Posted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 11:00 am Post subject: She Put Up the Socks
She Put Up the Socks
the old man worked chopping wood for different folks in this little town just off the reservation, it was a small place and he got paid cash money to chop up a pile of wood and if he was lucky he cut two piles of wood a day.
the wind was blowing, mush mez they call it, the snow that falls and covers only one side of a tree, just the start of winter in this place of pine trees. as he worked he thought about the two little ones that came to live with him, small they were, just kids really, a boy and girl.
the boy he was zaya, 8, a husky kid with bushy black hair and his little sister nim bah who was 5, to her growing up was to be 8 years old. he lived alone until they came, their mother was somewhere, the two found a way to his door and he took them in.
this was the old days, when they the cars still went chidi chidi down the road and so they stayed with him, but he was wondering about them because they went to the town school and got back to his hogan on the edge of town and waited for him, if the coal burned out it was cold for them, so he thought about this and got his old bones moving a little faster so he could head on over that way.
it was late afternoon when he got back and he stoked the fire and warmed the place up. this little girl with long black hair she had large dark eyes that lit up when he got back, they called him chay, what they called grandfather in their mother tongue and they were always glad to see him.
the old man pulled out the potatoes and started to peal them, and then he looked at the log wall and saw them sticking up there on the shaggy branches of greasewood. there were five of them hanging there, sort of in a row, colored socks, his old ones. the other side of each pair had disappeared somewhere.
the little girl said, look chay, socks for christmas! socks for christmas! her eyes were all lit up. each sock had something inside and he looked at them, and there were the pretty rocks they had collected on their walks through the forest.
the boy has carved a walking stick for him and it sat there, and he thought about those rocks sitting there, each had come from a different place marking a time, a warm day on the mountain, another a day spent fishing and then going to town to buy grub.
that time the boy zaya spilled a bag of food crossing the road, he cried that the food was all over the ground, and the old man told him, it's ok, it happens all the time, it is a blessing and they took a sweet bread and broke it up for ants to eat, the old man told him it was their feast, a picnic and the boy had picked up a stone from that place and carried it with him. the old man when washing their clothes found the rock in his pocket and put it a tin can and that is where their collection of pretty rocks started.
sometimes the two would miss their mother, and he would take them out for walk and he taught to call out after the animals and birds. the little girl has the gift of making birds come to her because she could be a blue jay. he asked her one time, are you a blue jay girl? she told him no. she looked him in the eye and said, i am part bear. she was serious in the way she looked, her little face all scrunched up and looking at him.
sometime later he asked nim bah how she was part bear, and she told him teh story of their people, of a time when things were hard and people needed help and the bears came down off the mountain and took a small girl and they taught her things, and she brought back what she knew to her people, and in this they bear and her people were brothers forever. she said that is why i am part bear. oh, he said.
zaya her brother looked at her and said what is the other half of you. nim bah looked at him funny and said, the other part is your sister. I am you sister! zaya! the boy just looked puzzled and the old man laughed. he told them we are related to all things cuz were are indians. the little boy and girl said it too. we are indianz. the old man said we are part of it, a part of all things, in this way we travel to places and we pick up some things that are good and leave the bad things behind. he told them the story of each rock in the socks that were hung up and the kids could see those warm sunny days and they all laughed as he set the table for them to eat...christmas was coming and the little one nim bah had put up the socks ......rustywire
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