic is a bit like ice skating. All is smooth, swift and easy, that
is, if you don't make a wrong move. My daughter's little red car was loaded
to the car windows with art work, books to sign, and a home prepared lunch
my friend brought for us. Our chatter was keeping me alert and away from any
urge I might have to get sleepy while driving. That could have been a
possibility since my day had started at 3 a.m.
Without too much confusion we
were able to locate The Forum where a conference was being held to share the
knowledge of successful people from other states in the realm of Native
American education. I had made up my mind that I would divide my time
between signing books and listening to the lectures of these brilliant
people who were warriors with strengths and skills beyond the common place.
The first day was slower with fewer people and that was okay. We were given
this time to learn to maneuver through the building that was an unaccustomed
circle or octagon. One woman commented, “Now you know why Rome fell. They
couldn't find their way around The Forum.”
On the second day more people
came and the pace with my book signing picked up. It was a real choice I had
to make but some how I was able to get the lion's share of both activities.
A sumptuous working lunch was served at the top of the stairs in the
conference room. The room built to the standards of the Greeks for their
plays with steps coming up from a central stage made for good acoustics but
a microphone was also placed above the podium. An added convenience was the
table built all around in front of the guest's chairs. This was wonderful
for someone like me who is always scribbling notes.
“Did you get to say your
piece?” My cousin smilingly asked me. She is well acquainted with me and my
convictions regarding art. “As a matter of fact, I did.” When someone used
the term “artsy, craftsy,” it riled me to a slow burn.
When given the invitation, I
arose and spoke, “Not too long ago I had the opportunity to teach Native
American children, art. We started with the Pythagorean principles so that I
could tie art in with geometry. As the children learned to draw a circle
with pencil and string, they were at first amazed at this “trick.” When we
went on to cut through the circle to its center and then fold it into a cone
to create a tee-pee they were even more than impressed.
“Neat-o! Wow! Hey guys, look
at this,' were some of their comments.”
“On our last day I bought a
book of Remington and Russell's art work from my own money. At first, the
children groaned at the fact that I was going to read to them. Nevertheless,
it wasn't long until they were totally captivated by the illustrations of
“I have taught elderly women
who admitted to me they had lived their own whole life and only just now
learned to “see.” I wasn't through as I continued. “So it is, as the Bible
says, 'They have eyes, but they cannot see.” That was the end of my
“You know it all went over
their head,” my friend told me.
“I know that, from the
comment the lady made.” She remarked, “Oh yes, I've bought supplies out of
my own pocket,” totally missing the point
“There will be someone who
will pick up on what I told. Maybe they won't be quite so ready to snub the
teachings of art by calling it artsy, craftsy.”
Again, I became the country
mouse returning home. Only once did I make a wrong turn.
“It's okay,” my friend said,
“we will get to see the new statue on top of the capital-building.”
And so we did. The tall
figure of an Indian holding a spear stood in defense of the dome. It was a
thrilling site especially if our blood is all tied up with the Native
American. It inspires me. Here is the “savage” who was beaten and humiliated
standing in symbolic artwork defending his conquerors. For whatever reason
used, it made a statement, too.