But only for a minute. My evil twin is back. Sorry about that.
Then after the sweat, the best chef in the whole United Houma Nation gave us all vanilla cream pie.
Today is Day 46 of the American Indian Movement's Sacred Run across the U.S. of A. On Day 43, I joined up with the Sacred Run in Baton Rouge and happily trotted after them, wearing my shiney red Espirit patent leather Mary Janes through 15 miles of rural Louisiana.
The main thing that has truly amazed me about being "On the Run" is how often we get to stop and talk with REAL Americans -- and how often they take time out of their busy lives to stop and talk to us, telling us about their worries, hopes and dreams for themselves and for their country.
Today we did something extra special. We (me and some of the tribal elders) walked and (my son Joe and a bunch of people in much better shape than me) ran through the bayous of southern Louisiana.
One woman said, "Members of the United Houma Nation, without any aid from FEMA or the Red Cross, have worked together to put new roofs on over 70 houses, remove tons of debris and find shelter for the disposessed. We have even collected and re-erected the tombstones of our dead. We did this all by ourselves. And there is still a staggering amount of work left to do."
Again and again, with tears in their eyes, these Houma people told us, "If FEMA and the Red Cross and everyone have already forgotten about helping New Orleans recover, then you can imagine how quickly they have forgotten about us. But you haven't forgotten."
In the last three days, we have either walked or run up and down the banks of these bayous, past gutted houses and trailers, past destroyed shrimp boats, past unbelievable scenes of destruction. And everywhere we went, we have been greeted with smiles and tears.
"Thank you for remembering us," they said. "You are the only ones that have."
PS: Actually, not EVERYBODY forgot about the Houma. It hurts me to have to say this but I gotta give props to Wal-Mart. After the hurricane, Wal-Mart gave the tribe a whole truckload of new clothes.
And of course the oil companies haven't forgotten the Houma either. The Nation has been trying to be recognized as an official tribe for decades now. But you know THAT'S not going to happen. There is too much of a possibility that there is oil under Houma land.