Saturday, November 12, 2011
Dances With Coyotes
...but be warned.
One recent evening, while going out and about on the town, the hubby and I were walking across a busy street and we were approached by someone handing us a piece of paper. This person was young, about ten years old, and he was handing us a brochure, inviting us to come and see a show that he was obviously dressed to be in. The boy was Native American, and he was all decked-out, wearing a stunning white outfit, complete with feathers, braided hair and beads. The show was called Coyote and Friends and it was going to be held at the Bing Crosby Theater, right across the street from where we were standing, talking to this young man. The show was starting in just a few minutes we were told, and as the boy emphasized several times, it was "free."
I asked the boy if he would be in the show and he told me that he was, and that he would be dancing. This was, (no doubt,) becoming more and more an offer we could not refuse... however, we had a dinner engagement to tend to. George and I looked at each other and together we thought that maybe, after we had dinner, we would head on over to the Bing to watch the Indian dances. I asked the boy if I could take a picture of him with the theater sign behind him, and he said yes and then he graciously posed for me.
After clicking the photo and telling him that we would be back, we turned on our heels, and walked away in the direction we had been heading in the first place.
About eight to ten steps into our walk we heard a noise that cause us to stop dead in our tracks. Then we both turned around as that very loud slamming sound exploded behind us and we sensed that some kind of strange commotion was going on. Turning my body around, I saw a flash of white flying though the intersection, landing...flopping...almost rolling on the gray pavement. Then there was silence so still you could have heard a feather drop.... followed by murmurs, gasps, and shrieks of, "Oh my God!"
Turning to George I asked the obvious question, "Was it the boy?" That was the thought on his mind too, as he said he thought it was.
Backtracking to the corner; George went out into the street to help stop the cars and everyone in and around the intersection began making phone calls, even me. For some reason though, my call did not go through. Needless to say, our heart ached for the boy and his family.... for all the dancers who were ready to put on what was supposed to be a happy show. In an instant everything was changed.
People gathered... women wailed, cars passed slowing and so did the time as we waited..... and waited.... and waited for the emergency vehicles to arrive. In the interim, some sent up prayers to the giver of life.... asking for His mercy and grace.... one man took the lead in directing cars and buses, and in disbelief about the whole thing that was transpiring before my eyes, I snapped another picture of the tragic scene from a distance.
It seemed a long time had passed when finally the paramedics arrived. The boy in the street who was surrounded by family, friends and a host of eyewitnesses and lookie-loos, now had the ambulance and police cars too. Feeling that our part had been done.... we took to the sidewalk in the direction of our dinner engagement, and hoped for the best for him.
I have to say that it was a little bit odd....sitting there eating our food while thoughts of the boy and his family and what they were going through lingered on our minds and hearts. We were surrounded by people on all sides who were oblivious to their plight. Few... if any, that were present, were probably even aware that a young boy had just been stuck, by a truck, possibly killed. And there were were... the only thing we really knew about his condition, was that he was alive when the paramedics came... still breathing.... and moving. Time would tell.
Over and over in mu mind, the sight and sound of the event, the sound of the truck as it slammed on it's brakes behind us, and the vision of the little bundle of white flying through the air ran through my mind and then over the next few days it lingered like smoke from a Cuban cigar. Likewise, I keep thinking of the change in demeanor of those young women who passed me on the street, excitedly laughing and having fun, as they headed toward the venue in their lovely Indian costumes, and how it changed when they heard the bad news that one of the performers was hit by a truck in the street. They could scarce believe it....
What had happened?
At the time we had crossed and encountered the boy handing out fliers, several people had crossed the road with us, others were waiting to cross the road perpendicular to us... and I also seem to remember him handing out another flyer to someone else on that same corner as we walked away... but it is only a faint recollection in light of everything else that happened in the moments that followed.
I imagine that after talking to and passing out a couple more fliers after ours, the boy simply was thinking to "hurry up" and jetted like a deer across the road without thinking to stop and look at the traffic light. I figure that he must have ran right out in front of the moving cars that were heading north on a green light. It was a tragedy in my mind. I wondered if where he lived he had busy streets... if he had been well versed in crossing city streets.... He was, after all, only a boy of ten or maybe twelve years at most, but I was only guessing at his age.
After dinner, we made our way back to the Bing and were surprised to see the doors opened and people mingling in the foyer. We went in. In the center of the room, two men were talking. One of them looked official to me, so I took the opportunity to ask about the boy who had been hurt earlier that evening. This man was the boy's grandfather.
He told me that the boy was undergoing some tests at the hospital and that he seemed to have suffered a concussion. I asked about the show, "Did you cancel?"
The grandfather said that the dancers were taking a break. He said that some of the dancers went to the hospital but the rest were dancing and drumming in the boy's honor. He told me, "When we dance in his honor, we make him stronger."
His words were powerful. I sensed that he meant it from his heart, and that those words were spoken with a great love for the boy, his own flesh and blood, his grandson.
Before long, intermission was over and the performers took to the stage. Grandfather got up on the stage too and there he gave everyone the latest report on the boy. He was doing well and had a concussion.
My poetic side tends to think that with all the feathers that he was wearing, and his ability to dance... the boy took the air and became airborne as he was struck by the truck. I like to think that either he simply flew across the street as the truck pushed him up into the air, or that an angel with mighty wings like and eagle, swooped down and somehow intervened on his behalf. I was so happy to hear the boy was not dead, and my heart was filled with hope.
Inside the auditorium,
the drummers drummed.
The dancers danced.
There was singing, Indian style, and chanting, too.
The place was thundering with sound .
The storyteller told stories of Indian lore, and Grandfather, as the master of ceremonies, announcd each dance and dancer and he also gave out awards. An eagle's feather was awarded to one deserving young man who had been playing the drum and the MAC museum was thanked. Then when it was all said and done, the auditorium cleared and we went home, still thinking about the little boy and his family, who were spending their night at the hospital.
Three days ago, I made some phone calls to see how the boy was. I was informed he was out of the hospital and that he suffered only a minor fracture of his head. He was already home with his family. This is truly amazing to me and it makes me so very happy. In fact, this is the happy ending part of the story. So it had a good outcome, even though the story was sad.... but he still was hurt and it may take him a while to fully recover. I have to say that I am sad that it had to happen at all, but it did happen....
So....do remember to be careful when crossing the street!
I hope that this little guy will so be good as new and that he will fully recover. I also hope that we will someday, maybe, have the opportunity once again to see him dance. I thank God that this boy did not die right then and there in the street too.
It makes me so happy to hear from reliable sources that he is doing well.