Sunday, June 1, 2008

Sunday Afternoons are for AIROS (pt. 3) Back To Nature

I met a guy today at the convenience store in Talihina, coming home from church. I didn't recognize him by his face- but from his napsack, his backpack. He was standing, using the payphone at the corner of the store; I was parked at the other corner of same, until I recognized that bright orange rucksack he always wore. That is when I pulled over to where he was, and introduced myself.
You see, this guy rides a bicycle everywhere he goes. I've passed him while driving, 3 or 10 times already, miles and miles from Anywhere, USA. I've seen him sitting on the ground resting. Or pumping that bike of his up steep inclines going somewhere.

I met him today. His name is Glen. And in 5 minutes, I was yanked back in time 150 years, listening to him talk. Acting typically Choctaw and suspicious, he asked my name in Choctaw. That tells us both something important- if either of us are from the Wannabe-Choctaw tribe, instead.
I was impressed by his quick jump to Choctaw from English.

Glen is a Ponca Indian.. He told me that he is living nearby me, in a camper with no electricity, gas or phone. That he moved here from Enid, Ok., but has no other family. He lives on land owned by his great uncle, way deep in the forest. I know the area well; he is rustic.

Glen told me that he's heard my name. In genuine Indian fashion, he name-drops where from, to gauge my reaction.
That he has heard my name from two Oklahoma Highway Patrolmen around here, and from our local Choctaw councilman is significant to me. But I am unsure why.

"Would you like a ride?" I asked Glen in English.
"No, I need to do this," was all he replied in the same.
"Maybe when it's raining, then," I offered, this time in Choctaw.
"Maybe when it's raining." he agreed in the same.

I saw that he was drinking a conv. store cup of coffee and opening a package of Lttle Debbies' donuts. And that he had a rock spearhead tied to his belt. I have several spearheads, but not as weapons worn on my beltloops.


Jungle Mom said...

Among the Ye'kwana one must introduce themselves and the first order of business is to discovery relatives and such. Then the conversing begins. Sounds similar.

The Localmalcontent said...

One of these days, I want to join you and your dear family in returning to Venezuela, in your ministry.

Did I ever tell you I've been to Venezuela myself? 2 weeks in 1991.