Letter: Misreading the smoke signals
On Friday, Aug. 23, one of the "marijuana eradication" checks the Mathews Sheriff’s Office conducted with assistance from Virginia State Police and helicopters took place on my property in Onemo. Apparently, my grandson’s wigwam attracted a lot of attention. Since I was working in a post office out of the county that day, I wasn’t available to welcome folks that, under normal circumstances, I would have proudly explained the purpose of the wigwam and the "uncustomary gardening" that sparked their interest. Attempts to speak with MASO officials having failed, I would like to share that purpose with anyone, particularly those Onemo residents who endured the disturbance of our normally quiet neighborhood, who might still harbor questions about the presence of a wigwam in the woods of my 10-acre property.
Grandson is the president of the Primitive Technology Club at the university he attends. This summer, he decided to "live off the land" as his ancestors did. He is proud of his Native American blood and dances at powwows to share that heritage, thus, the wigwam for shelter and the growing of a garden. Unfortunately, as the summer heated up, his desire to live primitively conflicted with his running regimen of an average 60 miles per week. He is the captain of his school’s cross country team and a scholarship recipient. By the end of the summer, his garden was overgrown and the wigwam barely used. None of us, his mother included, were aware of how suspicious his summer project might look from above the tree line.
Apologies go to our neighbors for causing such a ruckus and a suggestion to my former colleagues at the sheriff’s office: Before you assume the worst about a wigwam builder, you might want to get to know them. They are a rare breed and generally speaking, worthy of interest and encouragement. If grandson hadn’t gone back to college two days prior to his wigwam being "busted," he would have been glad to show you the primitive hunting tools he had made. If they had been left in the wigwam, instead of me transporting them back to Farmville for his PrimTech Club, your search of my property might have been much more interesting. And, in case you are still wondering, those suspicious turtle shells were collected in their deceased state for use with powwow regalia, the mussel shells were the leftovers of a meal, and the large spearhead he had been chipping and forming probably will become an artifact one day. And, FYI, he is studying to be a law enforcement officer. But, there again, we all know even they aren’t above the law or suspicion nor, for that matter, common courtesy.