I dreamed a dream of a place I’ve dreamed before. A small house on the riverbank, the street-facing portion obscured by what once was a barn and now looked to be a shop. In the Before-dream this then-barn was a labyrinth of pipes and steam and ruddy, greasy water puddles. Angle iron stairs and painted-over windows. This time, though, the barn was a workshop and gallery and styled for this night as a feast hall.
There was a warmly lit tiled walkthrough between barn and little house, where cats curled up beside kilns and sparrows flew by (but not in. Clever birds).
The host, a friend I haven’t seen in many years. The guests were mostly his family and people, Elders and aunties and cousins and deadly uncles. I don’t know how we’d got an invite – I think His Nibs and I and a couple of our peeps were perhaps in a game with the host.
Our plates were filled by little cousins and nephews and nieces. Elders at every table laughed and we laughed too, until tears rolled down our cheeks and our bodies were joy-warmed. The aromas of beef and venison, onion, fresh fry bread and berries filled the air and condensation clung to the windows. Strings of white lights hung from the rafters where the shadows of crows moved with whispers where no one watched.
It was time to queue up for roast Turkey, gravy, and bannock over at the far table, and I was happy to wait behind the little cousins who slapped playfully at each other. Then it was my turn, only a few stragglers behind me (mostly the rest from my table), and the Turkey stores were running low so a self-declared deadly uncle ran for more.
The uncle at the serving station apologised, but there was a mountain of bannock in the centre of the table so I was happy to adorn my plate thus.
“Want some dates?” The uncle asked. He pointed to a small bowl of puréed dates and raisins.
“I’m married,” I said, “but I’ll take some berries.”
He winked at me, laughed. “You had bannock before?”
“Yeah,” I said. “There used to be feasts at the student residence by my house. My friend Joey used to take me.”
As if the only place to have bannock is at a feast. As if my other friend’s auntie hadn’t taught me to make it myself. But this is the way of dreams.
“Ya fuckin’ Indian!” He hollered, then bent over, overtaken by laughter.
“Only if we have a good talk first,”I said, which sent him over the edge.
This was a good dream. A warm dream. It was a home-dream, a place dream. An embrace. A gift. A feast.
*Thanks to Coyote for helping*