Remember The Fathers and Grandfathers - June 15!
Every time Father's Day rolls around I get a little sentimental and teary-eyed. My father passed away years ago, but the memories I have of him are vivid and loving. He was a unique individual and one of the best storytellers I knew. My kids used to lay in their sleeping bags when we visited Dad and laugh so hard at his stories they would fall asleep with a smile on their little faces. Dad gave them so much joy to remember - he gave us the gift of happiness and wonderful memories to last a lifetime. One story was about a woman who lived in the mountains where my Dad used to hunt. Apparently the woman, who put up all her own jars of preserves, threatened to "pickle" my Dad if he did not marry her. My kids still bring up this story or others when we get together. There were many stories and legends that Dad planted in their minds and hearts. Were they all true or just legends he made up? It does not matter - they are stories to remember and pass on - and the bond my father made with myself and my children is sacred and eternal.
Traditional Native American fathers were warriors, hunters, a tower of strength and spiritual role models for their children. Little boys were given bows and arrows made by their fathers or grandfathers to play and practice with. When the boy was about eight or so, the father took over the teaching of his son and taught him how to hunt, how to provide for the family, how to honor Mother Earth and all of Nature. He taught him to respect the Earth they walked on and how to give back to it and to never take more than what was needed. He taught him how to pray to Great Spirit, respect and honor his elders and family and how to face his fears. The father of today is still looked to for inspiration, leadership and examples of strength and wisdom.
May Great Spirit give all Fathers and Grandfathers a blessed and happy Father's Day on June 15.
Want to cook up a really good dish for Dad? Try this Buffalo Hunter's Stew - simple and filling. (You might want to make a little extra - it is really good warmed up the next day.) I like to use a large cast iron dutch oven with a tight fitting lid to make my stews in. You can brown, simmer and bake in the same utensil. For a rich brown gravy, I add a little Kitchen Bouquet to the meat when browning and add a corn starch paste for thickener just before I put it in the oven.
2 Stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large can stewed tomatoes
2 lbs of buffalo stew meat, cut into bite sized cubes (or venison)
4 quarts water
2 lbs of red potatos, leave peel on and cut into cubes
1 Cup barley
Brown meat on high heat to sear in the juices (add the Kitchen Bouquet now if you want dark brown gravy), about three to five minutes. Add the water, potatos and carrots, boil till vegetables are tender. Add tomatos, celery, onion and barley and cook for another five minutes. (This can be done on stove or over a campfire). Remove from heat. If you want a thicker gravy, use a little corn starch mixed with just enough water to make a thin paste and pour this in the stew while stirring thoroughly to prevent lumping. Add seasonings to taste, I like lots of pepper and garlic and some savory - but, to each his own! Cover with lid and place stew in oven, 425 degrees for 30 minutes or, if cooking over the campfire, put lid on and simmer till done.
Serve this delicious stew with fry bread or biscuits to soak up the rich gravy.
Till next time - may your moccasins and heart always follow a happy path! Walk in peace and beauty.
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