Well, so much for sleeping in on a Saturday morning (like I'd been hoping for and looking forward to)! Tom came home last night with the exciting news that he'd been invited on an annual "before the Pow Wow" morning fishing trip on the Big Lake, so the alarm went off at 5:30 AM for his 6:15 departure. I got the coffee made and in the thermos while he packed himself up. A couple of sandwiches made and two containers of homemade creme fraiche with raspberries from my mom's garden for their breakfast, and he was off!
Now I have raw milk heating on the stove to make cottage cheese, and the day has started! And it's not even 7:00 yet - ouch!
This weekend is the big pow wow and rendezvous that attracts many drums and dancers from bands across the (and in surrounding) state(s) and provinces. I'll meet Tom later today for a moose burger and fry bread! (After what I hope will be a SUCCESSFUL morning of fishing!)
And, I have to mention this following story because I'm SO proud of Tom for what it means (that he was asked). Yesterday, one of Tom's co-workers - another of the administrators - celebrated his mother's life in a memorial service at the old church in the original Chippewa settlement here in the county. Tom attended to pay his respects - quietly sitting in the back row. When Tom got there, the co-worker gave Tom some tobacco and asked if he would make an offering with it in honor of Mii-Ki-Na-Kwe (who was only 10 years older than Tom when she passed away but grandmother to 36 and great-grandmother to fourteen). Tom was shocked, but, obviously, agreed - tucking it away in his pocket for the burial ceremony.
The service then began in the tiny church - Tom's co-worker and his brother standing to speak. Then, his eyes cast down - thinking about the tough time he's going through with his own dad - Tom hears, "And now, we'd like to ask a family friend, Thomas, to come up and say a few words." (Thomas is what he goes by up on the Rez.) What?! Huh?! Ack!
But, of course, my wonderful, impressive, speaks-so-well husband collected himself and walked to the front of the church. He spoke about the love for Mii-Ki-Na-Kwe that was obvious in the faces of the people there to honor her. He referenced the inter-personal struggles that the family had obviously experienced (based on what was said by the speakers who had gone before him). He spoke about the sadness of anticipating his own dad's passing and cried. He thanked them for giving him the honor of speaking.
Then, at the burial ceremony where the ashes were placed in a bag Mii-Ki-Na-Kwe had beaded for her own eternal journey (my words, not theirs), and at the base of a massive tree, Tom shared the tobacco with the gathered family and friends who offered it in honor of this woman.
Back at work that afternoon when Tom was down at the lodge, he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Mii-Ki-Na-Kwe's husband who was on his way to the traditional feast (which Tom was invited to but did not attend). He - who Tom had never met before - just wanted to thank Tom for his words and support to the family.
So now, the cottage cheese has entered its second phase of processing and needs to "sit and stew" for two hours. I need more coffee, I'll put in a load of laundry, and then I'll be back for more updating.