I didn’t know my Gramma was tough, she was just my Gramma before that day I found out. She was in the kitchen in her house on the reservation making fry bread. Me and the cousins were watching cartoons. No cable, we were watching one of the two videos we owned. It was too cold to play out, the windows were steamy from all our breath, and that cooking. The delicious hot bread fragrance drifted in to where we sat demolishing other countries with leggo weapons. Uncle was way drunk. Again. “I know karate”. He’d try a high kick and fall on his ass. Sit grinning stupidly. Us kids would giggle and couldn’t stop.. He bragged about his high kick, roundhouse, upper cut and liver shot combo. Falling, smashing into furniture. Us, we were laughing so hard I got an asthma attack. Gramma sounded as hard as the thick blade of her skinning knife. “Ronnie, go use your puffer”. She was mad. We could tell by the stomp, too. We knew to move like bush rabbits if we heard the stomp. She made for Uncle, pinned him right to thewall with a mean tone of face, like only a Native Indian Granny can. They could make you confess things the FBI couldn’t. Pee your pants on the spot. That’s who should deal with ISIS. A crew of Indian Grannies I’m tellin’ you. Uncle was numb to the deep trouble he was in with that one woman swat team. Gramma wound up and cold cocked Uncle, straight punched him, smack! Faster than a ninja. Bdoof, doof. That’s how it sounded. Her hitting him, him hitting the floor like a ragdoll. He lay there like a pile of dirty laundry. Didn’t move. Gramma went back to the frybread. She came out after a while with a cup of tea, noticed Uncle still out cold there on the floor. We had war painted his face by this time. We froze. Breathless. She saw her hand lotion. It was all over his hair. She spied the razor with her navy seal vision. ‘You kits (she pronounced her d’s as t’s) quit diggin’ my cupboards’! Boy, we ran for it like rez dogs caught stealing. We heard slapping. We sneaked looks from the hall. Gramma was bannock slapping Uncle’s face to wake him back up. He came to enough. “You forgot”. She took a sip of her tea. Added, “I know karate too”. She went back to the kitchen, brought Uncle a hot piece of frybread, butter staining the paper towel square it was on. “Now smarten the heck up”, she said. We heard the smile in her voice. He took the frybread with a little kid grin, ate it still half sitting up like he hadn’t eaten in a week.
Bio: Karen Lee White is Indigenous Canadian (Native American)and Scots. Home is Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. A first play won a juried spot in Intrepid Theatre’s lineup, and sold out in July,2015. Another was featured at Victoria’s Belfry Theatre 26th Cabaret December 2016. A double Banff Centre of the Arts alumni, Karen has completed two playwright workshops through Victoria’s Belfry Theatre.
In 2015 Karen won a grant through the Canada Council of the Arts to complete Her novel ‘The Silence’. Karen is influenced by her Indigenous roots and languages and cultures encountered travelling and living around the globe.