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by Donna Jones-Flood
Lee, their father, was an incredibly patient
always had a way of working around any situation
a peaceful solution, consequently it was rare
for him to
have a show of temper. Trying to teach the
learning to control their own developing
well, he was known to admonish, "are you going
control of that or will it control you?" Lee
truly was not
hypocritical about it, but set an example for
He wasn't a saint and certainly they were aware
have a temper, but for the most part he kept
off about nothing. If he did on rare occasion
get a little
peeved it was with very little seriousness
lasting for only a
brief moment. This is about one of the times he
tells just how mild his outburst were.|
Preparing for a trip of some fifty miles to the largest town in the area was a project Velma, their mother, could easily accomplish. She loved the excitement of an outing away from the mundane chores of a country woman's life. If she had to comb hair, clip hair, make a lunch, get her regular work done early, or anything else to get the show on the road, she could easily do it. There would be no complaints coming from her.
Velma's shining blue black hair was as usual wound tightly into a bun at the back of her neck. She wore a dress of a dark blue, which was one of her favorite colors. The dark blue of the fabric picked up the blue highlights of her hair. The strength of her native background gave her a rare natural beauty. However, she was quick to pick up the necessary beauty secrets in order to accent her own, but only to the extent of using Rachel colored powder to soften her face, and this was the extent of her make up. These were the few times she wore hose on her legs which was only a matter of bending to fashion, because the color of her skin was much more beautiful than anything manufactured.
"Come on kids, help me load up. The sooner we are ready to go the sooner we can go," she would hurry her three children along. To Lee she would ask, "Are the chickens watered? Is there feed out for them?
"Yes, yes," came Lee's always patient response.
"Did you turn Shortie out to pasture?" She asked about their working horse they used for the cattle.
"I let Shortie out early this morning." Velma's husband assured her.
"What about the eggs? I want to drop them off at Casselman's store in Grainola," she continued.
"The eggs are already to go, packed and set so they won't turn over," Lee told her.
"I'll just check," and Velma was moving the very large box of shelved eggs setting in their cardboard trays back and forth as if to see if they were indeed stable.
Lee stood watching her without a word. When she was satisfied the eggs were in position she began to herd the children into the pick up truck much like the old mother hens, clucking at them until they were all lined up on the seat beside each other.
They wound their way over the verdant hills and valleys. The wide skies and looming great clouds rolling over the landscape gave a background the children knew and it was being woven into the their mind and heart. Lee's decidedly unhurried approach to driving was a pleasure. It gave the children an opportunity to enjoy whatever might come up. A new sign, a turtle in the road, or some person their parents knew and threw a friendly waved hand in their direction was excitement for the stay at home children.
There would be a half way pause at the little filling station, cafe, beer joint, and bus stop all rolled into one. Here they would enjoy the rare delight of drinking a bottle of pop. There was a brand particular to Osage county, Oklahoma, called "Love Soda." It came in flavors of strawberry, grape, and something else looking like lemon lime. The bottles were big for the small children but they could polish off each drop with only a little burping and panting.
Continuing on their trek they were now coming into the proximity of their destination. Velma loved to stop along the way if there was something to catch her eye. Today, she saw a sign setting at the edge of a rather long drive way which read, "HENS HONEY FOR SALE"
"Lee, look! Stop!"
Quietly Lee pulled the car into the edge of the drive way which, of course, caused him to have to yell to the woman who was now standing at her back door.
"Do you have any HENS for sale," he yelled.
"Lee," Velma tugged at his shirt sleeve, "ask her if she has any honey."
"YOU HAVE ANY HENS, HONEY!?"
For some reason this struck the children and Velma as funny, and they were giggling.
"Oh well," Lee was miffed, "you, you are always interrupting me, you go on and ask her if she has any hens, honey!"
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