Tommy - The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl? - Chapter 87


Tommy
The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?

A Novel By Teddie S.

Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 87
A surprise. A shopping trip. Mr. Yazzie.

We had worked on getting the apartment as homey as we could. But we had more to do. And we'd taken our first trip to Old Town, Albuquerque and found Uncle Paul’s cousin Ahiga who knew a lot about our silver. Then we found a restaurant that will become one of our favorites, La Placita Dining Rooms.

Amy had started her summer classes. She has two classes that meet four times a week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Which limits the time that we had to do things, but we’ll work around it.

Today, being Friday, we were at the resort for the barbecue. And it was as Kai and Ajie. We’d talked with Dibe a little. Then we wandered around talking to the guests.

After a while, my uncle walked up to us and said, “Kai, come with me. I have something for you to do.”

I hadn’t seen it, but Uncle Paul had winked at Ajie.

I told my uncle, “Sure. What do you need?”

“Come with me, and I’ll show you.”

“Go on, Kai. I’ll find your aunt.”, Ajie said.

I walked away with my uncle, and we headed to where the musicians where. My uncle picked up the microphone, handed it to me, and said, “Kai, the food is ready, Naainish is here, and you know the drill.”

“Huh.”, I said.

“You heard me.”

“But Uncle Paul …”

“Kai, it’s time to earn your keep.”

I looked at my uncle, he grinned, offered me the microphone, I reluctantly took it, took a deep breath, turned, looked at the guests, and raised my hand. The music stopped, and the dancers stopped.

I looked around, took another deep breath, and I said into the microphone, “Ladies and gentlemen, the staff of the resort and I would like to offer you the following old Navajo greeting as a welcome to our weekly barbecue.

“Yá'át'ééh! Nizhonigó íiná aadóó hozhónahasdlíí.

“For those of you that don’t speak Navajo, I just said, Hello! It is good, and all is harmony around us.

“And I will assure you, that you are about to experience a fantastic Southwestern barbecue.

“We also have at least one special guest, and tonight is no exception. Naainish would you please join me.”

As Naainish walked up, I said, “This special guest is one of our medicine men, Naainish Yazzie. And I’m going to ask him to give a short prayer before we eat.”

As Naainish walked up, I handed him the microphone, he took it, and said, “Thank you, Kai. … ” and he followed that with a short prayer.

Then he handed the microphone back to me, I took it, and said, “Thank you, Naainish. Ladies and gentlemen. The food is ready. Please help yourself. And enjoy the music and dancers.”

As I turned off the microphone, I handed it to my uncle, who had been standing there, he took it, and said, “Kai, you have a job.”

“No way.”, I said.

“They loved you. A pretty girl and she can give a greeting better than I can.”

Just then Ajie walked up, and said, “Kai, I didn’t know that you were going to do that.”

“I didn’t either.”, I replied. “Uncle Paul sprung it on me.”

“Kai.”, Naainish said. “You did a wonderful job.”

“Yeah. Without any warning.”

“Did you have a script when you presented that plaque to Dibe?”

“No. But that was different. I had a long time to think about it.”

“Mad?”, Uncle Paul asked.

“I guess not. But warn a girl next time.”

“Do it again next week?”

“I guess.”

“And, thanks for doing a great job with no warning.”

I grabbed Ajie’s hand, and said, “Come on. We’d better get in the food line before Uncle Paul does.”

Ajie and I enjoyed the barbecue until it became dark, then we headed to the bonfire and just talked with people. Some of the quests were interested in how we were dressed, some were interested in our jewelry, and some wanted to talk about the Indians in the area.

Ajie and I were about the last ones there as the fire burned down to coals. Then we walked back to my aunt and uncle’s house and sat with them on the patio enjoying the small fire and the stars.

>>> Saturday, July 8 – +16 day

On Saturday we were up early and hiked up the cliff trail to watch a Sunrise. Even though we were wearing cute blouses, shorts, and sneakers, we both still looked like Navajo girls with our hair done in braids. And why shouldn’t we.

That morning we listened to the coyotes talking as we watched the sun come up. There were maybe twenty or thirty guests up there with us, and they heard us talking about coyotes. They asked questions about them. And I mentioned wolves, and that brought more questions about the wolves.

After the sun was up, most of the guests walked back down the trail. But Ajie and I walked over to check on the little tree. It still looked good, like it was getting a regular watering.

We then walked back down the cliff trail and to my aunt and uncle’s house. As we walked in the door and into the kitchen, we were greeted by two things. The first was the fantastic smell of what even my aunt was cooking. The second was my grandma saying, “Good morning girls. You two have been out early.”

“Good morning.”, both Ajie and I said. And I continued with, “We hiked up to watch the Sunrise and listen to the coyotes talking.”

“Did you check on the little tree?”, my uncle asked.

“Yes, and it looks like it’s doing well.”

