How Now Pow-Wow

To inform NotestoPonder, an inquisitive, new, Western-Canada follower, here follows the tale of the Great Pow-Wow.  😉

Knowing I had to get up early to take the daughter to the Pow-Wow, I went to bed early.  Since regular for me is four AM, I headed for bed at three….right after a blog comment…and another.  It’s 3:30, and the wife is still reading….it’s 4 AM and she’s turning the light out.  Toss, turn, toss, turn….it’s 4:26, I’ll never get to slee….waddya mean it’s 7AM, and the alarm’s going off?

Juice and pills, feed the cats, water the dog, the son comes home and I take the car to pick up the daughter’s friend, and then her and her stuff.  Not a cold day, but the fog’s so thick I can see KayJai’s face in it.

It’s so thick, I almost couldn’t see the photo radar police car.  I drove past one last year.  They sent me a picture of my car and licence-plate, along with a $50 speeding ticket.  I sent them a picture of a Fifty-Dollar bill.  They sent me two photos, one of a pair of handcuffs, and the other of a cell door.  I sent them an email video of me, walking into the police station, right now, to pay the damned ticket.

By the time we got to the venue, the worst of the fog had dissipated, but the grass was wet.  The nearest parking was at the top of a 40 foot hill.  I hauled down the first couple of items, just in time to claim a good spot, but I am not hauling 500 pounds of stuff, down, and later, up, that hill.  We were allowed to, carefully, drive on the paved walkways, and park at the bottom.

After getting the daughter unloaded and set up, I headed home for some more sleep, and some chores.  There either was, Friday night, or would be, on Sunday, an old car show.  At a red light, a 1972 Oldsmobile 442, and a 1939 Ford drove past my nose.  After some computer time and more sleep, I drove down to the plaza to pick up a pizza for lunch.  In the parking lot, near the restaurant were 8/9 more oldies, a ’41 Dodge, a ’67 Mustang, and, side by side by side, a ’62, ’63, ’64 and ’58 Chevy Impalas.

The son says the only person who impresses him more with old cars than me, is the young fellow he works with.  We just look at a car and tell, within a few years at least, the make and age.  This was easy back in the day of yearly model changes, before they all became featureless clones, and you can’t tell Detroit iron from imported rice-burners.

Back in the tailfin heyday, 61 Chevies ended with a \ slant.  62s looked like /, 63s combined those with a <, and 64s softened it to [.  I could probably have got the ’58 on my own, but an IMP58ALA vanity plate gave it away.  I could even tell the unchanging VW Bug by a larger rear window or taillight.

I got back to pick the daughter up early enough to catch the end of the outdoor, commercial portion.  There was an indoor feast and speaker for those with tickets.  There were 40 to 50 vendor booths, none with fewer than two attendants, arranged in a horseshoe around a grassy lea.  About half were Native Indians.  The rest were White Eyes.

Closing the horseshoe was a large gazebo tent for the organizers.  This is where the dancers danced, the singers sang, the drummers drummed, and the First Aiders aided….announcements, contests, lost and found.  Some woman tried on a pair of earrings, and walked away leaving her large silver hoops.  Another left a green leather (?) purse with a $500 bill in it….or so the emcee claimed, to drum up interest.  Like the U.S., I think drug dealers have forced Canada to not print denominations larger than $100.  I need to research that.

At the base of the hill, white canvas skinned a cone of poles to make a teepee, but her dress had shrunk, and didn’t meet the ground by eight inches.  You’d need to pile a lot of bison shit around the bottom, to keep out vermin and snow.  At the other cusp of the horseshoe, a crew built and maintained a smoky campfire all day.

Everyone had a good day, socially and financially.  Daughter’s friend did some card readings and sold a bit of bead jewelry.  No beaded bookmarks, but the wife sold $51 worth of beeswax candles, in absentia, including a votive that the buyer pulled the wick out of, to rub on buckskins, for waterproofing.  The daughter didn’t actually spin yarn, but brought along two bobbins full, and plyed them together.  The fascinated watchers didn’t know the difference.

