Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pow Wow Thoughts

I attended the Nez Perce Pow Wow in July.

It was a wonderful experience, full of celebration, spirituality, and the joy of dance and music. Most powerful was the sense of community and acceptance.

All guests were invited to join in the dancing, and to join together in a communal feast, celebration our humanity, and our unity.

We are blessed to be in this rich world.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Pirate For The Day

I was a pirate in the parade. It was the Fourth of July, and the Manzanita parade needed more pirates, I guess. My friend, the Captain on his band of pirates (he DOES have a day job), recruited me. Last year, he found me in the crowd and harassed me with his sword and his pirate voice. The long term penalty, I guess, for being “found” by the pirates in one parade, is to join their crew next year.

I showed up at the staging area, dressed in my new pirate T-shirt, and belt complete with plastic pirate pistol, sword, and a black bag for treasure, complete with pirate insignia. On my head was a pirate scarf, black of course, and one of my faded blue bandannas. I was ready to party, er pirate.

“Arghh,” was the word of the day, and the rest of the crew and I practiced our pirate talk. One pirate came complete with a parrot pinned to his shirt, and others had their decade-long collection of pirate clothes.

Our Captain soon “removed” a leg, affixed a peg leg made from driftwood, and assumed his throne on a small trailer behind the boat, appearing to water ski with his new peg leg, and grabbed onto his tow rope. He’s the minister at the local Methodist church, and he suddenly didn’t seem too “ministerial”. Perhaps it was the dreadlocks and the big gold earring and the Mardi Gras beads. But, today is the Fourth of July, and its time to live our fantasies.

I didn’t quite fit in as I didn’t wear any “ARGHhyle” socks, but next, year, of course, I will be expected to add to my costume.

We practiced with our large plywood and silver painted swords before the parade started, and filled our buckets with candy, to throw at the kids along the parade. Tension built among all the parade entrants, as we were all eager to get off onto the route, and have fun. We found another group of pirates and had a brief sword fight. Other participants in waiting simply laughed at our antics.

Finally, after the screaming Air Force jet rattled the skies with its booming engines, we were off. As our group was so, well, unique, we were nearly the last in line, and the head of the parade arrived back in our staging area before we left. And, we ended up following several horses, and their contributions to the roadway. Later on, I used my sword as a fake golf club, threatening to chip the “chips” into the crowd. Its not often you get away with this trick on the main street.

Soon, I’m prancing down the streets, yelling “arghhh” and throwing candy to kids. Everyone, it seemed, along the parade route was attired in red, white, and blue, and laughing, and enjoying the day and the parade. We stopped often, and our duct-taped seagull quickly squirted water out of its butt onto the unsuspecting crowd, producing a multitude of laughter and groans. Kids scampered for our candy, and so, we threw them more.

One boy engaged me in a sword fight, his sword meaner and more agile than mine, and we quickly reached a truce. I was too proud, being a pirate, to admit defeat. Another boy ran into the street, and squirted all of us with his big squirt gun, and we bravely fought back with swords and candy, to no avail. Fortunately, the parade kept moving and so we were able to retreat without too much embarrassment. The crowd roared its approval of our defeat by the young warrior.

All too soon, we reached the ocean and the end of the formal parade route. A good thing, too, as I was starting to get hoarse from too many “Arghhhhs”, and “Mateys” and my sword hand was tired. We were also running low on candy. We turned onto the street paralleling the ocean, and then right again, and uphill ten long blocks until we reached the staging area again.

Sadly, I surrendered my sword and my candy bucket, and walked another quarter of a mile to meet my wife, who patiently was waiting for her pirate husband to return, and resume his normal life. As I left the pirate boat and my “mates”, the Captain asked me if I’d be back again next year.

“Aye, aye, Captain,” I replied. I’m hooked on this fun, this time to be a boy again, on the Fourth of July.