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08.11.2015
We worked on discovering and letting go of old patterns and finally pushing past the resistance in the support of a group setting.
This is the first chapter of my new novel, Kinaalda,  the second book in a series involving Abe Freeman and Navajo Police Officer, Emily Etcitty. Navajo Police Officer Emily Etcitty picked up the incident report dropped on her desk by Officer Joe Hosteen. The trip to the village of Teec Nos Pos on the Arizona side of the reservation took over an hour and a half.
After she had left the familiar landmark and the town of Shiprock behind, the land opened up once again to scattered mesas, washes, canyons and the occasional trailer or hogan. The sun dropped behind a sandstone cliff, casting fiery orange flames across the western skies when Emily reached the nearly deserted village. The family had called headquarters at noon to report the girl missing, and Hosteen sat on the report until after three-thirty. All but one of the children cast their eyes down, looking too frightened to leave the protection of the pit fire and the adult women. The past two weeks have been mercurial, with as many ups and downs as the thermometer in a New Mexico spring. Then, I saw that instead of listing my new book cover, Amazon continued showing the old, and you really had to dig to find the new cover.
I moped a little, whined that I couldn’t work in the garden or take walks with my dog, but the stitches came out of my nose on Good Friday, and I was healing. You may take all of the dough at this time, divide it in half and shape into two baguettes, or make just one and return remaining dough to the fridge. The holidays are over, and another new year is upon us, along with a plethora of well-meaning, but impractical and impossible to keep, resolutions. My story is not unlike many others who strived to achieve a better life for their families. Then, with three children under twelve and a home to maintain, I attended college and worked part-time in the administration office. While my husband served on three cruises during the Vietnam era, the children and I worked a small farm there in Washington—milking a cow, feeding chickens and pigs, gathering eggs, working a garden and harvesting bales of hay—then I went to my teaching job.
The positions ran the gamut from teaching severely handicapped children in Washington, first graders in the military school in Sigonella, Sicily to teenage boys transitioning between incarceration and introduction back into society. I moved on to teaching English to children in Honduras, then to working with so called “learning disabled” Navajo middle school children at a BIA school in New Mexico.
I spent the last fourteen years of my career in education teaching middle school science in Las Vegas, New Mexico—a school that was nearly one-hundred percent Hispanic. I never imagined there could be so much desert in the United States—California’s Mojave stretched into an unending blur—heat mirages rising like cool pools of water only to disappear when approached. Millington, Tennessee, a sleepy little southern town, relied on the Naval Air Station for its livelihood. We had no car but at least the location was convenient for Tom to hitch a ride to and from the base each day and for me to walk to the Piggly Wiggly where I wandered dumbstruck through the aisles staring at the conglomeration of unfamiliar food items like chicken feet, chitlins (chitterlings), pigs feet, hog maw  and poke greens.
The Handy Andy Shoppette situated on the highway leading to the military base was within easy walking distance. The next summer, shortly before my sixteenth birthday, I was hired as an usherette at a movie theater. Betty and I worked in the hop house, a two-story building of which the upper story had a slatted floor covered with burlap.
Uncle Howard and his brothers celebrated payday with a trip to town for cold cuts: bologna, sliced American cheese, Wonder Bread, chips and sodas.
My introduction into the work force began at the ripe age of fourteen when I signed on to pick peaches with my cousin and a group of Mexican farm laborers at an orchard not far from the house on Murphy Road.  We were assigned to pick a section of the orchard, provided with buckets, ladders, and lugs to fill. The day began at  six in the morning, and my mother packed us a lunch and a jug of grape Kool-Aid.
I returned to the orchard for two more days before admitting failure and found a new calling at the D’Antonio’s packing shed, standing over a conveyer belt for eight hours a day as pears rolled by on a conveyor belt. It wasn’t so bad, actually fun because many of my friends from school worked there as well. Why are you asking me for personal information?We collect personal information including your contact and demographic information for the purposes of identification, account administration and display of personalised content and advertising. CEOs have stressful jobs, and some have taken to intense hobbies to find solace from the daily grind.Some practice meditation—or even Transcendental Meditation, a mantra-based technique derived about 50 years ago from ancient Indian practices. We’ve compiled a list of leaders who say that meditating gives them an edge in the competitive business world. Dalio -- founder and CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund -- has built many of the TM principles into his firm's culture. Shapiro, who co-founded Sandbox Industries, a VC firm, told Bloomberg News that he turned to meditation after being introduced to the practice by a friend from his Harvard days. George, who now teaches at Harvard Business School, told Bloomberg News that he likes to close his eyes and breathe deeply as soon as a flight begins.
