Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Lilac Bush

It's all rather odd, but weather is something that teaches us to take life as it comes.  Today and yesterday and for the past week or so, the weather has been "coming in pleasantly".   I think it's all about to change, but it has been so warm this last half of November that my lilac bush has decided it's Spring!! It has leafed out on top.  I am afraid it is going to have a dreadful surprise in the next couple of days when its sweet little leaves freeze!

Life comes at us sweetly and pleasantly, and if we're lucky it goes on day by day without too many difficulties, and we are able to live our lives in sweet gentility.  But some days the world butts in and we are brushed by the hositilities of others.

One of the things I've recently begun to try to teach others (at least one person per day!!)  is that whatever we give energy to grows and becomes larger.  Therefore, if we give energy to negativity, then the negativity just gets bigger and bigger all the time. 

At the same time, if we give all of our energy to positive things (and this includes our positive thoughts) then those positive things grow larger and become greater in our lives.

If we give energy to poverty, then we will have poverty.  If we give energy to abundance, then we will have abundance.  Positive thinkers say we should always say "I am growing richer and richer."   You know what happens then?  Our brains say "yeah.  Right.  Then why isn't my bank account bigger?"  I've just recently read this great book about "Afformations", which advises rather than the Positive affirmations "I am rich", which your brain might argue with, ask a  question your brain can try to answer.  Therefore, you ask "Why am I so rich?"    It begins to work immediately!  For instance, I had been thinking, "I'm going to have to go buy tape so I can wrap Christmas presents."   Immediately after asking "Why am I so rich?"   I began finding things stored in closets and drawers including nearly a case of tape!  I also found a closet full of Christmas presents I'd purchased and forgotten about when I ended up in the hospital.

At the same time, complaining about the actions of others only strengthens and multiplies the negativity of which you are complaining.  Rather than complaining state the way you would like the actions of others to be, and frame it in a  question, i.e., "Why are my relationships with others so pleasant and productive?"  This is just my twist.  Twist your positive question to fit your situation.

I usually have all my Christmas cards prepared and sent out before the First of December.  For varioius reasons, I haven't gotten to it yet.  Maybe I'll do the same as I did some years ago.  I'll send out belated Christmas cards combined with Valentines!     One thing you can always count of me to be consistent about....I'm inconsistent.  My son complains that in my cooking, I never make anything the same way twice, and when something turns out "good", I might not remember what I did to make it so good.  Then again, some things are just habits, and I do them all the same every time.  Like Thanksgiving Dinner.   I can cook it in my sleep, and though I don't use recipes, it pretty much turns out the same every year...almost.  Yep.  I'm consistently inconsistent. 

One way or another I'll get around to the Christmas cards I guess.

Remember:   Give Power and Energy to Positive Things.  Giving Energy (worrying etc.) about negative things only makes them bigger.   Think about Happy Things.  Think about how you'll feel when your wishes come true.  Put yourself in the time when your wishes are manifest.  In other words, count your blessings.  In doing so, they will magnify.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Selling Oneself or Bragging About One's Abilities

I was brought up with the idea that it was "unladylike" to brag about one's abilities.  Therefore, when it comes to selling my "products" i.e., my writing, it is very difficult for me to "sell myself", i.e., brag about my accomplishments.  I know that I write "good stuff".  I know I get good ideas, marketable ideas.  I know I ought to spend a lot more time "talking up my abilities."   But it always comes back to the same thing...i.e., guilt about bragging about my accomplishments.     An ideal situation would be to have somebody else do the bragging for me, but even to do that I have trouble finding agents, because it still comes back to bragging about myself.  And then there is the idea that when one has made friends with people of influence, it is somehow not right to take advantage of that friendship by appealing to them to help me.   However, at some point, I am going to have to do it.    Or find someone to do it for me. 

At present, I am working on Christmas stuff, and getting Zach and his friend's "ends tied up" here in town.    And I'm also writing my novel.  I love doing that.  The writing is so much fun, and the selling of my writing is difficult.    Help!!  

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Safe Trip - Now Mom Can Breathe!!

He made it!  Finally.  The trip was very eventful apparently.  But he made it to the apartment.  Then he had to figure out how to unload two truckloads of furniture, etc., with very little help.  I prayed "Thank you God for Zach meeting many new friends who will help him."

When I heard they'd purchased chains and were going to go through the snowy passes to the get there, I was holding my breath.  Under normal circumstances they should have gotten there in two hours or less.  However, I allowed for twice the time, and then got anxious.  I had my Atlas in my hands when I called.  He was nearly to his destination, he thought.  He called out the road turn offs, and I told him where he was and how close he was to his destination.    Then I let him go.     I talked to him about an hour later, and he was in his apartment trying to figure out how to get the trucks unloaded without any help.  Hopefully his Dad arrived with muscle to help him. 

