The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?
A Novel By Teddie S.
Copyright © 2018 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.
A new Biil dress. God parents? A bonfire.
Kelly and Larry had surprised us by asking if they could come a couple of days earlier than planned and stay with us. When they arrived Kelly was distraught, her brother, Connor, had been listed as missing in action in Vietnam, and who could blame her for being upset. And I had to help her and the baby. We’d gone to a park, and I or Kai had meditated with Kelly. When we’d finished, I told her to call home. When she did, she found out that Connor had been found safe and sound.
Earlier we’d found out that the members of The Big Medicine People Clan were undecided about how to replace Chief Peshlakai. My grandmother wants me to go to a meeting of the clan and try to sway them to accept the real winner of the last election.
Today, Friday, we’d taken Kelly and Larry to a Mexican restaurant for breakfast. And as we were eating, Amy said, “You know, if we’re going to that meeting we’d better look our best.”
“What are you saying?”, I asked.
“I need a new dress.”
“So we’ll go to Mrs. Benallie’s store.”
“No. I mean really dress up. You have your white Biil dress, which I think you should wear. And, I would also like a Biil dress to wear.”
“Okay. So do you want to go to the shop here in Albuquerque where I got my white one?”
“I figured that would be the best place. Can we?”
“Is this shop something special?”, Kelly asked.
“In a way.”, Amy said. “The lady at this shop is a weaver and makes some very nice things.”
“You’ve seen the white Biil dress that I wear. Haven’t you?”, I asked.
“Yes, that’s a gorgeous dress.”, Kelly said.
“That’s her work.”
“Amy.”, I asked. “Do you think Kai should go?”
“I remember the last time she wouldn’t sell a Biil dress to anyone but a Navajo.”, Amy replied. “So I’d say that Kai should go.”
“You guys don’t mind if we do a little shopping. Do you?”, Amy asked Kelly and Larry.
“Shopping.”, Kelly said. “I love to shop.”
I saw Larry roll his eyes.
After we finished eating, we headed back to the apartment, Amy and I excused ourselves and ran upstairs. I dressed as Kai and Amy dressed as Ajie. We were both in long skirts, fancy blouses, and moccasins. Both of us had brushed our hair into a straight look, Ajie wore one of the beaded headbands, and I wore one of the new braided leather headbands with the Eagle feathers.
We then ran downstairs to the small room where the safe is and grabbed some jewelry. We both put on the silver feather earrings, and I put on a Concho belt and a bracelet. Ajie put on a beaded choker and a few rings.
When we came back into the living room, Kelly and Larry looked at us. And Kelly said, “I don’t know about you two. Fifteen minutes ago we were with Tom and Amy, and now I’m seeing Kai and Ajie.”
With a big grin, I said, “Fun isn’t it?”
Larry smiled, and said, “Actually, yes it is.”
We headed to the area of town where the weaver's shop is, and somehow we parked right in front of the shop. When we walked in the lady was doing some weaving. She looked up at us, and said, “Welcome. Feel free to look around and if you have any questions just ask.”
“Thank you.”, I said.
She went back to her weaving, and we watched her for a few minutes. Kelly said, “It’s amazing how quickly she does that.”
“I know.”, Ajie said. “It just fascinates me.”
We started looking around, and I noticed that Kelly was drawn to the long skirts and fancy blouses. So I asked her, “Interested?”
“Yes.”, Kelly replied. “You look so comfortable in your long skirt and blouse and Maria loves hers.”
“I know. Ajie and I love them too. Let me ask where she gets her things. I want to be sure that they’re locally made.”
I walked over to the lady that was weaving, and said, “Excuse me.”
She looked at me, and asked, “How can I help you?”
“Your long skirts and blouses, are they made locally?”
“Yes. There is a lady near Santa Fe that supplies them.”
“That wouldn’t be Mrs. Benallie. Would it?”
“Yes. Do you know her?”
“Yes. Very well.”
Then she looked at me in a puzzled way. And I asked, “Is something wrong?”
