The Dinner Party Chapter 3

Dinner Party Chapter 3 Stuber 3.1

And just what did those two daredevils get into the night before anyway?
Few of our invitees are campers, or even inclined to put up a tent in the back yard for their kids, so, nestled around a fire they were all wondering what the heck to do when, in a flash, Catherine the Great was gone. She had stepped out back to pee, then Larsen noticed she was missing.
Larsen: Where the heck is Catherine, I really wanted to talk to her about Asian customs in her era. I think she must have had some contact with Asians during her reign.
Stephanie: I think she had to take a leak.
Larsen: Blast. Well, what do you think about our situation here?
Stephanie: I don’t mind being out in the woods for a while, but if I’m stuck here the rest of eternity, it won’t be much fun.
Virginia Woolf, who had been pondering a porridge that did not remind her of oatmeal, couldn’t help but slide over and talk to the two.
Woolf: What are you complaining about? Didn’t you have a full life before?
Stephanie: I should say not. I wasn’t even 35 when I died.
Larsen: Who said you died. I think I was about 45 when I got dropped in here. But I don’t see why we wouldn’t live our entire lives back in the 20th Century.
Stephanie: You mean this isn’t a form of hell?
Woolf: Hell? Are you kidding me, even Dante couldn’t come up with a hell as ironically twisted this. If anything this is only a slightly disappointing heaven.”
Larsen: She’s right. Would you be dancing topless in hell? You got into the native feel right away. How cold that be hell? Do you realize you already have enemies among the women here?
Stephanie: I figured if this is hell, and I’m dead, I might as well try to have fun.
Larsen: Fun’s one thing, but I think we’ve hit an area and time that is completely unique in history. If my guess is right, the natives have never heard of or seen white-skinned people before. Imagine how Bob Marley must be going over in the gossip circles!?
Woolf: I heard some women say they think he is a shaman. Some type of

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special medicine man.
Stephanie: Well, he’ll certainly be comfortable with a peace-pipe in his hands.
(General laughter.)
Larsen: There is already a big split as to what to do here. Should we just hang out and become part of their community, or are we really here to help them?
Woolf: There’s no way you’re going to stop the Europeans from coming here. I don’t know what year we’re in, but, unless we have a twenty year head-start, we’ll never be able to get enough natives together to make a stand.
Larsen: You mean a war?
Woolf: How else would you keep the Europeans out?
Larsen: How about negotiating better treaties, and making them stick?
Woolf: No way that would work, they already had treaties back then, each one was trampled on.
Stephanie: You think I kind find someone to find me a peace-pipe?
Larsen: Why, you think they smoke pot in it?
Stephanie: One can hope.
The blaze of the bonfire sent a pure flame three feet off the ground. The natives were just as comfortable on the dirt around the fire as you or I would be on a davenport in the lobby of the Boston Ritz Carlton.
Just out of earshot, Catherine, breaking twigs and rustling leaves, squatted in a patch of poison ivy to urinate. Meanwhile, a humored native jabbed the ribs of his friend and motioned him to leave. The native wore deerskin shorts, thick-soled moccasins a quiver with four arrows and a bow. Catherine, having been in a bar when whisked away into the past is dressed informally for her time. Long dress, tight bodice. Her purse and vodka bottle remained in the ganohsot.
The native got within two feet of her. He was behind a small maple tree. When Catherine fell in a combination of poison ivy and her own pee, the native could no longer stand it. He laughed. This startled Catherine. She pulled up her bloomers, and began to run. He tackled her, yet her first instinct (to yell) was somehow quelled. The native, of course, was Running Bear.
R.B.: Enihe. Akhnigoeye das.
This means, “Stop. I understand.” She didn’t have any clue what it meant,