While at Medtronic, George dedicated one of the firm's conference rooms to being a quiet space where employees could go for a break, according to the Bloomberg report.
About two years ago, I visited a school in South Africa where all the students practiced one particular form of meditation--Transcendental Meditation (TM). Even though I had been meditating in different ways for over 10 years, I asked Bob to teach me. A fairly new devotee, Oprah was introduced to the practice during her work with inner city school systems, where TM has been introduced to children with academic and behavioural problems. Stiller in 2008 told Bloomberg News that he regularly brought in a meditation instructor to the company's Vermont-based offices to lead employees in meditation.
Rubin serves on the Board of Trustees at Maharishi University of Management, the Fairfield, Iowa-based school that was founded by Transcendental Meditation teachers. After many of her co-workers reported positive results from practicing Transcendental Meditation, Abramson decided to begin practicing as a means of coping with her hectic work environment, according to TMwomenProfessionals.org. Goings told The Financial Times that he tries to meditate for at least 20 minutes every afternoon. Her sweet energy is healing to be around, and she holds an inclusive, safe space where everyone has a chance to fully participate, try on their spiritual super-powers, and gently risk opening to profoundly being seen by others.
Kinaalda is a four-day coming of age ceremony celebrated by Navajo families when girls reach puberty. She raised her eyebrows and flashed him an annoyed look, which he responded to with a sardonic smile and shrug. Why didn’t you give it to me right away?” Officer Hosteen’s eyes were black and sharp as pinpoints, his nose and bone structure chiseled angles, his mouth a thin line.


It was not uncommon for a thirteen-year-old girl to go missing for a few hours; it was, however, unheard of for one to disappear during her Kinaalda. On her way, she drove past the looming monolithic rock formation the Anglos called Shiprock.
Traffic thinned out on Highway 64 to sporadic pickup trucks, giving Emily plenty of time to let her mind drift back to her own Kinaalda, the Navajo puberty ceremony practiced by traditional families who celebrated a girl’s transition into womanhood. She made a quick stop at the Teec Nos Pos Trading Post to ask directions to Jim Benally’s residence. That means dozens of other footprints have probably obliterated the girl’s tracks, and it’s going to be dark soon. Her words were uttered slowly, deliberately, as if trying to preserve dignity in front of this officer of the law.  “It is the final day of my daughter’s Kinaalda. When she came upon an entire footprint, she took a picture, thinking it looked like a size six or six and a half, not deeply embedded, the weight on the forefoot deeper as Native Americans were accustomed to running. She reacted automatically by reaching for her gun, then stopped with her hand on the butt of the Glock 19 in her hip holster. She crossed over, saw the trail remained unmarked by footprints on the other side, but noted the dusty lane showed signs of fresh tire treads. It all started off great, with the release of my new novel, Key Witness by Publisher Thomas and Mercer. I tried to scoop him up to save him and put him in the house, and, in a panic, he tore into me with all his might, shredding my nose and ear, and putting big gashes in my hand. There’s nothing quite like the smell of bread baking in the oven or the feel of the dough as you knead it and it watch it become shiny and elastic to the touch. The recipe I have, given to me by my son-in-law is the easiest and best ever, besides being extremely versatile. We all know that daily life has its own plan, and often gets in the way of our best intentions. The middle school where I did my student teaching in Milton, Florida became integrated that year, the year Shirley Jackson ran for president. Whenever my husband was transferred to a different duty station I out of necessity changed jobs as well. There at Blackduck, Minnesota High School I had been tucked away in a small upstairs alcove so that neither the boys nor I could contaminate the regular students. These boys never acted out their violent threats and I learned to listen when they wanted to talk. Then came Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and not much change of scenery in the monotonous stretch of Texas. Most notably, all the colored people moved to the back of the bus when we crossed over into Texas. The tiny octogonal-shaped house my husband rented sat tucked back on a narrow dirt road connecting the downtown area with the main highway that ran to the base. The now defunct State Theater in downtown Marysville even supplied employees with a uniform—maroon slacks in shiny polyester and jacket with a black stripe running down the outside of the pants, black shirt provided by me.  All decked out and equipped with a large flashlight I began checking tickets to see if they were general seating or loge, and showing customers to their seats.
