A Tablespoon of Hot Sauce

Due to a good weekend snowstorm, Chamberlain canceled school yesterday. The Native American grade school students at St. Joseph’s still had classes, since living here they only have to walk a block or two.

Our dedicated facilities crew started clearing snow at 3 a.m. and made it possible to navigate the roads and sidewalks safely. We did start 90 minutes hours late. The teachers and other staff who had to drive from their homes appreciated the extra time to dig themselves out and get to campus.

Our high school students had the whole day off. Knowing there were no ballgames or activities, I figured it was a good time to stop by Sheehy Home (high school boys) for supper. They’d spent the afternoon exercising at the Rec Center, and most were now parked on the couches watching movies. A few of the guys were using the time to catch up on homework and missing assignments, which I made sure to compliment.

Supper was a memorable culinary experience. Anita’s lasagna was some of the best I’ve ever had. But next to the salad was a plastic squeeze salad dressing bottle that was slightly orange colored. From the side I saw the beginning of a word – “FR.”

I assumed it was French dressing, so unbeknownst to others I poured it liberally on my salad greens. It turned out to be “Frank’s Hot Sauce,” and my first bite it was like eating a full tablespoon of Tabasco sauce! The Sheehy boys got a chuckle out of my miscalculation.

I stopped by Raphael Home (1st – 3rd grade boys) after school today and found the Lakota youngsters actively playing. You can have fancy computer games and electronic toys, but today the boys were intrigued with simple old-fashioned things. Kane was trying out a yo-yo. I was able to give him a few pointers of how to hold it and get the most spin out of the wrist, signs of my own playful youth. Rudy had a lightweight wooden airplane, like we used to get in the dime store, and he and Dorian were competing to see who could keep it aloft the longest.

Imagination is the most fertile field for a child’s play, and basketball is the big sport around campus. First graders Jacob and Devin stacked a trio of laundry detergent buckets against the wall, and on top built a foot wide square of large Legos.  They each had a beanie baby bird (one a penguin and the other an eagle) and were using those to shoot hoops. Teris stood guard by the bucket, blocking shots and trying to keep them away but, with persistence, they would occasionally get one by and over his outstretched arms and into the goal. They cheered as though they’d hit a game winning shot!

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 89 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

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