The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?
A Novel By Teddie S.
Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.
The crew in Taos. Mr. Yazzie! Chief Etsitty?
Yesterday the crew was together at a barbecue, and that made me happy. But, what made me the happiest was just the six of us were together again. Then Chief Peshlakai showed up at the barbecue and so did the Tribal Police and the FBI, and the chief left in handcuffs.
The sunset was a good one, and the crew pledged to get together once a year no matter what. That also made me happy. We also decided to stay the night with my aunt and uncle and go to Taos in the morning.
On Saturday morning the crew witnessed a sunrise and met the wolves. Then we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for breakfast.
As we walked into the house, the smells were incredible. Aunt Ruth must be cooking already. We followed the aroma into the kitchen and found my aunt and grandmother cooking, and I said, “Well, good morning grandma and Aunt Ruth.”
Grandma looked at me, and said, “It’s about time you got here.”
“Well, I love you too. Good morning grandma.”
“Sorry, dear. I walked in here this morning, and Ruthie put me to work.”
“Okay. Sit down, and we’ll take over. What are we having?”
“Frybread breakfast tacos.”, my aunt replied.
“What can we do?”, I asked.
“First put on aprons, so you don’t get dirty.”
Ajie grabbed aprons and passed them out. I chased both my grandmother and aunt away from the counter and oven, and the crew broke into two teams. One team made the frybread, and the other worked on the fixings.
We built the breakfast frybread tacos out of, of course, frybread, topped with fried potatoes cut up in small chunks, queso fresco cheese, sour cream, beans, and hot sauce. Then we added two slices of bacon and a fried egg on top.
It took us a little while, but working as a team we soon had nine of these built, and we were eating a fantastic breakfast. While we were eating, my grandmother asked, “Kai, have I ever met your friends?”
“Maybe at our wedding.”, I replied.
“I met so many people that day that I hardly remember any of them. I think I remember this girl.”, grandma said pointing at Maria. “I think her name’s Mary or something like that.”
“It’s Maria, Mrs. Devereux.”, Maria said.
“Yes, Maria. And please call me grandma. Everyone does.”
“Yes, grandma, it’s Maria.”
I introduced everyone. And I wondered if grandma’s memory was starting to fail her.
After we finished breakfast, I looked at Uncle Paul and smiled. He looked at me, and said, “Kai, don’t go there.”
With a grin on my face, I asked, “Go where, Uncle Paul?”
“Saying that I’m going to do the breakfast dishes.”
“Uncle Paul! That’s so nice of you to offer.”
“Yes, it is.”, Aunt Ruth said. “Kai, you and your friends get going, and I’ll find an apron for your uncle.”
“Kai.”, Uncle Paul said. “You’ll pay.”
“Come on Ajie.”, I said. “I want out of these sneakers before we go.”
Ajie and I ran back to our room got rid of the sneakers and slipped into moccasins. Then the six of us piled into our car and headed to Taos.
Of course, as we drove, we talked. I got told off about doing what I do to my uncle, and I told them that it was a fun thing between us. And, to not worry, that he’d pay me back.
Both Larry and Mark were impressed by the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge as we crossed it. The girls were concerned about being so far above the river. I said, “If we have time we’ll stop on the way back and walk out on the bridge.”
“I’ll pass.”, Maria said.
Kelly added, “Me too.”
When we got to Taos, we did just about what we did our first time here. We started at the Taos Plaza and wandered around. We walked in and out of some of the artist's studios. Then for the four Catholics in the group, we stopped at The Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, and then we took a look at the Taos Inn.
Kelly questioned the large number of hippies that we saw in Taos. And I told her that there were some communes in the mountains.
I thought about stopping at Doc Martin’s Restaurant for lunch, but I’d been told about something at the Taos Pueblo. So we headed to the Pueblo. Once there we stopped at Mary Esther Winter’s Adobe Cafe for lunch. And it was worth the stop. After lunch, we wandered around the Pueblo. And probably because of the way we were dressed a number of the tourists that were there ask us questions, and like last time I had to explain that I wasn’t from the area and that two of us were Navajo.
On the way back to the resort we made a quick stop in Taos at Mr. Yazzie’s shop. We parked almost in front of the shop, and the six of us walked in. Mr. Yazzie looked from his work, recognized Ajie and me, and said, “Oh no, Kai. You have more help to get back at me.”
