The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?
A Novel By Teddie S.
Copyright © 2019 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.
Some people! Charlie and Jackie are back.
The trip to the Taos Pueblo. What’s Hózhó?
My dad and I had talked about how to get the ‘57 Chevy out to New Mexico. He suggested shipping it, and I tend to agree with him.
We’d met up with the crew, Kelly, Larry, Maria, and Mark, and had an in-depth talk about Maria seeing more of who Kai is and wondering if Amy was becoming more like Kai. We also talked about us buying a house.
At dinner, with our parents, we found out what everyone’s summer was going to be like. Our sets of our parents were going to fly to Albuquerque to see us, rent a motor home, and spend a week or two traveling around, of course, they were going to make two of the barbecues at the resort. And, we worked on trying to get Bill and Bridget to come out to see us after they got back from Scotland.
When we were back in Albuquerque, we found out that the universities school of medicine wanted to have a seminar about working with the native people. And they wanted Amy to put the seminar together, and put it on. And, Amy wants a typewriter.
We’d stopped to see Cousin Ahiga, the silversmith, on our way to dinner. Dinner was at the La Placita Dining Rooms and was one of their great meals. After we finished eating, Amy and I were talking. I then told her about a dream I’d had the night that we’d talked about Tom’s spirit becoming stronger. The dream included the Indian Maiden, a wolf, and an Eagle, and what the maiden had told. And, how on the flight back to Albuquerque, every once in a while, I would hear the Indian Maiden repeat what I’d heard in my dream.
When I finished telling Amy about the dream, I looked at her, and there were tears in her eyes. I asked, “Why the tears?”
“Honey.”, Amy whispered. “As you told me that, I felt warm inside, my heart filled with love for you, and I love being your life partner. You are so special to me.”
I reached over and wiped the tears away. Then I held Amy's hand. Yes we were in a restaurant, yes there were people around, yes we were two girls, and no I didn’t care what anyone saw or thought.
As we were leaving the restaurant, we walked past a couple eating dinner and the woman, in a loud voice, said, “You two girls should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Both Amy and I stopped walking, turned to look at the woman, and Amy beat me to it, as she said, “Excuse me. What are you talking about?”
The woman said, “Two girls showing affection in public that way is a sin. You two will burn in hell.”
“Ma'am, you don’t know what you’re talking about. She and I are cousins and very close. My fiance broke off our engagement without any explanation, and she was consoling me. So mind your own damn business!”
“Oh. I’m so sor … “
“Don’t bother to apologize. You’ve done your damage! You embarrassed us in front of everyone in the restaurant.”
As Amy turned on her heels and started for the door, she said to the woman, “Have a good evening.”
I was right behind Amy after I’d glared at the woman. The manager of the restaurant met us at the cash register and said, “I know that you’re regulars. And, I’m sorry that happened. Your meal is on the house.”
“No.”, I said. We’ll pay for our meal, and we’ll pay for their meal.”
“It’s to show them that we are bigger people than they are.”
I’d already left our tip on the table. But, I took two tens and a five out of my wallet, handed it to the manager, and said, “Use the forty to cover our bill and theirs, and the five, plus any change from the forty to tip the two waitresses.”
“Are you sure?”, the manager asked.
“Very sure.”, I replied.
As we walked out of the restaurant, I said to Amy, “You stood up to her.”
“I’m learning.”, Amy replied.
“Learning from who?”
“From the ultimate professor.”
“The ultimate professor?”
“Yes, Professor Kai. Dean of the art of telling people off.”
“Oh, thanks.”, I said.
“Well, you are.”, Amy replied.
“Besides that woman was way out of line.”
“You sure told her that she was.”
“Does that get me an A for the class?”
“An A+.”, I said.
“And, you paying for their meal.”, Amy said. “That was different.”
“I know. I just had to show her that we were bigger than they were.”
“And, I think the manager and the waitresses were very surprised.”
“I think that you’re right.”
When we were back at the apartment, there was a message on the answering machine, I rewound the tape, pressed play, and we heard, “Kai, it’s Quah Ah. Please call me. Call the operator and ask her for Taos 9705. It’s a party line and may be busy. If it is try again in ten minutes. Please call. It’s important. Bye.”
I looked at Amy, and she said, “I don’t like the sound of this.”
“Me either.”, I said.