When my Grandmother Terman was about 93 she told me, "your babies never leave your thoughts, not even when they are turning gray!"    I think she's right.  My mother often admonishes me to "be sure to dress nice" when I go to a meeting.   "Be careful when driving home" when I leave her house.   If she thinks I'm sad she calls me several times a day to make sure I'm all right.  She's 86 and I'm 65.    So if Zach thinks I'm ever going to stop worrying about him, he's wrong!  It's a mother's job to always worry about their children.  At least it is in our family.  It's a good job and I love it. 

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Journey - Letting Go

My son, Zach took off and drove to California.  He has an apartment there waiting for him.  There were many adventures along the way.  Two separate people commented it sounded like "The Grapes of Wrath" road trip.  Zach and his friend are now stranded on the East side of the mountain passes, unable to get across because of bad roads.  Perhaps they needed a respite from the driving 'cross country anyway.   So at present he is stranded in tiny South Tahoe (there are worst places to be stranded) with a truckload of furniture and pets, and cable television, awaiting a storm's ending that is supposed to cease around Noon today.  Hopefully the roads will clear, but if not they are prepared to purchase chains for the truck and go over the passes toward the apartment.   "Bated breath"???   Just Mommy.   Prayer really works, if for nothing more than to reassure a worrying mother.  I know that God is keeping my son safe and free from harm, and that He will travel with him throughout his life, ensuring his journey is blessed, safe and successful and uniquely his own.

Sometimes detours in our lives take us to unexpected places where we experience unexpected blessings.  When they first pulled into South Tahoe they met a couple who asked about their destination.  Zach mentioned he would be looking for a job, and the man stated that he should go to a certain place and tell them he was recommended for a job.  Blessings flow when we trust in God to lead us in our directions, and those things that appear to be negative can turn out to be a positive twist in the road that takes us places we've never dreamed....or perhaps always dreamed.

Now I go back to the fiction writing, back to Spring of 1811 and my research into the life and times of Tecumseh and his brother Tenskwatawa (the Prophet).  What an adventure that is!   I just love writing!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dear Santa

Dear Santa:

For Christmas this year, I have a lot of things on my list.  You don't have to bring me everything.   But most particularly I'd like to have Zach home for Christmas.  After that I'd sure like to have a Pearly White Cadillac CTS, but I'd settle for a Mercedes convertible (anything but red), but if you like I can use one of for each foot.  I'm very fond of roses.  Diamonds would really turn me on, but they are a waste of money because I rarely wear jewelry.   A house at the lake is on my list as well. 

Back to reality.  Perfume and flowers are great presents, but they always go away after awhile.  But I have vases from flowers I received many years ago, and they still bring fond memories, even though I tried to reject the one bunch of Christmas flowers.

My favorite Christmas presents:

When I was 10 months old I received my Anne doll.  I still have her, and a table and chairs set.  I had them for many years. 

When I was about 10 or 11 I received a mint green and lavendar Schwinn bicycle.  It was a very special wish come true as well.

My very favorite Christmas present is to be with family and share good times.  Some families talk of the "holiday fights".  Our family holidays have always been special occasions when we can all get together and hug everyone and make and share special memories for the future.  As I write this I can remember special holidays spent with my grandparents years ago, and then most recently with my extended family.  

Here's a special story that I wrote, based upon a true happening when I was about five years old.

Merry Christmas


Happy New Year


(or Diary of a Five-Year Old)

The doors had never, ever been closed before. I didn't even know they were there.

Grandmother, said, "Bill. It's time."

Grandad stood up from the table and went and pulled the doors right out of the wall. The light from the big front window in the parlor disappeared.

The doors had never, ever been closed before! I didn't even know they were there!

Closing the doors meant we couldn't look out the big front window to see the porch.

"Can I go swing on the swing?"

"No. It's too cold. You stay in the house."

I was sent to the sewing room to sit in the rocker. I couldn't even see the doorsanymore.

Why do I have to sit in this rocker?

This is some Christmas.

I wish I had my Anne Doll. She had to go to the hospital.

I didn't even know she was sick. Those doors had never, ever been closed before!

I didn't even know they were there!

here goes that sound again, the doors I didn't know were there have been opened again, and here I am in the sewing room. I can't even see them doors from here.

"I'm tired of playing in here. Can I come out and play in the parlor now?"

"No. You have to be a very good girl and stay where you are or Santa wont come." I could hear the doors slide shut again. The doors had never, ever been closed before! I didn't even know they were there!

"You can come out now."

The doors were still closed. The adults stood around in a circle, in front of the doors that had never been closed before. They were all smiling foolishly.

Suddenly, from the other side of the doors, I heard a sound I'd never heard before.

"Jingle, Jingle."

"Ho, Ho, Ho!"

I looked suspiciously at the adults whose smiles were so foolish.

Suddenly, I felt a draft come under the doors that had never been closed before, and I heard the parlor door that lead to the front porch open and close. Nobody ever used that door!

Grandmother smiled and nodded at Grandad, and he pulled the doors open.

