Fond du Lac Follies: Three old goats got together

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News From Indian Country 9-08

Wastewin, we will miss you so very much.

So, three old goats got together. I don’t know when goat-dom officially starts but I am guessing in the 60s anyway. Three old former active duty Marines held Liberty Call here is Sawyer. Ted Charles came from New Mexico by way of Michigan and Ray Earley came from Mazeppa, Minnesota, by way of Interstate 35. We were not as lean or not as mean but we were still Marines.

We sat out on the deck outside that sunny day and told stories and stories. Ted and I shared the Cuban Missile Crisis and a West Pac cruise where we visited Panama, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Phillippines, and Hong Kong. Ted said he went looking for Suzy Wong in Hong Kong but she was the wong one. Ted and I spent a bit over two years in a Marine Infantry Company. Ray and I shared the Vietnam War.

By one corner of the deck there was a pile of dead bodies we had seen in the war, over there was a pile of grenade pins, C-ration cans littered the deck, and brass from fired projectiles was everywhere underfoot. Yeah, we had a good time telling stories.
We are looking forward to the next Liberty Call. Because we are old goats we know there are not many more times that we can gather and share stories like this.

While in Minneapolis my wife and I were in the same place as Heid, Louise Erdrich and Suzy, the manager at the Birch Bark Bookstore. Suzy told a funny story about a man who came to the store and wanted to read a narrative written by an American Indian. She gave him a copy of one of my books. The man read for a while then came up and told Suzy this guy is funny. Suzy told him he thinks he is.  Heid told us of a mural being painted on a concrete wall just a couple of blocks from the Indian Center on Franklin Avenue.

We got the directions from Heid and drove to the mural site. Lisa Brown was up on a short ladder painting the white flowers that border the long, long mural. She came off her ladder and told us about the beautiful mural. The painting represents the Indians who died while living in that neighborhood. My brother, Rodney Northrup, died in a car accident in that area.

While looking at the mural Pat saw Heid, Louise, and Suzy come driving up. They got out of their car and we all stood and admired the idea of the mural, the art the artist was making, the colorful jingle dresses and ribbon shirts of the humans in the painting. The birch trees also looked good.

Then we all began to have suggestions for the painter. We thought of a good title she could consider. It was Mino-bimadiziwin. I thought the painting needed a lake added somewhere. Heid thought there should be a gopher coming out of one of the drain holes of the concrete wall.

I can hardly wait to see more details added to the mural.

Wayne Newton came to the Black Bear Resort’s new Otter Creek Event Center.

I got a post card advising me to call for free tickets. I did and they told me the event was sold out already. They later called back and said they had two front row tickets for me. I don’t know if I got the good tickets because I write the Follies, or because I am an elder, a veteran, a good gambler or handsome. I asked my son Aaron Ezigaa if he wanted to go to a concert with me and that I had front row tickets. He surprised me when he said yes. He didn’t even ask who Wayne Newton was.

According to Rocky Wilkenson, director of marketing, “It was an honor having an entertainer of this magnitude help us open our new Otter Creek Event Center.”

The show was entertaining, I wanted to hear his signature song Danke Schoen (I think it means mii gwech in German) but he just sang a medley of songs. He also kissed two women, told jokes, played the electric guitar, an acoustic guitar, a banjo, and a fiddle. He had about 25 people backing him up, some on drums, some on horns, some were just using their voices. I was glad I went to this entertaining show. Aaron Ezigaa, age 18, said it was all right.

I would have liked to see Wayne Newton when he was in his prime. Now he looks and sounds like an entertainer who is coming to an end of a long, successful career.


Mii sa iw.