I picked up the phone and dialed zero. When the operator answered, I asked her for Taos 9705. She told me to hold the line. She was back in less than a minute and told me the line was busy and to try later. I thanked her and hung up.
I waited ten minutes and tried again, and when the operator came back on the line, she said, “Your party is on the line. Go ahead.”
I said, “Hello, Quah Ah?”
“Yes.”, I heard Quah Ah say. “Is this Kai?”
“Yes. Quah Ah, what’s going on?”
“I’m afraid that I have some bad news. Governor Cochiti passed away on the morning of the twenty-sixth.”
“Oh no. I was afraid that’s what your call was about. When’s the funeral?”
“I’m sorry Kai, but it was this morning.”
“I’m so sorry that we missed it.”
“Naainish told me that you were out of town until today.”
“Yes, we were in Ohio and weren’t back in Albuquerque until earlier this afternoon.”
“Kai, the family has asked me to ask you and Ajie to come to the feast that will celebrate the departure of the Governor’s soul to the cloud spirit’s adobe in Blue Lake.”
“We’ll be there. When is it?”
“It’ll be on Saturday afternoon at one at the Pueblo.”
“Could we bring Charlie and Jackie with us?”
“Of course. I know that the Governor liked them. What’s their last name?”
“It’s Hamilton. They liked each other, and it’s going to be hard telling Charlie when they get back.”
“They aren’t there?”, Quah Ah asked.
“No.”, I replied. “They also went home for Christmas and won’t be back until Friday.”
“It will be good to see you and Ajie again.”
“It’ll be good to see you too, but I wish it were under different circumstances.”
“So do I Kai. So do I.”
“We’ll see you on Saturday, Quah Ah. Hágoónee'.” - (See you later.)
“I remember that, Kai. Hágoónee'.”
As I hung up the phone, I turned and looked at Amy, and she said, “The governor, he passed. Didn’t he?”
“Yeah. The day after Christmas. And, they’re holding a feast on Saturday afternoon.”
“That’s so sad. The Governor was such a nice man.”
“He was. Now we have to tell Charlie.”
“Are we going to the feast?”, Amy asked.
“The family asked us to, and I said we’d be there.”
“Good. How about Charlie and Jackie.”
“Quah Ah said that they’d be more than welcome.”
“That’s good. I think that they’ll like that and it may help them. What time does their flight come in?”
“I think it’s two-twenty. But, I’ll check with the airline tomorrow.”
Friday morning I rolled over in bed, looked at Amy, and she was looking at me. She smiled, and said, “Good morning lover.”
I returned the smile, and said, “Waking up with you every morning is like waking up with an angel. I love you.”
“I love you too, sweetheart.”
The first thing we did after breakfast was to go grocery shopping. We’d decided that we’d invite Charlie and Jackie over for dinner, and we bought something special for dinner, plus some things to refill our refrigerator.
After we’d put our shopping away, we headed downtown, and after a stop at the bank, we went to an office supply store. We walked in and started looking around. We found the typewriters and started looking at the various ones that they had on display, and we found their display of IBM Selectric typewriters.
Finally, a salesman walked up to us, and said, “Can I help you girls with something?”
“Yes.”, I said. “We’re interested in a typewriter.”
“Our less expensive models are over hear.”
As he started walking towards the less expensive ones, I said, “Who said we wanted a cheap typewriter?”
He turned, and said, “We don’t sell many typewriters to Indians. And, when we do it’s usually the less expensive ones.”
“And, why is that?”
“Miss, usually they can’t afford them.”
“Is that an assumption that we can’t afford a good typewriter because we’re Indians, or maybe because of your attitude.”
“From the minute that you said, can I help you. You’ve been talking down to us. Are we second class citizens? Isn’t our money good here? Or, what?”
“I’m sorry, miss.”
“Maybe you don’t sell many typewriters to Indians because of your attitude toward the native American people.
“We came in here to purchase a good typewriter. We’re both doctoral level students at the university. And, we’re also instructors there.
“So, do you think that we don’t deserve a good typewriter?”
“I … I … “, the salesman started to say.
Another man walked up, and said, “Jim, what’s going on here.”
I looked at him, and asked, “And, who are you?”
“Miss.” he replied. “I’m Paul Mothersbaugh, the store manager. Is there a problem.”
