TRIBAL TRADITIONS

By emperor2@gte.net      donna and robert

 

On their vacation to Florida, Alex and the kids had caught a virus.  As the result of virus and complications Alex lost the baby that she didn't even know she was caring.

Walker decided to wait until she was stronger to tell her about the miscarriage. He knew she would take it hard. Which she did. She grieved for the child they would never have but she never cried.

 

It had been over 6 weeks since the trip and she still hadn't been able to except it.  Her doctor assured her that it was for the best because of the infection. But what she hadn't told anyone was that the doctor also told her there was a possibility she would never be able to conceive another child.  There had been unforeseen problems after the miscarriage.

 

She didn't want to believe it herself so she couldn't bring herself to tell her husband.  She was just going through the motions of everyday life, showing none of her usual zest for life. Every time Walker would try to get close to her she would push him away and say she was tired.

 

He didn't know what else to do; so he talked to his Captain and the DA's office and arranged for both of them to take some time off.  Maybe a trip to the reservation would help.  A change of scenery couldn't hurt.  He had also told Sam he would try to bring the kids to the reservation soon.  White Eagle had told Sam Coyote to remind Washo that it was past time for his sons to receive their tribal names.

 

As they pulled up in front of the reservation the boys were excited, they were going to get real Indian names, just like their dad has.

Walker also hoped White Eagle could give him guidance on how to get through to Alex again.

As they got out of the suburban Sam Coyote met them,  "Well what have we here, three little Washo’s."

"We are getting our own names that's like dad's name" A.J. said.

"Oh, I am sorry," Sam said, he looked at Walker and laughed.  "He is outspoken like Alex". He told his friend.  Then he turned and kissed Alex on the cheek.  "This one is as beautiful as you" he told her as he looked at Jessie.

Alex smiled; it was the first smile Walker had seen from her since the trip.  The boys noticed some other kids playing nearby, "Dad can we go play?" Chuck asked.

"Well" Walker started to say but Sam interrupted him "Washo, those are Running Deer and Angry Beavers grandchildren. They are good kids" he assured the father.

"Running Deer?  I haven't seen him in years" he put his arm around Alex and said "We grew up together, I think Angry Beaver was the first kid I ever beat up."

Sam laughed, "And Uncle Ray gave you a spanking for that, remember."

Walker rubbed his back side and said "Yes I do, it still stings sometimes."

Alex gave a forced smile and walked off toward the store.  Walker sighed, "I don't know what to do, she has been this way for 6 weeks now."

"She is hurting my son, she has lost a part of her" White Eagle said as he walked up behind them.  "You must help her find what she has lost" he continued as he hugged his old friend.

"But how do I do that?" Walker asked the shaman.

"With love, understanding and time, Washo" he answered.

"I see your children have made themselves at home here."  He said as he turned to watch the boys trying to shoot a bow and arrow. Walker laughed remembering the first time he tried to shoot one, it was a disaster.

"Washo I would like to take the little ones to the wilderness and begin their training."  White Eagle told Walker.

"When do we leave?" Walker asked.

"Not we, I will take the boys alone." the shaman said.

Walker stood silent for a moment he knew White Eagle was right if he were there that the boys would look to him for help.

"Washo, the spirits will help" the old man said calmly.

Just then the boys started arguing about whose turn it was to shoot the bow and arrow. Walker laughed and said  "I hope you know what you are doing."  Then he went to referee.

The Indian shaman said, to Sam "Washo forgets the spirits know what they are doing." he smiled.   He walked over to where Walker was scolding the boys.  The boys looked at White Eagle with wide eyes.  Walker said "Boys this is White Eagle a very wise man" They all said hi.

Walker said "This is Cord"  Cord shook White Eagles hand. "This is Chuck"  Chuck shook White Eagles hand "And this is A.J." he shook the shamans hand also.

"It is nice to meet you boys. I have known your father for many years."  He said.

"How did you know him that long?" A.J. asked.

Chuck nudged is brother and he lowly said "Cause he's old."

"Chuck" Walker said.

White Eagle laughed and said "It is ok Washo, the boy is right I am old." He stooped in front of Chuck and said  "Old but wise my son."  He stood again and said to Walker "This one is the mischief maker." 

The boys stared in wonder, 'how did he know that?' they thought.

"I will pick the boys up tomorrow morning."  The old man said.  The boys went back to playing and White Eagle walked off with Walker.  "Washo, you must give your attention to your wife she needs your understanding more now than ever."

"White Eagle, I know that but I just don't know how to help ease her pain."  Walker said sadly.

"Maybe the spirits can help" was the shaman's suggestion.

