Friday, February 11, 2011

visiting jim begishe

hosteen jim begishe is a respected elder in the community.  he's 91 years old.  i noticed yesterday when i saw him that his shades reminded me of rammelzee and his hat said "navajo pride."  i don't think it's a gay pride reference.  seeing him made my day.

while i was visiting hosteen jim at his home, his grandson, ernest, came over and talked with me for about an hour telling stories about hosteen.  i'm so glad he came.  hosteen speaks less english that i realized and my conversational navajo skills don't exist.  

ernest told me that hosteen still rides his mule to heard the sheep.  ernest said it happens frequently that hosteen will take the mule to go track the sheep to bring the stray animals home.  about 4 hours later the sheep will come wandering back by themselves from the opposite direction that hosteen went.  then some time later hosteen will come ambling back.

i loved that ernest was hanging out in a tee shirt with snow on the ground and an ambient temperature of about 50 degrees F while wearing a red san francisco 49s beanie.  we talked about how much snow we got last winter.  he told me of getting caught at home with deep snow and little firewood.  we talked about big winds blowing over pinon trees 50 years old.  (he didn't actually tell me the age.  that's what i'm guessing it was.  it actually may have been older.)

ernest and his wife stay close by so he can take care of his grandparents, aunties and uncles. and that's the way it is for them out in this quiet stretch of canyon country.


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