There in the parlor was a raggedy little ole Christmas tree. And next to the tree was the dollhouse I thought Santa would not bring becauseI was not good.

And on the other side of the tree was my Anne Doll. She didn't look sick to me. She looked married. She was wearing a bride's dress of satin and pearls, with a long white veil.

Santa stole my doll and then gave it back to me dressed up like the Bride Doll I wanted! What a crock!

Is there really a Santa? I don't know. I wasn't good and I got the doll house anyhow. It's a mystery to me.

How's come nobody ever told me those doors were there?

(This is a story I wrote. Its a true story, embellished a bit. Not sure I was such a smart aleck kid back then.)

Love, Jana

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Some reasons why I cry

I've decided some reasons why I cry, especially about my son, (and I'll just cry by writing this) are that I have always set goals for myself regarding him, and when I reach those goals without having an outlet or a subsequent goal for myself, I feel let down, and then I feel sad, and then I cry for a little while. I guess it's just feeling sorry for myself, and a little sad that an era in my life has ended, without giving myself a new goal to head for. I'm working on new goals about things right now!

When Zach graduated from high school, I was so proud to go to his graduation. His dad and I were divorced by that time. My mom and dad were there, but they went home right away afterwards, and Zach wanted to go to parties that were being held at various people's houses. His party was set for a few days later. I went home by myself, and cried and cried. I got over it pretty quick, getting him into college, and going on with life.

Then he moved out and left home, and frankly, I was kind of glad to have him move out and be on his own. He was right here in the same town, and I saw him nearly every day or so for awhile.

Then he got married, and I got on with my life, and didn't worry too much about him, believing that he was married, and happy, and it wasn't for me to worry about anymore. That turned out not to be true, and he had gotten into a relationship that was lacking. Unfortunately, his wife had some problems that he thought he could fix. Famous last words that all of us who've been in the same situation fully understand. Something better learned sooner than later...we can't change another person. Either get 'em the way you want them for the rest of your life, or don't get 'em!!

The family tried very hard to love this woman, because Zach loved her, but it was very difficult. I later learned the extent of her problems, and the best way I can describe it is, "remember the movie, Misery?" She did everything but break his legs to keep him. It's a shame that she doesn't think better of herself, but I believe she truly believes no one would love her...and she may be right...unless she keeps them prisoner. She wouldn't allow him to fix his vehicle, insisting he could drive hers. She wouldn't let him get a "real job" insisting that he work at his "craft" of glassblowing. Though he did sell some of his art, it brought in very little money.

After about 2 and a half years, he finally fled from the relationship, having acquired  an obsessive-compulsive disorder in the process. Fortunately for him, that wore off, and he has been cured of it. He has grown and gained greatly after he removed himself from that situation. Unfortunately for me (just joking) he no longer arrives at my house and immediately begins vacuuming the whole house! Perhaps the vacuuming was originally to drown out the strident voice of his soon-to-be-ex-wife. But by the time I learned of it, it had become a deep concern for any sign of dirt on the floor whatsoever.

The first thing I told him when he moved out of his marital residence was that I would be happy to let him move back, but I thought it would be best if he found someplace else to live. He moved in with the friend with whom he is making a movie. He rescued some of his pre-marital monies from the marriage and used most of it to live on until he found a job, and until he could get a vehicle. After he left her, he was also unable to continue earning money from glassblowing, and he had no vehicle.

He got himself a job here in town, and worked hard at it for several months. During the break-up of the marriage he had gone to California to visit with his dad a couple of times, and had been toying with the idea of moving out there to go to college. He also learned he could get a job with the same company he works for now once he got out there...if they had any openings.

When he suddenly announced that he and a friend were going to move out to California, I was suddenly sad. I didn’t want him to leave, and I certainly didn’t want him to leave the day before Thanksgiving. That’s what it turns out he did. We had our family Thanksgiving early both for him, and for my niece, who had to work today. But then he probably will spend Christmas with his Father in California. I shouldn’t feel bad about that because in the years since I divorced his father, he has spent every Christmas with me and my family. Perhaps, however, for that very reason, I feel very sad. Christmas and tradition are very important to me.

The first Christmas I moved to California in September, and I didn’t make it home for Christmas that year either. It was a very weird Christmas with a fake tree made of tumble weeds painted green. But it was an adventure. I have to believe Zach will be having adventures, and that he will grow and become a successful man. I am already very proud of him. On the one hand, I am happy that he is moving on in his life and working, belatedly (just like his mother) to acquire the rest of his education, and that he is still searching for his calling (it took me a few years to discover I was really a writer). I can only love him and encourage him and never make him feel guilty that it makes me sad. I’ll get over it.

I cry for other reasons too, but I’m going to cry a lot when I miss my son. My kitty is wondering why I keep picking him up and hugging him, and then get him all wet by crying.

Well, okay, now here are some other reasons I cry. I always cry when I hear the Star-Spangled Banner, and America the Beautiful. I cry when the flag goes by in a parade. I cry when I hear marching bands.  I cry when I see fireworks.  I cry when I see rainbows.

