Monday, May 31, 2010
Sunday, May 30, 2010
- sleeping in a tent.
- being outside the entire time.
- laughing and having fun.
- creating memories.
- being a leader.
- campfire dinner...yum!
- running around pretending i'm twelve again.
- being a girl.
- sharing my knowledge of the Gospel.
- having fun.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
today was my first day at the pool this summer. while i was riding my bike my ipod flew out of my shorts and fell on to the ground. i was sad... no harm was done to my ipod, but my earphones didn't fair too well when they got tangled into my tire and tire spokes. although they still work there is a portion of the wire that no longer has the bumble bee yellow casing. lame.. guess i will have to go get some bright duct tape to repair them.
Friday, May 28, 2010
Subject: Benjamin Bradley Sherwood, a Native American with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
Date of observation: Friday, May 7, 2010
Deep in the panhandle of South Dakota, close to Nebraska is a town called Vermillion. Vermillion marks the home of a man, a Lakota Sioux Tribe member, Benjamin Bradley Sherwood. Preferring to go by the name of Brad, he loves telling stories to people. His stories are typically about him and most of the time fabricated. Brad joyfully allows us into his home to share some of his favorite “memories”.
Prompted by a loud voice saying, “Wait a couple minutes, just got home from work,” we wait standing in the low ceilinged front porch. We talk softly about what may happen during our visit. We are all aware that when visiting Brad one never knows what to expect.
Brad opens his door with a huge smile on his face. “So glad to see you guys,” he says, while managing to not break his smile. All four of us shuffle into his home. He begins to tell us the history of his one story house that is located directly across the street from the Vermillion Court House.
Acting like a tour guide, Brad tells us a story of his home. He tells us it used to be a chapel and may be haunted by a ghost. The house was also built for two people, an elderly couple, but is far too small for just one Brad.
Looking at a bunch of dried flowers I ask, “What is that Brad?” It was sage. Brad explains to us, while preparing the sage to “smudge” us, the importance of sage smudging in the Native American culture. Sage smudging is said to release unwanted spirits.
Lighting the ball of sage on fire smoke fills the room. Brad takes an eagle feather out of his case and begins the Native American ritual. As he wafted the sage smoke onto our bodies he made sure to tap the feather at certain locations, mainly our legs and arms.
Hurriedly Brad puts the dish of sage in the kitchen and begins telling us stories from his past. He begins with the story of being found in an orphanage while he was a baby by his grandmother, Phoebe Afraid of Bear. Brad’s grandmother raised him until he was nine and asked for his forgiveness as she was dying. As his eyes get watery, he explains to us his mom gave him to an orphanage as a baby. His grandmother found him and raised him.
He points to three owls nestled into a cabinet shelf bordering the kitchen and living room and tell us three owls are calling his name. In his Native American culture his tribe is known as the Owl Nation. When an owl cries three times they, meaning a person, have passed.
His attention turns to the plants in the room. His watery eyes soon get replaced with a smile as he says, “I love plants. They’re young and youthful.” It wasn’t long though until he began talking about his childhood again.
“I’ve got FAS, when I was born I was in an incubator for 6 months. I had a blood transfusion,” Brad tells us. “Man that made me was white.”
When he grew older Brad started drifting. He started using marijuana. Brad soon tells us why he has dentures as well as of his battle with bone cancer. To make sure we are aware of his dentures he quickly pops both his top and bottom set out of his mouth to show us.
Brad has been employed in numerous jobs. He not only was he a taxi driver, McDonald’s fry cook, and a security officer for the United Sioux Tribes incorporation, but he also fought in the Vietnam War. He tells us he got drafted at 17 and served for thirteen years. He says, “Am I seeing a psychiatrist? Yah, I am. For my post traumatic stress disorder.” He also goes on to say, “I’m a military brat.” Brad also suffers from nightmares.
After asking about wartime stories Brad tells us he was once wounded to the hip. He is currently waiting for his Purple Heart from the Veteran’s Administration. “I can’t wait to get that before I die, ” Brad tells us regarding his Purple Heart medal. He also
Brad has been sober for 37 years in July and will celebrate his 60th birthday in September.
As we’re sitting, two of us on the couch with Brad and two people sitting on the floor, we smelling mingling sage smoke in the air. His attention focuses on another aspect of his life and asks us if we would like to hear some Native American tribal music. He reaches over to grab the music and proudly shows off his music collection. He puts a CD in the player and turns up the volume so we can hear.
Loud drumming fills the air. Old Native American voices soon join the drumming. Brad smiles and asks us if we would like to see his dance costumes. After we say yes he bolts into his spare bedroom to grab an old, orange suitcase. As he zips open the suitcase his smile illuminates the room. He gently shows us each individual clothing item, one right after another, each piece showcasing a different type of Native American clothing art. He shows us his beautifully beaded moccasins. Asking if he himself made the moccasins he says, “Yes, I beaded these myself”. Brad is talented dancer and has many pictures of him dancing on the wall. He danced in a Lewis and Clark play.
As he packs up his clothes we say our goodbyes. We thank him for our visit with him and he is eager to schedule another.