The hop flowers were poured onto the second floor, and our task was to rake them even so that heating units on the lower floor could dry them before they were pressed into bales. Several members of my husband’s family worked the hop harvest, and when they returned from town we sat on the tailgates of pickup trucks to eat fat bologna sandwiches, drink Coca Cola and commiserate about broken tractors, long days and low pay. My mother drummed it into all five of us kids, not so much through nagging, but through example and expectations. So young, so inexperienced, I started out full of enthusiasm, convinced I could easily out pick those braceros. Oz last year that Transcendental Meditation has helped her 'connect with that which is God,' according to the Huffington Post.
During this time, the girls are required to perform certain tasks, such as grinding corn and running a race. She had finished her shift and was filing the final reports, looking forward to spending time with Abe Freeman at his place near Bloomfield. Someone had given it that name because he thought it resembled a clipper ship sailing the gray-green desert.
She remembered how proud and excited she had been to wake up and discover signs of her first menstrual cycle. She hurried back to her Chevy Blazer, sped toward the Benally home, arriving fifteen minutes later. The other food, roast lamb, mutton stew, green chili, and beans lay congealed on a long table.
I dressed her this morning in her woven rug dress, turquoise and shell jewelry, washed her hair with yucca suds and combed it with the grass comb.” There was pride in her voice, but unsummoned tears streamed down her face as she continued. Emily knew time was crucial if she was to find any trace of the girl today, but also that she must not hurry the mother. April in the northeast highlands of Arizona can be sunny and warm one day, and snowy the next. I’ll wait until you are there.” As she watched the boy scamper away, she thought about all the stories she had listened to as a child about skinwalkers, those malevolent witches who according to legend, were capable of transforming themselves into a coyote, wolf, bear, or any animal they wished.
Sometimes you need to walk away from all the contentiousness, meanness, and heartbreaking tragedy created by mankind in their constant quest for riches and power. Four hours later, after twelve stitches in the face, and fourteen in the hand, I left the emergency room, unable to type, except with the left hand.
I walked out in the small patch of garden I had dug up and planted in the back yard before the kitty accident, and the peas, carrots, onions, arugula, spinach and radishes are all sprouted. Pushing that dough around is also a great way to meditate, or plan the plot of that next novel. With this one simple recipe, I have made pizza, calzone, focaccia, and my latest, which I can’t get enough of, Kraut Bierok. I landed my first teaching job in Whidbey Island, Washington, the beginning of a twenty-five year career in education. These boys had all been traumatized at some point in their life and reacted by striking back at society.
When the Greyhound stopped for food or a break, signs like “Whites Only” began to appear at drinking fountains and bathrooms. I stocked shelves, worked the cash register, swept, dusted and mopped, and got scolded for being too friendly with the “negroes”, an admonition I didn’t understand. I had become a married woman four days after graduating from high school and needed money to join my Navy husband in Millington, Tennessee where he was stationed at that time. Hops are prickly and itchy, summers in northern California are hot, with heaters, even hotter.


However, I hope deleting them as spam will be rid of the parasites, and I can continue with my maudlin meanderings. A swamper, usually some young high school kid, drove a tractor around and loaded the filled lugs onto a flat-bed trailer.
Sometimes, I'm wrestling with an issue before meditation, and afterward the answer is suddenly clear. Emily knew it by its correct name—Tse Bit? a?i, Winged Rock, after the great bird who brought the Navajo from the north to their present land. He is out on the trail now, looking for our girl.” Nina Benally could no longer keep up the facade of dignified composure. Emily made a mental note to ask the mother about her height and weight when she retrieved the photograph. She was looking for the spot where the other children turned back, leaving only the girl’s tracks. It then appeared to back up, make a U-turn and head in the direction from which it had come.
