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Chief
By Donna Flood
Chapter 14 - Somewhere in Texas


Weldon wasn’t gone yet, he was still working, driving trucks somewhere in Texas.

“I’m socking every dime I can get back. It takes more than “chicken feed” to operate a ranch.” Weldon grinned as he talked.

Never was he still for long and he seemed always to be working on something, while he did exchange a few words with whoever was close to him at the moment.

For me, I suppose this was the absolutely most, miserable time in my life. We lived in shacks but there was always the goal, the dream. The wish to work together for a purpose. All that changed, when we moved to town. Probably, Velma was worn out with trying to make something out of nothing as the Joneses seemed to be happiest doing.

Consequently, we moved to town. The house they chose was a tiny one, next door to my Indian grandmother. It must have seemed like a good selection at the time. There would always be someone there for us.

How we all lived there I’ll never know. There was very little privacy.

Uncle Dean had tried to make it more comfortable and brought a sofa from the ranch. He brought along a radio and record player combination with all the records of the era, “It’s Only a Paper Moon, some western music, and, of course, the old Bob Wills favorites.

This cold, blustery evening after walking home from school I pushed the door open to our house. No one was there, as usual. Dad was working in the foundry at Tonkawa and Mother was working in a café. Dad’s Republican background would never let us take any kind of “hand out.” If we wanted money we had to find a job, babysitting, cleaning for neighbors or doing yard work. I was too inexperienced at the time to boldly go looking as the boys had done. Instead, I tried to make the house as pleasant as I could. No food in the kitchen made it seem empty, so I put on a pot of beans. Uncle Dean was in and out, and he kept a stash of wine in one of the cabinets. I poured a glass and proceeded to sip on it.

Was it the wine? The total coldness of this world where I was caught? Where were the goals we always knew. No crops would be planned and not even a place for a garden. I was lonely, so alone. What had happened to everything and everyone I dearly loved? The school I had known at Foraker was filled with art, music, socials and a whole love of life.

At this school there was just a continual, treading through boring, drills, totally lacking in interest. Routine walking through wide hall ways seemed to be the only recreation. Very often Dad would drop me off at school as he had always done through the years. These days, sometimes, I would just walk through those empty wide halls, early in the morning and exit through the opposite doors. No one was home so I went there and did nothing, listened to music, cleaned house or whatever I wished to do.

This evening was different, somehow.

I put on my heavy coat and walked out the door.

“I’m sick of this, I’m going to where Weldon is?” No thought, planning or anything else led me. The fact I didn’t know where in Texas he was, never crossed my childish mind. Walking through the freezing weather began to awaken me from my foolishness. I was freezing, or felt like I was. A truck pulled up beside me. The chubby driver pointed ahead and mouthed the words.

“Want a ride?”

Something of common sense was returning to me and I shook my head, “No.”

I had walked a considerable way out past town and was in a residential area where Mother had a small café for a while. By this time I was literally shaking all over from the cold. To my left was the home of the woman who Mother had rented the café. For some reason I walked up to her door and knocked. After she gave me hot coffee, we sat quietly and visited. Not about my showing up on her door, but simply things we both knew. I had been friends with her granddaughter and I asked about her as I was reminded of the girl, when I glanced over at the old piano, where we had spent happier times. The woman was elderly and never asked questions or was critical in any way. She wisely brought the telephone over to me after a while.

When Mother drove up she thanked the lady and I was in the car.

Velma was still in her uniform and I remember seeing how beautiful her appearance was, even in her working clothes. Something about the fear on her face had made her youthful, like a girl in a frightening situation. She used no angry words on me.

“Where were you going?” She wanted to know.

“To find Weldon, I answered. He's somewhere in Texas." And that was the total dialog  between  us.


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