The day was full of learning when Celeste and Mr. Spencer called it a day. Her head was pounding with all the knowledge she obtained, but she kept up and marveled Mr. Spencer with her ninth grade education. She was happy to be outside doing her evening chores when her grandfather returned home. “Well daughter how was your day with Mr. Spencer?” Henry inquired happily to Celeste. “Papa it was grand; however he made my head hurt.” Henry laughed at his granddaughter’s comment. “That’s a good thing little one, I believe he will give you a run for your money in education. I heard he doesn’t take on students, so I take it you two will be working together for now on.” Celeste nodded her head yes with a smile upon her face. “Let me get that fire brewing for dinner and then we can chat about everything you learned today.” She returned to her evening chores while her grandfather took a shower before starting dinner.
As the pair sat around the fire after a perfect dinner cooked over the flames, Celeste was working on a favorite dessert of gram crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate wrapped up in tin foil to add to the fire. Henry pulled out his smoking pipe and filled the hole with his tobacco. All day long he pondered on giving his granddaughter a letter that was passed on to him from Celeste’s Cherokee grandmother. It was entrusted to him before her death that he was to give it to a granddaughter, and since she was his only granddaughter he knew it belonged to Celeste. He watches his little one stare into the fire, her profile is the spitting image of her Indian grandmother’s. His heart starts to race with unsure emotions as he slowly reaches inside his light jacket for the letter. Celeste feels his nervous energy and turns her head towards the only adult figure who loved her. She see’s him touching his heart with a big hand in deep thought. Quickly she turns her head back to the flames and lifts herself off the log to turn her dessert over.
“Celeste, I have something that your Cherokee grandmother gave me to give to a granddaughter. I believe this is your’s.” Henry pulls out the letter with odd lettering etched onto the envelope and hands it to his granddaughter. Celeste gives her papa a confused gaze yet reaches for the letter before sitting back down. Henry fills in his thoughts to Celeste, “I have watched you grow and mature this summer. You’ve opened my eyes about who you might become in life. I have taught you everything in weapons, skinning animals, making tools and honoring the woods to survive in this world. Never have you disappointed me with your sweet nature and quick learning.” Henry cleared his throat and started his story to Celeste.
“Your father’s mother was a full blooded Cherokee. She left this letter never to be open until she had a grand daughter worthy to understand the Cherokee ways. I did have the pleasure of knowing you’re grandmother when my daughter married your father.” Celeste gives her papa her full attention and sits quietly with nervous energy staring at the letter while he speaks his tale. “Upon her dying bed she asked for me an only me. When I arrived she was very weak and told me as much as she could before she died. She begged and made me promise I would give this letter to the right grand daughter when the time came to shed light on her life.”
Celeste caressed the aged letter with love, and scrunched up her brows trying to figure out the Cherokee writing on the envelope. She whispers out softly the letters, “a ni gi lo hi.” Henry spoke out with care, “It means the Long Hair Clan.” Celeste turns her eyes upon her grand dad and said, “You understand Cherokee papa?” Henry replied, “No but I looked it up so I could tell the right little girl the meaning.” Celeste smiled at her grandfather. With care she slowly opened the letter, beads of sweat began forming on her brow as she carefully opened the contents on the one page letter. “It’s in English papa so I can read it, but some words I will need your help.” Henry patted his hands on his lap for her to sit on. She gladly sat down when Henry bellowed out with tease, “Jimmy Crickets Celeste you are growing like a weed, and I do believe this might be the last time you sit on my lap.” Celeste snugged into his chest with a smile and loved the hug her grandfather gave her. “Okay, papa you read first,” Henry obeyed.
“I wish I could have met you Child of the Light, but I have been with you spiritually for many years and more to come as you age in time little Hialeah. It is common for maternal grandmother to name all her grandchildren with their Cherokee name, so I name you Hialeah–meaning Beautiful Meadow. Since I have fallen in love with a Scottish man my son’s father, I am adding another name from the your Scottish lineage, Elena…meaning Shining Light. I’m certain both names together will be worthy of your spirit and soul. You are special little one just like I was with my tribe. I see parts of future, and have seen your birth. You will also have a gift but I not know what it will be. I do know Mother Earth will surround you in your time of need with love and direction, and she has important plans for your future. Heed her words daughter she will guide you on your true path in life.”
Celeste stopped her grandfather and finished reading the letter out loud. “Remember this grand daughter; The great Spirit is in all things, he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our father, but the Earth is our Mother. She nourishes us that which we put into the ground she returns to us. She is your true mother when you lose your mother! You will be an amazing magical person in years to come Hialeah Elena. Know this, you will be the light that others desire, they will take advantage of your joyous spirit, but you will be strong Hialeah, independent and like no other woman in this world. I have seen a little of your future my beauty with two different color of eyes. You will meet a male that will be stronger than you in spirit. He is earth spirit with same soul as you. His strength is mighty as bear, and needs you to tame the beast inside him my shining meadow. Your soul will be given freely to him Hialeah making you both soul-mates for life. He is your equal and you will be powerless against him. He in turn will give you back the understanding of your future path. This is all I know of your future my Indian Child. I never want you to forget where you came from so be proud of who you are for I believe you will be a strong driving force to be reckon with in the coming years of your life my only golden hair child with two different eye colors.”
Wakan Tankan Nici Un…(May the Great Spirit walk with you)
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