Notice: In this article, the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Barney and Patricia have consistently warned me against discussing certain topics in my weekly Tied to the Post messages. Politics, religion, and sex, for example, are sure to make them sweat. Money is also high on their censorship list. To be honest, those issues also make me a bit uneasy. Never mind, however, if it gets people thinking, I will generally take it on. Consequences be damned, or darned, as they would have me say. It must be admitted, however, that I may have, on occasion, been guilty of getting our readers thinking too much. Consequently, while I all too often fail to heed their advice, because my actions also affect them, I always try to consider their comments. They just shake their heads, knowing the fallout is coming and there is nothing they can do to avoid it.
About a month ago, as we were discussing this particular topic and they were unsuccessfully attempting to coax me in the proper direction, a telephone call came in from Robby. “Ya’ at’ eeh' Mr. Eagle Nest, my daughter is having a baby and I need a Navajo basket. Wanna' trade?” Robby, who is part Navajo and part Hopi, has innovative names for Barney and me. If he needs something, ready cash maybe, the label is flattering, like Eagle Nest. If he is economically stable and just wants to stir things up, it’s Humpty Dumptewa. Consequently, this time I knew he was serious. “Sure,” I said, “come on in. We can work something out.”
People always ask why Twin Rocks is called a trading post, since they have come to believe we rarely trade anything besides money. There are, however, times when we actually barter. I have often offered to take wampum, feather money, trade beads, and a variety of other objects. Customers just look at me like I’m crazy. Barney and Patricia assure them their assumption is accurate. Additionally, artists frequently want to trade jewelry or turquoise for their work. So, while we are not exactly an old time trading operation, we do have some traditional characteristics.
In any case, a few hours after the call, Robby showed up with his trade goods and we commenced the dialogue. The discussions didn’t take long, because Robby is an excellent silversmith and superb humorist, and Twin Rocks is Navajo Basket Central. In fact, when it comes to that, we are like Baskets R Us. Once he had my basket and my money, he sat down in one of the wooden chairs and began to give us background into his daughter, her family, and her upcoming delivery. As we talked, he mentioned the traditional process involved in ensuring good health, success, and happiness for the new arrival. Much of it we already knew, because Patricia had coached us through it when Kira and Grange were maturing. In that sense, our kids are almost Navajo.
Robby is also a medicine man who administers prayers and other relatively simple rites for people in need. In fact, over the years we have learned he can do just about anything, from bull riding, to healing the halt and lame, to writing and playing country music. He does it all. His arrival at Twin Rocks is always an interesting, and typically comic, experience and we always welcome him in.
On this particular occasion, Robby finished his lecture on traditional healing and moved into contemporary politics. He, like the rest of us, is confounded by the current state of affairs and wondered aloud why we can't just get along better. At that point he looked around the post to see who was listening and, finding there were no customers, agreed to tell us a story. “It was early 2016 and Hillary was ahead in the polls,” he said. One of his customers in Sedona was a Trump supporter and was concerned the race was not shaping up the way he had hoped. Knowing Robby is a medicine man, the customer suggested he do a prayer for Trump. “No,” Robby insisted, “I don’t do that.” They, however, persisted, so he finally gave in and agreed to give it a try. They were extremely good customers, the money was good, and “What could it hurt?” he concluded.
So, when he got home that evening Robby set the wheels in motion. A few days later he noticed the presidential polls beginning to shift, and as election day approached it looked like his prayer might have been answered. His customer was ecstatic. Sure enough, as the numbers came in on election night, Trump was declared the winner. “So, all this is your fault,” Ronnie and Stacy, who were by now listening to the conversation, declared. “Well,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. At that point, Barney emerged from his office with an envelope stuffed with cash and handed it over to Robby, saying, “This is your retainer. We’ll talk about the midterms next time you come in.” A few minutes later, I heard Patricia telephoning the FBI. “Hello. May I speak with Mr. Muller?”