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Shah Carlos Calusa is the name, if you please kind little friends.
As eldest sons of Carlos, tribal chief of the Estero Bay Mound Key located on the delta of the famous 'River of the Calusa,' the 'Calooshahatchee,' we announce our claim to authority. Eli, a Calusa brother of Medicine repute is the tender and my companion for our evening memorial series in behalf of the beloved departed brother, the Reverend Paul David Sinn, 1941—2012.
Eli, please nod a greeting to our fine group of Pauline disciple families from the EYE in faith of their respective Lord. All are friends of the great family of Sinn. A nod will suffice Eli, nothing more is needed. Fear reigns that a handshake and a genuflectio might take too much time brother, maybe even usher a metanoi experience. We both know the mystic EYE of all deceased elder Calusa beckons us from our legacy cemetery mounds of sand, disapproving of such a loutish protocol exchange. Nod only, please Eli.
Obviously, age has ripened the pupils of yours truly now nearing a hundred formulate years. This flesh-originally nourished and sustained by crustacean morsels from the sea-hangs loose on a tall and bent skeletal frame.
Later gringo associated years and a wayward path allowed for a disturbing diet,—-a bowel burning routine—and although the flavor tantalized the taste buds while pleasing the palate with less than sympathetic effects blunted the normal process necessary to achieve contentment.
Our ancestors, fierce canoe warrior descendants of South American Maya, Arawak, and Carib hunter-gatherers, traipsed into Florida thousands of years in advance of battles with the Spanish war ship galleons of the colonial invaders from Europe at the time of the monster armada intrusion of our waters following the 1492 Columbus debacle. Our relatives did their deed with fierce energy. They did so in skirmishes until a score of years passed to the arrival of the infamous Ponce de Leon infamous invasion in 1520.
Our Florida Calusa descendants used their South American most horrid roots against the Armada thrust, a finicky equation regarding the acceptance of the imbalance in change, a metanoia that is, so to speak in Calusa speak.
Regardless, we Calusa killed the ruthless Ponce de Leon, or so many Calusa as well as invaders said as such,—dear friends, does the smile on Eli's face betray his disposition.
Not withstanding our presumptiveness, nevertheless, we acknowledge that, although gallant, we lost the war!
(STOP! Halt your blabber, Shah Carlos Calusa, so you say!)
I fear that I may be about to spin-off a sequel into self-serving behaviors. Such detail is fuel for another story for the telling at another time, in another setting. Maybe brother Eli Carlos Calusa will share his tale of our beloved great-great-great saviors from the south at a more propitious occasion than that which brings us together at this memorial repast.
Still, (... look at the smile on Eli's face ...) it needs stated for the record; the nasty invaders did not win great treasures at the time of their conquest adventures. They won palm frond shelters built on cypress and buttonwood pilings, wooden canoes carved impetuously from cypress, mound cemeteries scraped from the beach sand, and a few delicate blue, hermit, and stone crabs scampering sideways straight, so to speak! Hardly seems worth the effort from our historical viewpoint.
Nonetheless, young friends, our heroes maintained their dignity. Even when wrapped in the bacteria and viruses imported upon the shoulders of their captors, diabolical germs that eventually eliminated many of our heritage from the sand mounds of their values, sprinkling them across the land of the warm waters, occasionally unrevealed and hidden, but always available to rise again as witnessed in the evidence of our presence tonight.
With such a parallel in thought, we suspect that you are wondering why we are on the beach, fireside, facing the great blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean off Marathon Cay, listening to the shore lapping of majestic waves as the robust fireside sparks burst into color against a darkening twilight sky splattered and specked with white weird wandering wonders.
Please, let us begin with the telling of our tale by sharing the core reason why we gather as a community, fireside warm yet resting on damp sand.
Specifically little ones, father Reverend Paul David Sinn, alias El Scorpion, asked that we hold our words of definition until this difficult time of separation was upon us, a time for crystal clean clarity, harvest historic hope, and wide wonder works, as the Calusa graphically say, so to speak.
Smiles abound! You must have heard him use that catch phrase as well.
Well—little inquisitors, believers, and those among us with convoluted and sundry conceptions of truth, hope, freedom, rights, dignity, and future tomorrows—tonight we wish to serve the tasty and the spicy of life.
Specifically, our words represent an accounting of linear truth that blends fact with massaged fantasy through the mind filters of two lanky, tall, dark tone skin Calusa warriors who witnessed a half Calusa, half Scotch maytee miracle man perform magic.
Remember, our efforts also embrace inclusively the romance of the thrilling man's father, the Reverend Doctor James Timothy Sinn, alias the Mexican Scorpion-Leon, or just plain Jim the Soft Shoe, so to speak.