“Yes and no, Mr. Mothersbaugh.”, I replied. “We are just tired of going into a store and being treated like second class citizens just because we are native Americans.”
“Is this true, Jim?”
“If … If I was doing that, I wasn’t aware that I was.”, Jim said. “And … And, I’m sorry.”
I could feel that Jim was sincere in his apology.
“I overheard most of your conversation, Miss.”, Mr. Mothersbaugh said. “And, I’m sorry that you feel that way. We try to treat everyone the same. What can we do for you?”
“Sell us a typewriter.”, I said.
“I think we can do that, Miss. It there anything in particular that you’re interested in?”
“Yes, we’re thinking of an IBM Selectric.”
“An excellent choice.
“Come with us. Jim, knows these typewriters better than I do, so do you mind if he demonstrates the typewriter for you?”
I looked at Jim, and said, “I guess he can.”
The four of us went over to where the IBM Selectric typewriters were, and Jim did an excellent job of explaining the features. I took in all of what Jim was telling us, Amy tried the typewriter, and she liked it.
Jim also suggested two additional typing elements, or as he called them golf balls, for doing technical reports. We picked those up, and he threw in two reams of paper and a couple of ribbons.
It wasn’t much later that we were at the checkout, and Paul, the manager, said to Jim, “Jim, just charge them the price minus your commission.”
Jim looked a little shocked. And, I asked, “Mr. Mothersbaugh, are you saying that Jim isn’t going to be getting his commission on this sale?”
“Yes. I feel that you should have a discount.”
I looked at Jim, and asked, “Jim, did you learn that it’s better to treat people like you want to be treated?”
“Yes, Miss. I have.”, Jim replied.
I then looked at Mr. Mothersbaugh, and said, “I think Jim learned a valuable lesson today. And, he has to earn a living, so if you don’t give him his commission, I will.”
Mr. Mothersbaugh just looked at me for a second, then said, “You’re the customer.” Then looking at Jim, he said, “Jim, charge them the sale price that goes into effect on Monday, and figure your commission on the full amount.
“Is that okay with you, Miss.”
“Perfectly fine, Mr. Mothersbaugh.”, I replied. “And, don’t fire him, he knows his product very well. And, I think he learned a lesson today.”
Jim told me what the total damages were. I took my wallet out of my purse and paid him. Then the manager said, “Jim, why don’t you help these ladies out to their car with their purchases.”
Jim did help us out to the car. He carried the typewriter for us and put it in the trunk. Then he said, “Miss, I want to apologize to you again. I honestly didn’t realize that I was talking down to you.”
“I think that you’ve realized your mistake. And, if your manager gives you a problem let me know. You can reach me through the universities engineering college. My name is Kai Nez.”
“Thank you, Miss Nez.”, Jim said. “He’s a good guy, and I don’t think that there will be a problem. Besides, I think you threw him for a loop with the way you handled this.
“Again, Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, Jim. Have a good day.”
Amy and I got in the car and started heading back to the apartment. As I drove, Amy said, “Another lesson from Dean Kai.”
“The way you handled that. You taught the guy something. And, when his manager got involved, and you handled that very well too.”
“Thank you. Now, I hope that I can handle telling Charlie about the Governor just as well.”
“Honey, it’ll be just fine. It’ll be hard to do, but he’ll be with friends.”
When we got home, we carried the typewriter into the small room and set it on the small table that we used as a desk. Amy sat at the table, and said, “This table is a little too high.”
“So, what do we do?”, I asked.
“Maybe find a typing table, and maybe a desk chair.”
“We’ll do that. The used furniture shop may have something.”
Then I called the airport and checked on Charlie and Jackie’s flight, and it was on time. It would be in at two-twenty and gate fourteen.
Amy and I had lunch and were at the airport at a little before two, and we walked down the concourse to gate fourteen and waited. But, we didn’t have to wait long, the flight was early. It taxied up to the gate ten minutes early.
We stood outside at the chain link fence and waited as the passengers came down the boarding stairs. We spotted Charlie and Jackie. And they spotted us, and we waved at each other. After they walked through the gate, we got some nice hugs.
“Why did you come back a day early?”, I asked Charlie.
“We got a cheaper flight.”, Charlie replied.
“Sounds like a good reason to me.”
After we grabbed their checked luggage, we headed for the car, and Amy asked, “So, how were things at home?”
