PastedGraphic-1Recently, a cousin of mine appeared as a guest speaker at a conference in Whapmagoostui. Having known him as a young man, the encounter made me realize how quickly time flies. His greying hair reminded me that my own hair, which is turning transparent, and really didn’t match our youthful enthusiasm. Only the expressions were slightly altered, my cool was his awesome, so to speak. While we rehashed the past, we quickly moved on to the present and possible future of our lives.

What are we to do about these seemingly endless problems always slap us in the face? What are the cures and solutions? After pondering and mulling our world, he left with his travelling companion. This person is dedicated to regaining the values we always heard our grandparents talk about. Cuzzie remarked that coming up north reminded him of the good old days when sharing and friendliness were the rewards for the back-breaking work we had to do just to get by. These strong values, which were coupled with honest work, made a person strong yet courteous. Aahh, those days were good (which also means cool or awesome).

Now, some values are hell-bent on driving completely off the path that our ancestors stuck to for so long. Today, that path is dangerously close to becoming completely overgrown by the bushes and weeds of selfishness. Our spirituality and medicines were good. Our lives, although somewhat treacherous and rife with starvation, residential schools syndrome, alcoholism and substance abuse, made us stronger in many ways. Sometimes the most memorable times in life are those that we don’t care to remember.

Having rehashed all of those issues and bad memories, I invited Cuzzie and his travelling partner to come out to our family picnic further north on the coast of Hudson Bay. A few hours later, Cuzzie showed up, and his amazed guffaws reverberated around our little picnic area.

“Wow, this country’s beautiful!” he exclaimed, looking around my small paradise. My lovely partner offered him some fresh cooked geese, killed earlier that day. “Mmmfff, mufffmmm, yum,” he choked out, meat spewing from his jaws. Apparently, this meant, “We eat like kings!”

I had the pleasure of disappearing out on the land to pick some blueberries to complement the fish on the boil. I invited Cuzzie to accompany me on my short expedition. Shortly, we noticed geese swimming around on a small pond. We set up a strategy to kill these beautiful birds, but alas, they flew off. Undaunted, we continued on to blueberry fields. We settled on a bountiful bush and talked about the good old days again. This time, it was about the funny days and we laughed until snot spewed from our noses.

Heading back to the picnic, we quickly incorporated the berries into the fish bowl. Again, Cuzzie spoke with his mouth full, this time a little more pronounced. Yes, he did call me a King, so I suppose that he would be one of my subjects. Then I remembered we still live in a free country. Maybe one day he will bow down to me. Forwards or backwards, I’m still the King living in blueberry fields forever…