Plenty


owl-in-flight

Ever since my uncle Charlie Horse died, I’ve been singing a blessing way. He was a fat man, looked more like a Buddha than a Lakota, is what my cousin Lila told our aunt Linora when she came back from college, where she was studying either philosophy or comparative literature, according to her. Linora made pies for Charlie Horse, and every time he came back home, he brought the fattest sheep and there was a dance. Mutton stew and banana crème pie was the favorite feast meal on the res at that time, and a lot of that was thanks to Linora’s good cooking and Charlie’s sheep. Charlie was a lucky man, was the thinking of the cousins and uncles and nephews. The babies in the res in those years were fat like Charlie and looked good playing on the ground at his feet. A fat baby in a good year gets in the habit of eating well, that’s what Charlie said, and he talked about his own childhood, how the first two or three years there was no hunger in the Couer d’Alene, there was no hunger in the prairie land, and there was no hunger among the babies or the coyotes. Bunnies, sheep, high grass, even the fish were plentiful. This was a time of generosity, and baby Charlie never forgot it; he never felt hungry his entire life. Fat on the plenty of his childhood, that was Charlie Horse, with his hands that were never cold, never empty, and a smile that always said that was just right, Linnie, just right. Satisfied. Charlie Horse was satisfied, right to the last day of his lucky life.

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