“Better.”, Jackie said. “At least our parents are talking to each other again.”
“How were things back in Ohio?”
“Great. I think we met our future sister-in-law.”
“She’s a college exchange student from Scotland.”, Amy said.
“Scotland. That’s cool.”, Charlie said.
“She’s in her second year, and things appear to be very tight between my brother, Bill, and her. He’s going to Scotland with her this summer. And, we’re trying to talk them into coming out after they get back.”
“I’d love to meet them.”, Jackie said. “So what else is going on?”
“Do you two want to have dinner with us tonight. That way you won’t have to go shopping.”
“Sounds good. What’s for dinner?”
“Do you remember the salmon dinner we had?”
“Of course. Whatever you did to the salmon made it tasty.”
“That’s what we’re having.”
“Can we help by getting anything?”, Jackie asked.
“No, honey.”, Amy replied. “We got everything this morning.”
Later as we were finishing up our dessert, which was Mexican fried ice cream, and just as Amy came back from taking the dishes to the kitchen, I took a deep breath and said, “Charlie, I don’t know any other way to tell you this other than to just tell you.”
“Kai.”, Charlie asked. “Something’s wrong. What is it?”
As I bit my lip, I said, “Charlie … Governor Cochiti passed away.”
Charlie just stared at me in shock. And, I saw tears in Jackie’s eyes. Then Charlie finally said, “No. Please tell me that it’s not true.”
“I’m sorry Charlie, but he did.”
“How? When? Why?”
“Right after you left for home we went up to the resort to do an early Christmas with my aunts and uncles. And, Naainish, our medicine man friend, was there. Naainish asked Ajie and me to go with him to the Taos Pueblo to see the Governor. And, when he told us why we were both shocked.
“It turns out that the Governor had a fast-growing cancer, and didn’t have long to live. And, he’d asked to see us, Naainish, Ajie, and me. We were able to spend a little time with him, and hopefully I was able to make him feel at ease with what was happening. He also said to say hello to you.
“Then, when we got back from Ohio, we got a call from Quah Ah telling us that the Governor had passed on the day after Christmas.”
“Oh, man.”, Charlie said. “He wasn’t that old. Why? Why? Why?”
“Charlie.”, Amy said. “It’s one of those things we don’t have any control over. And, it happens to all of us. It can be hard to accept, but we can do that. We have friends for support. And, I know that everyone that knew him will miss the Governor.”
“And, Charlie.”, I said. “This may help. They’re having a feast at the Taos Pueblo to honor the Governor, plus it’s a part of the Taos Pueblo religion, and it will celebrate the departure of the Governor’s spirit to the cloud spirit’s adobe in Blue Lake. And, you are welcome to come with us.”
“I … I think that it might be good to go.”, Jackie said with tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Honey, I think that you’re right.”, Charlie said. “But, what’s this cloud spirit’s adobe in Blue Lake?”
“It’s what the Taos Pueblo people see as heaven.”, I said. “There is actually a lake in the mountains of the Pueblo called Blue Lake, and it’s very sacred. To the Taos Pueblo people, it’s where their spirit goes when they pass on. It’s so sacred that even Quah Ah couldn’t take us to it.”
“When is this feast?”
“Tomorrow at one.”
“Amy.”, Jackie asked. “I don’t really have any good clothes, could I borrow that long skirt and blouse again?”
“Of course, honey.”, Amy replied.
“Kai, do you think your uncle would let me borrow what I wore that one time?”, Charlie asked.
“The white pants and red shirt?”, I asked.”
“I don’t know why not. Let me make a phone call.”
I went to the phone, called my aunt and uncle, and explained what was going on. I also found out that they were also going to the feast. When I went back to the table, and said, “All taken care of Charlie.”
“All taken care of?”, Charlie asked.
“We’re stopping at the resort on our way to the Pueblo. They’re loaning you a pair of white linen pants, a bright red shirt, a red headscarf, and a pair of wrap moccasins.”
“No. And, bring a change of clothes with you, just in case.”
“Just in case of what?”, Jackie asked.
“You never know. You know my aunt and uncle, we may end up staying overnight at the resort. Also, bring bathing suits.”
“Bathing Suits!? In this weather. It’s too cold.”