At Sam's house they unloaded the vehicle and after dinner, while the kids played, Walker took a walk to think. After awhile he came back and asked, "Where's Alex?" 

"She is giving the baby a bath, I told her I would keep an eye on the boys until you returned."

"Thanks, Sam."  he said "Any problems?" 

"None what so ever, they were very good."  Sam said smiling.  "You have a great family, my friend."

 

Walker thanked him; he knew he was right. While the boys played Walker talked with Sam.

Later that night after Jessie was asleep and Walker had put the boys to bed he lie in the bed waiting for Alex to get done with her shower.  Once she came into the room he couldn't help thinking how beautiful she was.

 

Saying nothing to him she lie next to him and turned off the light.  He rolled over to kiss her, she turned her back to him and said, "Walker I'm tired from the trip."

He was frustrated and almost blurted out, 'you're always tired' but White Eagle words came back to him, she needs your understanding more than ever now.

He spent a very sleepless night wondering if he would be able to help Alex to back to her old self.  He got up early the next morning and was in the kitchen making coffee when Sam came into the kitchen.

Sam asked "Rough night?"  He could see his friend was troubled.

"Sort of" he said with a sigh.

They heard some noise on the front porch and when to see what it was.  As the opened the screen door they saw all three boys sitting on the steps with their backpacks ready to go.  A.J. was talking as usual.

Both men laughed quietly and Sam whispered "Does that one ever keep quiet?" as he pointed to the little boy.

"No" Walker said, and they laughed again.

When they returned to the kitchen, Alex had come downstairs and started breakfast, Jessie was sitting on a chair watching her.

Walker picked up his daughter when he entered the kitchen and kissed his wife on the cheek, "Good morning " he said, "How are my girls?"

"Me okay" Jessie said.  Alex sort of mumbled "Fine."  Then she asked "Where are the boys?"

"On the porch waiting for White Eagle, they are excited about getting their tribal names."  Her husband told her.     

"When are you leaving?" she asked.

Sam knew then that their had been no communication between them last night, he offered to take Jessie and then left the room.

"I'm not going." he said "White Eagle will take them alone."

"Are you crazy he can't handle all three of them by himself." she protested.

"Alex it is tribal customs that the parent not accompany the young braves on their lessons."  He tried to explain "If I were there they would look to me to help them through things that they must do for themselves.  I have taught them some things but it is time for them to learn more."

"But they are just baby's," she said.

 Not in the eyes of the tribe they are young warriors." he said,  "Trust me White Eagle can handle them" he smiled.

"Well at least I can make sure they eat before they leave."  She said and set three plates of scrambled eggs on the table.

Walker called the boys to eat.  There was not much eating done.  The boys were anxious for White Eagle to get there.

When he arrived and the good-byes were exchanged the boys were on their way.

The adults and Jessie returned to the kitchen. Alex fed Jessie and they all drank coffee.

A knock came on the door; Sam went to answer the door.  He returned to the kitchen with an Indian woman.

Walker said "Alex , Do you remember Wild Rose?  She helped us when the boys were only a few months old and we came here for a visit."

"Yes, I remember.  How are you?"  She asked the woman.

"Fine" she replied, she looked at Jessie and said "Washo, is this the baby?  She is beautiful," she said as she picked up the child.

"Yes this is Jessie" Walker said.

Sam gave Walker a 'go ahead look' and the Ranger said "Alex, Can I talk to you in the other room please?"

Reluctant to leave her child with the woman she finally followed her out of the room.

"Alex, Wild Rose is going to take care of Jessie for a couple of days."  Walker started.

"What are you talking about?" Alex asked.

"We need some time to ourselves" he explained.

"But Walker, we can't just leave Jessie with a stranger." she protested

"Wild Rose is very good with children she runs the reservation day care.  Sam says she is very responsible" he smiled and said "Please" he gave her the best sad puppy dog eyes he could.

"I don't see what good it will do but ok," she said.

"I was hoping you would say that" he said and handed her a back pack, "I got it ready just in case."

They said goodbye to Jessie and left.  They walked for a couple of hours and finally stopped by a lake.

White Eagle had been showing the boys some of the wild life in the area, they noticed some tracks in the sand and Cord said "Hey, guys.  I think this is a deer."  White Eagle said "Very good. I see you father has been teaching you."

"Yes sir,"  he answered, "I think it went that way."  he pointed east.

"Right again" White Eagle said.

They heard movement in the bush and as if it were instinctive to him Cord told the other two  "Shh" and he motioned for them to hide.

It was a buck walking by, the boys watched in amazement as the big animal walked near them.

