November 17, 2013
November 16: Blankets

Abbot Steve heads to the infusion center at Kaiser several times a week for chemo and hydration. In the center is a glass-fronted case containing the warm blankets Steve loves. Returning home recently, he read aloud from Sherman Alexie’s War Dances. It was the chapter called “Blankets.” An exerpt follows:
SteveS_hospitalblanket_Nov2013_x450
“Hey, wait,” I said.
“Yeah?”
“Can I ask you a favor?”
“What?”
“My dad, he’s in the recovery room,” I said. “Well, it’s more like a hallway, and he’s freezing, and they’ve only got these shitty little blankets, and I came looking for Indians in the hospital because I figured—well, I guessed if I found any Indians, they might have some good blankets.”
“So you want to borrow a blanket from us?” the man asked.
“Yeah.”
“Because you thought some Indians would just happen to have some extra blankets lying around?”
“Yeah.”
“That’s fucking ridiculous.”
“I know.”
“And it’s racist.”
“I know.”
“You’re stereotyping your own damn people.”
“I know.”
“But damn if we don’t have a room full of Pendleton blankets. New ones. Jesus, you’d think my sister was having, like a dozen babies.”

And the story gets better. Thank you, Sherman Alexie.

 

5 Comments

  1. Jordan

    Gassho. And definitely considering reading that book.

  2. Daya Goldschlag

    I have read the book. It’s good, as is most of his. Then there’s his short stories and poems. He is a great reader/comedian. If you ever get a chance to hear him, do so. He grew up on the Spokane reservation and his family shared a phone line with my husband who is a forester and lived nearby with his family. Such a funny small world we share. My heart listens to you, for you Steve, Daya

  3. Colleen B.

    Steve’s excellent memory and story-telling prowess always astonishes me, and here’s yet another example: In the midst of the upheaval, the pain, the loss, he recalls this passage from a Sherman Alexie novel, which is both funny and sad and totally resonant.

  4. Full Moon

    Hi Steve!
    Sherman Alexie is Hilarious. “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven” is great and his movie “Smoke Signals” will make you laugh too. Except maybe for the bit about Fathers:( Laighter is the best medicine, no?

    Love & Hugs,

    Full Moon

  5. Barbara Banthien

    Very wonderful that you can make us laugh in the midst of this. Thank you.

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