“I think that you might find it fun.”, Amy said. “Soak in the warm waters of the thermal pools and then run to the bathhouse.”
“You two are crazy. But, okay. We’ll bring bathing suits.”
Amy took Jackie to the downstairs bathroom and helped her clean up. And, I told Charlie, “One of the reasons that I went to see the Governor was that I knew that I might, just might, be able to calm the Governor’s fear over his passing.”
“How can you do that?”, Charlie asked.
“I’ll be honest with you, Charlie. I don’t know, and it scares me that I can do it.”
“How do you do it?”
“I don’t know. So far I’ve sat with two people who were dying, held their hands, and talked with them. Then, I feel them become more relaxed.
"What scared me was the time that I sat with Naainish’s father, and he passed while I was holding his hand. I felt him become at ease with his passing, and then his spirit left him. But, then I felt at ease.”
“You … you felt his spirit leave him?”
I just nodded yes.
“Kai.”, Charlie said. “I just don’t understand you.”
“I don’t understand me either, Charlie.”
On Saturday both Ajie and I dressed in our Biil dresses, and wrap moccasins. We'd done our hair in braids. Amy’s hair was in a single braid down her back with the butterfly barrette at the top. My hair was in two braids with the colored leather strips intertwined and fancy ends. Most of our jewelry was at the resort, so that would have to wait. And, we knew that it was going to be cold, so we took along our shawls.
Shortly after we were dressed, along with Jackie and Charlie, we were heading north towards the resort. Later as we pulled into the resort, Jackie said, “I’ll never get over how pretty this place is.”
“It is. Isn’t it?”, Amy said.
We pulled up to my aunt and uncle’s house and went in. My aunt greeted us with, “Kai and Ajie, you two look prettier and prettier every time I see you. And, Jackie and Charlie, how are you?”
“I guess we’re okay, Mrs. Biakeddy. Going to funerals isn’t fun. How are you?”, Jackie said.
“I’m fine. And, no funerals aren’t fun.” Then, putting her hands on her hips, my aunt said, “Jackie! Remember it’s Aunt Ruth.”
“Oops. Sorry, Aunt Ruth.”
“That’s okay honey. We’ll get Charlie changed, and then we’ll get you fixed up.”
“Fixed up? I’m fine, Aunt Ruth.”
“Yes, the skirt and blouse are very nice. But, we need to do some things to it.”
“If you say so.”
“I do. And, Charlie your things are back in the room that you used the last time you were here.”
“Thanks, Aunt Ruth. I’ll go change.”, Charlie said.
As Charlie started down the hall, Aunt Ruth said, “And, Charlie you’ll also find a pair of wrap moccasins in your room.”
“Okay, Aunt Ruth.”
Then as Charlie disappeared down the hall, Aunt Ruth took Jackie’s hand, and said, “Come on, honey. Let’s get you fixed up.”
Ajie and I followed Aunt Ruth and Jackie down the hall, they went into Aunt Ruth’s room, and Ajie and I went into our room. We’d left most of our jewelry in the floor safe when we went to Ohio. So, we needed it.
When we came out of our room, we were both wearing Concho belts, and various rings and bracelets. We’d gone with fancy earrings, and I wore the ones that my grandfather had made, they were the ones made with silver rounds about the size of a dime that had a fancy design on them. And, each of the silver rounds had three small gold feathers hanging from it. Ajie went with a pair of beaded earrings. And, she also chose one of the beaded chokers to go with the earrings. I picked the hair-pipe bone choker with the silver medallion and silver feather.
Then we both picked the Eagle feather headdresses to put on once we were at the Pueblo.
When we finished, I re-locked the floor safe as there were more things in it, and we walked back into the kitchen. Charlie was already back, and he looked good. He’d even gotten the wrap moccasins on correctly.
A few minutes later Aunt Ruth and Jackie came out. Jackie had on a pair of wrap moccasins, a Concho belt, a beaded choker, beaded earrings, and a braided headband. Aunt Ruth was carrying another Concho belt, and handed it to Charlie as she said, “You need this Charlie.”
Charlie took it and put it on.
Ajie had been looking at Jackie for a minute, then said, “Kai, give me the key to the floor safe.”
I handed Ajie the key, and she went down the hall to our bedroom. She was back in a few minutes and gave Jackie, a bracelet, and two rings.