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but still she didn’t scream.
Running Bear acted kind and offered her a hand up. He inched closer, still smiling. They circled like two curious dogs. She scowled and grunted, hiding curiosity, standing firm. Rage boiled through her. She would kill any man who dared such action in her own country, but she got a whiff of a new scent.
The body odor of this native caught her in a weak moment. She pushed him, he smiled and pushed back. He walked up to her and first gently then firmly grabbed her elbow. She didn’t know what to expect, and readied another scream, as he led
her down a steep wooded hill to Canandaigua Lake. Now Catherine had been around some mighty cold lakes in Siberia, but this one seemed far colder. He pointed to his canoe, but they had to walk knee-deep in the water to get to it. When he noticed that she didn’t like the water temperature he shoved her in. This made Catherine even more mad, especially since her left breast popped out as she is coming up for air.
It wasn’t just his laugh that got to her, but her dress, bloomers and petticoat became a strangling dead-weight when soaked. Running Bear offers her a woven
blanket. As she sat down in the canoe, she purposefully tipped the boat over. Now Running Bear was mad. A full basket of corn was lost. Laughter and rage counter-balanced each other which allowed Running Bear to feel the heat of lust creep in.
He had spotted her and rated her the best catch of the gods, even though Stephanie and Jessica danced topless. Now he was paddling across the lake with a god he knew nothing about. But he also knew that it is a long swim in a deep lake, and this god didn’t seem to take to water.
After half a mile, Catherine reluctantly picked up a paddle and helped the trek across the lake. The night air felt like rain was moving in, and Catherine would rather not get caught in a thunderstorm in a canoe, with a native, in a time and place she knew very little about. They make the western shore at “Seneca” Point. Who knows which pioneer named the Onodowaga the Seneca, but it must have come from their rich oral traditions. Maybe some informed pioneer had been taught about the Latin orator, who knows.
Straight up, these people loved to talk. Anyway, the two romantics were now
speaking a language they could both understand. (Not love-making you perverts, the spirits gave them a common language due to their unbridled love of life and sense of

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adventure.) Mind you, Running Bear didn’t realize Catherine could understand him when he said:
Gonohgwa onogwa khoh gwehdae ohsohgwa.
Which came out to her: I love your breast and red lips.
She didn’t realize she could understand an English translation of Haudenosaunee until it hit her that he was making a pass at her.
C. the G.: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.
R.B.: Here you go.
She had no idea the natives were so quick to disrobe, so all she showed him was her breasts.
R.B.: Wait just a minute there. This is entirely unfair.
C. the G.: Oh come here you big baby, I’ll show you what’s unfair.
As he stepped across shale and fossilized Trilobites she admired how water dripped from his body. He firmed his resolve to make this woman his. She slid her
fingers through his hair, bit his nipple on the way down and showed him a trick her fellow Russians were never to pick up on.
Known as the nurturing doorbell push to its followers, the trick amused Running Bear to the point of a smile. A heart palpitation, even.
Running Bear, being from the tribe fortunate enough to control corn production, knew many pass times as well. After explaining in slow, delirious detail, the details of his trick, he gracefully put the blanket over Catherine, hung her bloomers out to dry, and performed his magic. She was startled to see that this man
Had the power of a horse. His trick proved fateful. He had become the first man to amuse Catherine with slight of hand. Her desires for more tricks and his desires to learn how a woman could have such large but firm breasts kept them up all night. and they talked.
R.B.: I want to know more about where you come from.
C. the G.: I guess we have come from different parts of history. I myself am returning from hell, where I’ve been for some time now. I know of Nostradamus, but most of the rest of these people you call gods are from what appears to be the
20th Century. That would be a solid 400 years from now.
R.B.: You mean some of what they say will happen, actually will happen!?

