“We had a good time!”
Jenny's mother kept an active lifestyle even though she was ninety-one.
“What did you do, Mother?”
“Oh we just sat around and talked about people.” Her chuckle made Jenny
know there was certainly a valid statement here.
“Oh dear.” Jenny pretended to be bothered by the gossipy ways of their
tribe. There was absolutely nothing the folks didn't know about each other,
nor was there any stone left unturned. This had always been a little of a
nuisance as far as Jenny was concerned, that is until the year her niece had
suffered such a grievous divorce. The girl was so devastated by the break up
of her marriage it had been a deep sadness for the whole family. Really, it
was more like a death than a divorce. Morose and sorrowful attitudes
permeated all their activities.
Jenny kept trying to plan
activities for the family that would keep everyone's mind off the misery. If
tears were dripping off her niece's face as she peeled the potatoes her aunt
tried not to see it. She had no idea what was going through the girl's
mind. Was she thinking of her own lost family and those activities she was
no longer able to do? The young woman was obviously suffering and could not
get away from the memories. The events in her life were now upon her like
some sort of sentence. She looked so pathetic as if she felt there was upon
her an unchangeable situation which was indeed the way it was.
“You know, some things you just can't change!” Jenny spoke to her niece in
an effort to try to reach her.
“I know, I know.” The young woman pushed the back of her hand across her
eyes to wipe away her tears.
“You could be like a friend of mine.” Jenny was reflective. “She had been
married for forty years when she and her husband divorced. When she talked
about her husband all she wanted to remember was how many suits of clothing
she had sewn for him.”
“Suits?” The young woman couldn't comprehend this bit of information.
“Can you imagine what a bitter pill that would be to swallow?” Jenny
seemed to reach her niece for a moment and continued.
“I really cannot see this sewing up of suits. She must have been a
seamstress. But what is more unbelievable is forty years of being his
personal tailor? My, my, she must have been out of her mind.” Jenny's
niece was broken away from her own grief now.
“She was beside herself. She couldn't quit crying and just rambling on and
on about sewing up those suits.”
Jenny's niece glanced at her aunt from out of the corner of her eye while
her head was still looking down at the potato in her hand. There was a
muffled snuffling sound she made.
The older woman felt bad. Oh dear! Oh dear! Now I've made her cry. Jenny
was so angry with herself as she glanced over toward her niece, who was now
laughing so hard she couldn't stop. In reality what Jenny thought was
weeping was actually laughing.
It was at this time Jenny's mother walked in the back door. She had her arms
full of things and her daughter knew she had returned from one or another
function from off the reservation. Her give away loot was stacked in a
“Mother, you made out like a bandit again tonight!” Jenny was joking with
her mother because of all the gifts she was bringing back. The give away
was always practiced. It was from this the gifts were forthcoming.
“I sure did. Look!” She was now speaking to her granddaughter. “Look!”
The grandmother was calling the younger woman's attention to the gifts.
There on top of one of the baskets was the most beautiful blanket. There was
no doubt as to who should receive it. The color of the blanket was exactly
the same red auborn color of her granddaughter's hair.
“Without words spoken the girl reached over to pick up the blanket. “This is
for me isn't it?” There was a sparkle in the girl's eyes that had not been
there for days.
Jenny was thoughtful and her mind was going to what she knew must have been
the gossip of the reservation. Her niece's divorce must have been discussed.
This blanket, the exact rare color ot the girl's red hair had been
something, someone had gone to quite a length in order to find a way to lift
the girl's spirits. What was all right about that was the girl was left with
the thought that someone cared about her. How else could there have been
such a gift as this?
“So goes the way of reservation gossip.” Jenny had just seen a new strength
radiating from her niece and somehow she knew this was a turning point
brought about by these ancient ways which no one could explain or know from
where they came.