“No, but that headband. My mother makes them, and she has a special braiding pattern that she uses, and your headband has that braiding pattern. And I’m the only one that sells them. Can I ask where you got it?”
“Sure. Mrs. Benallie and Naainish Yazzie had them made for us.”
“Oh! You know Naainish too?”
“Yes. He’s a friend.”
“Then … Then you must be … ”
“Yes, Kai Nez. I’m so happy to finally meet you.”
“We’ve met before.”
“Yes, two years ago you sold me a white Bill dress to use in a photo shoot.”
“That was you!?”
“I’ve wanted to thank you for placing my business card in the resort’s brochure.”
“That brochure turned out very nice.”
“Yes, it did. You know, I don’t know your name?”
“Mrs. Cyl. Yanaba Cyl.”
“It’s nice to meet you.”
“Kai Nez, what you’ve done with that scholarship is wonderful.”
“Now, what can I do for you?”
“One of my friends is interested in a long skirt and a blouse, and I wanted to be sure that they were locally made. And if Mrs. Benallie supplied them, I know they are.”
“Yes.”, Mrs. Cyl said, “I only sell things that I know are native made items.”
I looked over to where the other three were, and said, “They’re local. Mrs. Benallie supplied them.”
Then I said to Mrs. Cyl, “My friend Ajie and I are going to a meeting this Sunday in Window Rock, and we feel that we should dress up for it. I have the white Biil dress, so we’re looking for a special Biil dress for her.”
“Let’s go see what we can find.”, Mrs. Cyl said.
Mrs. Cyl and I walked over to where Ajie, Kelly, and Larry were, and I said, “Mrs. Cyl this is Ajie, Kelly, and Larry. Everyone this is Mrs. Cyl, she owns the shop.”
Everyone said hello. Then Mrs. Cyl said, “I understand that someone is looking for a special Biil dress.”
“That would be me.”, Ajie said. “Kai and I are going to a clan meeting, and I thought that we needed to look our best. Kai has a white Biil dress, and I thought that it might be nice if I had a Biil dress too. So we were hoping that you might have another one.”
“A Biil dress would look nice at a meeting like that. And I do have a couple in the backroom. Come with me young lady, and we’ll see if you like either them.”
“Kai, do me a favor and watch the shop for a couple of minutes?”
“Sure, Mrs. Cyl.”
Ajie and Mrs. Cyl went into the backroom of the shop. Kelly kept looking at skirts and blouses, and Larry kept me company.
Larry said, “She doesn’t know you. Yet she trusts you to watch the store?”
“I don’t know.”, I said. “Maybe it’s because of who I am and how she feels about me. I know that most people feel at ease with me.”
A short time later Ajie and Mrs. Cyl walked out of the backroom, and Ajie had on a gorgeous red Bill dress with a fancy black and white sawtooth pattern across the chest and at the bottom of the skirt.
Kelly saw it, and said, “Ajie, that is just wonderful.”
I smiled, and said, “Ajie, that’s the one. It looks great on you. And with a Concho belt and squash blossom necklace, it’ll be perfect.”
“I know.”, Ajie said. “I just love it.”
“Mrs. Cyl.”, Kelly asked. “Did you make this dress?”
“Yes.”, Mrs. Cyl replied. “I make maybe a dozen a year, and I just finished this one and hadn’t put it out yet. Ajie saw it back there and fell in love with it.”
“Ajie.”, I asked. “Is this the one?”
“Oh yes.”, Ajie replied. “I just love it.”
I looked at Mrs. Cyl, and said, “I guess we’ll take it. How much is it?”
“I was thinking of one-seventy-five for this one.”, Mrs. Cyl said. “But I’ll let it go for one-fifty.”
I saw Kelly’s eyes get big. Then I said, “You gave us the white Biil dress at a discount. And I’d feel better paying the full amount for this one.”
“Kai, I always discount things. Some more than others. And I’d feel comfortable with one-fifty for this dress.”
“Mrs. Cyl, I’ve learned to not argue with the people out here. I always lose. So one-fifty will be fine.”
