It seemed to me she was always old. She had long white hair and she tied it in a bun on the top of her head.
I remember her baking bread in her old black cast iron cook stove. My grandfather carried that stove on cow trails on his back and it took him four trips from Chisholm, which was seventeen miles away. Her wood fired cook stove was going every day, even on the hottest July days. The only time she didn’t use it was every couple of years when my aunt Bertha came to visit from California. Then she had to figure out how to use the electric stove Bertha bought her a few years earlier. Otherwise the electric stove held a flower pot and was never used.
In the Spirit of Medicine features the essays of Dr. Arne Vainio, an enrolled member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and a family practice doctor on the Fond Du Lac reservation in Cloquet. His essays on life, work, medicine, and spirit are published in News from Indian Country and you can find the link to this story here.