“No, Mr. Yazzie.”, I said. “These are our friends from back home. They’re just out here visiting.”
With a grin, Mr. Yazzie said, “Kai, you had me worried.”
I introduced everyone, and when I finished, I added, “Mr. Yazzie is an excellent silversmith. And he was able to tell us a lot about my Grandfather Nez’s silver.”
“Kai.”, Mr. Yazzie said. “I’m nowhere as good as your grandfather was.”
I looked at Mr. Yazzie, put my hands on my hips, and sternly said, “Mr. Yazzie! You are a very good silversmith. And I think you are as good as my grandfather was.”
He just looked at me, then said, “Thank you, Kai. That means a lot to me.”
“Mr. Yazzie, it’s the truth.”, Ajie added.
“Ajie, you saying that also means a lot to me.”
“We brought our friends to Taos to show them around, and we just had to stop in and say hello.”
“I like it when you stop in. It makes this old man’s heart happy.”
“And we enjoy seeing you too.”
“Mr. Yazzie.”, Kelly said. “Your work is outstanding.”
“Thank you, young lady.”, Mr. Yazzie said.
“We can’t stay long.”, I said. “Two of our friends are flying out tomorrow, and we have to get them back to Albuquerque. And we have to drop the other two off at the resort on the way. But we will be back.”
“I understand, Kai. I’ve done something that I hope that you’ll also understand.”
“What’s that, Mr. Yazzie?”
“I’ve made it known that the two pieces of your grandfather's silver that I have in my collection are to be given to you when I pass.”
“Kai. It is done.”
“Well, I can only hope that it is a very very long time until that happens.”
“I agree with you Kai. But we all know that it will happen.”
“We have to run, Mr. Yazzie. You take care of yourself. Hágoónee'.”
“Hágoónee', Kai dóó Ajie.”
We left Mr. Yazzie’s shop and headed towards the resort, with one quick stop. We stopped at the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge, and Mark, Larry, and I walked out to the middle. The others, Ajie, Kelly, and Maria, stayed with the car and watched us. It was impressive looking down from over 560 feet above the Rio Grande River. It looked like a little stream from up here.
When we were back at the resort, we stopped at my aunt and uncle’s house to pick up our things. My aunt was home when we got there. And she told us that she washed all the clothes that we’d left and had the woman that works for them cleaned my Biil dress. We all told her that we appreciated that she’d done that, but that it wasn’t necessary.
Aunt Ruth said, “Kids, the six of you made us an excellent breakfast this morning, and it was the least I could do.”
She got a bunch of hugs. Then as she picked up a newspaper and handed it to me, she said, “Kai, you might be interested in this.”
I took the newspaper from her, looked at it, and just stared. On the front of today’s Navajo Times was a large picture of Chief Peshlakai and the headline above it said, ‘Chief Peshlakai and others arrested for election fraud and embezzlement of tribal funds.’
Ajie asked, “Honey, what’s wrong?”
As I handed her the paper, I said, “Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
Ajie took the paper, looked at it, and smiled. Then she showed it to the crew. Kelly asked, “This is the guy they arrested last night?”
“Yes.”, I replied. “I wonder who the others were?”
“I don’t think you know any of them, Kai.”, my aunt replied.
“I’ve got to stop at the drugstore and pick up a copy.”
“You can have that one. We’re through with it.”
“Thanks, Aunt Ruth. Can I use your phone?”
“Ajie, do you still have Dr. Etsitty’s home phone number with you?”
“No.”, Ajie said. “But I know it. What are you going to do?”
“Have some fun.”
I went over to the phone and had Ajie dial Dr. Etsitty’s phone number for me. It rang about four times before Dr. Etsitty answered it, and she said, “Hello.”
I said, “Hello Dr. Etsitty this is Kai Nez. Is Tom home?”
“Oh hi, Kai. Yes, he is. Hold on a minute.”
A short time later I heard, “Hello Kai. How are you?”
“Hi, Tom.”, I said. “I’m fine. How are you?”
“I’m good. What can I do for you?”
“Have you been working on your Navajo?”
“Have you seen today’s Navajo Times?”
“No, I haven’t. Why?”
“Well Chief Etsitty, I think you had better get started on your Navajo language. You’re going to need it.”
“Chief Etsitty!? Kai, what are you talking about?”
