The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?
A Novel By Teddie S.
Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2019 & 2020 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.
Really! I can dress that way?
Aawéé’ at’ééd dóó aawéé’ ashkii?
Jackie, it’ll heal quickly.
Tuesday had been a trip to the Los Alamos National Laboratory for Dr. Joe and me. The Dean didn’t go. And we’d come back with a new project, a secret project. And we couldn’t even tell the Dean about it. Then Dr. Joe, his wife Mary, and their baby Mark had dinner with Ajie and me.
I’d also given Hal and Dibe directions to the house. They were coming down on Thursday.
Wednesday had been a work on the new project day.
Thursday morning, we’d worked on the project. And I’d almost gotten this thing figured out. Then things got interesting. When I’d arrived home, I found two of the ladies from the Navajo Children and Family Services there making a surprise home visitation. They also had another surprise for us. They asked us if we might be interested in a set of twins that had yet to be born. Then we surprised them when we told them the name of the mother, Shideezhi Hatayhli. She was the girl that had fallen off a horse and that I’d sat within the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital.
Hmm, the Great Spirit does work in strange ways.
When Dibe and Hal showed up, they were amazed by the house and hogan. After one of Ajie’s wonderful dinners, we’d had an excellent talk. Dibe and Hal learned a lot about Ajie and me, and we’d told them why we felt about Dibe the way we did. And how we’d felt about them marrying. And a session of meditation at the courtyard’s fire pit didn’t hurt. Then they spent the night in the hogan.
Friday morning, I was up really early. Why? Today was the last barbecue of the year, and we weren’t going to miss it, so I was going into the university early so that I could leave at noon. I figured that no one else would be up when I got up, but Ajie must have gotten up before I did. And she made me an excellent breakfast before seeing me off.
I ended up at the university at just about seven. And when I was in the office, I took the briefcase out of the file cabinet and opened it. My folder was on top, and there was a note paper-clipped to it. And the note said, “Kai, your schematic looks great. Start making a parts list, and we’ll go and pull the parts that we need to build this thing. The only thing that I question is, they gave us nine integrated circuits, and you only used seven. Dr. Joe.”
I smiled to myself. Those two integrated circuits are to help us test the circuit that we’re building. Dr. Joe, you must have missed that in the addendum.
I started to carefully make a list of parts that we needed to get from the laboratory’s storage room. When Dr. Joe walked in at about eight, I had nearly half of the list done. After our usual greetings, Dr. Joe said, “So, what are those other two integrated circuits for?
“Didn’t you read the addendum at the back of your folder.”, I replied.
“I didn’t see one.”
Dr. Joe walked over, picked up his folder, turned to the back, and looked. Then as he handed me his folder, he said, “There’s no addendum here.”
I took his folder, looked, and he was right. There was no addendum in his folder. And I said, “Your right.”
I picked up my folder, turned to the back, and showed him the addendum in mine. He looked it over and said, “They must have forgotten to put that in mine.”
“Could be. I should be done with the parts list in another hour.”
“Good, then we can see if they have what we need.”
“They should. Most of them are very common.”
And I was right. An hour later, when we went to the storage room, the clerk looked over the list, and he told us that he was sure that they had everything and would have it all pulled by the end of the day.
Dr. Joe and I went back to the office, and we went over the two integrated circuits that were in the addendum. Dr. Joe said that he could draw up the two small circuits that we need with those. The two circuits would provide input signals, and we’d use various meters to check the outputs.
We finished up early, so Dr. Joe and I grabbed a quick lunch in the faculty dining room. And one of the things that came up was my dress when I was teaching my classes. The discussion started when Dr. Joe said, “We’ve had some comments about what you wear when you teach classes.”
“Why? What’s wrong with it?”, I asked. “It’s what all the women wear.”
“That’s the problem.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re a member of the Navajo Nation. Right?”
“You know I am.”
“And when you’re not teaching, and you’re on campus, like now, it’s a long native skirt, a blouse, and moccasins.”
“Yeah. They’re comfortable.”
“There have been some people that have seen you dressed both ways.”
“Well, most of those people think that you look sharper dressed in your native clothes rather than the white man’s clothes.”
“So, the Dean has decided that you can wear your native clothes to teach in. But, … ”
“I knew there was a but.”
“But don’t go as fancy as you do when we go to a meeting. Keep the jewelry down to a mild roar.”
“Ajie’s going to be jealous.”
“Maybe if the way you dress is accepted, then others may be able to do it.”
“You know. This is a good thing. Being accepted as who you are.”
“Within reasons. Yes. Like right now, the way you’re dressed would be perfect. You’re wearing a simple headband. A few pieces of jewelry. And with the clothes that you’re wearing, you look good.”
“It would be nice not to have to wear those suits. Especially when it’s hot out here.”
“Good. Beginning this quarter, as a test, you can wear what you’re wearing right now.”
“Wait until I tell Ajie.”
A little less than an hour later, I was pulling into the driveway at home, and Hal’s car was gone. I hoped that he and Dibe had a good night in the hogan, and I knew that we’d see them this evening.
As I pulled into the garage, Ajie was standing at the door to the house. As I walked up to her, I received a hug and a kiss. Then she looked at me and asked, “What are you grinning about.”
“Do you like the way I’m dressed?”
“Of course I do. Why do you think that I’m dressed the same way.”
“Guess what I get to do?”
“Are we playing twenty questions?”, Ajie asked.
“No, but Dr. Joe told me that I could dress this way to teach.”, I replied.
