10 years ago. I was living in Houston. I was working literally down the street from Johnson Space Center. I was pregnant with Miriam. I was Charging. There was a tropical storm that night. Thunder so loud it shook the hospital. Texas storms are no joke. However, this one seemed angrier than usual. Basically, sounded like WWIII had just started. While I was working that night, I got the call from Regina that we lost our brother Clinton Croff. I was crushed, devastated. I literally felt a piece of me die that night. Not to mention the regrets that I was so far from home and then the guilt set in.
Because, I wasn't able to attend his funeral. This weighed heavily on my heart. I called him brother. We literally travel the country together. United States and Canada. I would sing behind him. Furthermore, this is the only man I have ever beaded for. I beaded so many medallions for this outfit. Along, with helping fill and edge. Not to mention the last-minute sequin work Moonz and I would do before big contests like Schemitzun. We would be sitting up all night sewing sequins one by one on his shirts and apron, in beautiful floral patterns. Oh, he would make our work look good on the floor. Man, I loved to watch him dance! For those that aren't powwow people. He danced what we call in the powwow circle, chicken dance. Which mimics the courting dance of the prairie chicken. It's so fun to watch! Here is a YouTube of Clinton dancing below.
So, a few weeks back. I just learned how to make pockets. So, of course I had to make me a new ribbon skirt. Then you know its mandatory to take a drive in the hills to take pictures with the wildflowers. Anyways, July 13, 2020, to be exact I'm up cruising the hills with my dad and kids. I have turned into an amateur wildland photographer. Just kidding, but it's on the bucket list and I'm learning. So, you know what that means...haha just a matter of time before it's perfected!
Anyways, back to the story, my Dad tells me to turn down this one road. Don't ask me what road because there are no road signs up in the closed area of the Yakama Reservation. So, we're going down this road. We stop and take pictures of wildflowers, lots of wildflowers. Hundreds of Tiger lily's, columbines, Indian paintbrush, clover, etc. Then we decided we've gone far enough and we've taken enough pictures. So, we turn around. After I get my car turned around. We see a grouse or prairie chicken, as known to some. I used to call them grouches but we'll save that for another story.
Well, we all know I'm just a little touched, just a little. But, something made me get out of my car. So, I got out. You know what.. that bird didn't fly away. So, I started videoing on my phone. I'm walking closer, and closer. It still didn't fly away. I thought it was so cool (My dreams of a wildland photographer coming true). Even, my dad caught some good shots of his own. As I'm walking closer all of a sudden, Clinton comes to my mind and he's smiling. His "I'm super proud of you sis smile" Got me thinking, this is just the time of year we would be having a cookout, out at Two Medicine Lake or jamming during North American Indian Days. He'd have me sewing or repairing...something. It brought a smile to face.
(pc: Tom Swan)
Now a whole decade has passed since Clinton has left us. Life goes on but the hurt hasn't necessarily gone away. However, I'm learning to listen to the Universe and take in its medicine. I truly believe Clinton's spirit came to me that day. He was telling me he's ok and he liked my skirt. Why I say that is, Clinton was always my biggest fan when it came to anything. Especially when it came to my beading and sewing. I have had a real hard time creating since he left. I know I can't explain it but that piece of me that I thought died had decided it was only mostly dead. That the time has now come to heal and bloom again.
Ultimately, I feel my brother was telling me. It's now time sis to start creating beautiful regalia again and make it dance!