I think it was the time the sting ray zapped me in Honduras, and that has been thirty years, but now I know what the flu feels like, and it wasn’t good. These are German or Polish rolls filled with a combination of meat, sauteed onion and garlic, sauerkraut or sauteed cabbage and spices. One Native American young man had witnessed his brother commit suicide by lying on the railroad tracks in front of a train. Life has always been a series of adventures and learning experiences and challenges—it was then and continues to be so to this day. Having grown up in Northern California I had never experienced segregation or blatant racial prejudice before. My husband smoked at that time but couldn’t afford cigarettes, even as cheap as they were then, so he persuaded me to go to the neighbors and bum some. I had friends who smoked, mostly guys, so naturally I let them sit in the balcony whether they paid for loge or not, which they never did.  But, after watching the same movie three or four times, I frequently became bored and entertained myself by spotlighting couples making out in the back rows. Tom had lived with his Uncle Howard and Aunt Eunice in company housing on the Horst Ranch since leaving home at fourteen. I kept a clean house, ironed those uniforms the regulation way, cooked great meals, took care of my kids and did yard work. When their five day week job ended they threw themselves into a two day non-stop workathon around the house.
The two had clashed on several occasions in the past over police procedures and didn’t particularly like one another. Several women huddled together trying to console one another; while one of their group—probably the mother—cried inconsolably.
She made a keening sound while praying, beseeching the Gods to deliver her daughter home safely from whatever evil had taken her away.
It was rumored they used mind control to make a person do anything they wanted, especially to harm themselves in some way. Relieved, she noted the men in the search party had ridden their horses along the side of the trail as not to disturb the tracks. The horses had also stopped here, and the rider’s dismounted, followed the moccasin tracks, and then returned to their steeds. I will  breathe the sharp cold air, listen to the silence, and celebrate the peace and beauty of nature, if only for a little while. He’s sleeping comfortably in his bed, but I felt frustrated about not being able to work on my new novel.
I can’t wait to get to my little cabin, sit on that rocking chair on the porch in the evening, a little shot of Wild Turkey on ice, and watch the deer and turkeys and coyotes as they start their parade across the meadow. The truth is, our town boasted very few African Americans, but several Chinese and Japanese families, and across the river in Yuba City, a good many Mexicans due to the Bracero program. I humiliated myself one time only by asking strangers for cigarettes and knew I needed to bring home some money because I never wanted to do that again. We didn’t live in Millington for long, but with my job we survived and were even able to indulge in an occasional movie. Howard, a full-time employee of the ranch, managed to get me and Tom’s sister, Betty, on the payroll that summer.
The morning seemed bearable, though my skinny limbs ached, and I immediately recognized that my lugs did not even come close to the stack the Mexican workers had.
Emily shook off a chill, telling herself she didn’t believe any of it and beamed her flashlight on the trail, searching for moccasin tracks amidst the numerous tread marks of sneakers. The huge influx of Punjabi from India had not yet begun.  But, racism did not enter my mind in those early days, whether due to ignorance or lack of exposure, I don’t know. Most evenings my mother dropped me off on the way to her waitressing job at the Uriz Hotel.
Betty and I are the same age, and she and Tom were the oldest of twelve siblings from deaf parents. But I was a stay at home mom with two toddlers, not contributing anything financially, and money was in short supply. And I didn’t argue, didn’t really mind washing windows with vinegar and newspaper, waxing floors, ironing, doing dishes, and whatever else was required. Emily snapped a few close-up shots, being careful not to step on anything and returned to the spot where she had last seen Darcy’s prints.
Then someone from the hotel (restaurant) would pick me up and take me back to the kitchen where I feasted on tidbits the cooks prepared for me until my mother got off work. If I considered my childhood tough, I only need to think about theirs for about three seconds.
They appeared jumbled; the dirt disturbed as if there had been a scuffle, and there were other shoeprints—not children’s sneakers, but large cowboy boots, maybe two different pairs.
All in all, it wasn’t a bad job, but for some of the aforementioned reasons, I didn’t last through the summer. She approached one of the women, introduced herself, and speaking in Navajo, asked for the mother of the missing child. If I wanted to invite a friend to spend the night, that was fine.  But that was not enough for my husband. If a skinwalker had taken Darcy Benally, he wore size eleven or twelve boots and drove a four-wheeled vehicle.



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