“The boys play a game to see who’ll get to go and water it.”

I smiled, as I said, “So they’ve adopted it?”

“I think so. It’s like they want to see it survive.”

“It will.”

“It will?”

“Yes. It’ll survive.”

“If you say so.”

“I don’t say so. The spirits do.”

I think to change the subject. My aunt asked, “Do you still want to go shopping for rugs and pottery?”

“Yes.”, Ajie said. “We want to decorate the apartment in a Navajo theme.”

“Good, we’ll leave right after breakfast, grandma’s going with us, and we’ll let Paul do the dishes.”

“Huh?”, Uncle Paul said.

With a grin, I said, “Uncle Paul, you get to do the breakfast dishes.”

“Hmm.”

Right after one of my aunt's fantastic breakfasts, Ajie and I changed into long skirts, plain blouses, and moccasins. We both wore our Concho belts, matching beaded earrings, and a ring or two. Then Ajie, grandma, Aunt Ruth, and I headed out in our car. And Aunt Ruth said, “Head for Taos.”

We crossed the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, then I followed Aunt Ruth’s directions and just before the turn off to Taos we turned south and then after a few miles she directed me to follow some dirt roads.

After we’d driven for a little over an hour, a lot of it on dirt roads, we came to a small community. My aunt directed us to a building that had a sign that said ‘The Rug House’ in both English and Navajo.

In front of the building was a porch with a railing, and rugs were hanging over the railing. We parked, along with three other cars, in front of the building. Then we walked up the steps, on to the porch, and into the shop. As we walked in, we saw many rugs hanging on the walls and even more on tables.

(The following conversation was all in Navajo.)

There were five people in the shop looking around and a woman behind the counter. The woman that was behind the counter looked up from what she was doing, smiled, and said, “It is good to see you, Haseya (my grandmother’s) and Sahkyo (my Aunt Ruth).”

“It’s good to see you too, Sialea-lea.”, my aunt said. “It has been too long.”

Then grandma said, “Sialea-lea, I’d like you to meet my two granddaughters, Kai Nez and Ajie Nez. Kai and Ajie this is Mrs. Tsosie.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you Kai and Ajie.”, Mrs. Tsosie said.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you too, Mrs. Tsosie.”, Ajie and I said almost in unison.

“What can I do for you this morning?”

My grandmother said, “The girls are furnishing an apartment, and could use some rugs.”

“That’s what we do here. Look around and if you have any questions just ask.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Tsosie.”, I said.

“Oh.”, Ajie said. “These are all made by Navajo weavers. Aren’t they?”

“Yes they are.”, Mrs. Tsosie replied.

The three woman continued talking, and Ajie and I looked around. We were looking for five rugs for the floor and maybe one or two for wall hangings. It didn’t take us long to find what we wanted for the floors. Two rugs for either side of our bed, two rugs for either side of the guest bed, and a large rug for in front of the couch.

But what we couldn’t find were two rugs to use as wall hangings, one in our bedroom and one in the guest room. We’d looked at everything. And nothing was saying anything to us.

We finally walked over to the three women with our five rugs. And, Mrs. Tsosie asked, “Did you find everything that you were looking for?”

“Not quite.”, I said. “We’re looking for something special to use as wall hangings, and nothing is talking to us.”

Mrs. Tsosie smiled, and said, “Something special for someone special. Perhaps an old tapestry rug.”

“Kai, honey. Mrs. Tsosie knows who you are.”, my aunt said.

“Oh.”, I said.

Mrs. Tsosie smiled, and said, “Yes, Kai, I’ve heard of you, and you’ve been in the paper. And I’m glad that you’ve come to my shop. Come with me and look at these.”

Mrs. Tsosie walked to a table, and said, “These are rugs that have been here for a long time. It was like they’ve been waiting for someone. Someone special.”

Mrs. Tsosie took us a side room and showed us a few really lovely rugs. I liked what I was seeing. I looked at Ajie and asked, “What do you think?”

“I like them. I like all of them.”, Ajie said.

“Will any of them work where you want to use them?”, Mrs. Tsosie asked.

“Perfectly. But, I’m not sure which ones.”

“I’ll leave you alone to look at them.”

Ajie and I looked at the rugs again. And I think we each could feel what the other one liked. It didn’t take us long to pick two rugs to use as wall hangings. We carried the two rugs over and added them to the other five.

Mrs. Tsosie smiled, and said, “An excellent choice with those two. And the other five that you’ve chosen are also very nice.”

“Thank you.”, I said. “Do you have anything that would make it easier to use them as wall hangings.”

“Yes, my husband makes something, and it will work well with those two rugs.”

She took something off a shelf behind the counter and set it on the counter. I looked at it, and said, “That looks really nice, I like the use of the old wood in them, and they look like they’ll hold any rug.”

