Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Around the Drum and Drain

Chapter 4: Post 1
While working, I noticed no one was speaking to Clay directly. How many others had he miffed, bummed, or pissed off? Most of the crew we helped had no idea who I was and a few had a fuzzy recollection. Living “at-large” didn’t help. It didn’t matter, we were family. Clay concerned me a little. He got quieter and mumbled to himself. When asked, he said he was doing okay.

“Clay, you hungry again? I am, thirsty too brother. Let’s head on over to that other stand that rolled in a while back. I think it said they were doing venison burgers and fries. What ya say?”

“Yah, okay. Listen, after chow I wanna hang around for grand entry okay Ain’t It?”

“Alright then brother. I’m getting drag-assed but maybe some food will revive me.”

Loudspeakers around the Pow Wow circle screamed when the announcer’s mic turned on. The typical test, one involving sequential numbers or blowing, was replaced with a belch. Laughter erupted from little groups of people here and there. The booth man spoke up.

“Okay okay folks. Your chuckles tell me I was heard. Now listen up. I got a request here from a Pow-Wow committee member.”

He hesitated and whispering commenced over the mic, loud enough to hear.

“What’s your name? What ya mean you ain’t telling me. Oh, don’t want nobody retaliating? Yah, good thinkin’. Hey folks, the nameless committee member wants that Nishnob luggage put in the dumpster. Break it down first will ya? Oh, it’s in the walkway behind the frybread wagon.”

He was referring to cardboard boxes when speaking of Nishnob luggage and Auntie Hawk Legs wasn’t happy. She bounced out of her shack on wheels, birded the announcer, and huffed around the back to break down her boxes.

“Love ya too, Auntie. I’m just the messenger ya know,” responded the man at the mic.

The first day of Pow Wow was a short one set aside for tradition. This meant there would be no competition drumming or dancing. Those would happen on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. As Clay and I ate our “timber goat” burgers and fries, the host drum assembled and got their microphone checks done. Oh, I called deer timber goats because they're simply a fast and cool looking wild goat that eats anything.

Casting a searching eye toward Clay, it was obvious his med was wearing off. He looked wiped until the drum took off in a practice tune that announced Grand Entry as being next. He started twirling his pointer finger through his long hair and giggled like a young girl.

“Oh shit,” I said out loud. “Here we go.”

The announcer called for dancers to ready themselves at the circle’s entrance and Clay got antsy. Guessing, I assumed Jovee’s persona took over.

“Is that you Jovee?” I asked, hoping it was.

I got nothing. Clay was standing but ignored me.

“Do you know me?” I asked.

I got a nod.

Over the loud speaker it came, “Grand Entry is now, common people, get your dance on.”

Jovee or whoever it was remained quiet and kept watch on things. Ceremonial aspects of Pow-Wow were fulfilled and the next drum to sing announced. My buddy was eager.

“Open dance, intertribal,” called out the announcer and Clay was gone. He, she, it ran into the sacred circle while my patience danced around the proverbial drain.

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