“You heard me.”
“It’s a test to see how it’s accepted by everyone, faculty, staff, and students.”
“Oh, so if they accept you dressed this way, I may be able to dress that way too.”
“Could be. I guess some of the people whose opinion matters think that this type of dress looks sharp.”
“It does.”, Ajie said. “Especially in this part of the country.”
“It looks like Mrs. Benallie is going to get some more business.”, I said.
“Oh, don’t let me forget those two pairs of moccasins that need to be repaired.”
“What time did our house guests leave?”
“They got up about half an hour after you left, and Dibe helped me make them some breakfast. They were impressed with staying in the hogan. Dibe said she got a good night's sleep.”
“Uh-huh.”, I said. “I bet they got a good night's sleep. I remember us at that age.”
“What do you mean at that age, my prince. We’re still that way.”, Ajie said.
A couple of hours later, we were pulling into the resort. And there were several cars parked at my aunt and uncle’s house. And we had to park in front of the garage. As we walked in, it was a little crowed around the kitchen table. There were even a couple of people leaning against the kitchen counter. From the looks of it, it was a meeting of the Navajo Nation Council and the Taos Pueblo Council. There was everyone from Chief Kinlicheeny, to War Chief Clah, to several Clan Chiefs including Chief Tom, to Tribal Governor Lefthand of the Taos Pueblo, to Naainish, to Quah Ah, the medicine woman from the Taos Pueblo. Also, both sets of my aunts and uncles.
Both Ajie and I looked at all of them, then we said, “Yá'át'ééh t'áá ájíltso. Nizhonigó íiná aadóó hozhónahasdlíí. - (Hello everyone. It is good, and all is harmony around us.)”
We received various versions of “Yá’át’ééh. - (It is good.)”
Then Chief Kinlicheeny said, “Kai Nez and Ajie Nez, I’m happy to hear that your application has been approved.”
I gave Chief Clah a questioning look, and he shook his head no. Then I said, “Thank you, Chief. We were happy too.”
After we’d put our things in our room, we came back out, and I found Chief Clah and said, “Chief, could Ajie and I see you in private for a minute.”
Chief Clah gave me another questioning look and said, “Of course, Kai.”
He got up from the kitchen table and followed Ajie and me out the back door. As I closed the back door, Chief Clah said, “Kai, I haven’t told Chief Kinlicheeny about the adoption application.”
“I didn’t think you had.”, I replied. “I know how rumors fly.”
“That they do.”
“Have you talked to Mrs. Biakeddy since they told us that the application had been approved and that we may be able to adopt twins?”
“Yes, and I know about the girl. I’m not their legal counsel, but they come to me with tough things from time to time.”
“So, this is a tough thing?”
“Yes, because they know who you are.”
“It’s not proper for you to contact the girl, but I think I know why you’re doing it. You’re interested in the spirit’s of the twins.”
“I’m not planning on contacting her. I just need to be near her for a few seconds. If you feel that I shouldn’t do it, I won’t.”
“Kai Nez, only you will know if you should do it or not.”
“Okay. I’ll see what tomorrow brings.”
Chief Clah left us and went back into the house.
Ajie looked at me and said, “Well?”
“I think I need to see what the spirits tell me.”, I replied.
“I sense a meditation at the bonfire coming up.”
“So do I.”
We went back into the house and to our room and started getting ready for the barbecue.
Just like the first barbecue of the year, I was dressing fancy. It would be the white Biil dress, wrap moccasins, my hair in two braids with a fancy wrap at the end of both, of course, the braided leather headband with the Eagle feather. And a Concho belt. Two bracelets, a few rings, a squash blossom necklace, and the choker that both of my grandfathers made. And the silver feather earrings. It felt so good to dress up like this again.
Ajie was dressed almost identically to me except she wore the black and red Biil dress, and she went with more bracelets. She wore the set of five bracelets that we’d purchased from Mr. Yazzie. She also wore a squash blossom necklace and one of the headbands with the Eagle feather. Her earrings and choker were the beaded ones.
When we walked out into the house, everyone was gone. So when we left the house, we locked the door. Then we walked towards the barbecue area, and we met up with some of the guests. We received some lovely comments on how we were dressed. When we were at the barbecue area, the musicians and dancers were in full swing, and we walked over there and saw Dibe and Hal, and Hal was in full regalia. When the dance ended, Dibe spotted us. She grabbed Hal’s hand and pulled him to where we were. We received the usual hugs from Dibe, and Hal even hugged us.
I said, “Hal, I love your regalia.”
“Thanks, Kai.”, Hal said. “And you look like you’re dressed for a wedding.”
“What this old thing.”
“Yeah, and a lot of gorgeous silver.”
“Thanks. We like to dress up for the first and last barbecues.”
“Am I seeing a lot of natives here?”
“Of course you are. They love the food here. And there’s always a few, as we call them, special guests. In fact, your uncle, Chief Kinlicheeny, is here.”
“You’re kidding me.”, Hal said.
“No, he shows up regularly.”, I replied.
“He does like good food.”
“I looked at Dibe and asked, “Have you talked to your mother and father yet?”
Dibe held up here left hand, pointed to the ring on her left ring finger, smiled, and said, “Yes. They weren’t happy at first, but after we had a long talk with them, they’re okay with it. But we did tell them that we’d try to wait until we both graduate.”
I smiled, and so did Ajie, so I asked, “Ajie, do you want to place a bet on this?”