“I can’t wear these.”, Jackie said. “I’ll lose them.”
“Honey.”, Ajie said. “You won’t lose them. You just needed to add some sparkle to the sparkle that Aunt Ruth has already given you.”
“Okay, Ajie. But, I’m going to worry all day.”
“Don’t. It’ll be fine.”
A short time later the six of us were in the van belonging to the resort and heading to the Taos Pueblo. It was a quiet ride. As we pulled up to the visitors parking lot, there was a sign that said, “We are sorry, but the Taos Pueblo is closed for a special feast.” And, two tribal police officers were standing by the gate.
Uncle Paul pulled up to them, and one of them said, “I’m sorry sir, but the Pueblo is closed today.”
“Yes. I know.”, Uncle Paul said. “We’re here for the feast for Tribal Governor Cochiti.”
“Are you members of the Pueblo?”
“No, we are members of the Navajo Nation.”
“Yes, sir. And, you are?”
“I’m Yiska Biakeddy, and this is my wife, Sahkyo.”
He looked at a clipboard, and said, “Yes sir. You’re on the list.”
Then looking at Charlie and Jackie who were sitting in the second seat, he asked, “And, you sir?”
“I’m Charlie Hamilton, and this is my wife, Jackie.”
The officer looked at his clipboard again, and said, “Yes, Sir. You’re also here.”
Then looking at Ajie and me, he asked, “And, you are?”
I pointed to Ajie, and said, “She’s Ajie Nez, and I’m Kai Nez.”
Without looking at his clipboard, “Oh yes, Miss Nez. We were expecting you.”
Then to Uncle Paul, the officer said, “Sir, go ahead and pull your car into the parking lot.”
“Thank you, officer.”, Uncle Paul said.
Uncle Paul parked the van, and after we got out, Ajie and I put on our Eagle feather headdresses. Then we both put on our shawls.
“Those shawls are gorgeous.”, Jackie said.
“Thank you, honey.”, Ajie said. “They were Christmas presents from our aunts and uncles.”
As we walked out of the parking lot, I asked one of the police officers, “Where is the feast being held?”
He pointed to a building, and said, “Right over there, Miss Nez.”
“Thank you, officer.”
“You’re very welcome, Miss Nez.”
We walked over to an abode building that looked like a meeting hall. As we walked in you could smell the food, and it was a wonderful smell. There was also some music and quiet singing. There must have been a hundred people there. We looked around, and I finally spotted Quah Ah and Chief Lefthand, and they were talking with someone.
Quah Ah then spotted us, said something to the people that she was talking to, and she and the Chief walked over. As she walked up, without a word, I received a big hug from Quah Ah, and so did Ajie. Then I introduced everyone.
Quah Ah then said, “I’m so happy that all of you could come to celebrate Governor Cochiti. He will be missed. And by attending his feast, you help make his travel to the Blue Lake easier.”
“Thank you.”, I replied. “I’m glad we could be here. I just wish we didn’t have to do this.”
“I know, Kai, so do we. It’s very hard.
“Come with me. I know that the Governor’s wife would like to see you.”
We followed Quah Ah to where Governor Cochiti’s wife and some other family members were sitting. As we walked up, Mrs. Cochiti saw us and smiled.
Quah Ah introduced everyone, when she introduced Charlie and Jackie, the Governor’s wife smiled, and said, “Yes, Charlie, I’ve heard a lot about you. The Governor liked you very much.”
“We liked him too, Mrs. Cochiti.”, Charlie said. “And, we’ll miss him.”
Then she looked at me, and said, “Kai Nez, I’m so happy to see you again.”
She reached out her hand, I took it, and I said, “Mrs. Cochiti, please it’s just Kai. And we all are so sorry for your loss.”
“I know. But, you made it so much easier for him in his passing. You also made his loss easier for me to accept. You are an angel.”
“No, Mrs. Cochiti, I’m not an angel. I’m just someone that offered my hand to a man that needed comforting. And, I also offer my hand to that man’s family in their time of sorrow.”
Mrs. Cochiti smiled, then said, “You are too modest. But, I feel that it’s your way. It makes you even more precious.”
“Please take care of yourself, Mrs. Cochiti. And, we’ll try to come back to the Pueblo to see you.”
“I would like that.”
