Well, I have had one helluva busy weekend. It started on Thursday night when I was invited to attend a ceremony. That’s what it’s called, it wasn’t, you know, a ceremony for anything. A group of about 35 people gathered in a room with no heat and sat in a circle at the walls. Then they covered all the windows and the door and turned off the lights so it was absolute darkness. The kind of darkness where you start seeing colors because your eyes need stimulation, or maybe that’s just me. A medicine man sat in the circle and led prayers and songs, most of it in Lakota. At various points during the ceremony, green lights appeared and I heard and felt stomping as well as heard the sounds of hawks, whistling and even a buffalo snorting. Then the peace pipe was passed around as well as some kind of meat, raw liver (ate it) and cornmeal with olive oil. At the very end of the ceremony, when they turned the lights back on, food was served. At this point it was past 11 and I still had to be at work at 6 the next morning, so I didn’t stay too long.
The ceremony was beautiful, but it was harder for me to relate to this than to the sweat. It was a group worship in a language with which I was unfamiliar. I tried to focus my prayers and listen and take to heart whatever the medicine man said in English, but I still felt I missed a significant portion of what was going on. It might not have helped proceedings began well after my bedtime. The songs and most of the prayers in a sweat are also in Lakota, but heat and steam are the same in every language.
On Friday, the boys left to visit the Jesuit novitiate in Minnesota for the entire weekend so Monica and I kicked off our girl’s weekend by driving to Valentine to watch Mega Mind in 3D (it was awesome, just sayin’).
Saturday, we drove to Rapid City because we were both in need of some winter clothes and I heard it’s supposed to snow this week. Of course, it was 80 on Saturday and 75 today, but hey, snow later in the week. While in Rapid, I decided to call Pete, a man I had met on the plane from Houston way back when I was coming from orientation. Pete had been very enthusiastic about our year of service and had urged me to keep in touch and let him know how our year was going. We met for coffee and Pete invited us to his father’s 80th birthday party. Of course Monica and I were delighted to attend. The family was very gracious and quite talented as well. One cousin played the cello and another sang a beautiful song in, I’m going to guess Italian. Each sibling had brought a pot of homemade soup, including German nefla with dumplings and bacon sausage and another with pheasant meat. They were fantastic. Pete had also made lefsa, a Norwegian dessert made from instant potatoes, 7-Up, cinnamon, sugar and tortillas. So tasty. It was wonderful to be a part of a family celebration. Pete and his wife Karen are incredibly gracious people, just uplifting to be around. They invited us to keep in touch and visit them again, and I most certainly will.
Tonight at some point, the boys will get home and we will have to trade stories and see who had the best weekend. I heard they got to hit up some bars with Jesuits, so it might be a close call.