The 365 Commitment

Zuni Fetishes

I wandered into one of those roadside Native American trading posts. The signs claimed best buffalo burgers ever, though it did not look like there had been many who had tried to test that theory recently. Most of the attractions that had been setuo to lure in travelers over the years had also fallen into disrepair. With some trepidation, I tried the old rusty metal door with a faded open sign barely hanging from a nail that looked older than the building.

The moment that followed can only be described as a flood of perceptory overload. You had the stereo typical totem poles, and funny signs about how much honest advice might cost. There was what looked like a short order menu, some booths for dining but the first impressions was all the jewlry cases, pottery, artwork and various other artifacts that decorated every square inch.

When you walk into this place, a white man named Bob immediately tells you that he is COVID free, his daughter took him into a test recently. He then starts his speech. He loves to tell you that he is not a retail outfit. He is a consignment shop where most of the proceeds go to the native american artists, including some young up and coming artists. Bob, btw, is a walking treasure trove himself. Full of details about Pueblo, Navajo, Hopi and other Indian tribes. He walks you through the finer points of how turquoise gets its color and if you listen long enough he will tell you about, mom. You see, and this is not a joke, his mom is a famous Zuni pottery artist. He spent every summer with her growing up, and for all intents and purposes became one of them. I even heard him talking in that language over the phone later in the day.

I could probably write a novel on the details that flooded out of Bob and his surrounding environment. He smiled when I bought a necklace for my daughter, he was the proud father of two daughters that he adopted out of a tribal foster system. Anyway, while we were discussing his eccentric life, I started to look at this small rock carved into a frog. This is going to sound crazy, but back in my Don Quixote days, I became convinced that the frog was my spirit familiar. Anyway, a blog for another day. He laughed at me as I held this small frog in the palm of my hand. He said that I was holding a Zuni Fetish carved by a famous Zuni named Brandon Phillips. He then said the frog fetish was supposed to bring two things to a person. The first was that of fertility. He laughed and said if I put that by my bedside that I might get pregnant! He thought I was drawn to the frog for its other power. Abundance. The frog would bring abundance to my life and those in my employ. I’ll go with that.

Guy Reams

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