“Portaging” – Prioritizing What’s Most Important

Dear Reader:

A few years ago I finally got to visit Maine and fell in love with it. Anne has family who lives there and we had so much fun taking in the fall’s breath-taking beauty and enjoying all the delicious seafood!

I didn’t realize, however, that Maine is the only state that requires schools to teach Native-American history. Students study narratives, contrasting contemporary viewpoints as they travel to museums like ( The Abbe) in Bar Harbor.

In the wonderful historical fiction novel on the history of The Orphan Train, backed by much research, a modern young female character, named Mollie, discovers she is a descendant of the one of the tribes dating back 10,000 years-she is named for a strong woman chieftain named Molly.

Molly is a teenager and orphan-struggling through a flawed foster care system with damaging emotional scars left on her.

As the story begins she is given one last chance in the system-and part of this experience involves helping a 91 year old wealthy woman throw away some lifetime memories while deciding on what to keep.

Mollie becomes more familiar with a term her Native American ancestors knew quite well…” Portaging.”

In the old days the Wabanakis had to carry their canoes and all they possessed across land from one water body to another, so they had to think carefully about what to keep and what to discard-they learned to travel light.

As she begins to use this example as a way to help Miss Vivian decide herself what to keep or discard-Mollie discovers that they are connected in more ways that she could have imagined-taking both Miss Vivian and Molly back to the tracks of The Orphan Train.

Both literally and metaphorically both women must decide what is most important to them in their lives …as they each must make peace with the past while continuing seeking the life they want to live-It is never too soon or too late to change direction.

So until tomorrow… We should all pause as we continue on our unique journeys…

to “Portage” what is important enough to continue carrying with us and what should be left behind now- it has served its purpose but no longer needed.

” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh

Quick Update-Betsy stayed overnight at MUSC since her heart procedure ran late-is quite sore today but the surgeons are hopeful -they corrected two heart problems causing Betsy’s sudden attacks-We are all hopeful and thankful that with new medications her heart rhythm can be maintained-Libby and Betsy’s family thank you all for your prayers-they were needed and appreciated beyond measure!

Don’t we love it when Mother Nature uses her aerial friends to transport and plant petunias with your English daisies?

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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5 Responses to “Portaging” – Prioritizing What’s Most Important

  1. Honey Burrell says:

    So thankful for update on Betsy. So thankful procedure went well. Prayers will continue for Betsy,Mom and her family.
    Love Maine! I didn’t have/want a retirement party. Instead I wanted a trip to Bar Harbor! I do love that area!
    Your flowers are so lovely! I’ve learned the hard way that there’s no guarantee plants will survive if put out before Mother’s Day! Freezing temps this morning!
    Have a great day and wonderful weekend!
    Love you lots!

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Burr…it’s in the fifties today and I am already cold after the “heat wave” we have had…can’t imagine freezing temps again….will update you on Betsy soon…found some unexpected obstacles. She and Libby need rest, rest, rest.

  2. Sis Kinney says:

    Good morning, Becky,
    Glad to hear that Betsy is doing better. I, too, had a catheter heart ablation, back in Nov. 2016. I’ve not had a “breakthrough” episode of a-fib in over a year and it IS a scary thing, so I can empathize with Betsy a bit. I know her medical history is somewhat different, but it is my prayer for her that this will help her and her heart issues.
    And, like Honey, we’ve learned that you cannot start a garden or put plants outside until after Mother’s Day. That’s “the law” of gardening in the mountains. We were spoiled by having about a week of nice warmish (60s) temps; now we’re back to C-O-L-D and we’re supposed to have it for about a week. Darn! Was REALLY enjoying the warmth. At least the sun is shining! I’m SO looking forward to flowers blooming here; had the forsythia bloom that we planted not quite two years ago! There’s hope!
    To harken back to a post a day or so ago – and will try to remember “orbisculate”!! Ya never know!
    Much love,

    • Becky Dingle says:

      Thank for spreading the “Orbisculate” word….a fun adventure for such a good cause…hope to hear the word made it in the dictionary soon. Stay warm and I prayer warm weather comes your way soon….I don’t like hot…but I sure do like warm…the older I get. And then plant away…bringing new life to earth.

  3. Lynn Gamache says:

    Yes, love that new word, but now have to remember how to say and spell it when we play Scrabble the next time. We’ve had words and expressions in our family that I grew up with but then got out into the world and realized that others had never heard of these sayings. One of these was a “Jonah Day”. My Dad would often comment when things weren’t going so well, “I guess it’s just another Jonah Day”…in other words, not such a good day. Wondering if anyone else ever used or heard of this expression?
    On my mother’s side of the family I had a grandma who talked about one’s “trollibubs”. It was another word for tummy or stomach. So she might ask if our trollibubs were not feeling so good today? (I only made up that spelling….have never tried actually writing this word before!)

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