Vacation in Colorado Springs
- In a rainy, cold campground.
They were ready for a
vacation. The tedium of daily living could be thrown off for a while and
the family needed that. Five years are all that can be endured by Peace
Corp and volunteers in heavy conflict and this is true. The continual
grinding of working with the war on poverty was threatening to impoverish
them and they needed time to re-create through recreation. Velma’s
son-in-law rented a tent on wheels. His time in the Marines on Korean soil
gave him the knowledge to know how to prepare for Colorado Springs and
their cold nights. A small electric heater was packed for use inside the
tent. Fluffy comforters were folded in the trunk of the car. Velma’s
daughter brought along small things they needed for camping: an iron
skillet, a roasting pan, silverware, a pan for washing dishes, drying
towels, and liquid soap. The children’s clothes were packed and from her
own experience when she was a child camping out with family in Cleveland,
Ohio she knew to put in warm coats. These proved to be well used in the
rainy cold days on the campground in Colorado.
At the last minute before
they left Oklahoma a child Velma’s cousin left with them for a couple of
days was stranded while her mother could not be found.
“We’ll just have to take
her along.” Velma did go to one of the woman’s haunts and tell them we had
the little girl with us. “Her mother could care-less, for where she is.
I’ll have a good talk with her, when we get back,” Velma muttered.
The trip went well and the
two cars traveled together. Upon arriving at the campground where the pow-wow
was to be held for the first time little Patty was showing signs of
culture shock. The girl looked around her at the barren campgrounds and
she shivered with a bit of a glazed look in her eyes. This girl who seemed
lttle more than a child was almost paralyzed and had no wish to move in
“Here you go.” Velma’s
daughter handed her a hot cup of coffee her husband had brewed on the new
fire pit he had just built which consisted of only a small steel grate
over a hole in the ground. The charcoal, brought along briquettes were
working, though, and soon his coffee in the over sized camper’s coffee pot
was bubbling away. He offered a cup to anyone who was passing by. Patty
began to look like she might survive as her hands were cupped around the
warmth of the big metal camping cup all Indians used. The extra,
windbreaker thrown over her shoulders helped, too.
“Can you help me with this
overhang, Patty?” She was being enlisted in activities not because they
needed her assistance but to break the trauma being inflicted on her by
this sudden change in life style. In only a little while her activity
relieved the misery and she began to laugh and visit with the young people
who were at the pow-wow. Soon she was seen strolling out over the pow-wow
grounds with these new acquaintances all kids call, “friends.”
The hard packed ground of
the camp couldn’t have absorbed the fast, hard showers and that was good.
Otherwise, there would have been a muddy floor for them under a newly set
up camp. Soon, the cold rain would subside, and the blessed sun came out
to reflect in wonderful colors on the clouds over the mountains making
them like the lighting in a stage show that was ever changing. The colors
were what an artist might dream to use and they were only there for a
moment soon to change to another spectrum. The wondrous mountains were
unbelievably inspiring to the flat landers. No adjective can describe the
beauty of that sight when it has never been seen up close before. Words
that speak of majesty, reverence, awe all fall short of what is really
there. All at once, there was a sudden understanding of why the ancestors
treated them as if they were a personality with power and a message.