Okay, now I am going to get busy and set some goals for myself. The first one is to hopefully have my novel finished by my birthday on February 12.   You can send me roses for my birthday.  I love red or pink roses.  And since it's just a couple days before Valentines Day, anything with hearts on it really turns me on too.  P.S.  It will make me cry.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Kekionga - The beginning of my novel.



Jana Lynn Shellman

© September, 2006

318 W. Leith Street

Fort Wayne, IN 46807-1439

All Rights Reserved


The Shaman of the Kiskakon tribe envisioned a place where three rivers came together. . In the air above the three rivers rose a white tipi of light. This white tipi of light illuminated the area with a special protective influence.

When the Shaman found the place where the three rivers met he knew he had found the sacred place of protection, and in this place he settled and the village of Kekionga sprang to life.

The Shaman foretold from that day forward this place would never be tormented by the whirling winds from the Southwest. Legend thereafter told of Miami tribesmen seeing the winds coming in tall dark pillars streaking across the open meadows and tearing swaths of destruction through the forests. They told of finding the paths of these pillars of darkness. They told how three pillars came to an area just West of where the three rivers met, two turned and went to the South, one turned and went to the North. Later braves would comment even the rain storms seemed to turn and head away from the place where their village sat.


Knitting needles clicked. One pair quickly and the other slow and halting. Two red heads snuggled down inside their respective blankets, their chairs pulled close to the fire. Their noses poked out of the folds of the blankets.

In the cold air they could smell the aroma of bear stew, laden with onions and pieces of squash bubbling heartily in the iron pot slung over the fire. Chamomile, mint, catnip, sage and bay leaves hung in fragrant bunches from the rafters, imparting their own exotic scent. This scent mixed with the muttony smell of the pulled and combed wool hanging in frothy clouds over the railing of the loft above their heads.

The two red heads snuggled down inside of their patchwork quilts and pulled their chairs closer to the fire. Their hands peeked out holding knitting needles. The only sound in the room was the clicking of the knitting needles and the crackle of the fire. Now and then sounds of bubbling could be heard coming from the iron pot slung in the fireplace.

There was an occasional hissing sound as snow melted from a pair of boots hung over an iron drying arm. Suddenly, one pair of needles stopped their clicking and a soft curse issued from inside the quilt.

"Lally, shame on you. You must watch your language."

"Do not ladies say such things?"

"No, Lally. Ladies never curse."

"I don't think I can bear never cursing:"

Maggie chuckled at the look of consternation on Maria Louisa's face . She noticed that the half-Indian half-French young woman had changed her hairstyle. It was now exactly like her own. She had also noticed that her friend had stopped wearing the satin gowns and gaudy scarves she had worn when they met, and was now wearing a simple cotton gown, much like Maggie’s. It appeared to be homemade. She was surprised to learn that her friend could sew.

"This is so boring, Cheri. Are you certain that this is what ladies are supposed to be doing?"

"Ladies who want to provide for the comfort of their men do these things. Especially, when there isn't much money to send East for such luxuries.,"

"I could buy these already ,finished?"

"Perhaps, There are more and more things being shipped here. But they would be very dear. It is more prudent to make your own."

"What is prudent?"

"Prudent is making one's own clothes. Like you made your dress."

"I didn’t make my dress. Father brought this for me from Grandmother, Marie Louise.. It was stolen from a family in a pirogue. She got it for me because I am her namesake. Is ‘namesake’ what you say?"

"Yes, Lally. That is the formal definition."

Louisa nodded, proud that she at least sounded like a lady in her conversation.

The girls continued their knitting in silence, the lonely whine of the winter wind blowing through the trees, whipping around the small cabin, suddenly rose to a scream. As it whirled down the chimney it swept up sparks and threw them out at the room’s occupants. Maggie jumped to her feet and stomped them out with her small moccasins. The stench of singed leather mixed with the other scents in the room. She laughed nervously.

From a distance came the howling of a wolf. Maggie ran quickly to the tiny window covered with oiled paper.

"You’re jumpy tonight, Cheri!." said her companion, Louisa.

"Oh Lally, if only Sam would get back. He left to check his traps a week ago. He should be back by now. I don’t know what I’m going to do, if... Oh, Lally, I’m scared." cried Maggie.

"I’ll stay with you until he returns. Do not worry. He is a brave man. He is trapping near the village of Little Turtle, my Uncle. You know I’ve sent to him to look out for Sam. They will find him. He will be safe."

