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I found this picture while searching for family photos at the Minnesota Historical Society way back in ’77. (1977, not 1877)

I managed to find out where I could write to Bob Hope at the time and sent him a copy, hoping that he might have some information about it. I received this letter from him along with my returned photo.
Bob Hope Letter
Mr. Hope couldn’t provide me with any new information except to suggest it may have been taken in a studio. (I was thinking Cali-for-nii-aa) but I was pleased nonetheless to have received a personal letter back along with his autograph!

I recently signed up for a five day free trial of Newspapers.com (I needed a credit card but was told how I could easily cancel my trial before the five days were up.)
During that period, I pretty much dedicated myself to looking up as many possible Ancestor references for myself and friends who were interested. I probably looked at a thousand possible articles and was rewarded with a score or more, which I “Clipped” and then downloaded. This was one of them.
Bob Hope and Ben Littlecreek at the Nicollet Hotel
Yep, same top hat, same sport coat, same two people. BINGO!!! Mystery solved.

Part of the article reads:

“Forever a gagster, Bob Hope invaded Minneapolis Monday. He put on a two-hour stage show in Minneapolis Auditorium. Sang a duet with Mayor Eric G. Hoyer, said nasty things about Bing Crosby, and was made an honorary Indian. Most of the shenanigans took place in Nicollet Hotel, where, among other things, the ski-nosed comedian attended a dinner put on by the Theadore Peterson American Legion Post.

*   *   *

In Picture below, Hope meets Chief Ben Littlecreek of the Red Lake Chippewa Indian Tribe. Hope made the Chief an honorary “Paleface”, from the movie by the same name.”

As a side note, I like Hope’s irony here. That’s the first time I’ve heard of an Indian being made an honorary Paleface!

All kidding aside, for you genealogy buffs out there, Try the Newspaper.com free Trial. It was worth it! (And, they actually made cancelling the trial easy!) All irony aside, I will pay for a subscription–which I can get for just one month if I want–should I need to research other ancestors in the future.

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After a journey of but an hour,
through heat and behind slow caravans,
we arrive.

Festive pilgrims at this hallow place,
beset by hawkers of food, drink, clothes and relics.

Vendors sell celestial filters of mortality to the unwary,
lest the latter looking through mortal orbs,
are blinded by his glory.

All this to glimpse the wink of the eye of God.

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Not Now Little Birdie


Imagine hearing the most shrill, obnoxious “peep” you can think of at 5 in the morning.

Then repeat it every 10 minutes.

“Dear, the fire alarm needs a new battery,” Wifie says.

I plod out of bed and rummage blindly in the battery drawer.

I sigh. “We’re out of 9 volt batteries. I guess I’ll have to go to the store to get some.” Who can sleep with that continuing interruption?

It takes a half hour drive altogether to buy new batteries from “Walmies World,” our not so local 24 hour super convenience store. Eventually the batteries are swapped to silence the monster chickie. I may as well stay up. I’m awake now…

Why do I have to be the man?

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Dawn

The owls visit at sunrise.

I don’t know if they are up early or out late.

“Dude, wake up!”

“It’s been a while,” they hoot.

“Get out of bed!”

“Come with us!”

They all cackle.

I call  back to them in Owlish without opening the window or getting out of  bed. I know they can hear me. “It’s good you came by, but I’m sleeping in!”

Startled by my reply, dog jumps on the bed and gives me a sloppy kiss. That’s her way of reassuring herself that I’m okay.

As I sputter and fend her off, I hear a last soft mournful “Aw, man!” fade into the distance outside.

 

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Dear Readers,

In two weeks, I am going to present at a fortune 100 company as part of their diversity program. I have a half hour for my presentation and a four-by-eight table on which to place pictures or things. I get to talk about being “Indian”.  (In my case, being a member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, and having ancestors from the Red lake, Leech Lake and White Earth bands as well.) I suppose my audience will be people I’ve met from a relative’s department, and perhaps some of the big wigs from the company.

Having lived on and off the reservation and having degrees in American Indian Studies and psychology, it would be easy for me to come up with my perception of what being Indian means.  However, as part of the presentation, I would like to know and present two things. 1) What you would like to know about a person/people from these cultures if you are not from there, and 2) what you would like other people to know if you are.

For fellow Anishinabeg, I’m aware that we come from many different  reservations, reserves, places and experiences, and want to take this into account. But I need your input in order to do so. If you would like me to keep your replies confidential, I can do that, as this blog is set up so that I have to approve,  and can edit, your reply before posting it. I would however like to use your reply and at least note where it comes from.

Yours Sincerely,

Russell Littlecreek

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Nanabozhu is on his way to Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, where the people are unique and peculiar.

“Can you pull up next to that guy driving that semi?” He rolls down the back passenger side window to the Chrysler Town and Country.

“I don’t think it’s going to accomplish anything.” Says the blond in the front seat.

“Well, I have to try,” he replies.

By now they are alongside the guy driving the semi at 75 miles an hour. Nanabozhu sticks his head out the window (which doesn’t quite open up all the way so he’s kinda squished through it.)  The trucker looks down at them and sees an older Anishinabe fellow squinting with effort as Nanabozhu tries to make a  rolling motion with the one hand he can get out of it.

The truck driver rolls down his window with a curious look on his face. With the wind whipping by, he thinks he hears Nanabozhu yell something like “Your barn door’s open!” (Which is a euphemism for “the zipper on your pants is undone”.) Nanabozhu can see him mouth “What?!” with an incredulous look on his face.

“Your back door is open!” Nanabozhu yells again. The trucker smiles and waves with that easygoing look of someone who has heard you say something but is too polite to tell you that they didn’t quite understand what you said.

Their Town and Country pulls ahead, leaving the truck behind with Ben their driver glancing back in the SUV’s rear view mirror to watch the trucker checking his side view mirrors looking like someone who, with a little thought, has finally  figured out what you were trying to say,  and the trucker finally begins to pull off the road.

Mission accomplished.

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“I think maybe the owls are out tonight.”

“I don’t know. It could be morning doves.”

“After dark?”

Whatever it or they are, the sounds are muffled behind a closed window and the susurrus of the air conditioning.

The spirit being willing more than the flesh being lazy,  I roll out of bed–a distance of three feet, open the window and reveal the world; its chorus of frogs and the song of the  Barred Owl.

He has a distinctive call.

So I reply.

It is a moment before he responds. From hearing the sound of my Owl voice he is probably thinking that as an Owl, I am retarded, (Sorry folks, the politically correct words “developmentally disabled” just don’t convey the proper nuance in Owldom.) but deigns to answer me anyway.

“It’s good enough that he is answering you back,” Wifie says.

The three of us converse long enough–he and I in Owlish, and she to me in English–to drink in the strangeness of it all.

Until I stop.

When he doesn’t hear from me any more, he gives one last  Awwww! And goes away to look for other friends elsewhere.

Sometimes the difference between living an uneventful life and enjoying a singular experience can be as little as three feet.

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