Some Kids I
Thanksgiving for Two on the Rez, 2004
Jordan was in a wheelchair at this time
and he had pulled it up to the window where he could see the comings and
goings of the folks who zipped past in their shiny new cars. He enjoyed
watching them as they went to and from their jobs on this, the old Native
American reservation. Gone were the days of whispering flutes and soft drum
beat and replacing this was the low rumble of these expensive automobiles.
He had been in a wheelchair since he was a child so this was as much a part
of his life as someone else's legs were their means of getting around. He
wasn't bothered by his position due to his challenges with mobility.
Occasionally, during pow-wow he would see
someone come into the campground who was driving a van equipped with
stirring wheel making it possible for that person whose legs were paralyzed
to be able to drive with the modifications there on the wheel. Once he
watched the person swing out of the driver's seat into a wheelchair, open
the van doors, and exit via the ramp. There was a bit of a tug at his
masculinity as he longed for the ability to be so free and independent.
However, the years of having to deal with his situation made him immediately
put any thoughts of self pity away from himself.
Of course, no matter how strong a
person can become in order to deal with life there still can be times when a
slipping into a melancholy moment will threaten. At these times Jordon
simply redirected his energies to something of a more constructive activity.
On his mind now was the call he had just received from his daughter. She was
in a boarding school and wanted to come home to visit her father on
Thanksgiving Day. He was going over her conversation in his mind.
Dad, she had implored, please can't
you find someone to come get me. Everyone here has gone home for the holiday
and I'm lonely. I want to spend time with you, Thanksgiving?
He had not begged off or complained of
his situation to her. She was just a child, he felt. Children have a way of
looking to their parents as heroes, who can do anything, even those who are
Jordon gazed out the window into what
was a dreary, rain soaked day. The wheels on the cars as they sped by
whirred over the wet black top road sounding like small giants with a belly
ache, he thought. In his mind he was deciding upon a plan of action. There
were no sidewalks along the curved stretch of black top road. Great expense
had been made to put roads out to the Indian cemetery but there were no wide
sidewalks for wheelchairs. Only recently had a operator of the bingo hall
seen to it a ramp was installed on the side of that building.
He made a call to the tribal building
which was almost a mile away asking if they could allow him some money to
bring his daughter home.
You will have to come get it. The
voice over the phone held no interest for his abilities or disabilities.
Without hesitation the father, who
loved his daughter enough to brave the little giants with belly aches, the
slick, rain-soaked, road, and the uncomfortable chill upon the air made his
trek toward the tribal building not at all pleasant. His chair whipped
along with only a petite squishing of rain from under its wheels. When he
entered the tribal building he brushed past the artist who was painting a
mural on the walls. Gossip told, the man was receiving 18,000.00 for that
work but Jordan's attitude was one of non-concern.
We can only help you with ten
dollars, the woman at the desk told him.
Jordan said nothing and kept his
countenance bland as the woman ripped off the check from the thick book full
When he handed the money to his friend
who had volunteered to go after his daughter the man looked at the check,
folded it and handed it back.
Why don't you just take this to them,
apparently they need it more than we do. I'll take care of any expenses
Jordan and his daughter did spend the
day together. If it was a respite stolen from the great hand above who
dictates and manages time but they didn't complain. The warmth of the little
apartment was home enough for both of them. Whatever trials the days ahead
held for the two was not important. Today was real and it was a brief haven
for them. For this they gave thanks.
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