Louisa stood, letting the comforter drop to the floor. It fell in a soft puddle around the chair, crudely fashioned from willow saplings. Her moccasins swished across the smooth, swept dirt floor .as she crossed to the pile of wood and gathered an armful to carry back to the fireplace. The iron pot creaked as she swung it out of the way. She knelt, brushed back her long auburn hair and began placing the firewood carefully atop the glowing coals. Using the folds of her skirt to protect her hands, she lifted the lid from the pot. Steam rose from the bubbling stew. She replaced the lid, lifted the heavy pot and carried it quickly to the crudely made table nearby. Maggie carried two nicked and checkered plates to the table, and placed them near the stew. As she turned to pull the chairs to the table, the door of the cabin swung open. Snow and wind spilled into the room: The light from the fire reflected back from the darkness, as it struck a dozen eyes. Louisa rushed to the door, leaned her full weight on it and fought a fierce battle with the wind before the door closed. She lifted the wooden bolt and dropped it into place

."Lally. Those were wolves. What if Sam tries to get home and the wolves are waiting outside?"

"Sam is strong enough to outwit a few wolves. Now get over here and sit down. You have to eat something and stop worrying. You must eat." said Louisa. She ladled chunks of meat and vegetables onto the plates. Remains of a loaf of bread were unwrapped from a scrap of cloth. Louisa hungrily dipped a chunk of bread into the broth in the pot. She stuffed it into her mouth and wiped the grease from her chin onto the sleeve of her dress. She glanced quickly at Maggie, picked up the rag in which the bread had been wrapped and wiped at her already clean chin. She noticed Maggie had placed two wooden spoons on the table. She grabbed one, and began noisily spooning the stew into her mouth. She glanced at Maggie, who was daintily sipping the broth from her spoon. She sighed. Maggie looked up at her friend with concern.

"Whatever is the matter Lally? Is there something wrong with my stew?"

"No, Cheri. It is wonderful. It is just I will never learn to be civilized."

"You’re wonderful just the way you are. Besides your Grandmother has told me the ways of your tribe. I think from your legends, your people have been civilized much longer than the Americans. You have nothing to worry about."

Maggie stood and shivered as the wind screamed down the chimney again. From outside the wolves began their mournful howling. There seemed to be more of them now. She paced from the fire to the door and back again. She should feel warm and safe. There was plenty of food to last the winter. The woodpile was large enough to heat the cabin for two years. If she could get out to bring it in...she’d be fine. If Sam got back... She shook the frightening thoughts from her head, looked around the chilly room, smiled at her friend and determined to be brave and make the best of it.

Maggie picked up the comforters and wrapped one around her friend’s shoulders, tucking the ends around her feet. She wrapped herself in the other and pulled her chair up to the table. As the light from the fire flickered wildly over the dark walls of the small cabin, the world outside screamed to be let in. The wind moaned and the wolves howled. The two friends finished their lonely supper.


Twenty miles away, a man-shaped form struggled through the forest, the wind whipping the thick buffalo robe. The hide was white with snow, adding to its weight. The man’s eyebrows, mustache and beard were encrusted with snow. His eyelashes were heavy with their own tiny icicles. The wind roared and screamed through the trees above him. His hands and feet were numb from the cold. He peered through the thick snowfall wondering if the faint light he saw ahead was an illusion of the blizzard or reality.

He stared so intently toward the light he stumbled over the stones in the path. Overhead he heard the sound of a thousand antlers, and gourds crashing together. As he struggled to his feet, arms reached out from the darkness to support him. He found himself being carried quickly toward the light. He lost consciousness.

When he awoke, he kept his eyes shut tightly. He could smell much humanity in a small space. He could smell food cooking, and he could hear a child laughing and singing. He could hear the language of the Miami.

"Aya. Wahpam. Weechilum." . "Hello, Look at Him. Help Him." said a voice near his ear.

He detected the smell of tobacco. Outside he could hear the wind blowing wildly. He felt a slight draft over his face, as the wind swept inside his bedroll.

He ran his hands down his chest. He was not wearing clothing. There were warm rocks at his feet. He felt a hand brush softly across his brow. Sam opened his eyes and saw nothing.


Maggie awoke to see sunshine streaming through the small window in the loft. Snow filled some of the cracks near the roof line, but not before it drifted through the cracks and spilled onto the coverlet on Louisa’s side of the bed. She slept, oblivious of the snow drift she slept under.

Surprise visits from the Indians were not unusual. Louisa had assured her none were going to go out in the blizzard to surprise two women alone.

Maggie felt safe having Louisa, a daughter of Chief Papakechee and the niece of Chief Little Turtle, as her companion.

Her own grandfather had been a son of the Wolf Clan of the Shawnee. But with her red hair and freckles she was not reassured that the tribe of the Prophet and Tecumseh would believe she was kin to them.

From the stories she’d heard as a child, she believed it was Tecumseh himself who had counseled the young people to inter-marry with the Europeans. Her maternal grandmother had told her how she had sent the young boys off through the woods to the Settler’s houses to steal clothing hanging on the lines and bring them back to her. She traded skins for cloth, and taught herself to sew. Eventually she taught Maggie to sew as well.

