Lon E. Edwards



Lon E. Edwards, MM Little Willing Talker
 

My 50 years in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say began on July 4, 1963 and over this period of time I have made hundreds of friends and been witness to many bazaar events and personalities. But those stories can wait to be recounted until my 100th anniversary.

It is because of a series of “divine” circumstances soon after a Brave’s Claw was placed about my neck that I was even able to celebrate my 1st anniversary in the Tribe.

Starting the very day after returning from Camp as Brave Little Willing Talker, I had already begun dreaming about how I would construct my Brave’s costume. I had to decide the primary color of my bustle. Since I was now quite knowledgeable in Indian Lore…after all, I was a BRAVE in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, I knew that there were several possibilities. Just then! OH MY! WAIT!!! What KIND of bustle must be decided first. Whew! Nearly a fatal mistake! Such decisions could not be entered into lightly. Why, “…the Hills and Valleys” of my Reservation must surely be littered with the frame-work carcasses of bustles that didn’t pass muster!

Now in the summer of 1963, my father, Honorary Warrior Willing Talker, was the general Traffic Manager at the Regional Headquarters of MFA. (3rd & Cherokee Streets in South St Joseph). One evening, Dad came home from work and delivered some very somber news to the family. MFA Regional Headquarters had announced that they were “packing it in” and moving the Regional HQ to Columbia, Missouri. Dad was to be transferred to Columbia, Missouri, which in my mind must surely be somewhere between Carson City, Nevada and Timbuktu.

WHAT?? WHAT’S THIS?? Thoughts of my Brave’s costume were immediately crushed by the weight of this disturbing news. Would I be relegated to being a (gulp!) Brave forever? How was I to become the fiercest Runner on the planet?

Mom tried to mitigate. “Lonnie, I’m sure that Columbia, Missouri has a Boy Scout Troop and a Boy Scout Camp!”. AAARRGGHHH!!!! HAS MY OWN MOTHER GONE DAFT? There may be Troops and Camps BUT…no Mic-O-Say! I began the search for a bamboo Harakiri mat.

Let me add a footnote here. Times and protocols were much different in the 1960s. There were no Out-of-Council Troops camping at Geiger. There were no Out -of-Council folk (…to my knowledge) who came back to serve on Camp Staff or advance in Tribal Rank and Paint Station. In those days, you joined a Troop close to where you lived and your BSA summer camping experience was done at YOUR Council Camp. To do otherwise would be…well, it just wasn’t done!

The drama surrounding my moping for the next few weeks knew no bounds. Undeterred, Mom and Dad went off one weekend to look for housing in Columbia. I needed a plan and needed one quick! I wonder if I could stow-away on a river barge for a few years? I wonder if there would be enough sunlight penetrating into a river barge to build a bustle?

Though a complicated man, I could read my Dad like a book! I had long ago broken the code to figure out how his day had gone at any point in time. Upon the folks return from house hunting, I immediately put my sensory perception to work.

“…can you believe how *&%^(#@ expensive it is? Why we could live in St Joseph $*@#%$ for *#@)*& half what those %#!(#@ thieves…those *(#$%+=! pirates want in *(#@)*^! Columbia!”.

Considering that this one-sided conversation had likely been going on non-stop from Columbia to St Joseph, I figured that this was no time for my trivialities. I retired to the backyard where Dad’s verbal account of the trip could still be monitored.

So to “fast-forward”, ultimately, it was because of my parent’s frugal tendencies as well as the inflated college town cost-of-living that kept them in St Joseph for just a bit longer…long enough that by Thanksgiving, Dad had secured a position with Walnut Products in St Joseph as their general Traffic Manager.

At any rate, my Mic-O-Say career continued and I learned early on that the things we love to do the most can be taken from us without warning. I suppose that this is why it isn’t much work for me to enjoy every minute while at Camp Geiger and I relish every moment as a member of “…the great and mighty Mic-O-Say”.

lwt

 

Lon E. Edwards
Medicine Man Little Willing Talker

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