My aunt Sandy Shabiash died. I am not sure what the cause was but we knew she had been battling lung cancer. Right up to the end she continued fighting for the people. She was attending meetings on other Reservations representing Fond du Lac. We will have a special election to try and replace her.
We will miss you aunt Sandy. I think Roberta Morrison should be honored for the help she gave Sandy in the final months of her life. Of course her sister Jeanette helped a lot also.
Berta would stop by my house and visit and we would tell stories of the old days in Sawyer, the 1940s and 50s when we were growing up around here. Berta remembered things I didn’t and I remembered some she didn’t. We laughed muchly as we told those old family stories.
We will miss you Sandy. I think Roberta Morrison should be remembered for the help she gave Sandy. Jeanette too. Both were defining what it means to be family among the Anishinaabeg.
**** Fond du Lac Follies motored to Milwaukee for the 20th Anniversary of Returning The Gift. We met old friends, Meg Noori, Joe Bruchac, Alice Azure, Philip Red Eagle, Arigon Starr, Jeanetta Mish, and Joy Harjo. We made new friends. Kim and Jim spent many days putting the event together. Both of them get a great big Follies thanks.
The first three days of the conference were spent in a mansion on the north side of Milwaukee. The catered food was great. The mingling was just good.
The rest of the doings were held at Indian Summer on the shores of Lake Michigan. I don’t know how to describe Indian Summer, let us just say it is part powwow (imagine dancing on concrete), part vender stalls, part stage shows, part food paradise, part mountain man rendezvous, and part Returning The Gift writer’s gathering. If I get another chance to go to Indian Summer I won’t. I will go to another Returning The Gift convention however.
**** We got a new dog and I just have to tell about him. His name is Buster Brown Shoes, and like Oscar Mayer, he is a Dachshund. Both are full blooded, born on a Rez, but neither are enrolled anywhere. They are half brothers.
Oscar didn’t take to the new dog right away. I can just about hear him thinking the following: "Are we related? I know we eat out of the same food dish, drink out of the same water bowl but, I am the big dog around here, have been King Miizii for over two years then along comes a little brown ball of fluff. The humans in the house think he is terminally cute with those puppy dog eyes, They don’t pay as much attention to me. I will teach Buster that I am the big dog, I got seniority here."
I watched Oscar watching Buster playing golf. He was enjoying himself rolling a golf ball around the hardwood floor, delighting in the noise it made. Buster would bump it with his nose then chase it. Oscar jumped off the couch, grabbed the golf ball in his mouth, jumped back up on the couch, and laid down. He knew Buster couldn’t jump up there.
One of Oscar’s favorite games when playing outside is Tip The Little Dog Over. When the little dog is bounding along, Oscar will come running by at about 26 miles an hour. He doesn’t touch the little fella but the dog tips over anyway. Buster isn’t intimidated or scared of Oscar.
It is hard to remember when Oscar was that size. I remember he stopped growing up and started growing long. I am waiting for the little dog to grow up and long.
****When I was facing major surgery at the beginning of summer, I remembered hearing of people dying on the table. With that in mind I tried to make it easier on my family by giving them a list of tombstone inscriptions to choose from:
1. I didn’t wanna go but what you gonna do?
2. Gone like a Popsicle in hot fry bread grease.
3. Hey, I can see up your dress from here.
4. Your books and baskets are now more valuable.
5. He still owes child support.
6.. I get to see my parent’s faces again.
7. Dogs! Don’t raise your legs around here.
8. See, I told you it wasn’t the flu.
9. Anishinaabe by birth, Marine by Choice, Death by Agent Orange.
10. Death, we don’t have an app for that.
11. Lather, Rinse, Repeat.
12. Gone to feed the trees and grass.
13. Oh oh.
14. Didn’t miss this deadline.
I told the family they could use any or all of these for tombstone inscriptions in case things went bad on the table.