Kelly was holding a long skirt and blouse, asked, “Mrs. Cyl. Is there someplace that I can try on this skirt and blouse?”
“Yes, my dear.”, Mrs. Cyl replied as she pointed to a curtained off area. “Right over there.”
Ajie went and changed out of the Biil dress, and as Mrs. Cyl was wrapping up the dress, I paid her. And when Kelly came back out, she told Mrs. Cyl that she’d take the skirt and blouse.
We thanked Mrs. Cyl for everything and left the store. As we got in the car, Kelly said, “I couldn’t believe how much that dress cost?”
“Honey.”, Ajie said. “Remember, the wool is hand spun into yarn, the yarn is hand dyed, and then the yarn is woven into cloth by hand. And some of the patterns, like on this dress, can be fancy.”
“You’re right. You get what you pay for.”
“We have a few hours before we have to leave for the barbecue if you want to go. So what would you like to do.”
“We want to go. Last time was fun, even with the guy being arrested. And I think Kelly will agree with me when I say that I think we’d like to go back to your apartment and chill out.”
“Okay. We can put together a light lunch, and just relax.”, Ajie said. “We should leave by three for the resort.”
“Sounds good.”, Kelly said.
Ajie looked at me and said. “Home, James.”
“Your wish is my command, M’lady.”, I replied.
It wasn't long until we were back at the apartment, and Ajie and Kelly had put together a light lunch. We sat at the kitchen table and talked as we ate. At one point Kelly got quiet, then she said, “Guys, we want to talk to you as Amy and Tom right now. Okay?”
“Sure.”, Amy replied. “Is something wrong?”
“No. Nothing’s wrong. But Larry and I have been talking about something that affects you.
“Larry and I want you two to be the babies Godparents.”
“Honey.”, Amy said, “Thank you. But we’re not Catholic.”
“Amy, we don’t care. The two of you are so special to us, and we feel that you are the best choice.”
“But shouldn’t the Godparents be the same religion as the baby?”
“Maybe. But we’ve talked a lot about this and you two come out on top every time. There’s just something about the two of you. You’re both crazy, but you are still the most level-headed of anyone that we know.
“You know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You’re not afraid to do something new. You handle problems better than anyone else. And you’re not afraid to stand up for what you believe in and know is right. We’ve seen you do it a few times and you’re impressive.”
“Kelly.”, Amy said. “It’s more Tom than me.”
“No, it’s not.”, Larry said. “You two work together, one of you complements the other. Plus you support each other in everything that you do.”
Amy and I looked at each other, and I said, “We do?”
“Yes. You may not see it. But everyone else does. You two knew a long time ago that you belonged together. Look back over how things have happened, and you’ll see.”
Amy and I sat there and looked at Kelly and Larry.
Amy then said, “Tommy, what do you think?”
“I think Kelly and Larry are crazier then we are.”, I replied. “But, I’d be honored to be the babies Godfather.”
“I feel the same way.”, Amy said. “They are crazy. But I’d also be honored.”
Kelly and Larry both smiled, and Kelly said, “Thanks, guys. You’ve made both of us happy.”
With a grin, Amy said, “Kelly, I can just hear your dad now.”
“You let me handle him. Besides he has a soft spot in his heart for you?”
“Honey, you diagnosed his nervous breakdown.”
“It was nothing.”
“It was everything. And I think dad will accept our choice.”
A short time later the four of us were heading to the resort. Ajie and I were in fancy long skirts, fancy blouses, and wrap moccasins. Ajie had her hair in a single braid, and I did mine in two braids with fancy wraps at the end. And we were both wearing the braided leather headbands with the Eagle feathers. Kelly had changed into her new long skirt and blouse. Ajie had braided Kelly’s long red hair and put a beaded headband on it. And Ajie and I wore a minimum amount of jewelry but took along additional pieces in the camera bag.
As we drove into the resort, we parked at my aunt and uncle’s house, and we walked in. My grandma was there along with my aunt and uncle, and they were already dressed for the barbecue. My grandmother saw us first, and she greeted Kelly and Larry by name. Maybe she isn’t losing her memory. Then my aunt complimented Kelly on her skirt and blouse, and asked, “Kelly, would you like to try a pair of wrap moccasins?”