Aside from mother’s candles, the daughter sold some of her jewelry, and a couple of hand-knitted shawls, one of commercial yarn, the other, a bit more expensive, with her handspun yarn.  She asked $50 for the first, of the girl in the next stall, but she only had $40 in cash, so the daughter bartered in a $10, hand-painted leather wristband for the grandson, for coming along to help.

$30 bought her an antique Sterling ring with jade stones – cheap at twice that price.  Another $25 bought her a hand-knapped stone knife with an elk-antler handle, held on with elk sinew, with a plain, handmade leather sheath.  I expected it to be flint, but she tells me it’s agate.  Not delicate enough to trim salmon filets, it would still hack a roast off the side of a bison.  The grandson bought a four-feather smudge-fan, and two plastic bags of sage.

Daughter forgot to bring her camera, but went home with lots of happy memories, more money than she came with, some lovely parting gifts, and the intent to do this again next year.

22 thoughts on “How Now Pow-Wow

  1. bulldog says:

    Well it sounded to me like a good day was had by all…
    Hate those damn cameras that always seem to take perfect photos.. need to get one of those for my own use, then I’ll never have blurred photos again… wonder where the police buy them.?? .. also they take a better picture of my face than what someone can do for my passport photo…


    • Archon's Den says:

      I’ve always had shaky hands, and always took shaky pictures….until we got the digital camera. Suddenly shots are crisp and clear. I took another yesterday that I hope to work into a photoblog. 😀


  2. BrainRants says:

    This sounds like a neat experience. I’d have been captivated by the Impalas and the Mustang in particular.


    • Archon's Den says:

      It was neat. The ladies loved it. They sold and socialized while the grandson roamed.
      I’m a Corvette man myself. Those old scoop-sides are leaky and squeaky fuel-guzzlers compared to today’s auto technology, (neither of which I can/could afford) but they looked great. 🙂


  3. Hey thanks for the follow up – glad you remembered I was waiting for a full report. odd as this may sound – you had me laughing myself silly because your story is typical of so many outings in this great country of ours 🙂 The fog, photo radar – the ordeal involved before the day even begins.

    Sounds like it was lots of fun, the important thing was your kids went home with smiles on their faces.Completely off subject yet something I remembered from years ago after leaving Gallup, New Mexico (they were having a pow-wow which I suppose sparked this memory)

    It was late afternoon and we were driving along a completely deserted secondary highway through the Navajo reservation.- hadn’t seen another car, let alone a person for at least half an hour. A massive thunderstorm was building and we pulled off the road to watch it. The sky was black, churning with purple and Gray as wind whipped the desert into a frenzy. Suddenly a voice began to speak – we turned to find an elderly Navajo man standing behind us. Rain pelted us and lightning erupted in every direction. Fixated on the storm we watched it moving closer as this man ,explained why the mother had sent the storm. He spoke softly – barely audible above the storm. His voice was frail and tired yet full of honesty and conviction – my husband and I had tears streaming down our faces – it was absolutely the most perfectly connected we had ever felt in our lives. Poignant, life changing – a moment that defies description. Our children thought we had lost our minds because when we turned to thank him, to tell him his voice mattered, to let him know how he had touched us, how we would never forget his message – he was gone. As in vanished! For an hour we drove up and down that road searching for him – had the kids not witnessed his presence we would have thought we were dreaming.

    Holy crap – did I ever digress! Anyway – thanks for the update, and thanks for reminding me of a very odd day all those years ago 🙂


    • Archon's Den says:

      Digress away. It makes the blog look classier. Thanx for the blog-theme idea. I try to inject a little fun into even the most serious post. The radar bit was humourous hyperbole. It didn’t happen to me, but, as you observed, it probably happened to someone.

      Wow! do you ever write well! That story was crisp, and full of evocative detail. It reminded me of the scene in Crocodile Dundee, where the aborigine man disappeared into a thicket of trees, smaller than his wrist.


      • Thanks for the compliment 🙂 It was the strangest moment in my life – never would have believed it had others not been there to witness what can only be described as a”mystical” event.


  4. linda says:

    Archon’s Den I love the way you write,I giggled and laughed so much at the speeding story, you have a great sense of humor. All in all it sounds like you had a great day.


