I don’t know much about the early life of my Mother’s mother other that she was born in Butte Mt. somewhere early in the last century. From what I’ve gathered there was some controversy over my grandma’s birth, but that was never fully explained to me. Anywho, she eventually ended up in Boulder married to my grandpa, “Hoot”.
My Grandmother was a Kootenai/ Salish Irish/Welsh Indian kid that became very educated. She was formally schooled as well as educated in the secret ways of her people. My grandma was a medicine woman. When I was young I remember doing the rounds with her. She would travel a wide circle around the Billings Mt. And Crow agency area’s visiting the old and infirm elders of both Indian and White families. She would give advice, share stories and administer a certain sort of medical advise we can call big medicine. There was one lady she would visit more than other’s. Unfortunately I can’t remember her name, but the exchange of wisdom was mutual from both women. They shared a certain bond that was more than a friendship or a client. This lady would give me candy and goodies upon our arrival, so as you can imagine it was a favorite stop for me.
My Grandma was the one who showed me how to throw a ball, ride a bike, use a glove, shoot baskets, and swing a golf club. I’m not good at the golf club thing. They remind me too much of a sword and I’ve got that inner born hit to kill instinct that makes golfing difficult. She also taught me the ways of her medicine. The secrets of listening that go a long to help heal.
Audrey was all of 4 feet 11 with boots on and she was the head girls basketball coach of the Crow Agency high school at Hardin Mt. They called her Little Red Cloud because her hair was bright almost orange red. It wasn’t her natural color. She died her hair red because that was the school colors for Crow Agency High School. After all she was the basketball coach. She was also a teacher that taught both English and Science. My grandma was a very learned woman. I remember listening to my Dad and her have discussions that would blow the mind of the average listener. My Dad was a great fan of grandma and followed her lead into teaching.
My Grandma Gibson was Heyoka. She was a backwards warrior and often a clown. She spent her life working with the elderly and the children. She was and still is the great memory of my childhood. She taught me the things that I brought with me into adulthood, the important things that people store from their childhoods. She separated the wheat from the chaff.
My grandmother eventually succumbed to the advanced stages of the Alzheimer’s disease that first attacked her in her fifties and sixties. Her memories decade, but my memories of her live on strong. Live on Little Red, I know the Happy Hunting Grounds are good to you.
Peace and Balance,