Then I kissed her cheek, and we walked away. Then I asked, “Quah Ah, is Naainish here?”, I asked. “I thought that I saw his pickup in the parking lot.”
“Yes, he’s here someplace.”
“Quah Ah.”, I said. “I feel a need to go to the cemetery.”
Quah Ah smiled, and said, “Kai Nez, I thought you might. But, only you can go.”
I looked at the rest of my party, and Ajie said, “Kai, go on.”
“Yes, Kai.”, my aunt said, “Go.”
“Kai.”, Quah Ah said. “You will know where to go in the cemetery.”
As I turned to walk out of the building, I said, “I’ll be right back.”
I walked out of the building and towards the cemetery. As I walked up to the cemetery gate, I stopped, everything seemed so quiet, so peaceful. I opened the gate, walked through it, and closed it. Something called me to one part of the cemetery, I walked to that part, and saw a freshly dug grave. I knew it was Governor Cochiti grave. I paused, stood there quietly, and I heard a chant in my mind. And, I repeated what I was hearing.
When I finished the chant, I felt good. I felt like I’d helped Governor Cochiti spirit make the trip to the Blue Lake.
I stood there for a minute or two, then walked back to the building. I had to look around for everyone, but I quickly found them. I walked over to them, and since I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I said, “I’m hungry.”
The six of us made our way to the food tables. And talk about food. There was a lot of it and it was good. Then I saw Naainish and Chief Kinlicheeny. Naainish saw us, and they walked over to where we were sitting. I couldn’t remember if they had met Charlie and Jackie, so I introduced them. Then with a smile, Chief Kinlicheeny said, “Kai, your memory must be slipping, we met them when you had your problem with the Board of Regents.”
I smiled back, and said, “Yes, I know too many people. I think I’m going to have to move to the mountains and live with the Mountain People.”
“Kai.”, Naainish said. “The bears would love to have you in their mountains.”
“And, I’d love to live in their mountains.”
“Maybe your house will be in the mountains.”
“How did you … Oh never mind. I’ll never know how you know things.”
“I told him.”, my uncle said.
“As I thought! Naainish, you have spies.”
Naainish just smiled. Something he doesn’t often do.
Then I said, “Naainish, I know that I should feel sad, but I don’t. I almost feel happy.”
“Kai Nez.”, Naainish said. “You are here to celebrate the life of the Governor not to mourn him.”
“I see. And, my spirits know this?”
“Yes. And, listen to the voice you heard when you had the dream. Your spirits, the wolf and the Eagle, are with you. They will guide and protect you and Ajie.”
“Naainish, there is only one other person that knows of that dream, and I know she didn’t tell you. How?”
“Kai Nez, like you, I see things, I feel things, I know things that I have no way of knowing, yet I know.”
“I know, Naainish. And, I should just accept it.”
“That would be good for you to finally do. To finally embrace that you are special, not only to your people but to others. To other nations, like the various Pueblos, the Zuni, the Mescalero Apache, and others. To your family, your friends, your students, and your fellow faculty members.
“If you would accept this, I think you would find that you would reach hózhó.”
“I’ve heard the word hózhó before, but don’t understand it.”, I said.
“There is no Anglo word that is the same.”, Naainish said. “To the Diné - (Navajo) it means that you are continuing to find and practice balance in your life. You will be in balance and beauty with the world. With the mundane and divine you will be in harmony, and that will give you health, a long life, happiness, wisdom, and knowledge.”
Then looking at Ajie, Naainish said, “And, Kai, you reaching hózhó will help Ajie also reach it.”
I looked at Naainish for a minute, then said, “Naainish, I think I finally understand.”
He smiled, nodded yes, and he and the Chief walked away.
I noticed that Charlie and Jackie were looking at me, and I asked, “Too much?”
“No, Kai.”, Charlie said. “I find it very interesting.”
“Yes.”, Jackie said. “So, do I.”
My aunt and uncle were smiling.
We stayed for another hour, as my aunt and uncle saw people that they knew, and we were introduced to them. Plus, we did revisit the food table. Then, just before we were going to leave, I saw someone that I was surprised to see. It was Izusa Yupanqui or Iz. Iz is the whole parks department for the Santa Ana Pueblo Indian Reservation, and that’s where the Eagles are. And, there was a woman with him.
We walked over, and I said, “Yá’át’ééh, Iz.”