“Only if I can bet that they’ll be married before they graduate.”, Ajie said.
“That’s what I was going to take.”
“You don’t think that we’ll make it to graduation. Do you?”, Hal said.
“No, we don’t. We’ve been there.”, Ajie said. “The only thing that I’ll say is, we’d better be invited to the wedding.”
“You’ll be at the top of the list.”, Dibe said.
“But I will ask you this, Dibe.”, Ajie said. “Try and wait until you’re out of your pre-Med. It’ll be hard, but it’ll be better.”
“We’ll try.”, Dibe said.
Just then, the musicians started up again, and Dibe dragged Hal back to the dance area.
“Do you think that they’ll make it until Dibe is out of pre-Med?”, I asked Ajie.
“No.”, Ajie replied. “Do you?”
“No.”, I replied.
Ajie and I wandered around for a few minutes, and then we saw my uncle wave at us. We walked over to where he was, and he handed me a list, and I said, “Wow! This will take a few minutes.”
“That’s why we’re starting a little early.”, Uncle Paul said.
Uncle Paul lined up our special guests. There was Chief Kinlicheeny, Governor Lefthand of the Taos Pueblo, Chief Clah, a bunch of clan chiefs, and last but not least, Naainish, and Quah Ah.
After the special guests were lined up, I waited for the dancers to finish their dance. Then I signaled them, picked up the microphone, and …
We went through our usual greeting and introduction of all the special guests. Then I handed the microphone to Naainish, and he and Quah Ah said a short prayer in English, then I took the microphone back and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, the barbecue is ready. Enjoy!”
As we usually did, we sat and ate with my aunts and uncles, plus Naainish and Quah Ah joined us. We filled them in on our last visit from the two ladies from the Navajo Children and Family Services, and the possibility of adopting twins. And my aunts were excited about the possibility of having babies around. My Aunt Ginny brought up the use of the awééts'áál – (cradleboard), and explained how it had helped her and her two boys during the first months of their lives and appeared to have a soothing effect on them. And Naainish told us that it was customary not to name the baby until the first laugh ceremony.
I saw Ajie shake her head no, and say, “I think I want to be able to call them by their names. It’s better than, ‘hey you.’ Especially when you’re dealing with two. I guess the girl has already picked two boys names and two girls names. And we might honor those if we like them.”
Quah Ah then said, “I feel that it’s the mother's right to name her children as she sees fit and when she sees fit.”
I saw Naainish nod, yes, so I asked, “Naainish, what do you think.”
“There are some traditions that are good, like the first laugh ceremony.”, Naainish said. “And there are others that aren’t. But, I feel as Quah Ah feels that the mother should name her children as she sees fit.”
“Naainish.”, Ajie asked. “What is this first laugh ceremony?”
“The people believe that a baby when it’s born belongs to both the spirit world and our world.”, Naainish said. “And when the baby first laughs, we see it as a sign that the baby is ready to leave the spirit world and join her family on Mother Earth.
“It’s the person that brings that laugh to the child who, along with the child, hosts the A’wee Chi’deedloh or the Baby Laughed Ceremony. And the baby, with the help of the co-host, hands out rock salt, candy, and gifts.”
Ajie smiled and said, “I love that idea. The first few months of a baby's life is a very delicate time for them. It’s when sudden infant death syndrome is likely to happen.”
Then I filled them in on knowing of the girl who is carrying the twins and how I knew her. And that I’d like to feel the spirits of the twins. Naainish looked at me, and said, “Kai Nez, it would be better, as with the birth mother, that you are surprised as to who the twins are. But if you do find out in another way, keep it to yourself.”
I sat there for a second or two looking at Naainish before I said, “You’re right, Naainish. We should accept what the Great Spirit gives us. He knows what we have handled and what we can handle.”
“You are right, Kai Nez. But you and Ajie should meditate tonight to be sure that the spirits agree.”
I just nodded, yes.
Ajie and I hiked up the cliff trail to watch the Sunset. And as usual, there were a few guests up there, and we talked with them. Some of the women asked about our clothing.
Then the Sunset got our attention, and it didn’t disappoint. It was full of golds, yellows, with a touch of pink. After the Sun had set, the guests went back down the cliff trail, but Ajie and I walked over to the little tree, which wasn’t so little anymore. We stood there for a few minutes, holding hands. Then I said, “Naainish is right. We need to accept what we’re given without knowing in advance.”
“Yes, I know.”, Ajie said. “I’ll accept what we’re given with open arms, and all the love that I have.”
“I know you will. You’re special.”
We hugged, then shared a kiss, and started the walk down the cliff trail. When we reached the bottom, we walked to where the bonfire is held. We saw my aunts and uncles, and my Aunt Ruth was holding a rug. We walked over to them, and without a word, I accepted the matches and striking surface from my Uncle Paul.
Ajie and I walked over to the large t-pee shaped pile of wood. We knelt at the point where we light the fire. I handed Ajie a match, and we both lit our match. Then we touched the trough that was filled with kerosene. Quickly the kerosene had the bonfire burning. And Ajie and I walked over to my Aunt Ruth, and she handed me the rug.
Ajie and I then walked to where we like to sit. I spread out the rug, and Ajie and I sat. I looked towards where everyone was, and most of the special guests were there. Then I concentrated on the fire, and I heard a chant. But it wasn’t Naainish. It was a woman. I looked and saw Quah Ah chanting. Interesting.
