December 24, 2022- The father took his teenage daughters to pick out a Christmas tree for their home. He was used to going alone, and picking out a huge spruce, that only fit inside the house after a struggle and some sawing off of limbs. Not this time: The girls saw a scrawny, mini-tree, no more than three feet tall. They fell in love with it, and wanted to take it home and care for it-“Looks so lonely, Daddy!”. Yes, the result was a foregone conclusion, and the tree is said to be sitting in the family’s front room, decorated by Dad and his eldest angel.
With this story under my belt, I headed off to deliver a gift which had inadvertently been mailed to me, by a rehabilitation worker who was confused by a patient sending “too many gifts to too many places.” Spoiler alert: There were four gifts going to two places. No reindeer were over-exercised on this delivery. It was me and my Sportage doing the honours.
After a stop in Flagstaff, to pick up a small gift for a family in the same area, who have been suffering a most untimely loss, I headed to Hopiland. Going to delivery stop # 1, I got Reservation-style directions from a woman who barely knew the recipients, and, combining her comments with the description I got from the sender, I was able to deliver the gift easily, and get the t-shirt that was intended for me and had been mailed to the other party.
The other small gift was then brought to the matriarch of the grieving family, and after a brief offer of condolences, I headed back off the Hopi Reservation, a place that has never stopped feeling like home. “Visiting” Hopi families, during periods of mourning or when the people are preparing for a holiday, is a necessarily brief occasion-unless one is of blood family. Then again, the same has been true of late, with other friends- visits pertain to the matter at hand, and vague promises of “getting together again soon” precede the farewell.
Holidays just are not easy for many.