Manataka® American Indian Council
Grandfather Robert Gray Hawk Coke Speaks
This time I am writing a true personal story that I experienced some time ago. I try to walk the good Red Road with an open heart and be available when the Creator needs a tool.
I have not asked permission of the people in this story to use their names, so the names and places have been changed. The story is true as I lived it.
Little Flower and I were planning to attend the Spring Gathering in the mountains several hundred miles from our home. As the winter months passed, Little Flower talked more and more about camping out with her friends. She is always impatient for these gatherings to renew old friendships. As the time got closer, we started to get things ready. Bags were packed and put out in the hall. Little Flower didn’t want to forget anything. Finally, there was only one more day of work left before we could go. Checking everything again, Little Flower saw that there was no camping gear in the mix.
She wasted no time finding me and asked, “Did you forget the camping gear?”
“No,” I said, “something tells me we will not need it.”
“Why not?” she asked. “We are going to be camping.”
“I don’t know why. I just know we won’t need it, so why carry the extra weight?”
This was like exploding the atomic bomb. The next morning she told me again what she thought about my feeling that we would not need our camping gear.
Upon entering the car to leave, she saw the camping gear in the car, and peace was restored. We were on the interstate on time and all was going well. Just over the half-way point, we stopped at a rest stop to walk and take a break from sitting. After ten or so minutes, we were back in the car ready to roll. I don’t remember my words, but we didn’t have a working clutch. We now had a decision to make. Do we go on or turn around and go home?
Little Flower said, “If we can, let’s go on to the gathering. Maybe we can get the car fixed while we are there.”
I put the car into third gear and started the engine. We were off and running. Finally, we left the interstate for the 30 mile drive on a two-lane highway into the mountains.
After successfully dealing with traffic and stops signs, I turned to Little Flower and said, “I know we can’t drive through the city to the other side where the camp is. If we are lucky, we may find Chief Hawk at home. Hopefully, we can stay there, and they can drop us off at the gathering. We knew they would not be going themselves but would take us up to the campgrounds. When we got to Hawk’s house, they were there and greeted us as if we were family. (I think we really are.) Not only were we welcome to stay, but they would be happy to see to the car, if possible.
The next morning we loaded up in their old van, and off we went to the campground. Upon arriving, Hawk told his wife that he wanted to see who was there. Hawk told us to go to the circle, and he would wait for his wife to park the car. When we got to the circle, we saw Wolf, the MC, teaching from a wheelchair. Nodding a welcome to Little Flower and me, he continued speaking. When Hawk came to the circle, Wolf saw him, stopped talking, and stood up. Immediately, two big fellows moved to Wolf’s side. We knew something had to be seriously wrong with Wolf. Wolf introduced Chief Hawk and asked him to join the Honor Circle. When I asked why Wolf was in a wheelchair, I was told he had been in the hospital with a heart attack and would be having a heart operation. He had informed his doctors that he had to be at the Gathering but would check back in Sunday after it was over.
Sometime later the microphone was turned over to the ceremony Elder. As Wolf was wheeled to the back outside the circle, Chief Hawk got up and walked over to Wolf, beginning a Healing ceremony. Hawk is known from coast to coast for his healings. In fact, several medical doctors have called him in on cases. Then Hawk set back down until the next break when he left the camp.
Sunday at the close of the Gathering, I went up to Wolf and told him I would be praying for him and I would call his house to find out how all went. With the usual hugs, we left to meet our ride. Hawk told us that he had asked several mechanics to come by to look at the car, but none could fix it.
So we packed up and left for home. I told Little Flower I thought it best to stop for gas before we entered the Interstate because It would be too great of a gamble to try to make it with what we had left in the tank. We stopped at a truck stop, and I filled the tank while Little Flower went inside to get snacks. We loaded up again and, without thinking, I started the car and put it in gear. The clutch worked properly! It even worked all the way home and let me take Little Flower to work the next morning.
On the way back to the house, I decided to go by a friend’s home to check on her cat since she was out of town. When I got to the road where I needed to turn either left to go home or right to the cat‘s home, the clutch stopped working. I turned left because the repair shop was in the same direction as our home. At the repair shop, they got into the gear box and said the car was not drivable and it was hard to believe it had made such a trip. Again luck was with me (if you believe in luck – I don’t).
Monday evening I called Wolf’s house and was surprised that he answered. I asked what had happened. Wolf said that when they started to prepare him for the operation, they checked his heart again and found nothing wrong. So they sent him home.
Then I knew why we would not be camping out. Creator had other plans for my car and me. We were to be tools for the Creator to get Hawk, the healer, to the gathering.
Robert Gray Hawk
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