I went back to concentrating on the fire, and I felt its spirit. I hadn’t noticed, but the Moon was full tonight, and I felt it’s strong spirit. I no longer worried about its power over me. I could control it. I looked at Ajie, and I knew that the Moon wouldn’t hurt her.
Then I had a vision. Yes, the vision of the Indian maiden, the wolf, and the Eagle. And everything appeared to be in harmony. And the Eagle was still holding the three necklaces.
Quah Ah finished her chant, then Ajie looked at me with a twinkle in her eyes and a sly smile on her face. I asked, “What?”
“I’ll tell you later.”, Ajie replied.
We got up, I picked up the rug, and we walked back to where everyone was. I walked up to Quah Ah, and said, “That was an interesting chant, Quah Ah.”
“Thank you, Kai.”, Quah Ah. “Naainish, and I thought it would be good for tonight.”
“It was. Both the spirit of the fire and the spirit of the Full Moon were strong.”
“Yes, they were. And they were favorable towards you and Ajie.”
“I do feel that everything is in harmony.”, I said.
“It is, Kai Nez.”, Naainish said.
Ajie and I spent time talking with the guests that were at the bonfire. Most of the questions were about what we did at the bonfire and how we were dressed.
We ran into Chief Tom and Vickie, and a surprise. Dr. Joe and Mary were with them. I said to Dr. Joe, “What are you doing here?”
“What else. Enjoying the barbecue.”, Dr. Joe said. And I can see why you come here all the time. The food is excellent. And the dancers and musicians do a great job.”
“That they do.”
“And I like what the two of you do at the bonfire.”, Mary said. “I think I can even feel the spirit of the fire.”
“The spirit of the fire and the spirit of the Full Moon were strong tonight.”. I said.
“I forgot about the Moon. And it was full.”
“Where’s little Mark?”, Ajie asked.
“He’s with a sitter.”, Mary said. “So, we can’t stay much longer.”
We stood around, talking to Chief Tom, Dr. Joe, Vickie, and Mary for a while. Then Dr. Joe and Mary had to go. And Chief Tom and Vickie decided to leave at the same time. So, Ajie and I walked to the parking lot with them and said, hágoónee' - (see you later) to them. And there were hugs and handshakes all around.
Then we headed towards my aunt and uncle’s house and ran into Dibe and Hal. They were heading back to Dibe’s home in Santa Fe and then going back to Denver for the start of school. Our so longs we tear-filled and full of hugs. And the last thing I said was, “Good luck when you talk to Hal’s parents.”
Dibe said, “It may be easier than talking to my father.”
Then Hal said, “She may be right.”
After they left, Ajie and I went to the house and changed out of the fancy clothes. Then we went out onto the patio, and I laid and lit a small fire in the fire pit. As we sat there, I said, “Okay. What were you going to tell me.”
“What do you mean?”, Ajie asked.
“Right after we finished meditating, you gave me a look that told me that something had happened.”
“Yes, and then you told me that you’d tell me later.”
“Yes, oh, that!”
“I had a vision too, well maybe it wasn’t a vision.”
“Oh, what was it?”
“Well, I heard someone say, awéé’ at’ééd dóó awéé’ ashkii.”, Ajie said.
I looked at Ajie and said, “Awéé’ at’ééd dóó awéé’ ashkii!?”
“Yes, a baby girl and a baby boy.”
“Do you think the girl is having a girl and a boy?”
“Maybe, but I only heard it once while we were meditating, and it was just a whisper.”
“I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
“We’re not going to the horse show.”, Ajie asked. “Are we?”
“No.”, I replied. “I think we need to respect the girl’s privacy. Even though we know who she is.”
“Good call, honey. It’s got to be hard on her thinking about giving up her babies.”
“It does. I also think we need to keep what we heard to ourselves.”
Just then, my two sets of aunts and uncles walked out onto the patio, and Aunt Ruth said, “Can we join you?”
“Of course.”, I said.
As my aunts and uncles sat, Aunt Ginny asked, “Are you two getting excited about adopting?”
“Not yet.”, Ajie said. “It’ll be late November or early December if the doctors are right before they’re born.”
“Can I ask something without upsetting you?”
“We won’t know if it’ll upset us until you ask, Aunt Ginny.”, I said. “So, ask away.”
“What happens if the girl decides, after the babies are born, that she doesn’t want to give them up?”, Aunt Ginny said.
“I don’t know.”
“If she signed the papers relinquishing the children to an agency, I don’t think she can.”, Uncle Gaagii said. “What about the father?”
“According to the people from Child Services, he’s out of the picture.”, I said. “I guess when he found out that she was pregnant, he just walked away and is now in the military.
“But before we get too deep into this, I think we need to talk to Chief Clah.”
“That’s probably the best thing.”, Uncle Gaagii said.
We sat together on the patio for a little longer, then my aunts and uncles called it a night. Ajie and I cuddle together under the stars. But no shooting stars tonight.
We finally made it to Her Majesty, the Queen’s bedchamber.
Saturday, we were up early and dressed in our hiking clothes. We were going up on the cliff to watch a Sunrise. And as usually happens on our walk up the cliff trail, we were joined by a few guests. One of the women finally said, “You were the girls that were at the bonfire last night. Weren’t you?”
“Yes.”, I replied. “Did you enjoy the barbecue?”
“Oh, yes. It was fun watching the dancers and listening to the music. And seeing all of the native people.”
“We had more, as we call them, special guests then we usually have.”
“That was alright.”, the woman said. “It was fun seeing them.”
