Dillow Family Trivia: One of Matt's greatest childhood sadnesses was that he could not be an Indian. He did not fully grasp why it was possible to be a cowboy when he grew up, but that being an Indian was simply not an option on the table. Thirty+ years later another Dillow has to come to terms with this same harsh reality... poor Gracie. The unfairness is almost too much for her to bear. After last year's visit to the Indian Village she was practically counting down the days until she could return this year; our visit did not disappoint.
We happened to be there the day that Governor Matt Mead and his strikingly glamorous wife Carol were being honored. More Dillow Family Trivia: this was the fourth time I'd seen them this week; at a reception for the Chief of Staff of the Air Force at the Governor's Mansion on Friday night, at the Commander's Reception on Saturday night, and at the Thunderbird Welcome Dinner on Wednesday night. Even more Dillow Family Trivia: this is the third Wyoming governor I've actually met in person; the first one was Governor Geringer in 2001 (I met him dressed in full Cat in the Hat costume and makeup on Read Across America Day. Lovely.) The second one: Governor Dave Freudenthal, who was not yet governor until 2003, but whose daughter was on the speech and debate team at Central HS the year I taught/coached there. Final piece of Dillow Family Trivia: I have never met a governor from any other state.
This is the Indian woman Gracie most wants to be: the hoop dancer. She occasionally practices in the front yard with hula hoops, true story.
So after the dance presentation was complete, there was the regular "meet and greet" the performers; the girls hovered around the hoop dancer until they had a chance to say hello.
She announced that there would be a special hoop dancing workshop for any kids who wanted to stick around. Didn't have to ask the Dillow girls twice. As it was Day 1 of the second session of Camp Dillow-Karahalis 2011, Thea and Georgie were in, too. Sam respectfully declined to learn hoop dancing : ) About 25-30 kids stuck around; her instruction was a lot of fun to watch.
At the end of the workshop, the hoop dancer asked everyone to stand very, very, very still so they could focus on their one small wish. She did a little talking as she walked around about how focus is the most important part to achieving your dreams; I leaned over to Grandma and told her to wait for it, Gracie would win the staying still contest. Maddie froze herself into the most uncomfortable of positions holding her hoop out from her body, and Bridget the Fidget doesn't win standing still contests. The hoop dancer walked around observing all the kids, narrowing it down from all of them to ten of them to four of them who were still in the running. I'm almost positive that Georgie and Thea were in the final four too, as their Tae Kwon Do training requires them to focus in ways I can't even imagine (i.e. they had to carry a RAW EGG around without breaking it for ten whole days!) but I still predicted the victory would be Gracie's, because her Indian heroine had asked her to do something. And, of course, she is Gracie. Perhaps you are familiar?
At this point I was a little sniffly, because this child of mine who can be such a handful—who so often stands in the shadow of her perfectionist older sister, who so often challenges her parents to the point of near defeat with her Will of Steel—was cheered and cheered loudly by both her sisters as she was tapped the winner. She so wanted to win, and she did. The well of her focus is almost frightening when she wants it to be, and on this day, she did.
Everyone was asked to put their hoop around Gracie.
Gracie was next asked to sit in the hoops as if she were in a nest.