Is it just me or was this winter absolutely gruelling? Six entire months of cloudy snow and gray skies are just too much for anyone to bear on the regular. That is half our entire year devoted the cold decline of our environment. Ho-lay!
Not that I am ungrateful – I appreciate winter on the Rez in all of its glory; and anyways it’s pretty cool how you can hear bush dogs from really far away when they echo off the snow. But oh, the excitement that early spring brings!
The moment the temperature went above zero I began to usher in spring in my own personal Reservation ceremony of winter being over. I call it – the Indian Car Clean-Up.
I have no shame about my Indian Car. It is a full fledged 2001 PT Cruiser style Indian Car complete with one rusty rim and a dent in the rear passenger door from an accident that we never fixed. The rear windshield wiper is broken and the heat only works on full blast. There is a weird noise that jangles like an electric rattlesnake when we drive down the road. But nonetheless, this is my war pony and I am grateful for wheels to take me from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ at a gas rate that I can afford. A-ho!
To open the Indian Car Clean-Up first I did a traditional “drive around” to thank the Creator for the beginning of spring. That is when you drive through the Rez with the windows down and pow wow music blaring – which was fun because the music covered up the rattling noise my car makes so I actually looked kind of cool cruising the down the concession. The air of a thousand generations blew through my arm hair as I ceremonially dangled it out the driver’s side window.
During that drive with the windows down, winter garbage from my car was twirling about like the sacred spirits of on-the-go car meals that sustained my family through the long winter. In the wind tunnel of my Indian Car, sandwich wrappers and cellophane baggies were flying out the windows and sparkling in the early spring sun like Reservation glitter. That was when I knew it was time for the second part of my personal winter closing ceremonies: the traditional cleaning of the Indian Car.
I pulled into the car wash on Fourth Line with my pow wow tunes still blaring. A couple of kids who were standing across the road heard my music and broke out into “full jam mode” – dramatically but jokingly pow wow dancing sans regalia to my tunes as I pulled in. We all looked at each other and laughed. It was good to see other happy faces recognizing the beginning of spring. These are the good times my friends.
I opened the rear passenger doors to begin the deep clean. Ew. Six months worth of temperature-induced procrastination of cleaning my car was now turning into a nasty funk. Because temperatures during the day are above zero – dribbles of leftover juice boxes were now melting out of their straws like flowing maple sap from tapped trees.
I thanked the Creator as I threw away the empty coffee and hot chocolate cups that warmed my family through the cold winter months. As my reward He Who Created Our Bodies gifted me with $6.55 in loose change found beneath the car seat. So I did what any celebrating Rez girl does during Indian Car Clean-Up – I finished vacuuming my Indian Car and drove straight to Lone Wolf for a large double double!
Now no ceremony is complete without a smudging of some kind. So I took the rest of my found change and bought a cedar scented Little Pine Tree air freshener and hung it from the gear shift of my Indian Car like so many of my ancestors have before me.
Finally, the time for washing the salt and dust off the exterior had come. This year I was feeling particularly blessed, because the stars had aligned Indian Car Clean-Up ceremonies with Baby Bonus time – so I grabbed the kids and together we celebrated our good fortune in the “drive-thru” car wash.
I spared no expense. We filled our tank with off-Rez gas from Canadian Tire and bought the ultimate car wash package – wax included. Afterwards we even bought brand new rubber mats for the inside. Yes, I spared no expense in thanking the Good Maker that I am grateful for my Indian Car.
In all honesty I have many a good daydream about life with a brand spankin’ new mini-van or some other sporty new model of the latest what-not. Who doesn’t? But all the same I still smile because I know that in the Creator I am blessed. So for today – thank you Creator for my ace Indian Car.