“Could I?”, Kelly asked.
“Of course. Come with me.”
Kelly followed my aunt to the bedrooms, and when she came back, Kelly was wearing wrap moccasins. Then I made a smart remark, as I said, “I’ve never seen a red-headed Indian before.”
Kelly frowned at me, and said, “Who’s really a blue-eyed blond?”
“Yeah. And you too, Mr. Smarty pants.”
“All right you two. Enough.”, my uncle said. “Kai, are you willing to do the introductions tonight?”
“I guess.”, I replied. “As long as there are no surprises.”
“There’s no surprises.”
“Okay. I’ll do it.”
“Thank you. You do an excellent job.”
As usual, when we walked into the barbecue area, the musicians and dancers were already there. But I didn’t see Dibe. So I walked over to the dancers and asked where Dibe was? They told me that she had to go to Denver for something to do with college. We were going to miss her.
This barbecue was just a typical barbecue, no surprises, good food, and a lot of fun. Naainish was here. No other special guests. Ajie and I did talk to a number of the guests.
It started getting dark about eight-thirty as the Sunset, and looking to the east I noticed the Moon beginning to rise. And it was full and looked big. I looked at Ajie, and said, “I’m going to run to the house and grab a rug.”
“Going to meditate tonight?”, Ajie asked.
“Yes, something is calling me. Maybe the Moon or the spirits of the fire.”
I walked to my aunt and uncle’s house and retrieved one of the woven rugs. As I was walking back to the barbecue area, Naainish walked up to me, and said, “Kai, you will not have problems with the spirits tonight.”
“Are you sure, Naainish?”, I asked.
“Yes, Kai. Your spirits are one with the spirits of the fire, and the Moon is your friend.”
“I do feel good about tonight.”
“As you should.”
I walked over to where Ajie, Kelly, and Larry were standing and watching the dancers. Ajie watched me as I walked up, and she asked, “Are you going to be all right?”
“Yes, Naainish told me that my spirits are one with the spirits of the fire and Moon will be no problem. And I feel good about it.”
Kelly asked, “Why shouldn’t Kai be all right?”
“A while ago.”, I said. “I didn’t realize the Moon was full. When it is, it’s medicine is the strongest. And I had a problem with the way it interacted with the spirits of the fire and my spirit. Since then I’ve learned how to control my spirits better.”
“So you’ll be fine?”
“When Kai is this confident.”, Ajie said. “I don’t worry about her.”
The four of us started walking towards the bonfire, and we could see the fire blazing. When we got there, there were a few guests, with more coming, the musicians were there, as was grandma, Aunt Ruth, and Naainish. My uncle walked up with some of the guests.
I looked up at the moon, I felt it’s medicine, and I smiled. I then walked over to my favorite spot, spread the rug out, and sat. I looked at the fire and felt it’s strong spirit. And I felt the Moon’s strong medicine interacting with it. Then I heard Naainish start to chant. I closed my eyes, and just felt the spirits.
Maybe fifteen minutes later, I slowly opened my eyes, stood up, picked up the blanket, and walked over to where Ajie, Kelly, and Larry were. As I walked up, Ajie said, “Well?”
“I’ll tell you later.”, I replied.
Ajie and I walked over to Naainish, and I said, “Thank you for the nice song, Naainish.”
“It was my pleasure, Kai.”, Naainish replied.
“How can I chant, when I don’t know the chants?”
“Kai Nez, you’re spirits know the chants. And they know which chant that you need.”
“I see. Thank you for everything Naainish.”
“Kai, you’re welcome. And I think you know what you need to do on Sunday.”
“Yes, I do. Will you be there?”
“I’m not a member of that clan, but Chief Kinlicheeny asked me to be there. So, yes, I’ll be there.”
I walked back over to Ajie, Kelly, and Larry, and said, “We’d better head back to Albuquerque. It’s a two-hour drive, and I don’t want to have to carry Kelly and Larry into the apartment like I did Maria and Mark.”
