Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Dances With Wolves and Cowboys

I feel strongly about writing a little something over my "hometown" Cache, America. This won't be the first time, either. I may take one or two liberties, but I assure you, it's sadly not that exaggerated.

There were two different camps in Cache. On one side, you had the cowboys. The good ole' boys. Western plaid shirts, country accents, Wrangler jeans with a big circular mark on the back pocket where chewing tobacco cases had worn in an indentation, you get the idea.

On the other side were the 'Indians' who ranged from short and skinny to real earth-shakers. When I exited Catholic school, I started the sixth grade in Cache, Oklahoma. A lot of my classes were indicative of the two sides, Indians here, Cowboys there. Not to say there wasn't diversity, there was also the enormous special-ed department and a black dude. Well, he was more or less known as the black dude.

So when I arrived, a half Mexican, I awkwardly settled in the Indian territory. They were just more accepting. With the white cowboys it was all, "Well what 'n the hell are yoouu?"

I'm Mexican, well, half anyway. And I am half white."

"Mexi-Can huh? I guess you looookit. Hey boys, ask him what he is."

I never understood this aspect of pack mentality. I suppose they had wanted to know too, but really, he couldn't just relay what I had just said later? Perhaps the next time they all convened behind the school to enjoy their no doubt lively conversation in between chomps on their chewing tobacco one might mention, "Oh, you know that new fellow that just started school here?" One might ask,

"Yes, yes, he's in my English class! Why do you ask?"

"Well, I asked him today what race he is and he told me he was half Mexican and half white. Isn't that something?"

"Oh, how progressive!"

With the Indians, however, it was more like... "Yeah what up what tribe you from."

"I'm Mexican."

"Damn close enough I guess."

I enjoyed how they handled this. I felt like I could have said anything and would still be something like a Cherokee. Like if I had said "Czechoslovakian", or "Arabian", they would still say "Damn close enough."

"Want a smoke?" One asked me.

"No, I don't smoke." I said it with an air of accomplishment and almost laughed at myself. As if in my short life I had been given every opportunity in the world to take up the habit, me, a Catholic school kid. Then I thought of nuns toking up behind the church and almost choked trying to keep myself from laughing.

Then a Pow-Wow came to town, and everyone was invited. Well, not so much invited... in Cache, it was mandatory that we all attend. It was always the Indians sitting up front while the cowboys sat in the back looking depressed, no doubt thinking of all the tobacco they could be chewing.

"Welcome to the powww-woow, puh-lease take yer seats, thank yuh." Cache residents were notorious for their lifelessness and apathetic voices. A few people came out to set up the giant drum, and then I saw her, the enchantress, the Indian Princess.

In my memory she looked like Pocahontas, beautiful copper skin and a curvaceous body, though in reality she was chunky. She was actually quite chunky indeed. I think it was powerful suggestion that rewrote her in my personal history, the term princess just made it impossible for me to see her as the chunky woman who had just downed a six pack backstage.

When the pow-wow was over, I met up with her as we were walking back to class.

"Hi!" I said, poking her dress to get her attention.

"Hey there." She said, pulling a cigarette from her tribal fringed purse.

"I really like pow-wows," I said, trying to make conversation, "I'm Mexican but I still really do."

She took a deep breath on her cigarette then puffed a ring of smoke, "Mexican, huh? Y'all did a number on Geronimo's folks. Well kid, I gotta go. Have a good day."

Then she just up and left. At first I felt heartbreak, but then later I felt angry. She had basically denied my genuine interest and blew smoke in my face. What kind of girl is that, anyway? Smoke-ahontas and I would never come to be.

After that, I kind of shyed away from the Indians... but never warmed up to the cowboys either. So I just kind of drifted, somewhere in between, where there was just... me.


glorv1 said...

I'm impressed by your writing skills and even proper punctuation which is something I can rarely do. Very nice and smokahontas probably wasn't your type anyway. Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog Juan Pable. You're right about comments always appreciated. At my age I love comments. Your blog is great and the writing beautiful. Take care.

Sandy said...

Lol Smokahontas! Forgive me for chuckling at this post, it probably was an emotional situation for you, but you write it in such a funny manner, I can't help it.
Do keep writing. Cheers!

Simon said...

Excellent rendition of an expensive English public school accent there! You should have gone to Eton or Harrow.

Juan Pablo said...

I was so hoping for your approval! :D

Yes in my mind it was an English accent, I was hoping it translated that way... and with a Brit's seal of recognition, I suppose I succeeded :D

Sigh, I think I was punished with this public school and not rewarded with an English one just because I was supposed to write about it later :(

Juan Pablo said...

Oh and Sandy, chuckle away! :D

It's better to laugh at things like this, I do it all the time! Smoke-ahontas would want it that way for me... sobbb

glorv1 said...

I just came by to tell you that I've added you to my list of reads. So I will be following you and feel free to follow me as well. :D

YayaOrchid said...

JP, thank you so much for having my link on your blog. And a big thank you for changing the comments format. I will definitely be commenting on your blog!

glorv1 said...

Juan, thank you for following me. I appreciate it. My friend yaya thinks you are a very talented writer, as do I. I'll look forward to reading your posts. Take care.

Simon said...

Oh yeah, just remembered something:

Then I thought of nuns toking up behind the church and almost choked trying to keep myself from laughing.

See the image at the top left of Indantatia’s blog. (Right-click and click on ‘View Image’ to see it full-size. I think it might amuse you.)

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