My dad preached quite a few Sundays throughout our childhood. During his sermons he shared stories. One story that I’ve been thinking about lately is about when he was a kid.
The unforgiviness of the Church first came in forms of uncomfortable seating. I would sit in the old wooden pews moving from the left to right butt cheek because of the harsh seats. But I would sit there in those splintered wood pews listening to my dad in the dust filled air of
Camp meetings or in the aroma of mold from semi-condemned makeshift buildings that missionaries boastfully created.
The story my Dad shared was about his wild childhood. I feel like there weren’t helicopter parents in the 50s and 60s like there are today. Even I’d probably be deemed helicopter parent, given our children have constant oversight. But my Nana wasn’t that way.
My Dad started that story, “I was a kid, Johnny and I would be riding our bikes and playing on the ditch banks with the other Native, Mexican and Anglo kids.” My Rez is in the middle agricultural fields constantly growing watermelon, oranges, alfalfa, corn, etc. The ditches were apart of an elaborate irrigation that’s constantly feeding the plants from our river. There were a lot of Mexicans on our Rez because our tribe borders Mexico and there were some poor White kids on our Rez because of the affordability of our trailer parks and living in the area.
My Dad continued his story,”we would be hanging them on the ditchbank. But then the sun was going to set. We knew it was almost time to get home but even then we knew something worse was coming out. All the Mexican kids would be crying and saying La Llorona she’s coming for us. They would get on the dirt bikes and start running away and all the other kids would be laughing because of how scared they were. But then we heard an owl and all the Quechan kids would start jumping on their bikes to rid home. We would be laughing because they were afraid. But the only thing we were all afraid of was Wyatt’s (pseudonym) mom. She would come out and start yelling at us. We were all scared of her because she was mean and would tell our Moms what trouble we were getting in.”
It was the first realization I had as a kid, that everyone feared something individually, but everyone fears the wrath of an angry mother.