..50 years ago they let anyone get married on the reservation. All you had to do was ask. Louise told them she was 18 and I muttered that we wanted a drivers license. Everyone laughed and we filled out the paperwork. Elee Sam came in and saw me standing there with a blush on my face.


I held up the marriage license and said, "we are getting married!" Elee Sam was the chief of the tribe. He grunted and said "Sure. I've got time to do that." He performed the marriage ceremony for us right there and right then.

My mother took us out to town in order to celebrate with a root beer float. As we stood up to leave I put a $.50 piece down on the table and we walked towards the car. Mama looked back twice and blurted out, “You left money on the table!"

Louise was more sophisticated than we were. "That's a tip," she explained.

My mother's eyes blazed indignantly what a tip was. She turned around and marched back to the table. She snatched up the coin befolre the Euromerican waitress could get it and proudly came back towards us. "Well, let the hussy earn her money then."

That was a 1942 half-dollar and I have kept it ever since. We have laughed about that scene many times since then. I have always thought that was a good answer to many a question.

For instance, we have theories coming out our ears about space travel, alien life, and where the universe came from! Each new theory arrives with excellent proof gleaned from the stars themselves. The last theory points out that the center of the universe is only 250,000,000 light years away and we might be able to keep the universe from cracking up if we can just get our scientists there in time!

Let's face facts here! We have sent scientists to the South Pole -- in time, and we have had scientists reach the Sahara desert in plenty of time, and they have not solved any of these problems! If Mama was here, and if I could explain what these dedicated scientists are saying, I am sure that Mama would say, ”Let the hussy earn their money then!"

And I believe that is the solution to the endless proliferation of pointless theories that cost us so much money! Barely a century has passed since astronomy was just another hobby, the same as psychiatry. Well, I don't care how many sheepskin certificates declare their owners are scientists. Peering through a glass darkly should not be a career that entitles the owner of that sheepskin to a life of opulence forever more.

It is time to let them earn their money.

It would be easy to do. First, we could insist that they prove they can operate the machinery of a modern telescope. Then we could let them operate the machinery to get their pretty pictures for only $5000 an hour. That is not too much to ask for, is it?

If anyone is going to operate our machinery we want to be sure they have been licensed to do so, right?

By charging $5000 an hour to use our telescopes the vast majority of theory spouters would voluntarily step out of the line waiting to use our telescopes. Those willing to pay $5000 an hour would be the ones confident that their theories were right and that they could sell books to the millions of astronomy hobbyists that are genuinely interested in pretty pictures of the stars!

The rest of us could heave a great sigh of relief, knowing that serious considerations had been applied to the formation of the latest theories on earth about where the universe came from and what we could do when we get there.

Everyone would be much happier!

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