Ike Moseseek drove down the Mount Rushing Highway to City Hall. The aspens, larch, and maples were turning color here in mid-September. He listened to some Navajo singers on CD. He kept cadence with the drumming, his thumbs dancing on the steering wheel.
He considered time, the passing of seasons, here now, driving down the paved road in an automobile, too fast to hear songbirds, too fast to hear the river on the rocks. He consciously slowed to 40, checking his mirrors, should some log truck come barreling up.
Ike laughs at modern times, “Time is money.”
Ike thinks, ‘My song goes back a dozen generations, but that is not so many forebearers. Those ancestors: A drop in the bucket of the Quaish. May there be a dozen dozen to follow!’
As he descends onto the Plateau a baler is pulled through a hay pasture, picking up this third cutting. Its pumping mechanics makes him giddy. “It keeps the beat too,” he shouts. A magpie sails from larch treetop, descending in glide to fence post.
There was considerable talk about Ike serving as the next mayor. Tootie was not interested. With George’s and Orin’s impending retirement from the Warhaven City Council, Ike was a strong choice — for his administrative skills — initially being appointed to fill the remainder of Gus Chapman’s seat, who had tragically died when his small plane crashed near Deer Lodge, Mont. He was duly elected that next November. Ike is an even-keeled fellow who puts most folks at ease when he is around.
Ike sighs, “Yep, it’s my time.”
Unknowns for Ike and city government remain the two seats to be vacated.
Yet, despite looming unknowns, Ike realizes he is in the catbird seat, should he be elected as mayor of Warhaven. He acknowledges to himself, “Every breath to follow, every step, each thought, and all physical action is risk. There really is nothing known; plans are all predictions. We are all necromancers of sorts, with the skill set mostly made of luck. Achievement is pluck.”
River Currents Power was now delivering free electrical service to all the residents and businesses of Warhaven. The city and the PUD were beyond solvent. Any employer with more than 10 employees was showing growth, profit and strong morale, in no small part to Tootie McDaniels’ Quality Customer Service Program. Employers found that the training sessions not only better engaged workers with the public, but it appeared communication among workers also strengthened. At least that was the anecdotal information shared at recent Chamber of Commerce meetings.
Ike was comfortable with both Debbie Dacnic and Tootie as colleagues. He was grateful. Ike surmised the council would be blessed with two qualified individuals. “When was the last time Warhaven elected a wingnut?”
Public health and social welfare were gemstones of Warhaven that were the envy of many incorporated towns. If one wanted to work, there was employment to be had. If one was unable to work, there was support that led to skill training or rehabilitation that led to a healthier individual and family. Agencies and organizations kept open communication networks which meant few fell through the cracks. So, Ike was confident that governance couldn’t get much better, but he would try, if he were the one.
Ike pulls into the shade beneath the black walnuts of Via Valhalla. He’s early. He decides to take a stroll about downtown prior to going to City Hall and his meeting with City Clerk Gwen Stokes.
Stepping up Via Valhalla he takes long strides, passing Jane’s Java, waving to a young couple in the window.
At the Carnegie Library he stops to browse the display for Banned Book Week, learning several facts, that the Bible is the most banned book in history, that books are challenged and banned for dozens of political or moral perspectives, and that no book is immune from such censorship. What really caught Ike’s mind was the display of the Indigenous People’s History of the United States for Young People. It was under scrutiny because of something called critical race theory, a concept that still perplexed him.
Ike continued past the Warhaven Museum, which was advertising its display of cameras, Camera Obsura to the Digital Age: Learn about the development of photography that has given us space and endoscopic imaging. “Wow!” he said aloud. “So big, so little, so fast. Still photographs of time.” He continued on up the hill turning the corner, east on Eagle. He turned around, gazing at the octagonal stone water tower, the hundred foot marvel, tribute to the craft of the stone mason and the engineering ingenuity of Paris DuMont. Ike marvels at the structure, thinking, ‘If the Warhaven founding fathers did one thing right, it was this, our symbol of fire protection, clean water, and the vision to guarantee both.’
He walks the block, turning left to descend down Flicker Avenue, passing the Congregational Church. Its churchyard had been recently raked and mowed. “Looking sharp,” he thinks. He walks down, passing Dove Street.
At Catbird Street, he crosses, then turns left back to Via Vallhalla, passing Tatoo Mania, formerly the site of Donald’s Western Wear. He reminisces, “I bought a bolo tie there for my senior year of high school. What a year, of sports, of dances, of big ideas in classes. So many ideas. Here Donald’s takes me back to English class and the poet Roethke and his transcendence of time and here I walk through all its fluidity! And getting that first pair of blue jeans from Gramps before I could ride a horse by myself! I sure miss Donald’s!”