“They will. We use them here in the shop. And they come in different sizes.”

“Ajie.”, I said. “Do you think this would work better on the other rug?”

“Yes.”, Ajie said. “I think it would. And I think it would look better too.”

“Mrs. Tsosie, we’ll take three of them that will fit rugs the size of the ones we picked for wall hangings.”

“Other rug?”, Mrs. Tsosie asked.

“Yes. Aunt Ruth gave us a special rug.”

“A special rug?”

“I gave them the tree of life rug with the four mountains on it.”, my aunt said.

“Oh. That is a special rug.”

What bothered me a little was that there weren’t any prices on any of the rugs. Mrs. Tsosie totaled up the cost. I looked at it, and said, “Mrs. Tsosie this can’t be right.”

“Why not?”, Mrs. Tsosie asked.

“It’s not enough.”

“Kai Nez. This is what you owe me. You bring good luck to my shop and to the weavers who made these rugs. That is worth more than money.”

I’ve learned to not argue with these people, so I said, “Thank you very much, Mrs. Tsosie.”

“No, thank you, Kai Nez, for stopping at my shop today. And come back any time.”

I paid her what she charged me. Which I figured was only half of what the rugs were worth.

As we left the store, both Ajie and I said, “See you later, Mrs. Tsosie.”

“Come back and see me anytime.”, Mrs. Tsosie said.

(Were back to English.)

We put the rugs in the trunk of the car. And as we got into the car, I asked, “Aunt Ruth, why does Mrs. Tsosie have all of those rugs?”

“She’s like Mrs. Benallie. There are many weavers in the area, and they can bring their things to her to sell.”

“Like a consignment shop.”

“Exactly. We bought most of the rugs that you see at the resort here. And the more you buy, the bigger the discount you get. You bought seven, so she gave you a little off of each one.”

“I think that she gave us more than a little off.”

“She did what she did because she felt that it was right. Do you still want to look at some pottery and baskets?”

“Sure.”, Ajie replied.

“There’s a place in Taos, that plays to the tourist trade. But if they know you, they’ll cut you a deal. Most of the pottery and baskets at the resort came from them.”

“So it’s all locally made?”

“Yes.”

“So how do I get to Taos from here.”

I followed Aunt Ruth’s directions, and it wasn’t long until we were in Taos. On the way, Grandma said, “Find a place for lunch, and I’ll buy.”

When grandma had said that, I looked at Ajie, smiled, and said, “I know the perfect place.”

“Where’s that, honey?”, grandma asked.

“You’ll see.”

And it wasn’t long until we were walking into Doc Martin’s Restaurant at the Taos Inn. And grandma bought us a nice lunch.

Then it was off to the shop that sold pottery and baskets. We were able to park on the street not far from the shop, and as we walked towards the shop, I said, “Ajie, know where we are?”

“Sure.”, Ajie said. “Mr. Yazzie’s shop is in the next block.”

“Is it really?”, Aunt Ruth said.

“Yes. In the middle of the block.”

“Do you want to go there first?”

“No. Lets do the pottery first.”

“Well, that shop is right here.”

I looked, and we were standing right in front of the shop.

When we walked in, we noticed a few customers looking around. The shop owner saw us, and she greeted Aunt Ruth by name. Then Aunt Ruth introduced us, and when she said my name, the woman looked at me, and said, “Are you that Kai Nez?”

“I guess.”

“The Nádleeh?”

“Yes.”

“Are you?”

“Mai.”, my aunt said. “Yes, she is.”

“One of the local merchants has told some of us that he knows you. And no one believes him.”

“Sike Yazzie?”, I asked.

“Yes.”

“You owe him an apology. We know Mr. Yazzie very well. And Ajie is wearing a Concho belt that he made.”

“Oh, my dear. I’m so sorry that I doubted him.”

“Tell him that.”

“Oh. I will. Now, what can I do for you?”

“We’re furnishing our apartment in Albuquerque, and are using a Navajo theme. So we’re looking for some pottery and maybe some baskets.”

Pointing at a wall, Mai said, “That wall, the back wall, and the tables in front of them are all Navajo items. Take a look and if you have any questions, just ask.”

“Thank you.”, I said.

The four of us started looking at all the pottery and baskets. It took us a little while, but Ajie and I settled on two baskets and four pieces of pottery. As we were paying for them, Mai said, “I’m going to call Sike as soon as you leave and apologize.”

“Please don’t.”, I said. “He doesn’t know that we’re back in town. And as soon as we put our purchases in the car, we’re going to stop in his shop and surprise him.”

“Okay. I’ll wait until later.”

“Thank you.”

We left the shop, and Ajie and I took our purchase to the car and put them in the trunk, while grandma and my aunt waited at the pottery shop. Then we rejoined my aunt and grandmother outside the pottery shop and walked down the street to Mr. Yazzie’s shop.

