In Honor of the Flocken Sisters - My Husband, Jim McDougall's, longtime friends from Ceremony
I had dish water all over my belly along with leftover food, gravy, and meat juices. My face was covered with sweat. The other Angry Ojibwe Women were running around in circles, both figure eight and figure fours. The kitchen was only six feet wide. You knew the dance had begun.
It was a delicate dance. They would bow, swerve to the right and then to the left. Never spilling a drop. They would lift a large soup kettle. Bow. Move to the right and then to the left. Bow. Lifting their kettle in high praise.
The wildrice, the venison, the squash were all foods to be thankful for and they would continue to sing over it as they danced throughout the kitchen; raising their pots and pans up and down. Their partners.
The two sisters would dance in the middle of the floor. Once in awhile, their little brother would try to cut in, they would dance in-between him. He would duck and swerve. They would continued to dance.
My daughter and I were the wallflowers. We wanted to stay that way. We kept our bellies next to the sinks in order to give the dancers enough room. It was a glorious grand ball!
The sisters kept dancing in the middle of the kitchen. One would say, "Three Dishes?" The other would say, "No, that needs to go on a platter!" Side step, bow, onto their next partner! "We are out of coffee!" Exchange partners, bow, and move to the right. Yes, their Angry Ojibwe Grandmothers had taught them the dance well.
One sister would say, "Fill the pan, so we can fill the pot!" The other sister would waltz over to the sink with the pan. We would grab the pan and fill it with water. She would then dance back and grab her partner and dance back to her sister. The sister would fill her pot. The sisters would bow and resume as they continued to dance over to the other dance partners and then to the stove.
They knew the "Two-Step", the "Side-Step", and the "In-Between". I was impressed. No talking, no dance cards, they just knew.
I started to wash the pots and pans! I did not want them to see me watch them dance. I wanted to stay in the kitchen. I wanted to learn the dance.
The sisters stopped to take a look at what I was doing. Both stopped dancing. "We don't wash the pots and pans!" one sister said. The other follows quickly, "It is the only way to know what partners go back home with their owners." I pulled my hands out of the sink and stepped back and bowed. The dance continued.
There is no other dance, than the one that you learn in a kitchen full of Angry Ojibwe Women.