entertaining kids with grandma
One year after Louie died and the kids were about ten years old or so, we went to vist Grandma Howe. At this time she was living back behind Yanabah Long’s house over closer to the church. This was Sam’s mother I believe. I never did quite get the family relations straight there.
Anyway, for some reason Mom was staying over there. It was a tiny house, tiny even by Navajo standards, smaller than either of hers—the hogan or the little blue house… Anyway, we stayed in the pink house as usual, but everyday we went over to Grandma’s to hang out with her.
This particular summer it was roasting, grilling, frying hot. The daily averages were 105 or 106. The radio announcers were telling all the white people new to the area and tourists to cover up and wear hats and just plain stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day-from about 11:00 to 4:00 or so. White people, especially tourists, seem not to have a clue how hot our sun really is. They mistakenly believe that they can cool off by taking off clothes; so you see them running around without shirts and in bikini tops and everyone wears shorts. Then they come down with 3rd degree sunburns and drop like flies with sunstroke. Idiots.
We were at Grandma’s so there was NO tv, no running water, no swimming, no electricity for fans, no A/C nothing… We didn’t even have any board games or card games. There were no balls or basketball hoops or softball bats. And besides, it was much to hot for any kind of vigorous activity.
Grandma Howe had lived through seventy five or eighty plus summers of such heat and lack of entertainment, but Notah and Rachael were looking for something to do. Grandma had apricots so she gave them and Lenora each an apricot. She and I each had one too. After we ate our apricots we had the little smooth round seeds left.
We were outside sitting under the two trees in front of the tiny house. I took a stick and gouged five small shallow holes in a rough circle on the ground. Grandma and I and the kids spent a couple hours attempting to toss one seed into each little hole. It is harder than it sounds. Grandma was the best at the game. After several rounds of practice, we all got as good as Grandma.
Then we put the dirt back in two of the holes and the goal was to get two pits in at least two of the holes!! Now, that is hard. The holes were small and the little apricot seeds bounce when they hit each other. So we had to toss the pits so that they landed against the dirt and not against the other. Whew!
Eventually it got to hot to do even that so we all leaned against the trees and melted slowly.
Finally a cool breeze blew in the false expectation of a little rain. The rain evaporated before it ever touched the ground, but it was at least cooler by the time we had to begin fixing supper.