Living Mitakuye Oyasin

A true story.   

At the turn of the 21st Century, I received my Social Security Disability which allowed me to stop living on the streets and get a place. I found a furnished room with bath and carport (I had no car), in the Casa Grande no-tell Motel on Rte 66 (Watson Rd.) in suburban St. Louis. It wasn’t the Days Inn, but it was out of the weather. The rules didn’t allow cooking in the rooms, so I got a small grill and put it in the carport, there to enjoy my grande cuisine; also got a microwave and small coffee pot.

The motel still exists; it’s on a business strip, heavily trafficked with a small creek and wooded area in the rear; probably more like a drainage ditch. I suspected there were raccoons and possum back there, so, rather than throw away foods I couldn’t eat, I would place it in a small dish I secured on a low tree limb. It worked; miraculously, every night, the food disappeared. Lol.

What I also began to notice was raccoon paw prints in my carport, so I got dry dog food and a couple of plastic bowls from the dollar store and put it out there and the miracle of miracles, every night the food disappeared All that remained was soggy crumbs in the water bowl.

Slowly, as the raccoons and I got accustomed to each other, I would leave my room door open while sitting just inside; there to watch the action. To say the least, it got interesting. I had eight regular visitors and a couple of party crashers. I tried getting them to wear name tags, but they refused to be labeled.

On the perimeter of my carport was a concrete curb. The side away from my door had bushes where the raccoons had blazed a trail to the food dishes. Almost as soon as the sun started going down, they would appear; most heading towards the food but one occasionally marching right into my door and checking things out. Then one night, she sat at the top of the curb trying to climb down, but her front paws weren’t working.

As I watched her struggle, she would look at me cautiously as if to say, “Will you harm me?” Using my walking stick, I put some food on the end and slowly pushed it her way. She was hungry but couldn’t feed herself. It was then that I noticed that both of her front arms were broken so I walked closer and put food within her reach.

In the morning, I called a friend who worked with wild animals and told her the story. That afternoon, she brought over a trap, and we set it up. The next morning, there was my little friend waiting patiently, as if to say, “About damn time you got up!”

We took her to the rescue center vet who operated, repairing both arms. The vet stated it appeared she had attempted to climb into a dumpster when the heavy open top flew over and smashed her arms before she could avoid it. I think the operation took about six hours. When done, the vet said he wasn’t sure it was going to work, but hoped so.  He kept her for a few days of observation then released her to my friend who would nurse her. She also paid the $ 6,000.00 vet bill.

Following about four weeks of recovery, she was fit enough to leave so we took her back home and released her. She stayed close then one night didn’t come. She was gone for maybe four weeks when she suddenly reappeared at my door with four little ones in tow. They walked up to me as if to say “Hi, gramps, we’re home.” No fear, no anger just as if they always belonged.

It was a reminder that Mitakuye Oyasin is real.

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