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To become truly inclusive, we must include those who exclude others and, maybe even, us. Otherwise, we’re still part of the “we-they” problem, having done nothing but changed sides.

Missing the Beaded Indian

“Oh the moon shines tonight on pretty Red Wing,
the breeze is sighing, the night birds crying,
For a far, far away her brave is dying
and Red Wing’s crying her heart away.”
—Thurland Chattaway,1903

When we were back in Joplin, we looked deep
into the lower section of Mummy’s buffet,
where our family stores memories along with our pictures.
Some, taken at the Home Show, put our child-faces
with cow-girl, cow-boy bodies. There were black and white
photos of each of our weddings and one of a Halloween party
at the church. Pam found the pattern for my wedding gown.

We found Daddy’s harmonica still in its case. He used to
play “Red Wing” on moonlit nights at the cabin. We found
several harmonicas. And during our probing,
Mummy remembered—perhaps at a picture—
how, as a young wife, she saw her
tiny girls atop the flat-roofed garage—legs dangling—
tossing sticks down into the alley, Pam not more than two.

Only her baby boy was safe. So we followed her lead
to see our young Daddy lowering his ladder to the ground
to protect us. But we did not find what we were looking for.

Daddy’s handwork has gone missing
like the J&G Coffee sign that used to light up
Independence Blvd., when Bill and I lived in Charlotte.
I’m guessing someone removed them both. But who?

August 2008