My aunt asked, “Do you want grandma and me to wait out here?”

“No.”, I said. “Why don’t you go in first and get his attention away from the door. Then Ajie and I will come in and surprise him.”

My aunt and grandmother went into Mr. Yazzie’s shop and started looking at what was on display. He walked over to talk to them, Ajie and I quietly walked into the shop, stood there for a minute, and then I said, “Yá'át'ééh, Sike Yazzie. Nizhonigó íiná aadóó hozhónahasdlíí. - (Hello, Sike Yazzie. It is good, and all is harmony around us.)

Mr. Yazzie turned around, looked at us, his eyes got big, and he smiled. Then he said, “Yá'át'ééh, Kai dóó Ajie. You’ve come back to see me.”

“Of course Mr. Yazzie. How are you?”

“I am good. And you two look very well.”

“Thank you. We are.”

“I’m so glad to see the two of you. How long are you here for this time?”

I looked at Ajie, back at Mr. Yazzie, grinned, and said, “Oh. Long enough to pay you back for that gotcha.”

“Oh. The two rings.”

“Yes, the two rings. And we have two years to figure out how to pay you back.”

“Two years!?”

“Yes, two years. Ajie is working on her master’s degree at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.”

“I’m going to have to watch my back for two years?”

“Yes, sir. And I promise you that in that time that we’ll figure something out.”

“You mean, I’ll have to watch my back for two years?”

I smiled, and said, “Oh no, you’ll only have to watch your back until we get you back.”

“Kai!”

“Mr. Yazzie. I’m kidding. I’m not a vindictive person. Ajie and I love those rings. We know that this was all done in fun.”

“Thank you, Kai. I didn’t think that you were spiteful. And I did do it in fun.”

“I thought so.”

“Kai and Ajie, it is wonderful to see you again. You bring a smile to this old man’s heart.”

“And it’s wonderful to see you again too. My heart smiles every time I think of you.”

Ajie and I walked up to him and hugged him.

Then I said, “Mr. Yazzie, I’d like you to meet two of the other member of our team to pay back the gotcha. Aunt Ruth, grandma, this is Sike Yazzie. He’s Naainish’s uncle.

“Mr. Yazzie, this is my Grandmother Haseya Devereux and my Aunt Sahkyo Biakeddy.”

They exchanged greetings. And we talked for a little while. And as we were getting ready to leave, I said, “We’ll stop in and see you every time that we’re up this way.”

“Oh! Wait don’t leave yet. I have something to show you.”

Mr. Yazzie disappeared into the back of his shop and was soon back with something wrapped in a black cloth. He laid it on the counter and uncovered it. It was a small silver box with feet and a square turquoises stone in the center of the top with a beautiful design around it. The sides of the box even had some beautiful work on them. Mr. Yazzie explained that the box was made with what’s called the hand-stamping method. The artist uses various tools and small hammers to make the raised images.

I asked the magic question, “Is this some of Kilchii’s work?”

As he turned the box over and pointed to a maker’s mark, Mr. Yazie said, “Yes. See. That’s his maker’s mark on the bottom.”

“Where did you find this?”

“A friend had it and knew that I liked Kilchii Nez’s work. So we did some trading, and this is now mine.”

“This is wonderful. It’s now in the hands of someone who will appreciate it. But you have it here. I thought you never kept special pieces here.”

“I don’t. It was locked in the safe. I’m taking it to have it appraised when I close. Then I’ll take it home.”

“Is Mr. Tsinajinnie doing the appraisal?”

“Of course.”

“I hope that someone is going with you?”

“Yes. I have a friend that’s a policeman, and he’ll be getting off duty close to the time I close. And he’s going with me.”

“Good, that makes me feel better.”, I said.

As we were leaving, Mr. Yazzie said, “Goodbye. And please come back to see me.”

“Mr. Yazzie.”, I said. “We never say goodbye it’s too permanent. We only say, hágoónee' (see you later).”

“Then, hágoónee' it is.”

I smiled, and said, “Yes, we will see you very soon.”

As we walked out of the shop, Mr. Yazzie was taking the silver box back to the back room.

We walked back to the car, and as we were getting in, Ajie asked, “Kai, are you really going to forget about paying Mr. Yazzie back?”

I looked at Ajie, grinned, and said, “You know me better than that. But I want to do something that’ll fun for him.”

“That’s going to take some thought.”

On the way back to the resort, my aunt asked, “Are you two going to stay tonight?”

“We’d love to.”, Ajie replied. “But I’ve got some studying to do for Monday, and we’re going to a cookout at Dr. Etsitty’s. But with our friends coming in on Thursday you may see us then, and I’ll guarantee that you’ll see us on Friday.”

“I almost forget that your friends were coming in.”

“I just wish our other friends could be here too.”

I looked over at Ajie, and she had tears in her eyes.

~o~O~o~

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