Indigenes

The local high school was forced to change its sports team’s name recently, along with many other such schools across the state that had originally taken themes related to Native Americans. You couldn’t really try to claim that our team’s moniker was being misinterpreted. We were the Montrose Indians.

This past weekend there was an auction of memorabilia from the old teams. The totem pole went for $5100, the big sign in the gym brought in $750, etc.

For whatever reason the uniforms worn by past team members didn’t sell as well, with the girls’ C-team soccer jerseys receiving no bids at all.

C-Team? My old high school wasn’t big enough to have a C-team. In fact, it could barely round up enough students or enthusiasm to field a B-team in basketball and football, and they were the most popular sports.

But sports were never a big deal at Sibley HS. Oh, the attendance at events was very good, and we certainly had our sports heroes, but our teams … let’s just say there was no dynasty there to be upheld. And soccer? Lacrosse? Volleyball? What were they?

On a personal note, my high school track coach took one look at the lackluster bunch trying out for the track team (100% of students who came out made the team), and from then on focussed on the three kids who actually had a bit of talent. This trio did not include yours truly. The rest of us were left on our own. We did a few calisthenics, jogged a few miles in the rural, and then went into the gym and shot baskets, just messing around. As you might guess, track team morale and performance levels were on the low side.

But here in Paradise we are now officially represented by the Red Hawks. If any birds are offended, they have been silent so far about the matter.

The whole business is sad, no? After centuries where the Europeans robbed, poisoned, infected, displaced, and killed an estimated 90% of the indigenous peoples of what is now the United States, to exploit their images as symbols of bravery and courage … well, what can I say, brothers and sisters?

Symbols count for something, even if replacing them doesn’t restore one acre of land stolen or one life taken.

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Our local Penney’s store went under a couple of years back. The building stood empty until it was purchased by the Hobby Lobby people. A mixed blessing that, for Robin. On the one hand, the company sells many of the things she loves working with to mark holidays, the passing of the seasons, etc.

On the other hand, it was the owner of Hobby Lobby who in 2014 refused to add certain contraceptive coverages to the employees’ health insurance, claiming religious exemptions. This all led to a Supreme Court ruling supporting that company.

And now the flaming red conservatives are on the brink of gaining a major victory in their attacks on women’s rights by reversing Roe v. Wade. It’s all a package, with the Christian right taking a big step forward on their overriding mission to force all of us to accommodate to their way of thinking. Such behavior is not unusual, it’s what theocrats do.

So deciding whether to shop at Hobby Lobby can be more complicated than one would think. After all, where’s the harm in buying a few picture frames and some decorative styrofoam from them?

When my friend Rich Kaplan was alive, and we would go on long drives together, usually ending up in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness, I would receive instruction in which businesses to patronize and which not to visit. Lunchtime would roll around and I would see a sign for _____ Pizza and mention it, bringing an instant “owned by an Anti-Semite bastard” from Rich. Or another potential stop would be declared to be fronted by a “fascist bastard” and we would drive past it. Checking into some of these later on showed that Kaplan was nearly always correct in his assessments. He had much longer antennae than I did.

The point being that if we have choices, why not employ them and shop in places whose owners support the kind of America we want to live in? There were always other pizza parlors in which we could get our slice on, we could easily avoid the one that an A.S.B. profited from.

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Last weekend I was once again, and without my permission or acquiescence, called a “cat person.” Never mind that the statement came from someone whose opinion matters little to me on other subjects … the problem is that I have grown weary of such labels.

I live with cats, two of them, because I admire them and have learned to appreciate their adaptations to humans and the modern world. I used to do the same thing when I owned dogs, and there have been several over the years. But it is a fact that older people tend to gravitate toward having smaller pets. Cats are popular because they require so little of you. Feed them, provide shelter, and they largely tend to their own needs. It’s like living with a small adult.

If older citizens choose to own a dog, you will find that it is often one of the very small breeds. As a group we tend not to choose canines who can knock us over, something which we dislike intensely, and which becomes increasingly easy for them to do as we continue our slow advance toward tottering. So on the walking trail Robin and I can see from our window, the retirees passing by are walking dogs so small it is often difficult to see them unless you follow the leash down carefully to its tip, and there it will be – a tiny fuzzball spinning like a dervish and vulnerable to being snatched up by any bird of prey larger than a starling if their owner isn’t watchful.

Unlike cats, these animals require daily exercise by their owners, cannot be trusted to place their urine and feces conveniently into a box designed for the purpose, and often yap constantly without regard for the sensibilities of others. It’s like having a baby that never grows up.

When I was a younger person I did own dogs, mostly larger ones. They were excellent companions, and admirable in every respect. I accepted the drawbacks to living with them as part of the bargain. Now that I am increasingly fussy, creaky, and cranky, having cats around suits me better. But the next individual who calls me a “cat person” better be prepared for a proper thwacking.

I can actually be quite fierce when I get disturbed.

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Local Note Department

When we were in Durango this past weekend, we stopped on our way out of town at what has become our go-to place for breakfast – Oscar’s Diner. The decor gives a big nod to the thirties, which I find appealing. Just walking in the door sets my salivary glands a-flowing.

The food is excellent, the service unfailingly pleasant, and the overall experience is a highly positive one. You can’t miss it, it’s right on highway 550, next to the big ACE Hardware store. It’s the sort of place that makes you glad you’ve got a functioning gastrointestinal tract.

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This morning it is Mother’s Day. I’m sorry, but to me it and its companion in Hallmark infamy, Father’s Day, are two of those manufactured “special days”that are so seriously over-sentimentalized I get diabetes just thinking about them. Anne Lamott summarizes how I feel about these “holidays” very well, and did it in her Facebook post this week.

We could have Survivors Day instead, where we applaud those humans who get up each morning resolving to do good that day for their fellow creatures, in spite of what hammer blows life might have dealt them. This group will include some mothers and fathers, but for certain it will not include all of them.

But, hey, so as not to seem entirely Scrooge-y on this Sunday morning, here’s the original recorded version of M.O.T.H.E.R. – A Word That Means The World To Me. Recorded by Henry Burr in 1915. Be sure to have your insulin handy.

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