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C. the G.: I’m afraid that’s correct. But you haven’t heard any of what they said.
R.B.: No, but the god Tolkien has tried to tell us stories the best he can. Maybe this new magic that allows us to talk will also give us a better picture of what he means when he says our Turtle world will be shattered.
C. the G.: It may be true, but don’t you think the strongest people should rule?
R. B.: Maybe they will, but we have come to peace about all of that. The wars
we had in the past have been narrowed down to skirmishes caused by petty jealousies, and chiefs that cannot hold their tempers. If you gods are so advanced, why would you bring more war to us?
C. the G.: Because by being so advanced, people like us can take advantage of gentle people easily, and we will. Look, we have to develop a plan to unite even more natives so you can keep your place here. Many of us think you won’t be able to talk out a peace with the Europeans. We think you should band together and fight them with the unified purpose of getting rid of them. There are idiots, however, who will try to tell you that the best thing to do is sign firm treaties. Problem is, I believe your people will end up signing treaties anyway. And those treaties end up being broken one by one, until the Europeans control this whole continent. So, if we know that any treaty you sign with these people will be broken, I say the best way for you to save your Turtle world is to fight the newcomers back. That way they won’t want to return for some time.
R.B.: I will take what you have said to the council, we meet at the end of this moon.
The Haudenosaunee Turtle world is simple and complex. Simply, the earth is seen as the back of a turtle riding between the Overworld and the Underworld. The stars, moon, planets and heavens make up the Overworld and the Underworld is all that is beneath the realm of the human beings. Lakes and seas are cracks in the Turtle’s back, and lead directly to the Underworld.
Like so many other mythologies, things that are above humans are generally good. There are three types of gods in their mythology: Air, Earth and Animal. Most of the Air gods are good, most of the earth gods are good, and most of the animal gods go both ways. The creatures that “live” in the underworld are not so good.

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C. the G.: The council’s one thing, but if we make a pact, I will be able to use your influence to gather more support for the correct action, and you will be able to use my status as a visiting goddess to help convince your people that your way is the right way.
R.B.: But I have no decision on this yet. Our tribe makes decisions by a vote.
C. the G.: Well, it won’t be hard to get the men behind us. Women here don’t have the right to vote do they?
R.B.: The women don’t vote, but they are the only people who have the right to nominate who their leader will be.
C. the G.: What!?
R.B.: In major decisions, like who will be chief, the women argue about who the best chief may be. They then nominate possible chiefs. Then the men vote.
C. the G.: What sense does that make?
R.B.: It makes perfect sense. Men often create deals that lead to bad decision making later on. You must have seen this where you come from.
C. the G.: Yes. In fact, the decisions made in my country were so bad, I had to take over myself. I led our country out of misery and into enlightenment.
R.B.: So, women can be effective chiefs? I would not have guessed that.
C. the G.: Why not, you give women the exclusive right to nominate your leaders.
R.B.: Yes, but they are never the warriors or chiefs.
C. the G.: Why not?
R.B.: Their job is more important: they are the keepers of the corn crop. They raise our children, and their dreams usually warn of warring tribes coming our way.
Your arrival was foretold by dreams I, myself had.
C. the G.: You knew I was coming? Did you also know you would seduce me?
R.B.: I was hoping to seduce one of the white skins for political reasons, but I hadn’t expected to go against my wife’s word this quickly. I knew I had to get close to the women in your group emotionally. The men, I can always talk with.
C. the G.: You people are awfully confident.
R.B.: You seem a little bold yourself.
The two had no fears. Running Bear, still naked, threw a rock into the water. Catherine picked up a piece of shale and lobbed it at him. He caught it, by feel,

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and the last-second sight the moonlight afforded. They laughed. He skipped the rock. They embraced for, what seemed to Catherine, a long time.
Running Bear thought about the significance of his dreams coming true so fast and so materially. He knew it was one of the most important times the Haudenosaunee faced since the peace under the great white tree.
The two found shelter and fell to sleep. The warmth of Catherine’s arms erased the throb of guilt Running Bear had been feeling.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
* * * *
The Chosen Place glimmers in 7 am sun that delivers strong messages to the participants. Catherine and Running Bear are halfway across the lake on their way back to Bare Hill. The return trip finds Catherine fully paddling the bow. Still, Running Bear is humored by her style.
Garcia, 18 again, helps women harvest beans, tend to corn, stretch deerskin. He throws a dirt ball in the air, chuckles and wonders what type of heaven he’s fallen into. Is it a really intense dream, or a flashback of a trip taken 340 years in the future?
What will he do without an amplifier and a crowd?
Garcia: Tell me ladies, how bad are the winters in this area?
Fawn and her mother Bobbing Tail (BT) try to respond. (Fawn’s
14 Bobbing Tail’s 30)
Fawn: We have more celebrations in winter, and more meetings, and more stories and we live together in the houses. Winter cleanses the earth it is not bad.
BT: We build fires at the end of the house to stay warm. Everyone hates the smoke, but what else can you do? What a strange question – the weather is beautiful, who wants to remember winter?
Garcia: That says a lot. Our being here must seem very strange to you but we come from a time in the future. I lived over 3,000 moons into the future from now. Can you understand that?
Fawn: We have been told you are demon Gods. You are too white, you have magic fire, evil drinks, strange moccasins, unnatural furs and weird face-paint. We were told not to talk to you, and if my father, or any of the elders catch us talking to you without men present we will be punished and you will be tortured and teased.

