Typically we would be preparing to set off for South Dakota about right now. We go to support the Big Foot riders and spend time with family and friends. This year we will participate from afar. Last year we took our friend Dr. Jesse Lopez up to the ride and spent a week supporting in any way we could. After the ride was over, we headed back home in a horrific snow storm, but that is another story. For some reason, what stands out to me is a moment from the first morning during saddle up time. It was early and it was cold. There is always kind of an excited frenzy on the first morning of the ride. Seeing old friends and finding horses, bridles and saddles, enough to go around for about 100 riders. Young people, first timers and the old veterans all preparing to make a sacrificial journey to honor the ancestors and prepare a path for the future generations. On that morning I was mulling around lost in the activity. The sun was barely up and the ground was covered in old snow and people and horse prints. I heard someone ask me for help. It was a young man probably 14 or 15 riding high above me on a Lakota horse. He asked me if I would look on the ground. A lens had fallen out of his glasses. I looked up and sure enough, there he was, glasses on with one lens missing. I thought, "This is impossible", but I said "Sure, I am really good at finding things." I couldn't believe what I had just said, because in this place at this time, to find a transparent lens among the snow, twigs and prints was just impossible! So I quickly called on St. Anthony in my silent prayer. Within 5 seconds, on the ground I saw it, as if light were shining all around it, the lens! A small miracle. I picked it up and handed it to him, feeling for a moment like a superhero. I knew this young boy didn't have spare glasses and besides, he was setting off for a 6 day sacrifice. I really don't know why that moment meant so much to me. I never caught that young man's name and didn't see him again. It is not the giant moments that define our value but the little helping we do along the way each day. The Chief Big Foot Memorial Ride is a miracle in itself. That these young people would be willing to brave the bitter cold and sacrifice any comfort at all to take a journey that reminds us what is truly important in this life. And do it with joy and with perseverance. I am humbled to serve a warm bowl of soup, gather up warm socks to give away and help with buying feed for the horses. John's Lakota grandpa taught him 'there are no small things, everything is sacred'. I sure felt that lesson as I reached down to the cold rich ground and grabbed up a solitary lens and handed it to a real superhero on a horse. God protect and bless the riders this 2020 Big Foot Memorial Ride.
For more about the Big Foot Ride, watch this moving video:
Return to Wounded Knee
Peggy Perry-Hill has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan. She spent many years as a public school teacher. Her goal was always to be a full time writer. She has spent the last 25 years traveling the globe with her husband John Two-Hawks, presenting concerts workshops and retreats. Her mantra has been 'making music and making friends'. Peggy has also written several books with her latest being 'Give Peas a Chance' a nostalgic 60s cookbook which she wrote to hold onto some levity in her life during the pandemic. She has facilitated Women of Wisdom (WOW) retreats for over 15 years. Peggy is the owner of Circle Studios Records and CSR Media Publishing Company. Her passion is compassion and she has stood for decades by another mantra, Love is a Verb, so her main goal in writing is to inspire her readers into action. Peggy Perry-Hill is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves writing, music, theater and culinary arts.