Day 137- Monday, November 6, 1995 - We maintained our base camp in the public park by the side of County Road 203 in Wellington, Texas. During this warm, sunny November day the pilgrims stayed on Country Road 203, walking in relays. They covered the distance as far west as the town of Quail, then shuttled back to base camp in vehicles.
Meanwhile, back in Oklahoma, I spent most of the day in efforts to retrieve Bess, our little truck, from where it was impounded by the police at Johnson's Tow Yard in Chickasha.
When Tom departed from our Sunbow pilgrimage at the Kiowa Nation office complex in Carnegie, Oklahoma, last week, he took the truck and its contents with him. By unanimous consent, we let the truck go, making no effort to stop Tom, because we wanted no further problems from him.
After Tom took the truck, he apparently loaned it to Eric Talley, who had been with our walk since Nashville. Eric was subsequently stopped for speeding in Chickasha, and at that time found to have an invalid driver's license. Eric was put in jail briefly, the truck was impounded, and the police called my home in New Hampshire and informed my wife, Carolyn.
I gathered with all the other walkers and talked it over. We felt we had a right to bring the truck back into our service since the truck was donated to the walk, and we the people actually were actually walking the pilgrimage route. We also felt Providence was giving us a hand. With unanimous consent, I set off to get the truck.
The recovery proved to be an ordeal. Tom was lurking around the tow yard, waiting and watching for someone to show up and try to claim Bess, since the police would not release it to him. I finally slipped in to the office, and began negotiations. The tow yard and police required every imaginable scrap of documentation to be faxed to them from New Hampshire. Carolyn and I worked on it together, and along about noon we had finished jumping through all the hoops, and paid the $126 in charges assessed against the vehicle. I drove off toward Wellington to return the truck to the journey.
|Sunbow 5 Walkers - Eric Talley and Running Fawn pose by a painting of an eagle dancer during an earlier phase of the pilgrimage. Photo by Regula Vellacott.
By late afternoon I returned the truck to its rightful place and purpose with the walk. By this time the walkers were well into the Texas panhandle, encamped in Wellington. When I pulled into camp I drove the truck in a circle around the tents four times, holding my arm out the driver's window and waving a red bandana: victory laps. Joe and Ned immediately pulled the truck under a tree, and searched it. They removed the contents and placed them in storage under Tom's name at the First Baptist Church in Wellington.
In the glove compartment we found the truck's New Hampshire registration, printed with my name as it should be. But on the back I saw that my signature had been forged and that ownership had been "transferred" to Tom Dostou. There was a bill of sale, too, and my signature was forged on that as well, purporting to convey legal ownership to Tom.
|Pay Phone. Photo by Ian Britton.
At Joe's insistence, that night we drove into Wellington, found a street corner pay phone , and called everyone who was a core advisor to our pilgrimage: John Heyman, Naoko Haga, Johnie Leverett, Jose Lucero, and Grandfather Commanda.
We told them the whole story, and also about the falsified registration and bill of sale we found in the truck. We also informed them we could no longer accept Tom as leader of our walk, because of his his falsehoods, his tirades, and his bullying. We asked them to remove him as head man of our pilgrimage, because we would not follow him. They all listened with profound dismay. They told us to keep walking, and to keep praying for everyone, no exceptions, and to pray that we would all find a way to come back together and to walk as one.
That night in camp, under the full moon, we held council to assess our situation and plan for the future. A pale, luminescent rainbow corona took living form around the moon -- a Moonbow. Around our sacred fire on this uncommonly warm and sultry November night in Texas, we sat enraptured by the beauty of the Moonbow.
If the Sunbow we saw yesterday while crossing into Texas can be regarded as yang in general character, the paler, more otherworldly circle of the Moonbow corona is surely yin.
As we gazed at our fire and up at the Moonbow, we felt happy. We felt liberated of oppression, and ready to go forward. The serendiptious recovery of Bess made it clear to us that we should journey onward to the west.
|Rainbow around the Moon - A Moonbow appeared that night as we sat around the fire and passed a talking stick to assess our situation.
Copyright 2006 by Steven McFadden
Read Day 138 -- Odyssey of the 8th Fire