The Reverend Paul David Sinn, born on August 30, 1941, was the eldest son of Jay Simms Morris, alias Soft Shoe, ala Reverend Doctor James Timothy Sinn—or whichever name you choose to use for identification purposes. Formerly, Doctor Jim was just plain Jim, like his son was just plain Paul, and his brother was just plain Peter, and his sister was refined pure Sara.
(Aside I speak; we bid a good evening to Peter and Sara, el excellante Scorpion siblings attached in affectionate appreciation to the honored one!)
Paul's Calusa mother, Roanoke Star, once said that Paul was a sculpted replica of his father Jim. When asked what she meant by the remark, she replied, "He talks like his father, he walks like his father and he sometimes stinks like his father, that is to say, he smells in a swamp-dirt stink." Without faltering a flinch, her laugh followed until tears swelled in her eyes and washed clean her dearest memories, allowing the worship liquid to cascade in torrents as love droplets over her cheeks.
Whenever Mrs. Roanoke spoke such about her son Paul, personally, my reaction to the fast moving white water flooding always included a quick blurt, "Yes ma'am, Mrs. Sinn." It stirred my heart to witness such confirmed expressions of affection rooted in fathomless respect from a blood member of the tribe. Roanoke Star was a truly beautiful and deeply respected Calusa.
Moving ahead tonight but backwards in stage time, let us say to the year 1955 while planning to attend Miami University at an early age, Tuckahoe Chief Raleigh 'Little' Orrie Leaf Paul Von Orendorf summoned yours truly to the Tuckahoe galleon flagship ADVENTURE, moored off Kice Key at the boca of west Florida Bay near the great gulf waters. A very young Calusa warrior at the time, one who dreamed in warm wild fantasies as most fourteen year olds dream, I excelled in Tuckahoe testing. It appeared that I was deserving of a challenge. The Tuckahoe chief asked a collusive collaboration question, one coordinated with the Calusa Chief Carlos. Specifically, the request was for me to attend the University in Miami. In addition, both chiefs wished that the tribes to massage aggressively a strong relationship with young Paul David Sinn, a maytee warrior known from our years in the Everglades swamps.
The assignment to pursue schooling at the Miami University included a set of instructions stating that I diligently seek out Paul David Sinn, befriend him, and maintain a close contact while for personal religious purposes Paul David attended the Independent Bible School of Dade County, in Florida City, Florida. It was an inclusive command for a life term commitment of privileged service, a task, ironically unbeknownst to me that I assumed by default near the date of Paul David's birth, in 1941.
Little ones, void of a spectacular fanfare celebration in clarity while addressing more specifically for us tonight— the issue at hand was quite clear for me—I was assigned to guard young Paul David Sinn at all costs: to protect him from himself, from others, and from foreign, or alien circumstances.
It sounded cavalier and (at the time) confusing. There was doubt in my mind as to whether the Tuckahoe chief was aware of the fact that Paul and I knew one another, very well. Truth told openly, the chiefs did know such was the case, a fact confirmed later in life by Paul and I. The point missed or unspoken in the deliberations was the fact that Paul was a maytee son of a famous man, a son deserving of respect and a level field of play for his life, period.
Eventually, reality struck as thunder with a clear definition of purpose.
In our younger days, Paul was a tad wild, a bit reckless, and exception- ally adventurous, not to mention abrupt, crude, and forceful; still he always was cordial, fair, and respectfully kind to me, generally, so to speak.
My age allowed acquiescence without a pause, fully respecting the source and purpose of the immediate request from the chiefs of the Tuckahoe Nation and the Calusa tribe. The solicitation was an honor with sufficient cause; besides, Paul was younger and presumed as such to be manageable.
After acknowledging and accepting the assignment, not that there was an alternative option available, really, a secret hesitation invaded my thinking. A degree of remorse rose demanding attention. After all, I had agreed to curtail respective freedoms for the benefit of someone else; regardless of the fact that everyone in the tribe knew Paul David and admired his family beyond description. Still, he was a maytee, a mix of gringo and Calusa, a descendant of the invaders, a fact that diluted authenticity.
Nevertheless, more pronounced at the time was the fact that Paul's father, whom we called the Reverend Jim, the Reverend could shoot a rifle at a distance, spot the mark with the wind allowance each time, and hit the target centered, as if an Apache bordering on the super natural.
In contrast to the assignment limitations, I also had pictures in my mind of preferences for escapades on the open sea that would capture a few of my gifts, tweak my curiosity, and sate my craving for adventure, all on my own without the benefit of orders from others.
