We headed up to Page this past weekend. Masani, Dana's grandma, fractured her hip several weeks ago and we were not sure if she would pull through. Fast forward to now and she is recovering in a rehabilitation facility post hip surgery. We believe that Masani is in her 90's (no one knows for sure as they didn't keep exact dates on birthdays in the older Navajo generations). Anyway, she is one tough Navajo woman because she pulled through and though her health has been better in past years... she's still doing ok (see more about Masani below).
The Page balloon Regatta was going on this weekend so on Saturday morning I stepped outside to catch the balloon launching. This was the view from Dana's parent's house. The balloons launch from various locations in town.
I caught a few through the beautiful fall foliage...
Despite my terrible allergies, that always bother me this time of year in northern Arizona, I do enjoy being up north and seeing the fall foliage that we miss here in Phoenix. Dana's parents have two trees that turn a beautiful shade of yellow in the fall. I took this shot of a red slate bench, through the leaves, in Dana's parent's front yard.
The trip was pretty relaxing with not a whole lot planned other than a family photo shoot that I did on Saturday evening. We made our stops at everyone's house and enjoyed being with family. The girls LOVED playing with their cousins and, other than watching the street in front of Dana's parent's house to make sure that they were not out there playing in it, I hardly saw the kids all weekend.
On our way back to Phoenix, we stopped at the rehab facility where Masani is staying until she is well enough to go home. It was an emotional visit because much of the family felt that she was not going to make it only weeks prior. Masani was very happy to see all of us and she thanked everyone for visiting her with tears in her eyes. Masani uses the word Chei (grandpa) in an endearing manner and often calls Dana and his brothers, Chei. She said that she had a dream that we all visited her and she wondered if we would be there soon to see her. She enjoyed seeing the little ones, often saying "Ah-wayh'" (the Navajo word for baby) as she patted them and nodded in satisfaction.
Dana and 3 of his siblings with their Masani...
Lorin, Chris, Travis & Dana (missing Don, Carminda & Sam)
Clara with her great grandma...
Aiyana was excited to see her Masani, but she fell asleep on the car ride there and we couldn't get her to wake up. Here's a picture of Masani trying to get her to wake up. So sweet.
Olin (Dana's dad) and Masani holding hands. Dana's parents both speak the Navajo language fluently. Dana's dad is white, but he learned the language during his mission on the reservation.
On our way out, I hugged Masani and said "ha goo nee" which is Navajo for goodbye. Masani pulled her head back a bit to look at me as we hugged and then she pulled in again nodding in approval as she patted my back and repeated "ha goo nee". We always say "ya at eeh" to her which is Navajo for hello, but I thought I'd pull out some of my practiced Navajo words (credit to a Navajo app that I have on my phone for the girls).
We asked Masani if she ever expected to have such blonde descendants as many of her great grandchildren have blonde hair. She laughed and said that she always wondered what her grandchildren would look like when Lori (Dana's mom) married Olin (a white man). She said that she is very pleased and she loves seeing the results.
Here's a little video snippet of Masani talking to us...
Aiyana did eventually wake up before we left and she asked to be brought back to Masani's room before we headed out. So we brought her back to her great grandma's room for a quick hello. I did grab a picture, but the room was really dark and it didn't turn out so well.