Day 2, Questions of Honor, Gifts of Heart
Silas then says "Why do you deny these good people their part in the dance? They find no place here because you are always out there. By yourself. You're tired, you need to sleep. Let them take their part." I said nothing, just handed the reins to the man next to Silas.
After I had taken a quick nap, I put a bareback pad on Sally and rode out to where the dancers sit. I saw the Stands Beside for a young man who is in the army. He is deploying again to Iraq in a few months. I rode up and asked the Stands Beside if I might sit with the young man and smoke a pipe. He signaled for me to follow.
When I arrived I said nothing. I just sat before this young man and began to fill my pipe with wild tobacco and mint leaves. I lit and took four puffs to each direction. I passed it to the Stands Beside, who smoked and gave it to the young man.
I was wearing my bone choker. With its antique beads from some of the first trading the Apache did with the Americans. At the bottom of the center spacer I wear the medal portion of my Silver Star. The young man was looking at the medal intently. We continued smoking.
When the pipe was finished I sat for several more minutes. Before I got up to leave I reached up and untied the choker. Then I removed the medal. I held the medal in my left hand and the choker in my right. I held out my left hand and said "This is mine." I closed my hand and put it into my pocket. I laid the choker on the blanket in front of the young man and said "This is yours."
I rode to where my cousin was sitting and gave a nod of thanks to the man watching over him. I went to my cousin and sat down. We said nothing for a long time.
I went back to my camper and slept like a baby.