The Making Of Calo’s Quilt
Machapunga Blues: Memory Quilt
Honoring My BFF &
Our Travels On The Pau Wau Highway
My connection to Calo started on an overnight train from Helsinki to Rovaniemi, Lapland Finland. I was traveling with a professor and mentor to Sodankyla for the Midnight Sun Film Festival. She and Spiller had a pottery show with an opening reception at midnight. I was the student helper in setting up the show in an intimate art gallery in the middle of town. We were bunking in a hostel across a river bridge within walking distance from the art gallery.
The day felt like being wrapped in gray wet wool, with fatigue pinching at your flesh. I ate my first deer meat pizza with canned pineapple. When we returned to our bunkhouse, I took a hot shower and a nap inside my sleeping bag. Karen went immediately back after changing clothes and putting on makeup. I got up and dressed in my hot pink skirt and orange cotton top. I wrapped my braids in a pink bandana. As I walked across the bridge, the clouds parted and the midnight sun burst through with an intense yellow light that was Calo.
After returning home, I was enrolled at ECU, and I needed a Pow
Wow, like a dead man needs a coffin. Chuck Chamberlain told me about a Pow Wow in Williamston. I had been to Martin County with Momma, but I had never driven on my own. I got out my map and figured out which roads I needed to drive. I wore yellow and black bumble bee colors and found my way to the Arts Council building in downtown Williamston. As if it was waiting for me, one Pow Wow flyer was thumb-tacked to the front door. It gave directions to Moratoc Park, where the Pow Wow was being held.
I hung out with two of the Traders that I knew from The Trail, Leon Locklear, and The Herb Lady. As if by cue, the energy from the yellow midnight sun in Sodankyla was in the Circle on the Roanoke River during a Blessing Ceremony for her daughter and grandbaby. We met again at the ECU Pow Wow and became BFF. The next weekend I was in Durham at Lynette Blackfeather’s house, and Pura Fe was teaching me how to make our three-tier tear skirts and Berthe Collar blouses. The next year at the Machapunga Pow Wow, the food vendor dropped out at the last moment, and I had to cook and feed the dancers. And as the story goes, it’s just another day on Morattico.