Daytime Programming with Nito
By Everett George
I used to think caring about stories was dangerous and could very much ruin your life. I was enrolled in online schooling for most of my teen years, which was real isolating and a solid way to lose friends. I’d read, I had liked stories a lot, they seemed to help, and stories encouraged me to get started on making my own. Which was going alright until around the time I turned 14 and my uncle died. He was the best man I knew but was also an alcoholic and after that took him I developed a big fear of living falsely. I tried my best to avoid anything that shifted my reality or made me think things might be different from what they were. It was a fear of make believe, of the possibility of being swayed by any outside force, of getting a high from a thing that wasn’t there, and I began to wonder why all those words mattered if in the end they were just fake.
One day our grandma invited my twin brother and I over for sausage and eggs. Her house was right next to ours, literally steps away on the Winnemucca Indian Colony. We would eat dinner there often and the TV would always be playing in the background. We’d never been the type of family to feel the need to make conversation just cause. We all knew each other and were glad we were there.
That morning she was watching Dirty Dancing while she curled her hair. I was surprised because although she loved soap operas, romances were something we’d never really seen her watch on her own before. My brother and I ate and observed and sometimes quietly made fun of the stuff going on because we thought we were funny. We were also at that point in teenagedom where anything that worked out seemed like a lie. We stopped teasing once we both realized how happy she was.
The big dance sequence at the end was going on and my grandma had stopped curling and just sat there and watched, beaming. She was the toughest person I had ever known, had been through so much in her life, and had recently lost her only son. But there she was with tears welling in her eyes because the story she cared about was ending in a good way. She was no nonsense all the way through but something about this had given her permission to dream. I’d had that look before and felt the reassurance she did—a reassurance that things could be different. Seeing that she could share the experience made my new fear seem silly and wrong. She was changed but not just that, for a bit at least, she’d been healed and that’s something a lie could never do. So it must be medicine.
We watched her and we learned what was needed to be done until the dancing ended far too soon.
Everett George is one of the many Native writers out there. He's just been lucky lately. Catch Everett at the sixth annual Nevada Humanities Literary Crawl in Reno this Saturday on September 14. His panel, No Place Like Home with Amy Kurzweil and Laura Newman features thoughts and writings on place and home, is at 4:30-5:15 pm at Arts for All Nevada at the Lake Mansion (pavilion) at 250 Court Street.
Images/Everett George by Hannah Arthur, Home by Toni George, and Nito and Her Son courtesy of Everett George