Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Before you get all huffy and try to be politically correct, my Navajo friend, Ramona was the one who referred to her kind as "Injuns." The first time I heard her say it we were on break at work and she had picked up a newspaper. I was preoccupied looking at something else when she declared that there was an "Injun" on the front page. I thought she had said "engine" as in "car engine" or "train engine" so I sat there puzzled for a moment, wondering why she would bother to mention such a thing. Then after looking up and seeing the picture of a dancing "Indian" wearing his feathered ceremonially garb on the front page, I realized what she meant. Since that time Ramona has taken to saying "How" in a stearn voice when she greets people. All of us "crackers" at work get a kick out of it and wish we could all be cool Navajo Injuns too.

I wouldn't ever want to cross Ramona or any other Navajo for that matter. For some reason they have superhuman strength. While staying in her hogan on the Navajo reservation last Thanksgiving, I watched Ramona split a stack of wood with an ax. She would swing that ax way up over her head and bring it down on the wood so hard and precise like it was no big deal. Assuming I could actually hit a log with an ax is one thing, but there's no way my puny little arms could ever split a log like that with one whack, let alone a whole pile of them.

Seth and I moved into a bigger apartment just after we got married so we could fit all of our stuff in one place. The apartment is in the same complex as the old one, but I was a little concerned about the move. The new apartment had stairs going down to it meaning we would need help to move my piano. I called around to a few movers and found that it would cost several hundred dollars to have it moved professionally. After hearing this, Ramona insisted that she and her boyfriend, Gabe, would help us, along with another fellow Navajo or two. I felt bad making her help me because I know from experience that pianos are not fun to move, but accepted her offer knowing I had no other choice.

Seth was working in Colorado during that time and though he came home on the weekends, he didn't usually get home until later Saturday evening. Ramona said they'd be up to help out at 7:30 pm the day of the move, but we told her to come a little later as Seth probably wouldn't be there until 8:00pm. She insisted they come at 7:30pm, so true to her word she was there on time with Gabe and his brother, Darren.

We loaded the piano onto the special dolly I'd rented and proceeded to push it across the parking lot to the new place. On our way there, Seth sent me a text message saying he was just leaving Salt Lake. That meant it would probably be another half hour or so until he got up to Layton. It only took us a couple minutes to push the piano to the top of the small flight of five stairs that led down to the apartment and I figured we'd just wait for Seth to get there. Not so. Ramona, Gabe and Darren said they thought we could move the piano ourselves and proceeded to position themselves for the job.

The dolly I'd gotten had four handles for lifting the piano, two on each end. Gabe and Darren took the handles on the bottom end and Ramona and I took the top two. After starting to move the piano, Ramona quickly realized I was just in her way and took both handles on our end all by herself. To my surprise they lifted the several hundred pound piano down the stairs and into the apartment with seemingly little effort. I was amazed.

Not only did the Navajos move the piano, they went back with me to the old apartment to help load up the rest of the big items. They threw the top half of the mattress on top of our XTerra and lifted the TV into the back. Then they all jumped onto the outside of the vehicle and held onto the mattress as I slowly drove to the new place. I'm sure it was quite the sight.

They unloaded the mattress and then Ramona and Gabe came back to bring in the TV. I offered to help with it as it is also very heavy, but they declined my assistance. I had tried helping someone lift it on my own one time and narrowly escaped crushing my leg when I couldn't handle the weight for more than two seconds. Once again they used their super powers and carried the TV across the sidewalk and down the stairs.

Just after Ramona and Gabe moved the TV and first half of the mattress in, Seth showed up. He wasn't too disappointed to learn that he'd missed moving all the really big, heavy stuff and was just as amazed at their strength as I was.

The Navajos all stayed and helped us move the rest of the mattress and our five piece sectional couch, all items Seth and I could have easily moved ourselves. I think they all just liked to ride on the outside of the car. Seth and I were both very grateful for their help and though I still feel like it wasn't payment enough, we took them all out for pizza when we were done.

It's great to have a friend like Ramona. If you ever get a chance to get to know a Navajo, I strongly recommend it. You won't find anyone better to have on your side.


heidi said...

I've known some people who were shockingly generous but that story sure has me beat. I hope someday I meet my own "Ramona"!