My hubby has a hard and fast rule, from which he rarely wavers, about traveling over holidays – that rule is that he doesn’t travel…period. This especially applies to New Year’s Eve, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day, as these are the holidays that most lend themselves to people drinking and then getting into their cars and wantonly endangering the lives of themselves and everyone else that is unfortunate enough to be on the same road. He calls these holidays “Amateur Night” and vowed long ago that he wasn’t going to be out on the road with all the crazies, even when he was one of them.
Needless to say, I have pretty much quit asking if we can go somewhere fun on a three-day weekend. There are plenty of other weekends in the year where we can go and do, so it’s just not a huge deal to me anymore. This year he surprised me.
Last Sunday we were going to go to a movie. My hubby isn’t crazy about going to movies, either, but he knows I love going, so he planned for us to go see something that we both thought looked fun and entertaining, “ You Don’t Mess With the Zohan”. The bummer for us was that the movie isn’t being released until June 6th. I sighed and began to plan a day of laundry and paying bills. It was okay, I wasn’t planning anything anyway.
Nevertheless, Hubby was determined to give me a fun day on this holiday weekend! He decided that we would go visit the Heard Museum in Phoenix. I’ve lived here for 2 ½ years, but had never yet been to this wonderful place, and he hadn’t been there since he was a kid on a school field trip; probably about 25-30 years ago. I LOVE museums, and had expressed a desire to visit the Heard, so he thought this would make for a fun day for us both. He was right!!
We arrived about 11:00 AM and had lunch at the lovely little restaurant, The Acadia Farms Cafe that is part of the museum. We feasted on seafood enchiladas and salad while sitting outdoors under a tree. The weather was beautiful! It was sunny, a very slight breeze was blowing and the temperature was about 80.
There is a shop that sells Native American items, many of which are very costly. I told my hubby that I thought it would be really cool to have one of the large baskets that we saw in the shop, I have just the place to put one that size…that is I thought it would be cool until he pointed out that the price of that particular basket was $17,000!! NO, I’m not exaggerating! $17,000! But, in all fairness, it is an amazing piece of work.
After lunch we went to tour the museum. We saw authentic, handmade jewelry, pottery, baskets, katsina dolls (I really loved these!), textiles, paintings and more. We saw clothing and artifacts that were up to thousands of years old. Papoose boards, buckskin dresses adorned with elk teeth, moccasins, pottery and primitive weapons were among the many items we saw. The exhibits were divided by the various tribes that inhabited this area: Navajo, Hopi, Apache and others. There is also a room that contains artifacts and artwork from other native peoples in parts of the world such as Australia, New Guinea, New Zealand and South America.
To me, one of the most interesting exhibits was about the Indian boarding schools. It was sad, however, to see how our government tried to “civilize” the Indians by sending them away from their homes and families to educate them to be more “white”. Some of them had to be dragged away, screaming and crying, to be taken to the boarding schools. In every single photograph of the young Native Americans there was only rarely a smile. Most stared rather blankly at the camera and many looked very uncomfortable. We also saw the Indian that used to adorn the Indian School gymnasium here in Phoenix. My husband recognized it immediately as he once got to play basketball in that gym. Apparently they cut out the center of the floor and it was donated to the Heard Museum when they re-purposed the building. There were a lot of stellar athletes to come out of the Indian School system, including Jim Thorpe. During the summer of 1912, before his last year at Carlisle, Thorpe was chosen to represent America at the Stockholm Olympics in the decathlon and the pentathlon.
This was an educational, interesting and fun trip. The best part was that I got to experience this wonderful place with my sweetheart, who being a Phoenix Native, had some insights that I would not have gotten had I gone alone! It would take many weeks to take in all that there is to see at the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix; I’m certain this will not be my last trip!