Pages 298-300 Summary

An orderly gets Russell Kashpaw dressed and ready to transport while Fleur sternly supervises the proceedings. The orderly dresses Russell in his military uniform, and Fleur takes his medals from a leather case and pins them just above Russell’s heart. She puts his rifle, in a long, olive case, on his lap, and Russell waits for someone to put his hat on in the same jaunty position he wore it for his formal military photographs.

The orderly wheels Russell up the ramp and into the nursing-home van; they drive for an hour and suddenly they arrive. He is whisked out of the van and down the ramp, where Russell sees parade participants. No one pays any attention to him except for a brief comment by his former boss.

The orderly manages to get Russell up onto the American Legion float and strap him in before the float starts to move. At first Russell stares at the crowd as he passes them, but the noise is tiring and soon his chin drops and his eyes close; suddenly the crowd seems quite distant from him and he has a vision.

His sister Isabel is on the road ahead of him, looking back with her familiar grin. Russell realizes this is the “road of death” which the Chippewas talk about, and he calmly realizes he must be dead. At first he is sorry he did not die in a more private setting, but soon he is amused that everyone is “saluting a dead Indian.” He laughs so hard he falls off the road before he gets past “the point of no return.” When he opens his eyes, he realizes he is at the end of the parade and his sister will not come back for him, no matter how hard he calls her.