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March 4, 2011

I’m lonesome for the sound of Navajo this morning. When we lived in the little pink house Louie used to wake up very early (for his Anglo wife) and make coffee. He would turn the radio on and fix the fire then sit drinking his coffee and thinking. The announcer was often alternating between announcements in Navajo and country-western songs. It was a quiet and soothing thing to wake up to. And it was cozy for me to lie there in bed knowing all was right with my world.

Before we were married he used to tell me about waking up early and listening to the radio while he laid still thinking about starting his day. I never really experienced that until we lived in the little pink house. Of course our radio ran on batteries, but we listened none the less. One of the Gallup radio stations ran Navajo language programs and the fledgling Window Rock stations did, too. Some of the announcements I understood, others flew over my head, but the rhythms and cadence were part of my life. And this morning I’m missing them.

I guess it’s because Leonard has been so sick and I’ve been thinking of him and Helen so much. How hard it must be for Leonard, not only to be sick but to be surrounded by the sound of English on every side. Leonard has always seemed to me to be a very traditional Navajo. He worked for many years in the Penney’s store and of course that was an Anglo atmosphere, but each day he returned to his home and family and seemed to step back into the Navajo way of life. He was always friendly and pleasant but I was never sure just how fluent he was in English. I know he must have longed for the sound of Navajo during those nights in the hospital when Helen and his family couldn’t be there.

At any rate, I woke up at 330 this morning and everything was quiet. While I was washing my face and bushing my teeth it came to me how much I wish I could turn on the radio and hear a man announcing the world events and local happenings in Navajo

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