Tis the season of the fly; the pesky little buggers are everywhere. I have to say there is no love lost between me and those miniature, hairy-legged, bug-eyed fiends. Through the years I have discovered that these "super brats" of the insect world gather on the trading post porch during the evening to rest and rejuvenate. If I catch them before the morning sun discovers our protected little alcove, I can quash a large number before they fire up their Messerschmidt's and begin to pester me.
Old Navajo Couple Carving.
The other morning I was out early, "whacking winged ones" and happily counting casualties. I was so engrossed in my task that I was not paying attention to anything around me. From behind I heard someone say; "Don't kill the messenger dude!" I turned quickly, a bit embarrassed at my over-zealous behavior and surprised someone had come up on me. Because of the nomenclature the speaker used and his well spoken manner, I was expecting . . . well I don't know what I was expecting. What I found was a short, rail thin, elderly Navajo man with a heavily weathered brow.
Dude? I thought to myself. The slightly built old-timer smiled brightly from underneath his marred and soiled, faded green and gold John Deere baseball cap. Pure white hair recklessly forced itself from underneath the bedraggled crown. He pursed his lips at the stone wall I had been impregnating with flattened flies and said, "The messenger, Hoss!" "Hoss?" I said. "Short for Hasteen," the wrinkled little man said, "Mr. in Navajo". Shaking my head in consternation, I said; "Don't you mean, 'Don't shoot the messenger' or 'Don't shoot the piano player?'" "You weren't shooting and there is no piano, you were killing flies . . . Messenger Flies, Slick!"
"Slick?" I looked the wizened character over carefully while I contemplated his intimation and manner of using pet names. I noticed he was dressed in a red and black plaid, short sleeved, western style shirt underscored by a white t-shirt. The shirt was tucked neatly into fairly new Wrangler jeans, which were pulled up far too close to his armpits. His, overly long pants were rolled up at the cuff, exposing about four inches of denim viewed from the inside out. White socks encased bony ankles, which poked out of half boots. The footware was of a well worn, blond leather variety, with matching laces, round toe, heavy soles and traces of red mud. Around his slender middle, woven through his belt loops, was an aged black dress belt with a plain, once gold buckle.
Coming out of my trance, I said "Dotso! You are speaking of Dotso, Messenger Fly, aren't you? The Navajo guardian that is all-wise and can help you know the unknown?" "Well Bubba," said my well-dressed friend, "If you know who he is, why are you smashing him?" "Because he bothers me," I said, "and that wasn't him anyway, it was his other brother Darryl, the bad seed of the family. He deserved it" The man's brown eyes twinkled merrily, then became serious as he said, "If we killed everything that bothers us or those we feel deserve it, there won't be anything or anyone left will there? Maybe the fly was trying to tell you something."
"Oh great," I thought to myself, "A little, old, unabashed Navajo philosopher." "Who are you," I asked, "Yoda?" Just then there came an obtrusive "HONK" from the parking lot. I turned and saw a rusted out, 1970-something, red and silver Ford pickup truck trembling in the graveled driveway. Sitting behind the wheel was a female version of the man. From what I could see, she wore a translucent pink scarf over her tightly pulled-back gray hair and traditional bun. A faded red valor blouse covered her gaunt torso. I imagined a complimentary colored satin skirt covering her hips and white socks with sneekers on her bony feet.
The old guy turned to go, then paused, turned back, and said, "Use the Force Luke. Believe in it and it will believe in you!" I waved my fly swatter at the guy as he departed. "Luke!" I mumbled to myself. He climbed up beside his mate in the belching beast and waved good-bye. The woman ground out a gear with the stick shift, pumped the gas pedal and popped the clutch. I could see the force of the take-off throw them back in their seats as the rickety old truck found a few horsepower and sped away in a cloud of gray dust and black exhaust. A fitting departure for an altogether weird experience.
A few days later, Laurie, Alyssa, McKale and I were returning home from Provo after an outing that covered everything from doctor appointments, back to school shopping and a wedding reception. It had been a crazy weekend. I was ready to get back home and to the trading post where I felt warm and comfortable. As we drove towards Spanish Fork Canyon, McKale let out a groan. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw my daughter waving a book in the air as if trying to smack something. "There's a nasty fly in here," she said, "help me kill it!"
"Don't kill the messenger, Snot Box!" I said, "It's trying to tell you something." "Snot Box?" said McKale with much disdain in her voice, "Who are you calling 'Snot Box', what the heck is a Messenger Fly and why would it be speaking to me?" All heads turned my way as they waited for a plausible explanation. "I'm just sayin," I began.
With Warm Regards,
Barry, Steve and the Team.
Copyright 2009 Twin Rocks Trading Post