Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Who is Mafo?

Who is Mafo?


My family is Native American. Mafo is the Choctaw word for grandpa. My young grandsons call me Mafo and it is the most important “title” I have ever had.
Mafo and his boys at Cabela's

I was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. I still live there with my wife. We have one daughter and two grandsons. Obviously I’m familiar with rush hour traffic, stores that are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week, and looking across the porch or deck at the neighbors and the stuff in their yard.

Thanks to my “ancestors” I am also familiar with the outdoors and nature. About a hundred years ago, my great grandparents established a crop and livestock farm on the banks of the Osage River near Warsaw, Missouri. This farm, about 100 miles from Kansas City, was “passed down” to one of my great uncles. I spent many weekends staying there from the time I was a toddler until the farm was purchased by the U S Army Corps of Engineers to be flooded by Truman Reservoir. My dad and his cousins took me on lots of outdoor adventures there.

As I grew up my family also travelled many weekends to local lakes and wildlife areas to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. I have enjoyed catching fish, hunting animals, gathering fruit, nuts, and berries, along with all sorts of other outdoor activities all of my life. I enjoyed being in the “woods” and in the “country” so much that as a youth I spent most of my summer breaks from school down on the farm, or out in the country with various relatives.

I am the oldest of four children, two girls and two boys. Thanks to my dad and mom, I was involved in Boy Scouts from the age of 8, getting to go on lots of camping trips, summer camps, and one national jamboree. I became an Eagle Scout at age 13. My “little” brother is also an Eagle Scout.

My brother and I currently own about 40 acres of land near Warsaw. The land was passed down from our grandparents and parents. The driveway to my great grandparent’s old farmhouse on the banks of the Osage River cuts across the edge of our property and now ends in Truman Lake. Much of the old farm is always under the water now, some of it is not. The U S Army Corps of Engineers now own that old farm and thousands of acres of adjoining land. I love to visit that old place as much as I can. My grandsons are the sixth generation of my family to walk, fish, and hunt on that land. Their great great great grandparents and some other relatives are buried about a mile up the hill. Isn’t that great?

While in his possession, my late father improved the property my brother and I now own. There is hot and cold running water, a septic system, electricity and an old two bedroom mobile home, circa 1980. A long circle gravel driveway provides lots of room to park various vehicles. My brother and I have planted a few trees, cut down a few trees, and added decks to the trailer, otherwise, we haven’t “improved” it much. We just spend too much time hunting, fishing, and hiking, to do very much work there. It’s kind of “rustic”, a great little place to be surrounded by the outdoors.
A favorite tree stand at Cedar Rock Squirrel Ranch

This “place at the lake” is the Cedar Rock Squirrel Ranch. We sometimes go there by ourselves, but often host friends or other family too. Some weekends during spoonbill snagging season there have been as many as 7 boats and enough folks to fill them all, as we help guide our friends to success. This past opening day of rifle season for whitetail deer we put people in 6 different deer stands. There are other weekends full of catching catfish or crappie, hunting turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and gathering mushrooms, nuts and berries, or cutting firewood and doing minor maintenance tasks.

My wife and I also own a camper, two boats, nine hunting guns, over a dozen fishing poles, and a ton of outdoor equipment needed to take comfort into the woods or onto the water. I’m kind of nuts about loving the outdoors, so even with our own “place at the lake”, I go other places to enjoy nature too.

When I couldn’t get outside, I’ve watched most all of the “outdoor” television shows since Harold Ensley’s locally produced “The Sportsman’s Friend” (still have some Ensley’s reaper lures in my tackle box); right up to this week’s national showing of Michael Waddell’s Bone Collector. (By the way, “Mr.” Waddell stole my fantasy life and made it his real one.) I read several outdoor magazines too.
Pow Wow Drum

My wife and I also travel to many Native American Pow Wows and other cultural events. We have been blessed to be the Head Dancers, Head Singer, and Arena Director at some of these events. Being Native American affects how we treat all of our relations in the world created by our higher power. Though we are far from perfect, we practice treating all of those relations, the plants, the animals (both two legged and four legged) and the seemingly inanimate objects with respect. All these “things” are blessings from our creator. We seek to use them wisely.

Along these lines I hope you will find something of value in having invested the time to read my blogs. I hope to inspire a fond memory, offer a tip to help you be more successful, or gain a friend. I hope to feed you, or share with you a small portion of what gives me the peace and serenity I seek. Aho Wah Kon Tah (Thank you God) for the many blessings in my life.

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