Saturday, September 24, 2011

We Become Our Ancestors

Veterans of Viet Nam, Afghanistan, and Iraq--Haskell Pow Wow Grounds 2011.

Gentle Readers of This Blog: Little Egypt has set to deploy for a year long mission which will take her to Iraq. This deployment was known to us and her Kansas Battalion has already left for Ft. Hood, Texas. She will join them shorty and in a few week they will probably go to Kuwait and then on to the Baghdad area.

It has been a few years since I've been to a Pow Wow, mes amis. Rarely if ever do I dance, but as this was a special welcome to new students at Haskell--and since the Veterans, past and present, are always remembered--I was invited to be with Little E in the Grand Entry. Little Egypt will retain her faculty position at Haskell--but here friends and colleagues wanted to pay special gratitude and offer blessings and support.
The Drums and Singers unite all people.

When you hear the drums and step out in the cool September air--and you feel the drums moving through and into you--somehow the sky and the and the sun and the grass under your feet, and everything seems to sync with the rhythm.. You feel happy, and you know that you are part of everything alive--and it is sacred. The Drums humble you, Gentle Reader.

Honoring the Warriors--the Color Guard will lead the Pow Wow.

A Warrior is someone of the People--no matter what tribe, no matter what nation--who has come forward to defend The People when that time befalls. In times of War, be it on a battle field or standing up for rights and justice--what is remembered, I believe, is the courage and discipline and inner strength a person must have to face the unknown. The confusion, the dullness, the terror, the loneliness, the pain--Death and Death's random pick of who will live and who will perish--those thoughts and to survive them must mean Warriors like Little Egypt must remain focused.

The Drum gives us Hope for the Future--and helps us remember our relatives.
Cars, like ponies, stand around and seem to be enjoying the pow wow as well.

James--a respected Elder.

One of our friends from Haskell, James, helped get the Honor Dance for Little Egypt set up--which was a surprise for my wife as she is very modest and private, as most Navajo are, and not about drawing attention to herself. But the Veterans want to do this for her so she agrees to participate.

James and Little Egypt--James is a Marine and Viet Nam Veteran, on the staff at Haskell, well known and loved by the students.

Now this is a War Pony!

Waiting for the Pow Wow to begin--Running on Indian Time, mes amis!

Rico and I are are pretty nervous to be right up front with the Color Guard during the Grand Entry--this is traditionally the spot reserved only for the Veterans. As we are family members, we are invited to join the Warriors.

My thing I'm sorta hung up about is that I don't look Indian. In the 1890's my Scot-Irish ancestors married Cherokee and Choctaw women in my native Oklahoma, as the girls families had land.

As far as I know I have Great Uncles (my Great Grandfather Bruce's older brothers) that married Indian woman, but I don't know as I have met any of them. The Wardlaws--the Great Uncles of my Grandmother, I have met some of those Wardlaw Choctow--I remember they were tall women with pure white skin, with green or blue eyes, and raven black hair. They said we were related but I'm not sure--

We relax before the Grand Entry--seeing Little Egypt in uniform again makes me aware that she will be leaving for Iraq soon--like the days before when she got ready to go to Afghanistan. She was in Afghanistan for two years, 2006 through 2008--they were two very long years.

Haskell Pow Wow Grounds. All are welcome!

I see students and faculty, and I see a lot of Indian students I've seen up at KU too. Besides the students and faculty, Indians living in the community are here as well. All are welcome--but I of course feel like the only white guy. Ha ha ha its okay because, Gentle Reader, All Are Welcome! No matter nationality, race, color, tribe--because this is a time and place of Friendship and Being Thankful.

Preparing for the Grand Entry--we will dance with the Veterans.

Little Egypt will lead the Grand Entry.

An evening of dancing will begin at the Pow Wow as the Sun sets.

When You Dance--You Become Your Ancestors!

Good Luck Little Egypt--Take Care! We will send Good Thought and Feelings Your Way!

Cheers! Bruce

Friday, September 23, 2011

Red Tail Ride with Bruce

A young Red Tail Hawk watches me ride down the road.

I've been working a lot, Gentle Readers of This Blog--on my day off, I rode into a sunny and cool Autumn Afternoon and headed out to Lone Star Lake.

Corn has been harvested.

The Corn Crop was mostly burned up this Summer. Farmers I know told me that things started out well--then came the hottest Summer on record. The Corn burned up in the heat.

This wagon has seen many Summers, and Winters too.

Passing the farms on the way out to the Lake.

Soybean fields are yellow and gold.

There is a slight chill as I pace myself down the road.

September is the time for Sunflowers in Kansas.

Red Barn on the way out to Lone Star Lake.

Fields of Gold and Green.

I had heard that migrating Monarch Butterflies were migrating through the area, and I wanted to get out to the Baker Wetlands to see if I could spot more--Monarchs were all in the back garden of The Little House while I got the bike ready for the ride. As I rode out into the Wilds, mes amis, I saw a few here and there but could not get a good photo for you. Anyway, as I rode, my mind emptied and I enjoyed the colors and the sunshine on my day off.

The Big Cottonwood on the Farm.

Country Road.

Country Road avec Le Rouler.

Tallest Tree on The Farm!

Lone Star Lake.

The Lake is shaped like a star and one can ride almost around it. It was very still as I was the only person out by the waters. I could see fish stirring as there were no boats and no people to make waves. It was very peaceful as I glided over the Lake Rd.

Riding around the Lake under the canopy of oaks.