“It always is.”, I replied.
“So, is the hike up this trail worth it for the Sunrise?”
“Usually, it is. And we may even see or hear coyotes or wolves.”
“Oh. They won’t bother us, will they?”
When we reached the top of the cliff, there were maybe twenty guests there. And we didn't hear what we usually heard. The coyotes weren’t talking. So, I said, “Everyone, we may be in for a treat this morning. We're not hearing the usual coyote calls that we hear early in the morning.
“That means that there are wolves in the area. They won’t bother you. And we don’t see them that much so this is a treat. If we see them, we’ll point them out to you.
“Also, for some reason, one of the wolves has come up here a few times when we’ve been here. He won’t get too close. We feel that he is just checking on us. If you see him, don’t panic, but tell us. And if you are upset by him, just slowly go to the trailhead and walk back down to the resort.
“But if he does show up, realize this will be about as close as you will ever be to a wolf in the wild. My cousin and I have seen him a few times. He looks at us for a minute and then walks off.”
“Are you sure he won’t attack us?”, a man asked.
“Yes, sir, as sure as I can be.”
We watched as the Sun started rising in the east. And Ajie wasn't happy with the reds that we were seeing. Someone asked, “Is the old saying correct?”
Someone else said, “About red sky in the morning sailor’s warning?”
“It holds true out here more than not.”, Ajie said. “But, it’ll probably be later this evening.”
Then I heard it, the howl of a wolf.
Others heard it too. And someone asked, “Was that a wolf?”
“Yes.”, I said. “Be quiet, and we might see them. Look for them to be walking in a line.”
Several people turned and looked towards where the howls were coming from. Finally, someone pointed and whispered, “Is that them?”
Everyone looked to where the person was pointing, and we saw a line of wolves going across the desert west of us. And I said, “Yes, that’s them.”
It wasn’t much later that someone said, “Look over there.”
We looked to where they were pointing, and a big wolf was standing about twenty yards away from us. Ajie and I walked so that we were between the guests and the wolf. As has happened before, the wolf looked at us for a short time, and then he wandered off.
I turned, looked at the guests, and one man said, “You’re not afraid of them. Are you?”
“It’s more like we respect them.”, I replied. “And try to live with them. They were here long before our ancestors were and deserve to have their space.”
Once the sun was up, we headed back down the cliff trail. The guests went to the hotel restaurant, and Ajie and I went to my aunt and uncle’s house. Aunt Ginny and Uncle Gaagii had spent the night, and everyone was up by the time we were back. And my two aunts were working on breakfast. Ajie and I jumped in and helped.
As we were eating, I mentioned that the university was going to allow me to wear my long skirts, fancy blouses, and even moccasins when I was teaching. Then I had to explain what their current dress code was for the teaching faculty. My Aunt Ginny said, “What you wear around here has to be more comfortable than a dress or a suit.”
“It is.”, I said. “And, we’re going to Mrs. Benallie’s shop if anyone wants to go along?”
“I can’t.”, Aunt Ruth said. “I’ve got things that I need to do around here.”
Then Aunt Ginny said, “I’d love to. But we're heading home right after breakfast.”
I looked at Ajie and said, “Well, I guess I’m stuck with you.”
That got me a playful punch in the arm. And, I said, “Ouch!”
“Stuck with me?”, Ajie said. “Maybe I’ll just stay here with Aunt Ruth.”
“I was kidding.”
With her cute smile, Ajie said, “I know.”
“Ginny, we’d better go with these two to keep them apart.”, Aunt Ruth said.
“We’ll be okay, Aunt Ruth.”, Ajie said. “I’ll just spend a lot of money.”
I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.
“Uncle Paul, do you know if Charlie and Jackie are working today?”, I asked.
“Charlie is, but I think Jackie isn’t on the desk until four.”, Uncle Paul said.
“Ajie, let's find Jackie and see if she wants to go.”
“Sounds good to me.”, Ajie said.
We said hágoónee' – (see you later) to my aunts and uncles, and also told my Aunt Ginny and Uncle Gaagii to have a safe trip home. Then we drove over to the apartment where Charlie and Jackie were living while working at the resort.
As we drove up to the apartments, Jackie was sitting on the front porch reading. She saw us, got up, and ran down the steps. As Jackie ran up to the car, I rolled the window down, and she said, “Hi guys.”
I said, “Hi, Jackie. We’re going over to the clothing shop in Santa Fe. Wanna go along.”
“I’d love to.”, Jackie said. “Let me grab my purse and leave a note for Charlie. I’ll be right back.”
“We’ll be here.”
When Jackie was back, she got in the back seat, and we headed to Santa Fe, and there was a lot of talk about what had gone on this summer. Jackie was very interested in the adoption, and that we may be adopting twins. She also told us, again, how much they liked working for my aunt and uncle. She also told us that Charlie would love to work for them full time, but it was too far from the university to the resort.
As we pulled up to Mrs. Benallie’s shop, there were about a dozen cars parked around the building. I took the two pairs of moccasins out of the car and was carrying them as we walked up the steps. As we reached the porch, we heard a woman yell, “Stop thief.”
Then some guy came running out the door and right into us. He knocked Jackie down, and luckily she didn’t fall down the steps. But I can’t say that for the guy, I grabbed him, spun him around, and he fell down the steps. Just then, Mrs. Benallie and another woman came out of the door and saw what had happened. And, Ajie went to help Jackie.