The clothing they made was hidden in deerskin bags in the dwellings. When the American soldiers got closer to their homes they would move on, disguised as white settlers. Eventually we would build homes like the Americans. My mother was very proud when she had a house with windows and a door. She was pleased when my father built her a table and chairs. It was very hard for them to learn to sleep on the beds of the whites, and almost everyone slept on the floors in their bear robes and other skins. They slept in the loft of the cabins, and the heat from the fire would come up and warm them. Before when they slept in the wigwams, everyone slept together and they were very close and kept one another warm.

When the old ones slept with us it could be very noisy, and sometimes very smelly. Sometimes as she grew older, in the very bitter cold, she wondered about the people who still live in the wigwams. They heard of the very old and the very young dying from the bitter cold. She could always go to the fire to keep warm, and they always had food.

She often wondered why the very old and the very young in the wigwams did not have fire or food, but grandmother said sometimes the very old were not able to keep the fire going and had no one to look after them.

Sometimes the very old hid and were left behind to survive for themselves when the solders came and moved our people West. That’s why, when Maggie’s mother became a young woman, she married a Swiss farmer. The Shamans foretold a time when the whites would take over our land, and try to do away with our people. In order to preserve our blood and our ways, our Chiefs told us we were to stay quiet and pretend to be white.

No matter her heritage, Maggie still worried that there might be a drunken Indian who didn’t take the time to check a woman’s ancestry before accosting her.

It was true the annuities weren’t due for another two months. It was highly unlikely any of the Indians had enough money to purchase the illicit whiskey sold in the forest.

She was grateful for Louisa’s presence. She had to admit most of the Miamis and most of the white men knew Louisa. They knew she shouldn’t be bothered. Their first meeting came about when Louisa rescued her from the advances of an amorous trapper.

Their second meeting came when she rescued Maggie from a drunken Shawnee. Maggie needed someone to look out for her when Sam was trapping or farming. Maggie welcomed the female companionship.

The ladies of the fort frowned on her choice of friends. The wives of the American officers were scandalized by the freedom the half-breed women possessed, but they secretly relished their visits with them. Maggie and Louisa delighted in fueling the ladies’ active imaginations. They often speculated about the gossip as soon as the two girls left.

Sam’s trapper friends declared Louisa a rich, spoiled brat, who didn’t know how to act like a lady. Though Louisa didn’t seem to know how to act like a lady, she knew one when she saw one. She knew Maggie was a lady. She also knew how a lady should be treated. She demanded Maggie be treated as one. She also demanded to be treated like a lady. It was difficult for the men to remember this when she flirted openly with them, made unladylike comments, and could ride, shoot and swear like a man.

She was the best friend Maggie had in this wilderness. She appreciated everything Louisa had done for her. She knew Louisa had many secrets she didn’t divulge. She wondered how much of the savage was left in her. The two young women with similar heritage had vastly different upbringing. Maggie’s mother and grandmothers had always demanded she behave in a lady-like manner and to always observe the words and philosophy of Tecumseh.

Maggie wondered how many of the things Lally did tell her were completely true or just told to shock her.

Maggie flung the covers from her and hurried into her warm clothes. She pulled the woolen stockings over her feet, and pulled on the boots that reached to her knees. Louisa’s Grandmother had made them for her.

She scooped up a handful of snow from atop Louisa’s blankets and let it melt in her hand, and then let the droplets drip from her fingers onto Louisa’s forehead.

With a whoop Louisa shot out of her bed, danced as her feet hit the icy cold floor, and jumped back under the covers and pulled them around her.

"Cheri! Is this hospitality?"

"It’s such a wonderful sunshiny day. I thought we should get up and see it. The dark is so depressing. Can’t we get dressed and go outside? Can’t we get more wood in? Can’t we just be out in the sunshine for a little while?"

"You will freeze to death out there. Do you see rabbits? If the rabbits are out looking for food, then we can go out. If the rabbits stay in, then we stay in."

"I will look for rabbits, if you will run down and make the fire hotter. It is too cold up here. Did you let the fire go put?" Maggie looked down over the railing of the loft,.and screamed.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Mother & Guy and Somewhere Down the Road

Some seventy years ago, my mother was a 16 year old girl, attending a little high school in Whitley County, Indiana. When she was 18 she met and married my father, who was four years older. For years thereafter, when they would attend her high school reunion, one man (his name is Guy) would always tell my father, "you got the prettiest girl in our class."

After graduation my mother met and married my father. My father always put my mother on a pedestal. He treated her like royalty, and he always did, up until the time he died in May 2000. About a year later, Mother moved back to our hometown of South Whitley. She has a cute little house that looks like a palace inside (suitable for the Queen, you know). About that time, Guy, who’s own wife had died some time prior, started courting Mother again. He was very subtle about it, arranging outings with her and other "girls" who went to school with them. Mother finally gave him an ultimatum and said "if you want to see me, you’re going to have to stop seeing all those other women."