“Peshlakai was arrested by the Tribal Police and the FBI last night at the barbecue at the resort.”
“Yes. They arrested him and three others on election fraud and embezzlement of tribal funds charges. And I figure that since you ran against him, that they just might certify you as Chief of the Azee'tsoh dine'é. (The Big Medicine People clan)”
“You are kidding?”
“No, we witnessed the whole thing.”
“I’ve got to get a copy of the paper.”
“We’re at the resort, and this is long distance. Would you mind if I called you back when we’re back in Albuquerque in a couple of hours.”
“No. No. Not at all.”
“Okay. I call you. Hágoónee'.”
“Hágoónee' means see you later. Your first Navajo lesson.”
“Kai, I don’t know about you, but hágoónee'.”
I hung up the phone, and said, “That was fun. Tom didn’t know anything about it.”
“And you had to be the first to tell him.”, Ajie said.
Mark and Maria then said a tearful so long to Larry and Kelly and thanked my aunt for everything. And Amy and I told Larry and Kelly that we’d see them next weekend.
As we were leaving, my aunt asked, “Kai, are you and Ajie coming to the barbecue next Friday?”
“Probably.”, I replied. “Why?”
“It’s a special day. It’s a full Moon.”
“You didn’t have problems with the last full Moon.”
“I know. But what happened that one time still bothers me.”
“What happened?”, Kelly asked.
“I had problems with the spirits during a full Moon. There are strong spirits here at the resort and especially at the bonfire. The full Moon itself is strong medicine. And I couldn’t handle them together. But after a long talk with Naainish, I felt more confident with the spirits here and the full Moon.”
“That could be scary.”
“It’s more than could be. It was scary. But I have more control over my spirits now and feel comfortable with the full Moon, but I’m also cautious.”
“It pays to be cautious.”
The first part of the drive to Albuquerque was quiet. I think Maria and Mark finally realized that they were going home. Then Maria said, “You know. This is our second trip out here, and both trips were fun. But this trip was the best of the two. It was a lot of fun because we were with you guys. And today with the six of us together was fantastic.
“I also think we’ve learned more about each other.
“And I love this place.”
Ajie turned and looked at Maria, and said, “It’s an easy place to fall in love with. It happened to us our first time out here. And that’s when Kai found her spirits.”
It was dinner time when we made it to Albuquerque, and I said, “Do guys you remember the ginger ale milkshakes that we got at Kelly and Larry’s wedding?”
“Sure.”, Mark said.
“Do you trust me?”
I drove to the drive-in where we’d found the ginger ale milkshakes. Being Saturday evening they were busy, but we found a parking spot. Then I said, “I know what you guys like, so I’ll order. Okay?”
“Sure.”, Mark said.
I turned on the headlights, and a carhop ran out. It was the same guy that had waited on us the first time we were here. As he ran up, he threw a card on the window and said, “What can I get you? Oh! Hi! You aren’t who I was expecting.”
With a smile, I asked, “Who were you expecting?”
“A guy was driving the last time I saw this car.”
“Are you sure it’s the same car?”
“Sure. Ohio plates on a newer Chevy.”
“You’ve got a good memory.”
Looking at Ajie, he said, “I also remember her being with him. So where is he?”
“He’s sick. And told us to go out and get dinner without him.”
“Oh. And you look a little like him.”
“He’s my cousin.”
“That’s cool. So what can I get you?”
“He told us that you make a great ginger ale milkshake, so let's start with four of those. … ” And I went on to give him our complete order.
When I finished, and as he ran off, he said, “Don’t forget your lights.”
As I switched off the headlights, Ajie said, “Quick thinking lover.”
I looked at her and smiled. Then Maria said, “I take it he’s waited on you before?”
“Yeah.”, I said. “And we’ve had some nice talks, so he remembers us and the car.”
“I know. It completely slipped my mind until he ran up to the car.”
As we waited for our food, we talked about the last few days. Both Maria and Mark admitted that it had been a lot of fun and they’d love to come back out and do what Kelly and Larry are doing.
Ajie told them that they were welcome anytime, and could use our place for a base for day trips or even overnight trips.
Another carhop delivered our food. I passed out the food, and the car became quiet. I think everyone was enjoying the food. Finally, Mark said, “This is great. You’ve found a keeper.”
“I know.”, I said.
When we finished, I turned on the lights, and the first carhop ran out to the car, and asked, “So how was it?”