"The animal knew we meant him no harm" White Eagle said.  "Our spirits merged with his."

They walked a little farther the boys were being good and paying attention except A.J. was constantly asking questions.  The old shaman had trouble keeping up with all the inquiries.

As they walked some what farther, Chuck fell behind a little and found a stick.  He snuck up behind A.J. and hit him with the stick lightly yelling "SNAKE"

The little boy yelled and ran behind White Eagle.  A. J. had the same fear of snakes as his mother.  White Eagle looked at Chuck, it was a look Chuck knew well.  It was the same look Walker gave him when he was in trouble.  But White Eagle said nothing suddenly a snake began to crawl onto Chuck's shoe, he screamed and ran.  White Eagle laughed as he snake disappeared,  "Not so funny when it is you." the old man said and began to walk off.

Chuck just stood there looking very confused. 'How'd he do that?' he thought.  Then he followed the rest of them.

 

Walker stood looking at the lake.  "Alex this is a special place to me.  When I was younger and missed my parents, I would come out to be alone.  I felt closer to them here."  He told her.

"Walker I don't understand why you brought me here?"  She asked.

He sat on a log and invited her to sit next to him, "Alex, we have to talk about this."  He said.

"About what?" she asked with no emotion.

"The miscarriage, Alex you have to accept the fact." he said.

"I have to accept it.  It happened didn't it?" she said coldly.

Walker turned his head, "Alex, I'm hurting too, it was as much my baby as yours."

"Yes" she snapped "But why was I the last to know?"

Walker felt himself losing his temper so he just got up off the log and walked toward the lake.  He had never thought that she held it against him for waiting to tell her.

White Eagle had shown the boys what berries to pick for dinner and how to find grubs. They enjoyed learning all these things and White Eagle had promised them he would show them how to fish the tribal way tomorrow, "but for now I think it is time to swim" and he pushed them in the water

After the initial shock of getting pushed in wore off they had a great time.

 

Walker had cooled off so he decided to try again.  He walked toward her but she still gave him a cold look.  "Look" he said. "Let's go for a hike and then fix some dinner" he said, hoping this would help both of them.

They walked in silence for a while then returned to camp with out either one of them speaking a word.  Walker didn't know what to do but he knew he had to do something.

After dinner they sat in continued silence until finally he said "Alex, I love you and I am sorry that I kept this from you but I just wanted to make sure you were strong enough to take the news.  I came so close to losing you and the kids that I just wanted to protect you from the news."  He sighed. "I was wrong, I know that now".

She still did not say anything.  She sat silent looking into the fire he had built.

There was no use trying to continue with the discussion tonight, maybe a nights sleep would help both of them.  He rolled out the sleeping bag and laid down, she joined him but turned her back to him like she had for the past 6 weeks.  It was a restless night for both.  Alex began dreaming, she tells Walker that she can no longer have any children.  He packs his bags and walks out on her.  She cried as she watched him leave, she says out loud "I'm sorry, please forgive me, Walker don't go."  Her cries woke him, "Alex what?"

 

She was crying out loud by now and he realized she was dreaming "Alex, honey, wake up.  It's ok.," he softly said as he held her close "shh" he comforted as he gently rocked her.

She woke with a start,  "It was terrible. You left me."

"I didn't go anywhere I'm still here and I'm not going anywhere."

"But I lost the baby" and she cried for the first time about their loss.

"Alex it wasn't your fault" he assured her.

"But the doctor says" she said without thinking.

"The doctor says what?" her husband asked.

She cried even harder now.  "Alex please talk to me" he pleaded.

"Walker I may not be able to conceive another child." she finally said.

"What?  When did you find this out?"  He asked.

"A week after we returned from the trip, I went for my follow up.  There were complications and the doctors told me his concerns."

"Why didn't you tell me then?  Was it because I waited to tell you about the miscarriage?" he asked.  "Alex I have regretted having to wait to tell you."  He had tears in his eyes now.

"No, It wasn't that. I just thought if I were not able to have any more children that you would not love me anymore." she said and cried again.  His tears fell also, as tears ran down his face he said "Alex, I love you and would never stop loving you for that.  We have four wonderful children and I want to watch them grow up with you."  They cried a lot that night and talked about the future.                    

The doctor had also told Alex he couldn't be sure of anything until she had healed completely. 

As the sun rose, all the tears were shed and they had talked their fears away. The morning brought the old Alex back.

White Eagle had woke the boys early "Fishing is best done while the fish are still sleepy too" he told them.

"Where are the fishing poles?"  A.J. asked.  "My dad has some at home"  he added.

"We will fish using the old ways, no poles, just our wits." The old man said.

