by John Aldrich
It's hard to resist starting a blog about this food run without including a picture of the beautiful area we stay on the first night. This picture, taken from the patio of the San Juan Inn in Mexican Hat, shows the San Juan River and the bridge crossing it which takes us to the Navajo Reservation.
On our arrival the temperature was 95 degrees, and those veterans of the food run a year ago were having thoughts of the very hot day we had at Oljato at that time. Fortunately a cloud cover moved over, so when we sat outside for the ceremony it seemed more agreeable.
The next morning was cool and pleasant with the temperature forecast to be a bit cooler than the previous day. There was great optimism in the air as we met on the patio for organizational instructions.
The drive to Oljato is memorable for everyone as we pass through Monument Valley. But reservation roads require a degree of caution since livestock can appear at any time and anywhere. As we approached our destination we had to stop for a herd of sheep and goats.
The first order of business at Oljato was to pause for the group photo.
Dru Drury and his wife, Leslie, once again were part of this food run. Dru has a large trailer and was able to carry many of the Rainbow Boxes for Oljato. This made Ed Keane's life much simpler. Ed is one of the unsung heroes at ANE and does a remarkable job at every food run figuring out how all the boxes are going to get to the reservation. For a small food run like this where there is no big truck, this logistical challenge can be quite a headache.
Elders pull out their finest dress and jewelry for food runs. Nellie Grandson wore a beautiful array of turquoise.
After the main program is over there is a meal at each food run. Edith Tahe has been in charge of preparing the food for the past several years, and we are grateful for her dedicated work.
After the meal, Elders' vehicles get loaded and everyone heads home. This view shows the scene outside as the loading was in progress. The photo also provides a hint of the great natural beauty in this area of the reservation.