He turned, looked, and said, “Kai, I just knew it had to be you. You’re the only one that would speak in Navajo to me.”
“I didn’t know that you knew the Governor.”
“Everyone around here knew him. But, I am surprised that you did.”
“As you said, everyone around here knew him.”
As he looked at the woman next to him, “I’d like you to meet my wife, Awinita or Nita. Awinita, this is Kai Nez.
“Awinita is also the Tribal Governor of the Santa Ana Pueblo.”
“Oh.”, I said looking at Awinita. “Then I should call you Governor Yupanqui.”
“No, Kai Nez, you should call me Nita.”
“Only if you call me Kai.”
She smiled, as she said, “I will do that.”
“Then, Nita it will be.”
“Kai.”, Awinita said. “I’ve heard a lot about you. Not only the stories of the Eagles from Iz, but other things about you being, as the Navajo call them, a Nádleeh.”
“I guess I’m guilty as charged.”
“No, you should be proud of the things that you’ve done.”
“In her own way she is.”, Ajie said.
As I introduced everyone to Iz and his wife, Iz gave Ajie a puzzled look, and said, “I thought that your name was Amy Young?”
“It is.”, she replied. “The Navajo people gave me the name Ajie Nez when they made me an honorary member of the Big Medicine People Clan.”
“That is good.”, Iz said.
We talked for a little while. And, as we said so long, Nita said, “Kai, Iz has tried to show me the Eagles by the reservoir, but they never show up. And, Iz has said that they always show up when you’re there. Could I talk you into showing them to me some time?”
“Of course. We haven’t seen the Eagles for a while.”, I said. I looked at my aunt, and said, “I don’t know if we’re spending the night at the resort tonight. But, … ”
My Aunt Ruth said, “You’d better be spending the night.”
I looked at Charlie and Jackie, and with a smile, I said, “You heard the lady.” Then I looked at Nita, and said, “I guess we’re spending the night. So, we could stop by the reservoir on our way home tomorrow. If Charlie and Jackie have nothing going on.”
“We don’t.”, Jackie said. “And we’d love to see the Eagles again.”
“That would be wonderful.”, Nita said.
“Give me your phone number, and I’ll call when we leave the resort.”, I said.
“Ask the operator for Santa Ana 7112. It’s a party line, and it could be busy.”
“It’ll be after lunch.”
“That will be fine.”
We said so long and turned to walk outside. Nita said, “Girls, I didn’t notice your shawls before. They are gorgeous.”
Ajie and I turned around, and I said, “Thank you, Nita. My aunts and uncles had them made for us. They represent our spirits.”
“Oh, the Eagle and the wolf.”
“Yes, those are mine. And, Ajie’s is the Eagle.”
“Yes, you are a two spirit person.”
We said so long again.
When we were outside, Charlie said, “Kai, I just marvel at the way you talk with people.”
“Why, Charlie?”, I asked.
“You meet someone, and you talk with them like you’ve known them for years. And, they talk to you the same way. How do you do it?”
“Charlie, I don’t know. I guess it’s a gift.”
As we were walking to the van, Charlie said, “You know, I feel better. I think it was seeing all the people here, listening to the ones that I could understand talking about the Governor, and just feeling the positive power in the room.”
“Charlie.”, I said. “I thought that coming here would help you. Being here has helped me too. There were a lot of people there that knew the Governor and felt good about him. He shouldn’t have a problem with his spirits travel to the Blue Lake.”
With Uncle Paul driving, we were back at the resort in under an hour. And we had time to have a soak in the thermal pools before dinner, so as we walked into the house, I said, “I could use a soak in one of the pools.”
“Kai.”, Charlie said. “You’re crazy. It’s snowing.”
With a grin, I said, “That makes it funner, watching the snowflakes melt just above the water. Then running through the snowflakes on the way to the bathhouse.”
“I’ll go.”, Jackie said.”
“I can’t let you have all the fun.”, Ajie said. “I’ll go too.”
“Okay. Okay. Count me in.”, Charlie finally said.
“Let's get changed out of these fancy clothes.”, I said. “You’ll find bathrobes in you bathroom bring those with you. And, we can change into our suits in the bathhouse.”, I said. “And, Aunt Ruth we’ll help with dinner when we get back.”
“Okay, kids.”, Aunt Ruth said. “Have fun.”
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