Posted On: October 22, 2017
Friday, October 6, 2017
Beth returns to North Bay, Ontario
Beth and I spent Thursday night in Albuquerque so she could catch her early flight Friday morning to Chicago and thence to Toronto. This was the first day of the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend, so the drive north from Toronto to North Bay took longer than the usual three-and-a-half hours.
Pecos National Historical Park
I drove back to Santa Fe in time to join the reunion group’s excursion to Pecos National Historical Park. Noting this warning sign at the start of our guided tour, we all kept our eyes peeled for signs (or sounds) of the snakes. We saw and heard none.
One of the high points of our excellent guided tour of the park was also the low point. We climbed down this ladder (much shorter than the ladders on the Alcove trail!) into a “kiva,” a circular, underground room used for religious or ceremonial purposes.
“Almost Over” evening festivities
On Friday evening, everyone gathered for our “Almost Over” feast at Carol Herrera’s spacious home near downtown Santa Fe. The food was plentiful with special delicacies from the islands prepared by Ping Limes. We didn’t have our planned campfire in Carol’s backyard, but that didn’t stop Bev Chumbley from making S’mores in the oven!
The Grass Skirt Revels
So here’s what happened after dinner. RPCV Tom Fisher and his wife, Peg, brought with them an old grass skirt Tom had brought back from the islands years ago. They offered it as a door prize. To choose a winner, Wayne Hill served as MC, pointing to each person in turn in time with the rhythm of a Carolinian song, “Dega, Dega,” a sort of musical version of One Potato, Two Potato.
The only stipulation was that the winner had to put on the grass skirt and dance when Ping and I launched into the Marshallese song, “Liki Mai Kimmok.”
The song is circular and keeps returning to the beginning as long as the singers and musicians care to keep it going. Listen to this snippet below, and you’ll get an inkling of how the revels just blossomed. The skirt was passed around from one dancer to another until everyone had a turn dancing their own variation of the hula. We eventually ran out of gas on “Liki Mai Kimmok” and switched to another rousing Marshallese tune, “Jai Bari Lua.” And the dancing continued.
“A Day in Micronesia”
At the close of the evening, I sang “A Day in Micromesia,” a song I’d written 45 years earlier at a time when I was leaving Micronesia after a difficult year in Palau (see page 145). I was filled with questions and mixed feelings about the downside of the changes I saw taking place in the islands. The song’s theme echoed recurring conversations at the reunion about the need for balance between the pressures of new development and the need to preserve the Indigenous languages, traditions, and culture in the Marianas. Here is an audio clip of the song with the lyrics.