Work Hard by Joseph Begay

     My mother used to get me out of bed early on Saturday mornings to go chop wood and shovel snow for my grandparents. I never liked getting up early but I never minded helping them. Grandmother would fix us a big plate of hot food and fuss about what I am wearing. Grandfather would point out what had to be done and help in a slow methodical way. You know, I would complain about homework and other stuff but I never complained about this. There is something that fills a hole in me when I help my grandparents. I am a part of them. This is what Natives do. I want to make it easy for them.

     So I worry about them now that I am in another state and can’t get over there for weekends. I call my young cousin and ask if he could be sure they are all right. I shouldn’t be surprised but he tells me that relatives are over there every Saturday to do what I used to do. Some of the ones helping are those in trouble with the police and I guess that some people would say they are no good but they are doing what is right by my grandparents.

     It is a way of life I don’t see in the city. If you don’t know where you belong and how to make sure the old people and the young ones are watched, I don’t know how they fill in the hole.

     I pray for them.

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