Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mallow Missile

With mood improved, Clay hummed a tune from the early 70’s then sang different words to it.
“Me and Migizi down by the Pow Wow grounds.”
Two tribal uni’s in a tricked out golf cart drove by and heard the phrase sung again. The officers laughed and waved.

Pow-Wow. Many aspects blended to form an aromatic potion. The medicinal value couldn’t be determined. It meant something different to each person in community. Clay and I smiled while sponging up sounds of the gathering. There was laughter of kids, bantering between traders over prices, and tinkling tin cones on women’s jingle dresses.

Generators purred behind food vendor trailers and the smell of fresh cut grass did tug-o-war with that of campfire smoke as it smudged everything within a half mile radius.

At last, the aromas we hungered for met us and said mornin’. Sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee, and frybread came to our minds and noses with their greasy fragrances in tow. We joined a dozen elders in line and filled our plates and white paper cups. All three picnic tables were occupied so Clay and I looked for a place to sit.

“Over here, come on over here and join us,” someone called out.

The elder’s tent was at the edge of the campground and the voice came from a younger fella sitting in a camouflage fold-up chair. He waved us over as a woman matching his age rousted kids from their seats and sent them off to play. 

I looked at Clay whose silence got my attention. He looked nervous.

“You coming?” I asked when he stopped.

“Ah, I’m headin’ for the can Ain’t It. You know, morning routine and such. I’ll sit in there and refill the ole intestinal loop. I’ll catch up. Go ahead, they look like nice folk but I don’t know ‘em. Must have traveled here to compete.”

I let him go, thanked the folks, and sat with them by the fire. They let me eat free of conversation. The couple’s two boys and girl, somewhere around age 10-12, came running into the campsite with willow sticks.

The boys, bare bellied, wore cargo shorts. The girl went in and out of a pop-up camper and came to the fire with a half empty bag of marshmallows. Each kid put a mallow on their stick and tapped it against the edge of the fire ring to knock ants from the puffed pillow of sweetness.

Sipping coffee, I watched a Rez dog appear. It behaved but started to drool. The girl, making a critical mistake, tossed it a mallow. It swallowed it whole. Dad, grumping at the error, grabbed the bag. The boys stood opposite each other around the fire converting mallows to bubbling wads of fiery char.

Craziness flashing in his eyes, the elder boy raised his stick high in the air. In slow motion I heard “NOooooooooo” coming from dad’s mouth. The mallow missile launched and arced over the fire toward the brother’s chest with dog giving chase. 

Splat, sizzle, scream, ka-wham, sizzle, scream, and kiyi-ing happened in 4 seconds flat.
Splat went the missile against the boy’s chest and sizzled his skin. He screamed and mom ka-whammed the gooey blob to put out flames. Burning her hand, she screamed. The dog kiyi-ed as fur on its belly singed off while jumping over the fire for the mallow.
I dumped coffee in my lap from laughing so hard.

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