I looked at Mrs. Benallie and said, “You’d better get an ambulance for him.”
“Kai!”, Mrs. Benallie said. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine, but Jackie got knocked down.”
Jackie was sitting up, with Ajie’s help, and holding her left arm. Ajie looked at Mrs. Benallie and me, and said, “I think she broke her left forearm.”
“Who did that?”, Mrs. Benallie asked.
I pointed down the steps. And said, “That guy. When he ran out the door, he ran right into her and knocked her down.”
“We need to take her to the hospital.”, Ajie said.
The guy had started to groan, and I said, “Ajie, you’d better go and check on that guy.”
“Go on Ajie.”, Jackie said. “I’ll be all right.”
Ajie got up and went down the steps, and as she reached the guy, he started to get up. So, in her I’m in charge voice, she said, “If you get up or make the wrong move. I’ll put you right back down there, and you’ll be in more pain than you are right now.”
The guy laid back down.
One of the other women from the shop came out and said, “Mrs. Benallie, I called the sheriff, and they’re coming. And they’re also sending an ambulance.”
“Thank you, Mosi.”, Mrs. Benallie said.
It wasn’t long until an ambulance from the fire department showed up closely followed by a sheriff's deputy and not much later by a Santa Fe police officer. As the guys from the fire department walked up, Ajie said, “I’m an emergency room nurse in Albuquerque. The guy on the ground has a concussion and a possible broken leg.
The sheriff’s deputy talked with Mrs. Benallie, and I overheard her tell him that the guy had grabbed some silver and shoved it in his pocket. She saw him out of the corner of her eye and yelled at him, he ran out the door, and into us.
Then the deputy went over to the guy, bent down, and looked in his pockets. Out of one pocket, he pulled some pieces of silver jewelry with price tags still attached. The guys from the fire department splinted his leg, then loaded the guy onto a gurney and put him in the back of the ambulance. They headed off to the hospital with the Santa Fe police officer following them.
Before they’d left, the guys from the fire department had also put Jackie’s arm in a splint and a sling. The sheriff’s deputy took all of our information, and we wrote out our statements. Then we headed to the hospital.
At the hospital, we went into the emergency room, and Ajie explained what had happened and what she thought happened to Jackie. And that was a minor fracture of the ulna bone, which was proven by an x-ray. They quickly set the bone and put Jackie’s arm in a cast and sling.
Ajie and I wanted to take Jackie straight back to the resort so that she could rest. But, Jackie insisted that we stop at Mrs. Benallie’s shop. So we left the hospital and headed to Mrs. Benallie’s shop. And there were just as many cars there as there were when we left a couple of hours ago. Then I remembered, I’d had the two pairs of moccasins in my hands when we had the altercation with the guy that tried to rob Mrs. Benallie. Where are they?
As we walked in, Mrs. Benallie, saw us, and said, “You came back!”
“Of course we did.”, Ajie said. “Did you think a little robbery would stop us shopping.”
Mrs. Benallie walked up to Jackie and said, “I’m so sorry that this happened to you.”
“Don’t worry.”, Jackie said. “I’ve got the best nurse in the world looking after me.”
“Don’t let Dean Etsitty hear you say that.”, Ajie said. “She’ll make me teach more classes.”
“So, why were you here?”, Mrs. Benallie said.
“What else.”, I said. “To shop. And did anyone find my moccasins?”
“No. Which moccasins were they?”
“The two pairs that need repairs.”
“Where did you have them?”
“I was carrying them when that guy came running out of the shop.”
“No one brought them in.”
“I’ll go look outside.”
I went out front and started looking around. I quickly found the regular pair of moccasins in some cactuses near the front steps. But I couldn't find the wrap moccasins.
I searched some more then I started looking under the cars and pickup trucks that were parked there. And bingo, I found the wrap moccasins under a pickup truck. I had to lay on my stomach to get them. When I got them out, I looked at them, and they looked like they had been run over. Maybe more than once.
I walked back into the store with them. Jackie was sitting in a chair behind the counter, resting. Ajie was looking through the racks of clothes. I walked up to the counter that Mrs. Benallie was standing behind, set the moccasins on the counter, and said, “I think the wrap moccasins are ruined. It looks like they were run over a couple of times.”
Mrs. Benallie picked up the wrap moccasins and looked them over, and said, “Maybe they are ruined, and maybe they’re not. I’ll let the guy who repairs them decide that. Okay, Kai?”
“Sure.”, I said. “Let’s hope that they’re not ruined.”
I went and joined Ajie looking through the racks. She picked out a couple of blouses, and I picked out three blouses and two skirts. We went over to the counter, and Jackie was looking a little sad. Ajie went behind the counter and asked Jackie what was wrong.
“I was going to pick up a new skirt, and now I don’t feel like it.”, Jackie said.
Mrs. Benallie had overheard Ajie and Jackie, and she said to Jackie, “Honey, I am so sorry that this has happened to you.”
“Mrs. Benallie.”, Jackie said. “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
“Honey, make me feel a little better. Pick out two skirts, and I’ll let you have them for the price of one.”
“I can’t do that, Mrs. Benallie.”
“Please, for me.”
Jackie looked at Ajie, and Ajie said, “Honey, go on. Mrs. Benallie feels sorry for what happened, and it would help her if you picked two skirts. I’ll help you.”
I watched as Jackie got up with Ajie’s help, and they went and looked at the long skirts. They looked at some skirts, and it took Jackie a few minutes to pick out two. They brought them to the counter, and good to her word Mrs. Benallie only charged her for one.
