A sense of adventure filled the van, no, I guess you might say a pack of "just in cases" filled the van for here's the truth of the matter: there are just TWO of us on this trip, my brother and I and for some reason the van was as full as if we'd packed along two or three of the kids...I've noticed now that I'm somewhat older (yes, older...older than I was last week, older than American Idol but NOT older than Marvin the Martian) anyway now that I'm older I've noticed that my "just in case" syndrome is getting badly out of hand. I imagine that this is okay, perhaps one day as we sail merrily down the freeway we might be stopped by some random game show host asking us if we have "such and such" in our van or "so and so" in my purse and voila! There I'll be with ten thousand dollars!
My brother had been invited to teach stickgame and weaving at the Big Hole Battlefield as a cultural presentation and out of the kindness of his heart he allowed me to tag along. FUN!!!! I prepared throughout the week by ordering my prescriptions ahead so I would have them to take, I printed up a binder with some illustrations of our work in it and I also kind of sketched out subjects that might come up in such a demonstration - all preparations that might be helpful, yes? Of course yes.
As I said previously, the air was full of adventure and excitement as we took off to Montana. We drove through the hottest part of the day but let me tell you there were the most amazing sights to be seen...and road games of course - one of our favorites being "Hey." This is how THAT goes: you see a bunch of horses happily munching their afternoon snack and lean wayyyyyyyy out the window and yell "HEY" at them. Most likely they will give an annoyed nod of their head, sometimes they will look at you like "WHAT did you SAY to me?" and on occasion (my apologies to you Horses) they will give a big toot and take off running - to which we laugh raucously and keep going. You may not know this but horses have a different understanding of the English language hearing it through their soft kissable ears rather than through ours...when you say "hey" to them, they hear "ooga booga" which they've been brought up to believe is a rude and coarse expletive, which is why they often look annoyed about it.
We passed through the hot miserable part of our drive and realized that one of the benefits of age is that suddenly it's okay to use the A/C on the car...it's actually more feasible and keeps one from getting heat exhaustion - DUH!
Passing Spokane was a milestone and into Idaho felt like a real achievement. It was starting to cool down and the scenery was astounding. It was at this point that I realized with one of those "I could have had a V8" type epiphanies that I had safely stowed both my medicines and the weaving binders in my green travel bag all snug and ready for travel...and left it in my office. GOOD ONE
I never knew this but there are a series of little historical type towns from Coeur d'Alene Idaho to the Montana border, so many things to see and even though I was tired I didn't want to miss anything so I stayed awake:-). I love historical little towns...they're just so cute, you want to pinch their cheek and say "oh you cute little historical town you!!!!" But I didn't, I left that for someone else to do...
We arrived at St. Regis which by they way is like a little cosmos of its own, I believe it may even by a hub of several galaxies...you know, we can't be positive those were ALL humans, in fact I saw several suspicious looking tentacles hanging from one guys hat...and one of the girls I saw had funny eyes, like icy looking or something. Just you know, keep an open mind, is what I figured.
Off to Missoula! For some reason we both thought of Missoula as the "almost there" point and sadly it wasn't but we finally got to our destination at 3:00 in the morning, tired, still a little hot but still excited about the adventure. The park service had put us in our own house! It was beautiful and felt homey enough for us to just fall asleep immediately.
Morning arrived and the birds were singing, I almost felt as if I should be wearing a beautiful gown with ribbons and bows but instead I put on my windgress and otter furs...off we went to do our first presentation.
During our break we drove to Wisdom for a bite to eat and just to "see" and OMG it was as amazing as it sounds - really, a town named "WISDOM?" You either picture a sleepy little mountain village (that's what it was) or a mysterious horror movie setting (it wasn't). On our drive to Wisdom we saw several antelope! They're strikingly wondrous I might add, tan and white with dignified prickly horns and an air of superiority. I loved seeing them.
The staff at the park were all so gracious and friendly. They joined in with the stickgame demonstration and had the time of their lives. We got our pictures taken with different people visiting, one was a German family...the day was fun. That evening we were to go to another park and do the stickgame demonstration. I can't say it enough that the scenery was exquisitely beautiful...really, there aren't enough words. The evening demonstration was yet another new experience, we were greeted by a soft-spoken articulate woman named Beverly who had one of those smiles that lights up a room, her husband was tending the fire and we visited for a bit before they gathered up some of the campers. There were several children from a family and this was their annual camping trip. They loved the stickgame and we played twice with them. We shared some stories one of which I'll tell you now:
When I first came home (5 years home on July 4, 2009!!!!) I knew I had a lot to learn. Fortunately my cousin and brother took me under their wings and started teaching me the things I needed to know including stickgame. I actually did think for awhile that my cousin and brother might indeed "know everything" Such a concept came from a stickgame where my brother was singing the songs all including a coastal song and to my utter surprise he sang the WORDS along with them, OMG I was so amazed. Apparently he DID know everything! Singing a song in a language he didn't know? WOW...it wasn't until months later I was listening to the tape of that song and all the sudden I laughed so hard...I knew the words to that song too: "ohhhhh hip hip hooraaayyy hip hip hooraaaayyyy" Those at the fire laughed heartily at this story and off we went back to bed.
Sunday was our last day and we dressed for our last demonstration. The kids from last night showed up and an air of anticipation was in the room. We shared our weaving experiences and THEN it was time for stickgame! We played the final games and said our goodbyes...
The trip home was as colorful and exciting as the trip there...only this time we had the anticipation of soon arriving at our little house on the prairie where Rocky, Sandy and Aristotle would await our arrival.