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Wish Lansing a happy birthday today!

February 16, 2021
Scarcely does him proper justice! I know he didn’t know he was taking this selfie with my phone!

2/16/21

First the sadness. Then the happiness.

Marcian Killsnight was 75 when he recently passed.  I think I have a photo of Marcian somewhere.  I took pictures of many who came to my pharmacy in Lame Deer.  Marcian was different.  He didn’t visit me because of prescriptions.  I don’t think he took any of our medications.  As far as I know he had only one chronic condition.  He was exposed to agent orange in SE Asia.  Anyway, he was a Vietnam combat veteran, U.S. Army infantry. A true warrior. Respect.

I don’t know much about his history, except his sister was Roseanne Headswift, who died of Covid-19.  I suspect Marcian also died of the same cause, but I don’t know for sure.  He didn’t have money, but he was a true Cheyenne warrior and my friend.

We shared an interest in physical fitness, long distance running.  I met Marcian soon after I started working in Lame Deer, in August, 1988.

The good news.

Some of you don’t know I have an adopted grandson, Lansing Stewart, whom I love like all my other grandchildren.  Well, today is his birthday.  He’s 18.  He proclaims himself to be a man, and I think that is a mere formality.  He has been a Crow man for years.  Living life, working, learning, playing basketball with his team. He will continue to prosper!

I had a few minutes alone with Lansing prior to P. coming home, to tell him of some of my experiences that were formative.  I knew I had only a few minutes, so I told him about the time a girlfriend called me to tell me she was engaged to marry someone else.  I was 19. I told Lansing I had a feeling that I’d been kicked in the stomach.  I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep.  My mother accepted a dinner invitation to a friend’s, Almeda Mann and Byron Brown.  We ate meat that tasted like cardboard and I couldn’t taste it.  I told Lansing how I dismissed her a few months later, then watched her walk over a bridge over the Clark Fork River.

Lansing played a bit of music for me, sort of a combination of lilting melody with harmony and disharmony that reminded me of how I once felt when I was 19 years old and in love.  The music went on and on and I loved it.  Sort of sawed at my emotions in a sweet-sour way; a thing Lansing said spoke to him.  I can tell he’s been in love.  I said I hoped he was in love now.  Someone gave him a valentine’s day gift bag a couple days ago. I am not cynical, although I’ve felt some pain.

Then I told him how I joined the Marines and never went to war.  I told him how a Marine major invited me to sock him and I complied with his request.  Then I showed him a newspaper clipping that told how the US Court of Military Appeals exonerated me.  Then I told him some “war stories” about basic training.

When in boot camp a bunch (platoon) of us were standing rigidly in a row.  We were somewhat near another platoon with a black drill instructor.  The DI asked one of his privates if he thought he was a “nigger.”  Lansing giggled nervously.  Then I told him how the same DI asked the private if he liked him.  The private lied and said he did.  “That means you want to fuck me?” asked the DI.  Lansing looked shocked.  But that’s how they talked, back in the day.  They also used to call anyone who was a Native American, “Chief.”  That made Lansing laugh.  Lansing is Crow.  Totally.  He will wear that with pride to the end of his days, even if some asshole with a couple stripes on his sleeve calls him “Chief.”

I think I left the Marine Corps in better shape than I found it.  I got the Major in a world of hurt for calling me a coward.  I am here to testify that nobody who joins the military service is a coward.  By definition, anyone who joins the military, especially during wartime, is brave.  Not a coward.  The prick is the one who calls such a person yellow. In fact, he is a liar.

I love Lansing.  He is always going to be welcome at our house, with me.  He is 18, a man, today.

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