Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Aunt Moon’s Young Man – Linda Hogan

Linda Hogan is quite the author and a strong voice for her people.  I am happy when I read a story in these anthologies written by a Native American.  The Native American voice is one of our nation’s that is often not heard enough…if at all. 
I went through a phase where I was fascinated with Native Americans.  It lasted several months – and I believe I lost interest because I simply couldn’t find, or wasn’t dedicated enough to the pursuit of this particular facet of knowledge to search for more information.  It was during (one of) my exploratory phases of life – and I’m sure something else replaced it
From the age of 5 through maybe 15 or 16, there was a family that lived a few houses down from our house with a mother/wife that interested me.
She was strange – a good strange. 
She seemed like a free thinker, like to have a good time and was genuinely a nice old woman (old to me but younger than I am now as I write, when I first met her).  She would sit on her front porch with her husband in the evenings and he would drink and smoke until he was blotto - I’m not sure if she drank – but if I were to guess, I would say yes. 
Their house was dirty and had a funny smell to it (you know how kids REALLY pick up on these things).  They had too many dogs and a few cats also several older children – in college or high school. 
With all of those barriers to acceptance by a young boy, the place was still inviting and the mother/wife is what made it so. 
Once the children moved out of the house, the husband and wife moved to the mountains of Virginia.  It’s where they belonged. The husband died shortly after their move and she occupied that cabin on the side of the mountain alone
We visited her once when I was in junior high school.  It was late int eh summer or early autumn.  The evenings were cool and the mornings crisp.  Plenty of leaves were on the ground but there were still ample brown leaves to provide cool shade in the warmer afternoons.   We picked wild grapes with her and made grape jelly.  I found a sturdy stick and fashioned it into a perfect walking stick.  I removed all the bark with a huge Rambo knife and dyed it a dark brown with boiled nuts.  We slept in her cabin in a loft that was heated with a wood burning stove – and dried out our sinuses.

She and her smelly house, her cabin in the mountains all were brought back to me by Aunt Moon’s Young Man.

Just another memory dislodged from the recesses of my mind by a good story. 

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