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Garcia: I don’t want to get into to trouble, but most of us believe in non-violence. Why is it that you torture people?
BT: You are naive Garcia. We fought battles with the same tribes we are now at peace with. We still fight battles to protect land to the west, in order to secure such a place here. If you win a war then treat your enemies as friends, they will laugh at you, and come back to destroy you. That is why the Peace under the Great White Tree was such a miracle. Do you know our customs, or are you a god that knows nothing? Garcia: I’m not a god, just a man from the future. I play music, I like to dance. I’ll show you later, but please tell me more.
BT: Our customs are simple. We plant in order to survive, the men are the hunters, fighters and chiefs, but the women decide who the chiefs will be. We are the Onodowaga tribe, in our house only the women vote, and the chiefs are not always passed down from one generation to another. No man can fool a whole tribe of women into giving him power. We also talk out each decision. If there is one vote against anything, the decision is not made. It took many years to get the Mohawks to agree to stop slaughtering their neighbors. They usually beat everyone they fought, but rarely the Onodowaga. We have retreated very few times. Two other Tribes that met under the tree were easy to persuade: Cayugas, and Oneidas were the first to feel
The pain from Mohawk raids. The Onondagas were tricked into joining the nation by the peacemaker and his friend Jikohnsaseh.
He was a man from the west (a Huron it is believed). She was the strongest women of the Cat Nation. Jikohnsaseh proposed offering a high position in the new nation to the Chief of the Onondagas, and he finally persuaded his people to join, knowing he had a good position secured.
The Gayanesshagowa is the Great Law of Peace that keeps the Haudenosaunee together. I heard your friend call us Iroquois. As five, we are strong. The Onodowaga protect the west. We are through collecting new fishing areas, and hunting grounds from the Hurons to the west, while the Mohawks still toy with weaker Tribes to the east. What do you think of all of that Garcia?
Garcia: I know something of the Iroquois. Did you know that yours was the first lasting peace amongst warring people anywhere on earth?
BT: This is earth, what do you mean, anywhere on earth?

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Garcia: This land stretches 200 times as far as any Seneca has ever seen. And there are two other lands that are even larger. There are many different types of people in this land. There are places that are never cold. There are groups from the south that will join you in years to come. The Tuscarura will travel north to make your nation one of six Tribes, not five. But my purpose is to warn of the white-skins who will come and spread disease, and war. They will beat your best Mohawks. You will join with them to fight mighty wars and they will pay you back by stealing your land. They do not believe that the earth is one. They split it up and “own” it.
BT: Stop this foolishness, no one owns the earth. No Human Being could ever claim to own part of the earth. There could be no such evil tribe. The peace under the great white tree set out one main cause: Universal peace. We better ourselves, without having to kill each other. If you, Garcia, man of the future, claim that this will come crashing to an end, then I say that all of this will be ruined by men like yourself.
I will tell this to my leaders, and you will be tortured and teased. In days past we would have killed you for such a remark. We have lived many generations without such talk, and we don’t need to hear it now.
Garcia: It is my intention to warn you, whether you want to hear it or not. I am living a second life now. There is nothing for me to gain or lose in trying to help a tribe that should be prepared.
Fawn: If you keep this up until the squash harvest Garcia, we will make you sit on an oblong gourd for such a remark, but now last year’s are hard, it will not be as pleasant.
Garcia sees a little bit of mountain girl in this young Fawn. This gets him dreaming of a life in Canandaigua. Wouldn’t it be tremendous to be in the finger lakes before they were overrun with boats, cottages, rich snobs and lunatic daredevils.