Arm warmers rolled down as the sun is high and warm.

Before I came to the end of the pavement, I made a turn and there was a flock of about twenty wild turkey! A wonderful sight to behold, mes amis! They scurried into the trees to escape.

Under the Big Oak at the end of the Lake Rd, I stop for a quick lunch.

A spider comes out to take a look and see who is there.

Under the still and coolness of the oaks and walnut trees, I can hear hundreds of song birds singing--and they dart about above me. On the shadow of the Lake Rd, I can see the movement of the hawks that patrol the tree tops. That spider above crept out to look me over--I needed to step lively because as I looked around there seemed to be a squad of this speceis under-foot.

The Farm on the Other Side of The Lake.

Time to ride home.

The Big Cottonwood on The Farm telling me Autumn will be Winter before long.

A bridge for a tractor to go from the road to the fields. I had never noticed it before and saw it as I rode to The Lake. I wanted to stop and get quick photo on the way back.

Haskell Victory Arch from the 1920's

Home Coming game at Haskell is October 1st I believe.

Over the old down town streets to get home--saves a little time, mes amis.

Bike lane for awhile and then home to The Little House!

Cheers! Bruce

Monday, September 05, 2011

Club Rider

Landmark at Hwy 32 and 2200 Rd.

I had invitation to ride this Labor Day with the Leavenworth Bike Club, mes amis, so Monday morning I hopped on the Mighty Trek and set out to rendezvous with the club in Tonganoxie, just under a 20 mile ride for me.

Leaving River City for Hwy 24-40.

Hot weather--then rain--then cool weather here in Kansas, Gentle Readers of This Blog. My allergies have been severe, and I've tried about every antihistamine to relieve my misery.

Saturday, Little Egypt had me try some Tylenol P.M. saying that if I kept working around the Little House, and had a cup of coffee or two, I'd be able to stay awake. She told me the stuff had a bit of Benedryl in it and that would stop my sneezing, etc. Well, what it left me was pretty much dopey all day--a day I could have just gone out on the bike for a ride. I was pretty useless and got no work or chores done. Sunday turned out to be a bust too with errands and bills to go over--so I was very happy when Rosie of the Leavenworth Bike Club organized a Monday Ride!

Wearing arm warmers this morning!

The morning was a bit cool, cool enough for some light arm warmers. Also was a strong headwind all the way too--but that was okay because I'd meet The Club Riders in Tonganoxie and then have a great tailwind back to Lawrence.

The Big House on the Hill.

Out of Lawrence I catch Hwy 24-40 and then take a quick left onto Hwy 32, riding East until Leavenworth County Rd 1 and head North. This Rd is also 2200 Rd which goes through Eudora, and if I ride even further South takes me to Hwy 56 (Old Santa Fe Trail) where I rode into Baldwin City a few weeks ago.

Hwy 32 is quiet--there's a bit of a headwind--and it's cold. But I make good time. I can see a Big House way up on the Hill while I'm on LV 1 and I know that I'm almost back to Hwy 24-40 just outside of Tonganoxie. I'll ride on there for a few miles and then meet The Bike Club.

Just off 32 and on 24-40 into Tonganoxie, KS.

The Bike Club Rolls into Town!

Plans have changed as The Club was coming down from Leavenworth--it seems that they won't be riding down to Lawrence, but want to have breakfast here in Tonganoxie and then ride back up to Leavenworth. I don't blame them--it is a windy day and it would be 40 miles back in a strong headwind. I agree to ride along to The Club Breakfast, and then head back to Lawrence on my own.

Ted and Bill and we're on our way to an open Cafe!

An open Cafe just off the Hwy--I need coffee mes amis!

Club Riders at Club Breakfast--my kind of Bike Club!

I get asked to keep going and ride back with everyone to Leavenworth. Rosie offers to give me a ride back so I accept! We'll drive back the way we rode up so I can see the route for next time I want to do a ride up to Leavenworth on my own. These are great guys and all faster than me, so it's making me work to keep up and stay in the pack.

The Bike Club Pace Line.

I've not ridden in groups before and this is good practice for me--I am made to feel welcome and I have to say I've gained confidence too. I did a pull up front and as I dropped back, here's a photo for you, mes amis, of the Pace Line. This is the best kind of riding to do! We're making good time and cutting through the headwinds.

Regrouping as we begin to take on the Hills to Leavenworth.

There's going to be three big hills on the way up to Leavenworth, and on the second I get dropped--but that's okay because as everyone spreads out, there's stops where everyone re-groups.

Ted pulls me along so I don't fall too far behind--thanks, Man!

Re-group for the last leg into Leavenworth.

Ted and Rosie help me along so I don't get left behind and get lost out here in the Wilds. We have one last leg into the city and form up a small pace-line for a strong finish.

Rosie rides her Madone.

Jan and Rosie as we knock out the last few miles.

Shaun riding strong and leading us up the road.

Yours, mes amis--trying to keep up and stay on board!

We make it! Jan at the finish.

Rick, Rosie, and Ted--at the finish. This was a fun ride and I'm glad I got to ride up to Leavenworth--my first time to this historic city.

See you next time!

There will be the annual Buffalo Bill Century September 24th and I will do my best to be ready and hopefully ride with members of The Club. My goal has always been to ride a century ride, like El Tour de Tucson, in under six hours. I've come close a few times and don't know if I can do it on the Buffalo Bill--but if I ride with a pack I just might!

Cheers! Bruce