The week after my open heart surgery Mother insisted that I go to South Whitley and stay with her for awhile. I did, though I was pretty independent from the start. I would get up at 6 a.m. every day and walk out the driveway to pick up the paper. And I’d make my own breakfast. Mother would sleep in and wouldn’t get around to fixing her breakfast until 10 or 11. I lasted there just one week, I was itching to get home and be on my own again. The last night I spent there, Mother had her first date alone with Guy. They went to a dinner in Fort Wayne. Mother came into the house later that evening, and she sort of giggled and told me "He asked if it would be all right to kiss me good night." I asked her what she said, and she said "I told him I supposed it would be all right." Then she told me he said he’d kissed her before when she was sixteen. She said "I don’t remember that!"

They’ve been dating steadily for the past two years. They sit and hold hands and watch television, and then he drives home to Pierceton, about twelve miles away. He calls her when he gets home. Guy is now 87 and Mother is 86. They have gone to Ohio to a relative of Guy’s where they made apple butter two years in a row. He sent me an "itinerary" and was very sure to point out they’d be sleeping in separate rooms. Mother says "we have so much fun together, we just laugh all the time." They see one another nearly every day, and go to community events in South Whitley and Pierceton. He drives her to Fort Wayne for her doctor appointments, and for other things. He comes to all of our family get-togethers, and she goes to all of his family get-togethers, unless they happen to occur simultaneously.

Reminds me of a song. "It doesn’t really matter when, our roads are gonna cross again, It doesn’t really matter when But somewhere down the road I know that heart of yours will come to see That you belong with me."

Mommy Was a Truckdriver

"How did a little girl like you end up driving a semi coast to coast?" I was asked that question more than once in the year and a half I drove. And a lot of times since. The answer is very simple...someone said I couldn’t do it. One should never tell me I can’t do something, or that something is impossible.   There's only been one man in my life who could tell me what to do.    One of my recent bosses keeps complaining, "why won't you ever obey me!?"   My reply is "it's not something in my job description."

Would I drive truck again? Not anymore in this lifetime! I can’t imagine pulling myself up into a truck three or four times a day, thundering down the road for miles and miles at a time, and getting home once every six weeks or so. Then there’s the loading and unloading. Fortunately I didn’t have to do that a lot, since the company I drove for supplied us with money to pay others to do the heavy lifting. But do I regret having done it? No. It was a sort of perpetual vacation with pay. I didn’t mind driving, and I met lots of people. I had lots of adventures, and I was probably a bit foolhardy.   My favorite truckdriving "uniform" was short-shorts and cowboy boots.

I began thinking of it again when I was talking to my son about driving West in a rental truck with all of his belongings. I was envisioning the trip through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. I’ve done it in two days with a co-driver, but I didn’t want him to try to get there that fast and furious.

I had the good fortune to have a wonderful co-driver. He was a good friend, and the relationship was fun until he asked me to marry him. That ruined everything. I think my answer was, "I want to drive truck John, not keep house!" Actually, I was 33 years old at the time, and driving soon became "old". Every day around supper time we’d drive down the road and we could see into the backs of houses, and see families sitting around their dinner tables. One day I realized I did want children of my own, even if I didn’t really want to get married. In fact, I sometimes said I wanted a dozen! Then I realized it wasn’t going to happen so long as I was on that particular adventure! Once again, John was a really nice guy, but not the man I wanted to marry. I’m afraid I hurt John’s feelings. I’ve done that a number of times in my life.

Driving across country was fun, and since then I’ve thought it might be fun to have a nice motor home ( a tin tipi ) that I could drive across country in the summer, hitting all of the pow wows, camping out and visiting with my Indian friends. It’s lovely to fall asleep at night with the comforting sound of the Native American drum.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Irony, and Wishes and Etc.

One of my Synchronicity cards says "Things are not always as they appear to be." In my book The Wish Factory: How to Make Wishes Come True, I write we don’t always give our dreams and wishes time to come true, and we unwish them before they have a chance. I wrote in Wishing Instructions "sometimes everything in the world has to move over just a fraction of an inch for your wish to come true." How was I to know some of these things wished 44 years ago are still in the process of coming true, and might take another twenty years or more to become manifest. Perhaps they won’t manifest on this plane at all, but if it is to be it really doesn’t matter. If it takes eternity there’s a certain comfort in knowing one wasn’t wrong to believe in the dream. If a thing was meant to be, then it has always been, and will always be what it is.

In 1989 I went on a business trip to Ann Arbor, Michigan with the Food Co-op. I was on the board back then. The fact I was going to Ann Arbor was ironic, let alone my thoughts as I drove to and from. I was thinking about my marriage. My then husband, after many years, showed interest in something I was doing. He asked about the trip, when I was leaving, when I’d get back and etc. I should have known something was up. I drove there, attended numerous meetings, stayed over night, and at the motel looked through the phone book. I’d lived in Royal Oak from the time I was six months until I was five. I found in the phone book the name of a child I had wished for, and thought would never come true.

