Ranch Country photography
by Robert McCune
Painting the Reservation 2007-2008. Part Ten
Comment. With that trip in May 2008, my our PAINTING THE REZ days came to an end. As many of you know, I’ve retired from painting houses here in Trinidad too. We had a visit scheduled for September 2008, but between here and the Rez, my legs were bothering me so much I had to call it off - the work and the visiting. In October this year, we visited friends on the Rez, but no work. Stayed at a campground on the edge of Chinle. Early the next morning, I stepped outside the van and stood there a few minutes, thinking back on the past five years; about the people Maggie and I have met and come to know on the Navajo Reservation; the feeling of satisfaction...justifying my existence by helping make living conditions better for elderlies in that area. And it is with sincere thanks and admiration, that I remember the three young Navajo women who, at different houses, helped in this work; especially Arlene who is a “natural” with a brush.
I felt guilty, that it was done with. But there was already a rising wind, and looking at a bad-weather sky, that feeling of guilt was quickly pushed aside by a strong sense of relief that I (and Maggie) would no longer have to undergo the often severe conditions of working on the Rez. But we will continue to visit my Navajo sisters, Millie and Louise.
For some reason (maybe because my father ended his career in the navy as chief engineer of the cruiser, WICHITA - 1945 in the Pacific)...for some reason, I think of the “old days” of ships and men. When a ship arrived at its destination and was secured to a pier, its captain would ring down to the chief engineer at his post in the engine room: FINISHED WITH ENGINES.
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