On our reservation, we called our grandfathers, Mishom. The grandmothers were called, Kookum. Mishom was always happy and loved to be around the grandkids. He could tell a good story just as easy to a young person as he could to an older person. He didn't differ himself from someone who was poor or someone who was rich. He was just Mishom.
He would help Kookum during the day and be with her while she went to visit her friends. He would sit there smoking his pipe while she talked in circles sipping tea. When she struggled with the chores and tasks of daily life, he was always there helping to lend her a hand and laugh with her about stuff that would happen to them during the day. At night, he would lock all the doors and shut all the lights.
He built a one room house out of wood from a house that was torn down. He got some black tarpaper from a neighbor for her roof. The windows were found by his son-in-law, they weren’t much, but Kookum could see the church from one window and sunset from another. She would sit there each day playing solitaire as he sat by her smoking his pipe waiting for her to make their next move.
As the children and grandchildren came into their lives, he would add rooms onto the one room cabin until it resembled a maze. As they left, each room still had to stay in place and held together a loving frame of memories for them as they grew older.
It is not often the Angry Ojibwa Woman finds two people like this Mishom and Kookum in her life; a man and a woman that live as if they were one. Watching a couple that was perfectly paired in every step was a blessing for her.
As an Angry Ojibwa Woman, you knew finding the right friend or partner always took caution and care. You always knew when you have someone you could trust, laugh with, and cry with in an instant of meeting them. As a spiritual partner, that person is someone who leaned on you and you were able to lean on them. You were able to say a prayer and in the corner of your eye, see them praying just as hard with you and for you.
Your Kookum and Mishom told you the secret of happiness was to find someone that lived by the seven teachings: wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honesty, humility, and truth. That all had to be present before you knew that person was the right one.
That in finding true love, the Angry Ojibwa Woman finally understood why eagles mate for life. She understood the importance of courting and why it is important to truly understand every good and bad habit of your mate. Why, once you choose that mate, you will soar until you cannot see them in the sky and fall towards the earth with them in a locking embrace not letting them go until the very end.
She understood that building the nest large enough to hold everyone you love is only another example of how big your love will be and that the nest needs to be constantly rebuilt to strengthen it throughout the years. She also began to understand that the nest would become so heavy that it would weigh down any structure; the perfect balance of understanding and care must be taken to ensure it remains stable. And that, during her lifetime, the nest might be destroyed, and if so, they will rebuild it in the same location.
The moral of the story is to take your time in finding the right partner. Your Kookum and Mishom built a strong stable nest and they told you how to find the right mate. Once you find that right mate, stay with him or her throughout your life. Your love will bring you to the greatest heights and the deepest lows but together you can rebuild anything that comes at you.
This story is told in honor of one of the greatest couples I have had the pleasure of meeting in my life, Andy and Mary Favorite. That Andy was a perfect partner for Mary. Their love shows us how to live a good life, the one that Gitchemanitou gave us to live.
All the best,