On the way back I was making plans for the next five years of my life, including buying a new car, putting money away for savings, and then in five years, after my child graduated from high school, I intended to file for divorce. My husband wasn’t a bad person, we just didn’t belong together, not when my heart had been somewhere else for way longer than I’d ever known him. I married him because my mother said he was a nice guy. But he didn’t belong married to me, either.

I got home Sunday night to find the husband had moved things up a bit. He had taken my threats "it’s all community property anyway" seriously, and while I was gone he’d moved out, taking all of his toys, afraid I’d try to keep them. They were fifteen or more years old by then! He was welcome to them. After I got over the initial shock and the fear, I was happy to get on with my life. It took about an hour to adjust, and then I took the "marital mattress" and threw it down the stairs and out the front door. My friends call that a "Cherokee Divorce". I slept on the couch a couple of nights until I purchased a lovely new mattress. I love my bed! Life has been incredibly good thereafter. I have a terrific son from that union.. I’m very proud of him.

Perhaps I should have realized from the very beginning back in 1963, adventurer I am, I’d been given a life to seek out adventures, have fun and then write about them, content with the knowledge somebody loved me, and he would love me for eternity, no matter where we found ourselves in the meantime. Ironic, isn’t it.

Thanksgiving and Tradition and Changes

Tradition is a big thing with me.  And I don't like changes, especially to tradition.  My son is going to be gone on Thanksgiving, so we are "doing" Thanksgiving on the Sunday before.  The family is all getting together at my brother's house. 

My brother lives just down the road from the farm where we grew up.  He bought a few acres from the Amish who have pretty much taken over our old farm (it was in our family beginning in the early 1800's, out of the family for about ten years, and then my parents bought it back in the 40's...they sold it when we moved to Urbana, Illinois in 1959.)  We always intended to buy it back, but once the Amish get it, it's never the same.  Where there was the house, chicken house, grainery & barn that my great-great grandparents built, now there are six houses, and a school.  It was a pretty farm with white buildings, and now it is dirty and ugly.  I'd still like to own a pretty farm around my hometown of South Whitley one of these years.   Stick with me, we're still talking about tradition and change here. 

So back to Thanksgiving and Tradition and Change.  Since Zach is going to be gone for Thanksgiving and probably Christmas this year, I've got to deal with the changes.  I've already put the Xmas tree up, because I want him to see it before he leaves.  The first year I went to California, I didn't get back for Christmas either.  I haven't missed a Christmas in Indiana since, however.   I know that my son (who didn't want to grow up to be an engineer like his Daddy, but wanted to be a truckdriver like his Mommy--'nother story, stay tuned) is pretty much doing things the way I did them.  I know how I brought him up, and I am reassured in knowing that.  He will live his adventures and come back to settle down.

Family traditions are important, but life goes on, and changes occur that make things different every year.  People cross over to the other side, children get married, new babies are born, and adjustments have to be made for every new thing that occurs. 

The most important thing to remember is to keep the spirit of the tradition, to move over a bit for the changes, and to keep love in everything you do.  Family is very important.  I've made sacrifices for myself and for others so that family and tradition can carry on.  Knowing that God lovesyou and your  family, and that no matter what, we're never alone, keeping love for our family and friends in our hearts, and being bolstered by the Love of Creator is good.  Good friends and family are connected by an invisible thread that keeps us together no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in at any moment.  There is great comfort in knowing this.  There is also great comfort in knowing one is loved. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Life Changes

It seems as if everything keeps on changing all the time.  My son is moving 2400 miles away from his Mommy.  Well, but he actually moved away from Mom 5 or so years ago, it's just that he was only a few miles away all that time.  So now he's coming over day by day, and I'm cleaning out closets and sending stuff home with him.  He can pack them or give them away, but I'm clearing out my closets.  I will miss him terribly, and be a little scared that he's not close by to come to my rescue if I need help with anything, like my car or whatever.  However, at the same time I am anxious for him to get on the road and get moving, because he'll be moving forward to a new life, and I can move on at the same time.   I've got friends I can rely upon for help with things, and then there's Fritzie, my cat, who can give me a little love (when he's not trying to unravel my yarn or bite me...).  People keep reminding me that airplanes can bring people back together quickly if need be. 

All the same, new and exciting things keep happening, and I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. 

I am writing ten or more pages per day on my new novel, Kekionga.  People are excited by the story so far.  I've been passing out chapters to my friends as I go.  They keep nagging at me because they don't want to be left hanging.   I love writing fiction.  I turn my fingers loose and they tell me stories.  And!!  I get to be the first person to read them!!!  That is fun in itself!!

In the meantime, I've had enough of being retired, so just so as not to be bored, I've signed up to do temporary paralegal work when and if it comes along.   Nothing can keep you from being bored like working in a law office.    I love the work, and it's never the same thing twice.

I wish my long lost friends would email me, and/or call me and give me their cell phone numbers and their email addresses, so that we could keep in touch.