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Some Kids I Have Known
Reservation Gossip

“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 small basket.

“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.

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