An accounting of some ventures in the life of grandma and grandpa for the kids, grandkids, friends and those who drop by for a visit.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The flute arrives

As I have already related, my wife has won an Indian flute. Knowing nothing about how to play the Indian flute adds to the mystery of winning this beautiful crafted flute. You know that little carved bear on the top of the flute near the mouth piece? Well, that moves. It has to be moved to uncover one of the holes (it covers two holes) before one can blow a note. Trial and error done over and over and we might play a tune yet.

Learning to play a tonette was mandatory in my fifth grade class in Valparaiso, Indiana. Probably worthwhile except I only remember that it had eight holes with which one could play the scale and we learned to do that in the first lesson. Well, whoop-de-doo! This flute has only six holes. So, I am mystified as to how I am going to play a scale--if I could recognize it if I did play it. I even played the accordian for three years and the scale is as foreign to me as the subtleties of soccer. Are there any subtleties in soccer??

The first challenge will be playing the same note on purpose. Place a few fingers over some selected holes and blow. Nice sound. Do the same thing again and blow a little harder. Ah, different sound. Place the fingers exactly the same and blow again. Another sound. Ah, hah. How one blows into the instrument causes different notes with the fingers in the exact same placement. I am beginning to gain much admiration and respect for Douglas Spotted Eagle and Carlos Nakai and my friend High Eagle.

The flute and carrying case are pictured to the right. You can also see a pitch covered basket made by a Paiute lady and a rattle made by an Iowan Indian. I purchased the basket during our Momorial Day trip to Eastern Oregon and the rattle while at the powwow held at Wallowa, Oregon in July.

What kind of flower do you have between your nose and your chin? Ans. Tulips.

What did the the tie say to the hat? Ans. You go on a head, I'll just hang around.

I have been having an Ambrosia melon explosion out of the garden and it is ummmm, ummmmm good! Also, fresh corn on the cob every day. That is ummmm, yummmm good, too.
You can see the melons and the garden spot below. I have been throwing dozens of yellow squash and cucumbers away because we can't keep up with them. Too bad.

Until later. Keep eating those peaches.
Papa Coyote

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Powwowing with Chief Joseph's descendants

J and I drove to Wallowa on the 2oth of July via Brownlee Reservoir and Hell's Canyon. A very scenic, but slow route. We stayed at the Best Western in Enterprise, Oregon. When we checked out the clerk told Jane the room was free because of our points. What??!!!! Five years ago I made every effort to stay at Best Westerns because of the point system they had. But, before I could redeem any of the points, I got an e-mail saying, "Sorry, sucker, your points have all expired." I fired back a nasty note pointing out that I thought it was a pretty cheap way to treat a valued customer since they easily could have e-mailed that my points were about to expire and that I might want to use those that I had. I deleted my link to the Royal Crown Points club (or whatever name they went by) and was done doing business with them. I never did get a return on my nasty note, but I guess I was comped a room. We just have not stayed at a Best Western since then.

For a dining treat eat at the Calderas Restaurant in Joseph, OR. See my review at

Jane and I attended the powwow known as TamKaLiks. This is the seventeenth annual powwow hosted by the descendants of Chief Joseph. See if interest in reading a short history about the people and the event. The people have bought 360 acres so that they have a place to gather each year. While we were there, they broke ground on longhouse to hold their traditional religious ceremonies, feasting, and other celebrations. They have built a very nice arbor in which to hold their dancing and outdoor celebrations. We were very impressed with what they have done. There is also a nice monument remembering their horrific attempt to escape to Canada. What a sad story in American history! Besides the dancing J and I were honored to view a march of the horses. The horse is very important to the Nee-Mee-Poo people.

We were intrigued to watch a "give away" in which the Broncheau family broke their many months of mourning the death of a family elder (the members of the family attend no public events until the mourning period has ended) by giving items away to all who were in attendance. The idea is that if you receive a gift, you will remember their departed loved one. It works. Jane and I received a few yards of cotton fabric and a dish cloth. We were simply observers with no attachment to the family, but still were included. I was touched by these people's custom. Of course, the gifts to close friends were of significant monetary value. Thousands of dollars had to have been spent by the family.

We bought a program which included a ticket which entitled the bearer to win a drawing. There are several drawings and what appeared to be a hundred or so gifts to be given away. I won a ten dollar gift certificate to the health food store in Joseph. We drove all the way back to Joseph from Enterprise just to use that certificate and thank the store owner for their support of the powwow and the Nee-Mee-Poo people. We also bought five dollars worth of raffle tickets and can you believe, we actually won a prize again. J recieved a phone call a week later informing her that she (I put her name on 3 of the tickets) had won a flute. She did not think too much of that information until we had returned from Vancouver, B.C. and picked up the mail we had had held. This was a major Indian flute. It was beautifully crafted of elderberry wood by a man living in Richland, Oregon. Wow. Jane felt badly about winning such a fine gift. I have since purchased a book that I hope will help me learn to play the instrument and don't feel badly about her having won such a fine gift. J says she has no interest in learning to play the flute. I do.

The dancing was great. Not a real big powwow, but fun to watch and interact with these people who have such a wonderful heritage, albeit a very sad one. I don't know but what I would be much more bitter if I my ancestors had experienced what theirs had to experience.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Catching up

J and I just returned from eleven days on the road. Four days in Seattle and seven days in Vancouver B.C. Very nice time was had by both. Even bought a journal at Barnes and Noble at University Mall in Seattle to record our travels. We might back track some day and will want to know what happened the first time we made those tracks. I have lots of pictures so will post some of those. John and I finally got the Mariners turned around by helping them break their seven game losing streak. We saw them win two in a row before I had to leave town. Unfortunalely, they lapsed into their losing ways by Aug. 4th. Shannon Stewart of the A's did toss the ball he caught just into foul territory down the left field line. I fumbled it, but the ball fell into John's lap and he covered it up. The woman next to him about dove in, but modesty seemed to cancel her first inclination. The yard has not been mowed for 12 days and the pond filter needs cleaning, so I had better tend to that now and will post more during the heat of the day.

May all your trails be slightly downhill and the smoke blow in the other guy's eyes,
Papa Coyote