Wednesday, August 19, 2009

two quotes from the trip

1. "No plan survives contact with my family." —me. (I'm so funny.)

2. "Women's councils are strong." — Chief Connie Gray-McKay of Mishkeegogamang First Nation.

A little background on the second quote: My father is an amazing man in many ways, but when it comes to people's emotional needs, he's clueless. He's heroic at practical needs, which is why so many people love him, but his understanding of emotional needs is so great that he says he doesn't believe in love; he believes in loyalty. After the service, he was being especially clueless. Decades ago, knowing that my father hates the idea of living his last days in a hospital, I decided that should the time come, I would take the responsibility of performing a mercy killing. That day, I was wondering if the mercy killing should be performed a little sooner than I had expected. (Joke. I'm still so funny. But I did make a joke along those lines when Emma, my cousin Wanda, and I were trying to decide what could be done to help my father get a better idea of what my mother needed that day.)

Connie, who lived with my family when they ran a trading post at Rat Rapids, Ontario, and who says she has two mothers, her natural mother and my mom, and one father, my dad, because she didn't know her natural father, was a great help. I told her I wanted to talk to Dad alone, but if I failed, the women should take over. That's when Connie made her observation. She was a very capable teenager when she lived with us; it's no wonder that she's become the chief now.

The talk with Dad went well. But I did warn him the women were ready to come in if necessary, and that didn't hurt the outcome.