“My cousin was right. You have great food here.”
“Thanks. I’ll pass that on to my boss.”
I paid and tipped him. And with a cute smile, he said, “Be sure to come back and see us.”
“Oh, we will.”
As we drove out of the drive-in, Maria said, “Kai, I think he likes you.”
“I don’t like boys.”, I replied.
“But he was cute.”
“I don’t care. I don’t like boys.”
We drove over to the apartment, parked the car, and took all of our stuff inside. And I put the silver in the safe. Amy and Maria got us all something to drink, and we sat in the living room and listened to the radio and talked.
I had Amy call the Etsitty house, and I talked to Tom for a few minutes. He said that he’d gotten a copy of the paper and read the article twice. And still couldn’t believe it. I told him that the next time I saw him that I’d give him all the gory details of what we saw. And as we were saying goodnight, he actually said, “Hágoónee', Kai.”
I smiled and said, “Hágoónee', Tom.”
We were in bed early as Maria and Mark had an early flight out tomorrow.
As Amy and I cuddled in bed, she said, “I’ve just loved this weekend. We’ve had our four best friends here, and have had a lot of fun.”
“You’re right, love.”, I said. “And we’ll have some more fun when Kelly and Larry are here next weekend.”
“I know. I wish it would never end.”
Sunday morning we were up early, and we put a quick breakfast together. Then we headed over to the airport. We waited with Maria and Mark until they boarded. And our so longs were tearful. We waited until the plane took off, then we went back to the apartment.
Back at the apartment, I found a classical music station on the radio, we cuddled together on the couch, and fell asleep.
Sunday afternoon, while Amy studied for Monday’s classes, I washed clothes. Then we decided to explore Albuquerque a little more. We found a couple of stores that we’d have to check out. Then we found a park, a park with some trees. We parked and walked around the park. It wasn’t big and didn’t have hiking trails, but it was a nice little park.
We were back at the apartment just after Sunset. We watched a little TV, then went to bed. And Amy got the foot massage that she’d wanted a couple of days ago.
The first part of the week was back to the routine. Amy had her two classes every day. And I did a lot of reading, and Amy and I had lunch together. Though on Monday morning instead of walking Amy to class, I drove her. Then I took the car to the Chevy dealer and told the service people what had happened and what I thought the problem was. And they agreed with me.
As the service guys tuned up the car, I walked across the street to a hardware store and looked around. In my looking around I found a garage door opener. I gave it a good looking over and told the sales guy what I wanted to do. And he agreed with me that this opener should do the job.
I went back to the Chevy dealer and picked up the car. They’d done a tune up and oil change for me. After I paid for their work, I went back to the hardware store, bought the garage door opener, and took it back to the apartment. I opened the box and took out the instructions. And along with a book, I took the instructions to read while Amy was in her afternoon class.
As I read the instructions, I found that I’d need some tools and a step ladder. So another trip to the hardware store was needed.
When Amy came out of her class, she said, “I missed you at lunch.”
“Sorry.”, I said. “I missed you too. But I got the car turned up, and I found a garage door opener.”
“That’ll give you something to do.”
I had something else to do that night, Amy got another foot massage.
Tuesday and Wednesday were our usual routine, walk with Amy to her class, read, eat lunch with Amy, walk her to her second class, read, walk home with her. Make dinner while she studied, eat dinner, then either cuddle on the couch, go for a walk, or go for a drive. Then off to bed.
Wednesday evening became a little different. As we were ready to walk out the door to go for a walk, the phone rang. I walked over and answered it, “Hello.” … “Hi, Larry. How's it going?” … “Is Kelly all right?” … “Okay. Tomorrow after lunch. Sure that’ll work.” … “See you then. Bye.”
“What was that all about?”, Amy asked.
“That was Larry.”, I said.
“I gathered that. Is something wrong?”
“I’m not sure. He sounded kind of strange.”
“So what’s going on?”
“They’ll be here tomorrow after lunch.”
“Is Kelly all right?”
“He said she was. And that they’d tell us all about it.”
“We’d better straighten up the guest room and change the sheets.”
“I changed the sheets on Monday, but we’d better give it a once over.”
“And you’d better pick up some hair dye. Your roots are just starting to show.”
“I’ll run to the drug store right now and get some.”
That night along with cleaning the spare bedroom, we re-dyed my hair.
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