Last Sunday, my coffee mug drew me to one of the most beautiful places in the world: The Wind River Canyon, just a road trip away from Riverton, outside of Shoshoni towards Thermopolis. With java close by, and yes...maybe a bit of old school country mixed with 80's big hair bands on the radio..I set out on a day's journey that brought tears to my eyes.
Shoshoni, Wyoming holds many dear memories for me, mainly Yellowstone Drug Store. I can't tell you how many times this was a pivotal stop for me in my personal history from childhood until now. A little store that had "every little thing"...knick-knacks, souvenirs...the ol' classic 50's-style tables, chairs and stools. But most of all, those malts. Real malt! The kind that had those little bits that crunch in your mouth as you sucked 'em up through that big straw. A favorite stop if you were on your way to or back from Boysen...or Thermopolis...or just wandering through. Alas...
As I took to the road...I couldn't help but stop and take a few photos to resurrect some memories:
Forward and onward (through a few tears), the drive took me through Wind River Canyon. Most of you have seen my cover page on Facebook, but I'm tellin' you right now, no photos do this beautiful canyon justice:
Whenever I venture out on a day/road trip, I always look up, down and around. Not only are the beautiful skies an obvious clear blue...the perspective of that little car you see, and magnanimous rocks of that canyon is enough to make anyone bow heads in prayer on a Sunday afternoon. Which it did for me. All I had to do was to look up. The sky...the tops of the canyon...the sun...
On to Thermopolis. Gone is the A&W that my family used to frequent. So I drove around that "curve" into town and landed at the Thermopolis Cafe for coffee/brunch. It was quite packed, but I was able to get a seat. The coffee is absolutely thin and horrible, but the ambiance is great. The artwork is by Alison Schaetzle (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alison.schaetzle.1). Love the colors, and it's apparent that the locals love the venue as well. All ya had to do was look up:
In, around and through. People, places and things. The nouns of our lives. And verbs!
I haven't been completely devoid of what is happening in the world these days. I might live in one of the most sparsely-populated states in the Union, but...I'm no fool. Yes, I read the headlines (oh wait..yes, I do actually read!)
One of the biggest things in the news is the "illegal immigration" issue. As I've commented on so many posts, I find this all incredibly ironic. Here's why.
I was a Native American infant raised in a white, Mormon household. I was fortunate enough to have adoptive parents who respected my heritage enough to take me out (albeit up to a certain age) to the Wind River Reservation and meet my Native family. I know that not many Native children get this privilege, but I was blessed to have parents who believed that it was best for me to have and hold that privilege. However, I was also raised as one loyal to the United States of America, and was immersed in studies of the U.S. Constitution. As a result, I have to say...
Today, I am torn.
To see what is going on - with children and families at the border of this great nation - absolutely sickens me. This is not the great country I was raised to believe welcomes all with the "Statue of Liberty" promise. And I'm well aware of the broken promises and treaties of the Native nations between the U.S. Government, so don't even go there.
So where am I, on the spectrum? This is not a political problem. It is not even a social issue. This is not about "fake news"...the current President...
This is a PEOPLE problem, a moral issue. How you were raised to be..down to your very roots and family. How you were taught to believe. It's about history lessons.
And you cannot wipe away history.
U.S. History cannot shed the genocide and displacement of Native Americans. U.S. History cannot just eradicate the purpose of WWII...the Holocaust, Japanese Internment camps, the lives and conditions of Chinese railroad workers. The Depression Era. All wars fought under some political guise (of which my own son, as a US Marine, was a part). And I don't even need to go into the problems of domestic violence, school shootings, animal cruelty and drug/human trafficking.
But don't bury your head in the sand just yet...let's look at the U.S. Revolutionary War, shall we? How many were trying to escape religious, political and social tyranny? How was America founded? Yet now, today...how many are now trying to escape today's horrors, whether it be a social, economic or political hell...or just plain scared and living in fear? Oh, but does it really matter? As long as it's not happening to you and your family/loved ones? If you believe what the United States Constitution was founded upon by our Founding Fathers, well...you have your own heart to examine.
Because if you don't, you...like Shoshoni..are a ghost town.
I am completely convinced that what is happening today would make our Founding Fathers roll over in their graves. I am a Constitutionalist...but I am also Native American! Things are so much more complicated today, but don't ever think that the issues back then are not the same now. America will never be "great again" until we capture the vision of our Founding Fathers. And yes, they made mistakes! But aren't we supposed to be doing things better?? Aren't we supposed to be better human beings, as our visionaries hoped for? What "Christian Nation" closes doors, calls anyone "heathens"...and for what reason? And yes, I'm going to "go there"...
What would Jesus do???
I look at the town of Shoshoni, and mourn the days gone by. I wish I could have that real vanilla malt. I wish I could sit at the A&W and have that authentic root beer float. Gone are the days, but...I guess I'm in a bit of denial, because I'm never going to get those days back again.
But I can make things better, and continue to try to believe that good can triumph. That promises can be kept. That hearts can be turned...
All we have to do is...look up. At those fireworks...
(Probably made in China...)