birds of a feather

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

remember my bambinos from last year? the parents are back!! i feel like i've really achieved something grand without actually doing anything...they like my house. they think my house is worthy of rebuilding their nest that partially collapsed in the fall. they trust me to help protect their brood (this may not be entirely accurate, but it feels good to think this way).

feather your nest
i put this mildly awesome picture on facebook sunday's the parents (who, i learned, are monogamous during nesting season but totally play the field outside of nesting season), and whenever i open the front door, they fly away and then do these wildly diving fly-bys very near the porch to make sure their eggs are still safe and sound. sometimes they hover, and i think they're going to need to read up on the detrimental nature of helicopter parenting.

which brings me to the point of my story. i am half indian - to be specific, i am 15/32 creek (on my dad's side). which makes me 46.88% legit.

when i woke up monday morning, i had a facebook message from my aunt (my dad's oldest sister):
my husband wants to know what happened to the owls that were in the fireplace last year?  you know how creeks are about owls . . . if not, ask your daddy.

i don't know what creeks think about owls. but i do think owls are very wise. i also think my aunt is incredibly wise, so i take her advice and i ask my dad:
i have a question for ya - what do creeks believe about owls? 

he writes back (but i am a half-step ahead of him, thanks to the powers of google):
i'll ask, but my initial reaction is about death.

please don't be alarmed - this doesn't phase me, and i don't really worry too much at this point because i grew up hearing some of the most awesome creek stories ever, and i have always attributed those stories to my wicked imagination...

there were the stories about the little people who lived in the woods near my great aunt's home (i was named after her, and in a true nod to the 80's i made the choice to drop the 'ie' at the end of my name and replace them with a more simple 'y'...because i was a total rebel when i was eight).

on a side note, i just realized that stories about the little people may explain the following:
--my aversion to those who are height-challenged;
--my childhood adoration with all things weeble; and
--my intense fascination with keebler products.

there were the stories about the medicine man (who also lived in the woods, but i can neither confirm nor deny whether or not he knew the alleged little people). the medicine man would help my grandfather's sore knees with fancy tricks like soaking corn husks and *something else* in a bowl of water on the back porch over night and then rinsing his knees with the water the next morning.

the medicine man would also chew mysterious plants and then blow in my dad's ear to soothe his earaches when he was little wee.

to round out his bevy of tricks, the medicine man had a super magical remedy during world war two where he would give people something 'special' to smoke if they were worried about being drafted into the war. the 'special stuff' would coat their lungs and make their x-rays falsely show tuberculosis, thus eliminating people from the draft.

kinda cool.

back to the owls - hearing that creeks see owls as a sign of death wasn't surprising to me. so i write back to my dad:
moe is very concerned about the owls in my chimney, so that {death} would make sense.

my dad writes back to me:
moe: real name is geronimo. he's a full blood creek who didn't speak english until the 1st grade. he's into stomp dances and ceremonial grounds and is pleased that i started attending these things last summer.

my dad (who is 31/32 creek - which is like a quarter of a millimeter away from totally fully legit) goes on to say that he almost feels like a poser when he is around moe and friends. and i understand this because that final quarter of a millimeter (3%) does make a difference. trust me.

my dad is the speaker for his tribe, which is kind of like being hillary clinton on the totem pole in that it is an appointed position of honor. my dad continues his email by telling me that moe helps him interpret and write speeches in creek.

my dad (who is a cpa by profession) also works with tax legislation issues on behalf of the tribe. in a nutshell, indian tribes ('nations') are sovereign entities in the eyes of the u.s. constitution, so there is a lot of flexibility in what tribes are able to do with taxation (including tobacco, licensing, land, and gambling).

i know the work my dad is doing right now gratifies him in part because he knows it makes my grandmother (who passed away just before cee was born) proud. and my dad makes me proud all of the time...especially when he ends emails like this:
i'll ask moe this week what the deal may be with owls. everyone has to have someplace to hang out.

no matter how bad the outlook is for someone who has/had owls living in their chimney, i'm sure the outlook is equally sunny for someone who has barn swallows nesting on their porch for two hatching seasons in a row.

and on that note, i hope some barn swallows find their way to your roost and bring you a smile or two in the process (unless i'm wrong and they are also an impending symbol of doom...and if that's the case, then i unwish my wish for them to find you).


updated: want the rest of the story?

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