Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Letter from a Reader - Thanking and Honoring Charlie Soap.

I received this message from a reader and with his permission, I'm sharing it below.
I grew up in the Bell community.

I was raised in a 4 room log cabin, we had no running water,no inside bathroom. We did have electricity.

We drew our water from a well, and in periods of drought, we would drive up to the Bethel spring to fetch water. We moved to town when I was a teenager and enjoyed the 'amenities' of running water.
When I was 22 or 23, I was in Little Rock, Arkansas. The Arkansas-Times Democrat ran a very large story on the running of the Bell Water line. I wrote letters to the editors of both the Times-Democrat and the Cherokee Phoenix telling of my pride in my former community and their hard work. To my surprise, both letters were printed.

Last year, Mr. Charlie Soap was in Jenks, Oklahoma, speaking to the Native American Children there and the audience was treated to a free showing of The Cherokee Word For Water.
There was a Q & A after the show. I raised my hand and when called upon, I addressed Mr. Soap in Cherokee, and then I said something to the affect of thanking him and the late Wilma Mankiller for their leadership and undying determination to complete this project. At that point, the moderator, who was also one of the producers of the show, ran up to me with the microphone so they could hear me better. She had tears in her eyes. 

I told them that the project was too late for my upbringing, but that my neighbors and relatives benefitted greatly from this project. And then I thanked Mr. Soap again, in Cherokee.

When the show closed, I and several others walked up to shake his hand. I could feel the eyes on me as he and I shook hands, no words were needed, the handshake said it all. But Mr. Soap did say, "Thank you, Brother, for coming." 

It was one of those rare moments where you come full circle and you are able to thank those who made life better for you and yours. I will always remember and honor Mr. Soap for his dedication and I hope that The Cherokee Word for Water is rightfully recognized by the Institute. 

M. Walkingstick-Gregory 

copyright 2015, Polly's Granddaughter - TCB

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome!