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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 24

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 any direction.

“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.

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