As Ajie and I were checking out, Mrs. Benallie said, “I should do the same for the two of you.”
I looked at Mrs. Benallie and said, “You don’t need to do that. We were just there and reacted.”
“But, I feel that I should.”
“No. Please don’t. Now, how long do you think it will take the man to fix my moccasins if he can?”
“I’ll get them to him after I close today, and he should have them back to me by next weekend.”
“We'll probably be back up this way next weekend, and we’ll stop in.”
“That’ll be good.”
We said hágoónee' - (see you later) to Mrs. Benallie. Even Jackie said, “Hágoónee'.” to Mrs. Benallie.
I carried all the clothes out to the car, and Ajie helped Jackie down the steps and into the car. As we drove back to the resort, Jackie said, “I won’t be able to work.”
“Don’t worry about that.”, Ajie said. “If Kai or I have to fill your shift, we will.”
When we were back at the resort, we helped Jackie out of the car and into my aunt and uncle’s house. Aunt Ruth saw her and said, “Jackie! Honey, what happened?”
I told Aunt Ruth what happened, and when I finished, Aunt Ruth said, “Jackie, don’t worry about working at the front desk. We’ll find someone to cover for you.”
“Cover for who.”, my Uncle Paul said as he walked into the kitchen from his office.
Aunt Ruth said, “Jackie broke her arm.”
“Kai, what did you do to her?”
“Uncle Paul. Not funny. Where’s Charlie working?”
“They’re down at the service building trying to get the big tractor to run.”
“I’m going to go and get him. Jackie needs him.”
I ran down to the service building, and it appeared that they’d gotten the tractor running, as they were cleaning up. As I walked in, Francisco, the head of maintenance for the resort, saw me and said, “Miss Kai, you’ll get dirty in here.”
“I’ve been dirty before, Francisco.”, I said. “And I clean up pretty well. But, I need to find Charlie.”
“I’m right here, Kai.”, I heard Charlie say.
“Good. I don’t want you to panic, but Jackie got hurt.”
“Where is she!?”
“At my aunt and uncle’s house.”
Without a word, Charlie turned and ran out of the maintenance building. And I took off after him. Boy, can he run. I had problems keeping up with him. When we reached the house, I was finally able to say, “Charlie, she just broke her arm.”
“I’ve got to see her.”, Charlie said as he opened the door. We went into the house and found everyone in the living room and Jackie sitting in one of the recliners with her feet up. Charlie knelt next to Jackie and said, “Honey, are you all right?”
“I’m fine.”, Jackie replied. “I just broke my arm.”
“How did it happen?”
“Ask Ajie. It was just a blur to me.”
Charlie looked at Ajie, and Ajie told him the story of the guy trying to rob Mrs. Benallie’s store, what we did, and how Jackie broke her arm.
When Ajie finished, Jackie said, “I was just in the wrong place.”
“I was so worried about you when Kai told me that you’d been hurt.”, Charlie said.
“He took off at a dead run before I could tell him what had happened.”, I said.
Then Jackie said, “Is anyone else hungry?”, Jackie asked.
“Now that you mention it.”, I said.
“We did miss lunch.”, Ajie said.
Uncle Paul suggested that we go to the restaurant, but Jackie said that she didn’t feel like it. So, Ajie and I fix something light for us. As we ate, I said, “Jackie, you have a bathing suit with you. Don’t you?”
“Sure.”, Jackie said. “Why?”
“Well, when I dislocated my shoulder, the thermal waters helped me heal quickly.”
“But, I can’t get this cast wet.”
“You can sit on the edge and dangle your feet in the pool.”, Ajie said.
“You think that it’ll help?”
“It couldn't hurt.”
“Kai.”, Charlie said. “Run me over to the apartment, and I’ll grab our swimsuits.”
Charlie and I ran over to their apartment and got their swimsuits. Then Ajie, Jackie, Charlie, and I went up to the thermal pools, Ajie helped Jackie change, and we spent some quality time soaking in one of the pools, and Jackie sat on the edge with her feet and legs in the pool.
Later, when we were back at my aunt and uncle’s house, my Uncle Paul said, “Jackie, don’t worry about your shift. We’ll cover you until you feel better.”
“Thank you, Uncle Paul. Hopefully, tomorrow.”
“Don’t push it.”
“When are you guys moving back to the university?”, Ajie asked.
“Supposedly Friday.”, Charlie replied.
“Let us know if you need any help. We’ll come up and help you pack and then unpack at the apartment.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“What are friends for.”
Then looking at my uncle, Ajie said, “And I assume that Uncle Paul is going to help you move your furniture back.”
“Of course we are.”, Uncle Paul replied.
“But, no matter what.”, I said. “I want Jackie soaking in one of the thermal pools at least twice a day.”
“Yes, Dr. Kai.”, Jackie said.
“You’d better believe it.”
After a late dinner, we were back at the thermal pools with Jackie and Charlie. Then we drove them back to their apartment, and then on the way back to my aunt and uncle’s house, I said to Ajie, “You know, depending on how the project for Los Alamos goes this week you may need to come up here by yourself on Thursday.”
“Not a problem.”, Ajie replied.
“Are you sure?”
That night we had storms. I’d thought that Ajie had gotten better with them, but my Queen needed her Prince. Boy, did she.
Sunday before breakfast, we picked up Jackie and Charlie, and all four of us were back soaking in one of the thermal pools. Then we were at my aunt and uncles for breakfast.