  5. Just so you know, the teepee outer skin doesn’t come near the ground. They’re supposed to have an inner skin, with the space between acting as a duct to pull the air out the top via the heat of the always-burning central fire. The Inner skin also laps down onto the ground as part of the floor. (Amazing, the useless crap I know. 😉 )
    My favourite old car (very specifically) was an old early 60s Dodge wagon a neighbour had (back in Chicago). Most were built with a “slant six” or a low-compression small V-8. This guy had a 426 Hemi in it, complete with exhaust switch to bypass the muffler (LONG before catalytics). He’d find some punk in a 5.0 at a light, goose the throttle (with the muffler in line) to entice the kid, then switch to the open pipe. Bang!! He was GONE! Kinda looked like the movie Enterprises going into warp drive – I swear you could see the Doppler shift! 😀
    Cool stuff. Even the stone knife. 🙂


    • Archon's Den says:

      And now, because of you, I know useless crap too. Was I supposed to have an import licence for that?? 😕

      The only V8 I’ve ever owned, was a 1973 Plymouth Valiant, equivalent to the Dodge Gold Duster. The engine lay over on an angle. When I changed the sparkplugs, the driver’s side was no problem, but I had to go and get a universal joint for my socket set to get at the other side, and wait till the next day, when it had cooled again.

      The snakeskin vinyl roof peeled off one day at highway speed, and I finally had to junk it when the right-side torsion bar suspension rusted out of the frame, and dropped the (fortunately, ice-filled) wheel-well onto the tire. Other than those little peccadillos, a very nice car. 🙂


      • YOUCH! I felt that suspension give way! Both the wife’s wagon and both Z-24s use a transverse V-6, so the back 3 plugs are against the firewall. Removal requires a long extension, a cool engine, and no metal on your clothing – you just lay on the valve cover (actually, the cover over the whole fuel injection gimmick) and wrench away. On the old Luminas, you actually had to remove the front engine mount and tilt the whole dang engine! 😯
        Quite a difference from my dad’s former 1970 Chevy wagon – even with a 350 under the hood, I vividly remember standing inside the engine compartment, feet on the ground, to work on the ancillaries at the back of the engine! 😀
        And of course, you’ve seen my stories about my Vega. Humongous POS, and my 2nd most-loved car. Strange how the brain allows those two diametrically opposed opinions to happily co-exist! 😉


  6. Kayjai says:

    Sounds like everyone had a great day…and I always appear in the fog. It’s my gift.


  7. whiteladyinthehood says:

    We have a Native Pow-Wow held here once a yr (well at a local park – not in the Hood)..My best friend bought me a bundle of sage last yr. She told me to light it and let it smoke and bless the house? It would keep away the evil spirits. I didn’t have a smudge pot so I burned the whole thing in the fire-pit..(which I can honestly say I didn’t get robbed this summer) Except for the asshole who busted out my car window with a rock – no evilness! So, what is a smudge-fan? (I googled before I asked, but all I can find are pictures of them and not a “use”) They are pretty – I like the feathers….just my two cents, Wise One.


  8. Archon's Den says:

    Smudge fans are the Indian equivalent of “Don’t Bogart the doobie.” Especially out west, the sage has some peyote added, for some assistance for seeing “sacred visions.” With or without, it is considered disrespectful to blow on the holy little blaze, and they are too small to produce smoke distribution, so the smudge fans are used to move and guide the smoke around, so that all present may inhale it.

    The grandson’s doesn’t have the fancy handle, more like just the last four large feathers off the end of a wing. I’ll try to get a photo of it, and daughter’s new stone knife tomorrow, to add to an upcoming post. 🙂


    • whiteladyinthehood says:

      Aha! I gotcha! Perfect definition, by the way. The ones I saw were made out of turkey feathers and such and they had buskin braided at the tip. Some though had antler handles and were hand-carved with wolves – very beautiful. Now, I’m looking at what a stone knife got me really curious! PB the guy in my last post, gave me an arrowhead that he swore he found buried in the dirt at a construction site he was working at. I’ve never thought it was “real”. It’s thick and heavy, where most I’ve seen are thinner and have more of a sharper looking tip. It’d be really cool to know it was authentic (maybe used for buffalo hunts)


  9. 1jaded1 says:

    I’m glad you paid the 50. 69 camaro is my dream car.


  10. benzeknees says:

    Another interesting day in the life!


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