* * * *

One such daredevil caught the spirit of the long white snake between 1968 and 1985. He lived at Menteeth point, about eight miles south on the western shore of the lake. He was a normal kid, then went on a 17 year tear through motorcycles, 100 MPH

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boats, cliff jumps and some of the wildest parties little old Cheshire, New York has ever seen.
He was electrocuted.
I hadn’t seen him since about 1976, so I don’t know when he died. The story was relayed by a man who had no sense, but who had pure emotion and heart. He wrote religious songs, and said he knew of the daredevil’s sister, Toby. The last I knew
She was riding horses, and throwing dirt bombs back on Tremont Street. Legend says the snake lived in Canandaigua Lake.
Its presence is hard to ignore, which is why, to this day, so many people around the lake go on spiritual rampages. Such spirit and courage comes at odd intervals, and remains short times. Here’s to the whisper of that spirit.
Most will never tap the long white snake the way that man did, but Canandaigua has a way of pulling it out of you. It is hard to deal with, and gets people into all kinds of jams. But life could not be more exciting than it is when you allow the spirits of Canandaigua to inhabit your body. The daredevil’s parents knew this on some level, as they bagged the city for this chosen place years before moving out of jobs and into life became the vogue.
(I guess this is the author’s way of nudging Garcia to stick around, if possible.) Fawn: You seem to know so much, but then so little. Now that mother is gone, let me ask: why is it you white men think that your arrival will hurt the Peace nearly as much as our chief’s jealousy of the Hurons, Algonquins and Mohawks? Garcia: The diseases we carry you will not survive, the weapons we kill with are accurate from long distances. There is no time for jealousy now. Without a big effort, the white men will take over this land and ruin your traditions.
Fawn: Honoring the land and the law are not just our traditions. All human beings feel this way.
Garcia: That would be great if it were true, but men are greedy, you have seen it in your own warriors. Now imagine warriors with greater weapons, no respect
For nature, and the desire to earn great fortunes by enslaving others to work on their behalf.
Fawn: This has happened after our wars. The winner gets what the loser once

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cherished.
Garcia: It may be true, but your peace was set up to respect people and avoid these massacres. The white men from across the ocean have not come so far in their thinking. They will build great empires by twisting nature and enslaving the weak. {But why let Garcia have all the fun.}
Running Bear and a few other tribesmen had been listening to the conversation. They snuck up on the two, intending to let them talk as long as they wanted to, but they felt compelled to interrupt. Running Bear emerged from trees.
R.B.: We don’t like this talk, but we have also forged an alliance with you crazy people from the future. The one called Catherine has convinced me to listen to your stories which we will do tonight. Until then, I suggest that you stay clear of my wife and child.
This takes Garcia back a few steps because he knows perfectly well what Catherine and Running Bear were up to the night before. Now he wonders what to do with the information. Recalling experiences in his own band, he decides to keep it under his hat for now.
Meanwhile, Larsen was eager to pump Catherine for her knowledge of local Asian customs as practiced in Russia. Larsen was already drawing parallels to the “Turtle” world in the Haudenosaunee mythology.
Larsen found out that Asian traditions either have, or she made up, a similar underworld in which strange gods devise plans and the fate of man. Speaking of Larsen, she was at the campfire wondering whether everyone was safe, since at least Catherine was missing.
Larsen: We’ve been in this dream a couple of days, and I still don’t feel very safe. How about you Duane?
Allman: It’s obvious you’ve never been dead, so don’t talk to me about safe. Life is way too short to play it safe, but if you ask me, the people leading these Indians into war are doomed to get them slaughtered even quicker than history. We’ve got to help these folks save their own ass or their culture will die quicker than they do. Their history is oral, and language doesn’t seem to be a problem anymore, so why don’t we try to get them involved in self-preservation?
Larsen: That’s a good idea. I happen to have a typewriter and some paper,
maybe I could come up with a lesson plan that could help them.

 

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  • Before You Speak

    Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind? Rumi  Translated by Coleman Barks

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“The Dinner Party,” a novella in 11 chapters plus endnotes, copyright, Doug Stuber, 1992.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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