Baron Dave Romm (barondave) wrote,
Baron Dave Romm
barondave

Hanging with Native Americans: A High Holy Days Adventure Part I

Thanks to the lunar Jewish calendar, it's been slightly more than a year since the last solar High Holy Days. Last year in this time period, I read the Koran. Well, started reading it. I didn't get very far, since I wanted to understand not just read the words. Still, the project is on the back burner and not off the shelf.

On Yom Kippur of last year, I weighed myself, figuring that my weight while fasting would serve as a low base line. I weighed myself this morning, a few days before the fast... and weighed exactly the same as a year ago. However, I have lost at least five belt notches. I'm sure that has to do with my eating habits. My doctor's. recommendations to help lower blood pressure served as impetus. But mainly, it's because I'm eating far less salt and damaged fats, and cooking for two. Carole was mostly living here back then, and officially moved in on Dec. 1. I used to eat out for lunch and/or dinner, and making single bowls of ramen noodles for myself. I ate fairly healthily, but too much processed food.

Now, I make six quarts of soup for the two of us with no added salt and very few ingredients which have salt or sodium, which serves as one main meal for the two of us and usually two or three meals more. The secret to great tasting but low-salt cooking: Ginger, garlic and cilantro. I have, accidentally, stumbled on The Schwartzbein Principle. A fan gave me the book a few years ago, and I finally got around to reading it. My current diet is very close to that recommended by Dr. Schwartzbein. Basically: A balanced approach, no damaged fats, less sugar and salt.

But I digress.

Jews are People of the Book: Our written text is very important, and we have written down our oral tradition in the Talmud. Much of Western Civilization is a Literate Culture, in the sense that written works are important. Writing is a technology; it had to be invented and developed. The written word has spin offs: Time (or at least a sharper sense of the passage of time) and identity (who's writing?) being the big two.

Carole is half Native American, and though her tribe is not from Minnesota, she teaches within the Native community here. (Hmmm.... long digression about acceptance in minority communities will have to wait for a further post.) In most respects, we're a good match: Fandom, teaching, geekery; we like similar food, tv, movies and people. Our politics are pretty close. But we come from very different cultural backgrounds. Native American culture is definitely pre-literate. People in a pre-literate cultures have the same range of intelligence and education as any other group; many of Carole's friends have advanced degrees; some are out-and-out geeks. But the way they walk through the world is different.

So last weekend, during The High Holy Days, Carole, her teacher friend Ida and I went up to near the White Earth reservation for a memorial service for Carole's sister Carrie. Not her biological sister, but a close friend who died a little more than a year ago.

But this is getting far too long. I'll continue in Part II. In the meantime, if you want to be ahead of the game (or just look at pretty pictures of autumn in Northern Minnesota), you can see my gallery The Carrie Estey Memorial.

Continued in Part II
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