Tag Archives: reservations

Tepee On The Hill

In 1948, my father was transferred from Iowa to Pierre, South Dakota to manage the Gambles Store and in that day, even though Native Americans, still called Indians back then, were largely on reservations, there were three large white tepees on the east edge of town, not far from the Mighty Mo’ (Missouri River).

One windy, hot summer day, I was at the store and I got to go with my Dad and his helper to the edge of town and up to one of the tepees.  We delivered a ‘freezer’ to the old Indian and his wife, living in one of the tepees.  The Indian gave my Dad 5 geese, which he took home and put in our storm shelter in the backyard.  I can still smell the mess I had to clean up on occasion…..haha  Memories….that’s what lives are made of.

I present this poem as ‘my record’ more than anything.  Feel free to read it.

Tepee On the Hill

On the side of a hill at the edge of town
a stone’s throw away….. from ‘Mighty Mo,’
the tepees sat in grass all around
on the side of a hill at the edge of town.
I remember the dogs running up and down
the hill,  ‘round the tepees….white as snow,
on the side of a hill at the edge of town,
a stone’s throw away….. from ‘Mighty Mo.’

Back in the early fifties, when my father ran that store
in Pierre, South Dakota, back then,
I remember all the places, I use to explore
back in the early fifties, when my father ran that store.
I’d stay with him and do things like sweeping up the floor
and help out with deliveries….. like all the other men…
back in the early fifties, when my father ran that store
in Pierre, South Dakota…… back then.

Between the tepees, where sat the old black car,
and where the wind was blowing a scary high pitched tone,
the grass was laying down, as were the dogs, not far,
between the tepees, where sat the old black car.
Then the tepee opened up and an old Indian with cigar
waved at Dad and suddenly I felt alone
between the tepees, where sat the old black car,
and where the wind was blowing a scary high pitched tone.

The freezer that we brought, that was bought from dad,
we hooked up in his tent
and I still can see him dancing and, in a way, it’s sort of sad,
the freezer that we brought, that was bought from dad.
Cause it makes me miss my dad even though I’m really glad
to have had that moment – with the Indian, now shared ; now spent
the freezer that we brought, that was bought from dad,
we hooked up in his tent.

copyright © 2012 T.J. Gargano

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