After helping clean up the breakfast dishes, Ajie and I headed back to our house in Albuquerque with a stop by the grocery store to replenish the pantry and refrigerator. After a quick lunch, we did a bunch of housework, and I worked on my project. Then after dinner, it was a walk along the river and a visit from the Eagles.
When we were home, we called our parents and filled each other in on everything that had gone on this past week, including what was going on with the adoption.
Monday and Tuesday, I was off to the office to work on the Los Alamos project. And Ajie was going to call Mrs. Biakeddy of the Navajo Children and Family Services.
Dr. Joe had worked on designing the circuits to test the final circuit. And on Monday morning, I went over them with him, and they looked good. Also, the clerk in the storage room did have all the parts that we needed to put the one of a kind circuit together on a breadboard.
On Monday afternoon, I went to work on building the breadboard of the one of a kind circuit, and Dr. Joe went to work on the two circuits for doing the testing. Halfway through Monday afternoon, I had an ‘Aha!’ moment. I made a minor change to the circuit that should make it quicker to build.
Dr. Joe saw me drawing on my schematic and asked, “Did you change something?”
“Yes.”, I said. “Come and look.”
He looked at what I’d done and said, “I like it.”
I went back to work and was able to leave out several parts. So when we called it a day at about five, I was further along than I thought I’d be.
When I was home, Ajie met me at the door with a big hug and kiss. I hope this never stops. As we walked into the house, Ajie said, “I called Mrs. Biakeddy from Navajo Children and Family Services this morning and told her that we’d be happy to adopt the twins.”
“Good.”, I replied. “What did she have to say?”
“That they were happy that we decided to do that. And she asked if we’d seen the girl, and I told her that we decided to follow their recommendation and the girl’s wishes and had not seen the girl. And she was happy with that. She said that she might have the four names that the girl had chosen for us soon.”
Ajie had a wonderful dinner ready for us. And this evening was just going to be a kick back and relax one. After we’d cleaned up the dinner dishes, Ajie poured us each a sangria, and we went out into the back courtyard, I laid and lit a fire, and we cuddled together on one of the couches and watched the stars.
Tuesday was just about the same as Monday except that there was no ‘Aha!’ moment. But I made significant progress on the circuit. I figure that on Wednesday, I should be able to finish it, and we could begin testing. Ajie had gone into the ER for the morning shift, and she beat me home.
Tuesday evening was terrific. First off, Ajie talked me into going to Nunzio's for pizza. It took her all of five seconds to talk me into going. Then we drove up to the Sandia Crest and watched the sunset. Of course, it got cold and windy when the Sunset and we didn’t bring coats with us. So we didn’t stay up there very long. And that called for a stop at our favorite drive-in for a milkshake and fries.
At the drive-in, we didn’t see our favorite carhop, Jimmy Davidson. So when the carhop came to pick up our tray, I asked, “Is Jimmy Davidson around.”
“Ah. … Do you know him?”, the carhop asked.
“We’ve been kind of friends since we came out here.”, I replied.
“He and a couple of his friends went to Canada.”
I shook my head and said, “He said that he might do that. Damn war.”
“Tell me about it.”, the carhop said. “My brother just got drafted.”
“I wish him luck.”
The drive home was a quiet one. As I pulled into the garage, Ajie asked, “Thinking about Jimmy. Aren’t you?”
“Yeah.”, I replied. “He may never be able to come back and see his family.”
“I know. It’s sad.”
“It is. I’ll miss seeing him.”
“Me too. And I’m going to have problems seeing his mother.”
“Oh. That’s right. She’s a supervisor in the ER.”
We closed up the garage and went into the house, I looked at the answering machine, and the light was blinking. I rewound the tape and pressed play. We listened and heard, “Kai and Ajie, this is Mrs. Biakeddy from the Navajo Children and Family Services. You were interested in the names that the girl had picked for the twins. If they’re boys she’s chosen, Tse, which means rock, and Sik’is which means friend. And if they're girls she’s chosen Hozshona, which means it is beautiful, and Haseya, which means she rises.
“You don’t have to use any of these if you adopt the twins. And I’ll keep you informed as to how things are progressing. Bye.”
I’d almost choked when she said, Haseya. That was grandma’s name. And Tse was my Great-Great-Great-Grandfather Nez’s first name.
Ajie looked at me and asked, “Honey, are you okay?”
“Yeah.”, I said. “It just startled me when she said Haseya.”
“Me too. And also, Tse.”
“Can I say something?”, Ajie asked.
“Of course.”, I replied.
“I like Tse and Haseya. And if we do adopt them, and I hope we do, and if they are a boy and a girl, I’d like to use the names Tse and Haseya.”
“When I heard Mrs. Biakeddy say that she had chosen Tse and Haseya, I almost choked. If we use those names, would we also give them anglicized names?”
“Maybe. I’d be tempted to leave Tse as Tse. But, Haseya, I may have to sleep on an anglicized name for her.”
“Maybe grandma had an anglicized name, but I never heard one. It was always Grandma Devereux. Maybe Aunt Ruth or Aunt Ginny know. But, I’m going to leave this up to you.”
“No, I’d love your input on this.”
“Okay. But like you, I need to sleep on it.”
“Good.”, Ajie said with a cute little smile and twinkle in her eyes. “Let’s go to my bedchamber and … ah … sleep on it.”
“Yes, my Queen.”
My Queen and I spent the night in the hogan.
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