Still, the chief's edict erased all personal options and reduced my story dreams to fiction fantasies that could never be, or so it was perceived at the time! A great deal of personal speculating lurked in the nebulous shadows, remorsefully doused with self-centered guilt of course.
Eventually, knowing that there must be a purpose larger than that which appeared in the phantoms of my mind, I shook my head and bit the stick that life dealt, always alert regarding the hands that delivered the spear.
At least, hope for a superior purpose won over human vanity. Life was not over—just slightly restructured and reconfigured—was the convincing logic I used to sate the desire.
Eli, we could use some more wood on the fire if you would be so kind in this time of our need.
We thank you, Eli!
Eli Carlos, the younger brother of yours truly by ten years, given his self-imposed speech limitations, masterfully manages such things as wood on fires, crowds in need of control, families in dysfunction, and a surgical scalpel. He suffers physical restrictions but his dedication is without question.
Eli is a wonder. He is a trained medical physician, a graduate of Miami Medical School, naturally with honors. He is a certified surgeon of record at the John Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland to mention one facility of prestige among the many that use his services on call. He chooses not to verbalize too profusely, if at all, unlike his elder brother; however, his intellect swims deep, his skills touch tenderly, and his love abounds. Maybe one day he will speak of the gene pool from which he derives his gifts.
(Before Eli hurls a piece of firewood thrown to stop my referencing his talents and skills, we best move ahead.)
Where were we?
Oh, yes, we were discussing the embryonic commission turned assignment and the myriad of rational detail that such a happening seeded.
Always,—and I say always with strong emphasis—Paul remembered explicitly the years of his youth: the rapid race of time that sped past his awareness after his father's murder trial, and the subsequent acquittal. He included fragmented miniscule minutia of his formative years through to the Reverend Doctor Jim Tim Sinn's conversion in faith, whenever Reverend Jim discovered religion. Paul, subsequently known as the Scorpion, held such facts tight against his chest, with affection and warmth.
Paul was what we might dub, albeit it affectionately but with a twist of irony, a sentimentalist, a speculator, and a soft sponge heart-of-hearts that skirted a sort of cavalier life model.
We often reminisced over our hunts for alligators, the fourteen foot and bigger gators that could easily turn, swipe you with a tail, and swallow completely anyone near, all in one whirling swoop. Fishing was a competition tournament for Paul, mostly a test against an elder but less adept yours truly, that is, always with a heavy bass rattle on the drawn-out, allllllwwwwwways.
We made our fishing lures, netted our pinfish bait, when live enticements were used, and occasionally we tried to spear our fish from both a standing position and/or while swimming in the gilled element, long before the commission assignment descended. We caught fish, trapped turtles, and netted crabs, all to make stew; but beyond the tasks at hand, Paul also spoke warmly about his periodic trips with his father into Mexico. The subject breeched his defenses and allowed him to dream fantasies that emerged from his lips as equestrian stories of adventure and risk. It was a marvelous time although the horse interest was confusing since I had little to no interest in the four-legged wonders.
Occasionally, I thought he fabricated the scenarios in his mind when we were on the subject; but later, I found many of them to be truth, as only Paul could cup truth, so to speak.
In his youth, Paul loved Mexico as if it were a fresh jolt of sunlight breaking from behind a cool rain cloud, pouring warmth and visibility in a full cup measure. He spoke constantly of the horses he had ridden, the rabbits he had hunted, the fine foods he had eaten, and the pretty girls he had seen, up-close, most were nice when eye to the eye. He told of following his father, of sitting at counsel at his father's side as the elders of the village community spoke of the past, of current events, and of visions for their tomorrows.
He even told of sneaking a sip of the blue a gave tequila that gushed from the jug as the vessel passed hand-to-hand, from companion to companion, fireside. Bitter was the word he used to describe the sting, as if a scorpion had rendered the bite of death, so he said. Paul confessed it was not his thing to do, whether drinking from a jug or a glass, and he nearly always let the jugs pass untapped.
Paul told how he listened while intently but quietly watching his father to the extreme of imitation, unspoken admiration, and subject respect for the gratitude and deference the groups bestowed upon the mighty man swirling in their minds, the Reverend Doctor Jim Tim Sinn, Mexican Scorpion-Leon.
Paul spoke of his returns from such early trips, and he would recite phrases, commands, and responses in Spanish. He spoke as if everyone should know what it was that he said. Indeed, those were the early years, quite some time before the Tuckahoe assignment arrived.
Excerpted from SCORPION by Ronald Lee Weagley Copyright © 2012 by Ronald Lee Weagley. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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