The boys all looked at each other.  They were really confused.

"I will show you"  he said.  White Eagle walked into the water and stood very still for awhile and suddenly lunged his hand in the water and came out with a fish.

"WOW" Cord said "Can I try?" he then asked.

"Of course, little one" the old man said. "Come into the water."

Cord joined the shaman in the creek, "Now stand very still and do not move" he told the boy.  Cord did exactly as he was told and stood motionless.  Suddenly the silence was broken by a splash in the water.  Then Chuck giggled on the shore.  When the rock he threw hit the water Cord jumped, it was funny to him.

"Mischief comes back on you."  White Eagle said.  Chuck just giggled harder.

After everything quieted down again, Cord tried to catch a fish again.  His determination reminded the older man of Washo.  Finally his persistence paid off and he caught a fish.  "Very good" White Eagle said.

Chuck’s turn was next, he also stood still like White Eagle told him, he watched a fish swim back and forth then bent down to catch it.  The fish slapped his tail in the water and water flew up into Chuck's face.  He jumped back.  White Eagle laughed and said "See, I told you mischief is not so funny when it happens to you."

After awhile Chuck too caught a fish.  A.J. was next.  To everyone's surprise he caught a fish right away but then got so excited he began to chatter and the fish got away.  He was disappointed but Cord told him, "That's okay, A.J. I'll share my fish with you."  Chuck said "Me too."

White Eagle was pleased that they would share.  They have been taught well, he thought.

The boys got their first lesson in cleaning fish themselves.

Chuck said, "Dad always does this for us."

"You must learn to do things for yourself, you are warriors now."   It was a sloppy lesson but they learned it well.  While they were gutting the fish Chuck got the idea to throw some of the gross stuff on A.J., but then remembered what happen the last two times he tried to be funny.  He wasn't a fool, he decided to let this opportunity pass him by this time.  After cooking and eating breakfast, they were once more exploring the tribal ways.

 

Walker had caught a couple of fish also, after he cleaned them Alex cooked them while he picked some berries.  After they ate Alex took the plates to the river to rinse them off.  Walker snuck up behind her and as she stood up he grabbed her and said "Time for a swim."  He picked her up and walked out into the water waist deep.

"Walker, you wouldn't dare' she told him.

Walker smiled, his eyes twinkled, he said "Yes I would" then he dropped his wife into the water.

Laughter filled the morning silence as they frolicked in the water. After their swim, Alex raced him to the shore.  They were both soaking wet and laughing hard.  It was good to hear her laughing again, Walker thought.

 

After changing from is wet jeans to a pair of shorts, Walker spread his blanket in the ground and sat down enjoying the view of his lovely wife drying her hair.  Once she was done she sat next to him.  He took a deep breath and said, "The air is so clean here."

"Yes it is" she said.

He turned to look into her eyes, he took her hands "Alex" he began " I love you with all my heart and sole.  I make you this promise: I will love you forever."

"Forever is a very long time cowboy" she told him.

"Not with you by my side, forever will not be long enough."  She saw the sincerity in his eyes.  They shared a kiss, which seemed to renew their commitment to each other.  They spent the rest of the day making sweet love, and getting to know one another better than they already did.  The night that followed was another sleepless night but one neither one of them seemed to mind.

 

The next morning they returned to the their friends house just about the time that White Eagle had returned the boys.

Walker asked, "How did the lessons go?" 

A.J. said "We caught a fish with no fishing pole, we saw a deer really close, we found some yummy berries, we saw birds in their nest......" he went on for five minutes without stopping.

White Eagle laughed, "Washo I have decided on the names for the boys, This one" he tapped A.J. lightly on the head "is Little Magpie, for he is never quiet." He pointed to Chuck and said, "I decided on his name even before we left he will be called Mischief Maker." He put his hand on Cord's shoulder and said "This one was harder but I have decided on the name Spirit Leader."

He looked at the smile on both Walker and Alex's face and he knew that Walker had gotten through to his wife.

"Mommy, Daddy" Jessie called as she ran across the yard.  She had a wonderful time with Wild Rose.  The trip was worth taking this time.

Before they left the reservation White Eagle had told Walker and Alex that he would like to spend time with Cord, I think he will be the next shaman for the tribe.

A month after the trip came the day Alex had been dreading, Her appointment for her follow-up. Walker went with her as moral support.  After the exam they sat in the doctors office waiting for his diagnosis.  "Alex" the doctor told her, "I don't know how to tell you this."  Alex squeezed Walker hand hard. The doctor continued,  "You are pregnant"

Joy filled the office.

 

The end.          

 

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