Oh My

28 Feb

It’s early here in the New Mexico desert and I’m listening to the radio with my first cup of coffee. The announcer notes that Mario Andretti is 80 years old. Oh, my, I didn’t realize he was THAT old! I first saw him race as a rookie at the Indianapolis 500…. Then it occurred to me: I shouldn’t be surprised at his age. After all, I just turned 79!!

February Lakota Way 2020

1 Feb

It had been a long while before Walks High took his place in the long line of hopeful young men who gathered nearly every summer evening outside the lodge of High Hawk. To everyone’s surprise, including his own, the only one invited to the door had been him.

“What has taken you so long?” Grandmother Walks Far had asked. Once beneath the courting robe, as he wrapped it around Sun Rise Woman as they stood in the doorway of her mother and father’s lodge, he could no think of another young woman. And it was only then that he understood the long, lingering looks that often passed between his own mother and father.

– Excerpt from Winter of the Holy Iron

As always, these monthly posts are from this year’s Lakota Way calendar. Jim Yellowhawk provides each month’s painting and Joseph M. Marshall III provides the written passage for the month.

The Turtle

15 Jan

On one of my visits to Crazy Horse Memorial, I spotted a T-shirt that I had to have. In addition to the Lakota art work on the front, the statements on the reverse took my breath away. The turtle design on the front reads:

The drum connects our heart to the heartbeat of Mother Earth.


And on the back:

There was a time when man took no more than he needed.

That time is gone.

There was a time when he gave something back.

That time is gone.

There was a time when he worshipped the Creator and honored creation.

That time too is gone.

And now the waters are polluted.

Our natural resources are all but gone

And creation is dying…

It is time…to find our way back to the Earth.

                                                Kevin Thunderhorse Wright

A Man and His Dog

5 Jan


Found this in documents saved long ago:

A man and his dog were walking along a road. The man was enjoying the scenery, when it suddenly occurred to him that he was dead.  He remembered dying, and that the dog walking beside him had been dead for years. He wondered where the road was leading them.  After a while, they came to a high, white stone wall along one side of the road. It looked like fine marble. At the top of a long hill, it was broken by a tall arch that glowed in the sunlight.  When he was standing before it he saw a magnificent gate in the arch that looked like mother-of-pearl, and the street that led to the gate looked like pure gold. He and the dog walked toward the gate, and as he got closer, he saw a man at a desk to one side.

When he was close enough, he called out, “Excuse me, where are we?”

“This is Heaven, sir,” the man answered.

“Wow! Would you happen to have some water?” the man asked.

“Of course, sir. Come right in, and I’ll have some ice water brought right up.”

The man gestured, and the gate began to open.

“Can my friend,” gesturing toward his dog, “come in, too?” the traveler asked.

“I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t accept pets.”

The man thought a moment and then turned back toward the road and continued the way he had been going with his dog.

After another long walk, and at the top of another long hill, he came to a dirt road leading through a farm gate that looked as if it had never been closed. There was no fence.

As he approached the gate, he saw a man inside, leaning against a tree and reading a book.

“Excuse me!” he called to the man. “Do you have any water?”

“Yeah, sure, there’s a pump over there, come on in.”

“How about my friend here?” the traveler gestured to the dog.

“There should be a bowl by the pump.”

They went through the gate, and sure enough, there was an old-fashioned hand pump with a bowl beside it.

The traveler filled the water bowl and took a long drink himself, then he gave some to the dog.  When they were full, he and the dog walked back toward the man who was

standing by the tree.

“What do you call this place?” the traveler asked.

“This is Heaven,” he answered.

“Well, that’s confusing,” the traveler said. “The man down the road said that was Heaven, too.”

“Oh, you mean the place with the gold street and pearly gates? Nope.  That’s hell.”

“Doesn’t it make you mad for them to use your name like that?”

“No, we’re just happy that they screen out the folks who would leave their best friends behind.





2 Jan

Recent trips to the local dentist caused my brain to review dental ‘history’ in my lifetime. The first time I saw a dentist in my Iowa hometown of 35,000 was when I was in 5th or 6th grade. The local school system employed a nurse to visit and do a cursory check of students about once a year. It was after noon when she checked me out and determined that I had twelve cavities! My mother sent me downtown to the local dentist that very afternoon. Diagnosis: I had blackberries for lunch and hadn’t brushed my teeth.

My next trip to the dentist was spurred by a toothache and resulted in extraction of a molar. He also filled some cavities – I don’t recall how many. By that time I was in high school. Costs were still pretty low in those days [we’re talking 60+ years here]: filling, $4, extraction $6 unless you didn’t have Novocain, then it was $5.

Over the years and in numerous states be sides Iowa – Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, South Dakota, Washington, and New Mexico – I saw many dentists, had more teeth pulled [including wisdom teeth], and drilled and one knocked out by my white German Shepherd, got partials, both upper and lower, and those are now being replaced.

Fortunately, I have dental insurance and Medicare and health insurance, as costs have risen steadily over the years now running into hundreds per visit. Times are a-changin’.

2 Jan

Sorry – I published this entry w/o giving credit to the writer as I’ve always done: Joseph M Marshall III writes the script for the annual calendars. Each month includes a picture by Jim Yellowhawk. The picture in today’s post is from internet collection similar to Marshall’s description and Yellowhawk’s offering for this month. Next month, I’ll see if I can actually take a picture to accompany the words of Marshall.

January Lakota Way 2020

2 Jan

The Lakota word wamakaskan means “ to move the Earth,” although it sometimes is mistranslated to mean animals other than humans. It really includes every being that moves on the Earth, no matter the form or how small or large. Many of those beings were used or emulated by the Lakota. Our ancestors had an especially close relationship with two, one ancient and one new –  pte, the bison or buffalo, and sunkawakan, the horse. The relationship to and with these relatives is best described by the non-Lakota word symbiotic, which means “two different organisms living in close proximity, typically to the advantage of both.”  A consequence of that relationship was respect because the day-to-day survival, spiritual well-being, and societal strength of our ancestors were provided by them. They are, therefore, prominent in many drawings and depictions, and always in ways that best represent their beauty and power.


Image result for lakota horse buffalo drawings