“You didn’t have to really carry them in. Did you?”, Kelly asked.
“No. I was kidding. But they and Ajie were hard to wake up.”
We then said goodnight to everyone. My aunt and grandmother told us that they would see us on Sunday in Window Rock. And my grandmother added, “Pack a bag. Your Aunt Ginny may ask you to stay overnight. Your Aunt Ruth and I are.”
“Ajie has classes on Monday.”, I replied.
“You still might want to bring a bag.”
On the drive to Albuquerque, everyone stayed awake, and we talked. Two hours later as we pulled the car into the garage and got out, I said, “Guys, stay up for a few minutes and sit with me. I have something to tell you.”
Ajie gave me look of, what now. I just smiled at her. After we were in the apartment, I said, “Guys, I want to share something with you. Please sit down.”
After everyone was seated, I said, “Tonight when I was sitting at the bonfire I sensed something.
“I sensed that our little friend that Kelly is carrying is going to do wonderful things.”
“What do you mean?”, Kelly asked.
“All I know is that while I was meditating, I felt that your son, my Godson, will do some amazing things during his lifetime.”
“Kai.”, Larry said. “If anyone but you had told us this I would have said that they were crazy. But for some reason, I believe you.”
“Larry.”, Ajie said. “You should. Somehow she can sense these things. Not from everyone, but from special people. People close to her.”
“She did it with that girl, Dibe.”, Kelly said. “She wasn’t close to Kai.”
“I know. It just happens with some people. She senses something. But with the baby, she’s close, especially since you asked us to be his Godparents?”
“I guess both of you are close to the baby.”
“I almost didn’t tell you.”, I said. “But I decided that you’d want to know what I was sensing about him.”
“Thank you.”, Kelly said. “I’m glad you told us.”
“Me, too.”, Larry added.
Then Ajie asked me, “Did you check the mail today?”
“No.”, I replied. “Excuse me for a minute.”
I went out the front door and looked in the mailbox. There were two envelopes in it. I took them out and looked at them. I frowned at the first one, then I smiled at the second.
I walked back into the apartment, and Amy said, “We got something. What?”
“Well.”, I said. “We got our first electric bill.”
“What’s the other one?”
“It’s just junk mail. It’s from something called The National Council Licensure or something like that.”
“From The National Council Licensure Examination.”
“Give it to me.”
“Give it to me, or you’ll sleep down here tonight.”
“For God’s sakes.”, Kelly said. “Give it to her before she has a fit.”
“I handed the envelope to Amy. She carefully opened it, removed the contents, read it, and got a big smile.”
“Honey.”, Kelly asked. “What is it?”
“Oh, nothing much if you listen to Tom. But it’s my results from Registered Nurse’s test.”
“Did you pass?”
“Yes. And my Ohio license is here too.”
Then Amy looked at me, shook her finger at me, and started to say, “And you mister. You are … ”
I didn’t let her finish, but grabber her, and gave her a big kiss. When
we broke the kiss, I said, “Congratulations sweetheart. I knew you wouldn’t have any problems.”
“You’re still going to pay. You brat.”
“What kind of score did you get?”, Kelly asked.
“It’s just a pass/fail grade.”. Amy said.
“Isn’t that the test that took you about six hours to take?”
“That is so wrong that it’s only a pass/fail.”
“It is what it is.”
“Well congratulations, Amy. Job well done.”
We talked a little longer, then Kelly and Larry went upstairs to bed. Ajie and I stayed up a little longer, and she asked me, “You didn’t see what the baby was going to do. Did you?”
“No.”, I replied. “It was just a feeling that I had. A feeling that he was going to do something special.”
“I hope we see it.”
“I do too.”
“What did Naainish mean when he said that you knew what you needed to do on Sunday?”
I smiled, and answered, “I have a feeling that the spirits want the people to appoint the true winner of the election as the clan chief.”
“Dr. Etsitty’s husband, Tahoma?”, Amy replied.
I just smiled.
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