American History Dennis and
His Son, Dempsey's Cradle Board
Out of Foraker, Oklahoma, in the year 1957,
the nights were certainly blacker than anywhere else. Pilots flying over
the area referred to it as the black hole. Tonight though, there was a
halo of light cast over the rock porch and for a short distance down the
front sidewalk, leading to nowhere. There was nothing around the house,
but the eighty acres of meadow in front and to the sides.
Crickets were sawing a noisy song together and
in unison until they dominated the night with their loud communication.
Occasionally, a louder buzzing of some other insect would penetrate the
steady monotony of the cricket's tune. There was another sound too. It was
the blades of the wind generator as they sounded a steady rhythm in their
effort to provide the power to light up the inside of the big old house.
The constant presence of ever pushing winds gave free energy to the
machine and in turn, the property.
There was a feeling of peace all about the
place and one felt they had stepped back into another era. This total
country was removed from the hurried pace of the world. The only tie to
civilization was a television setting immediately inside the door. It
flickered to no audience and was rendered soundless by the lone occupant.
Dennis, this single person, was puttering
about the old, completely equipped kitchen. He was energetically cleaning
and working as though he was still helping the women clean up after a hay
bailing crew instead of only his own solitary meal. The aging gentleman
was true to his life long habits of neatness.
The old cattle ranch was no longer
functioning and had not done so for a number of years. It was very
isolated, miles from the nearest complete towns. Even when it was up and
working, buyers for cattle had to fly in from distant places to buy the
prime beef, bred to the Hereford line. The small towns in between, were
like the ranch as to their existence. The communities were just there, and
not functioning completely.
He was quite aware there would be no
neighbor to casually drop in on him, but he was not deterred by this
thought. Instead, quickly he was putting things into an orderly state.
This evening was to bring a sudden coolness
upon the house and Dennis wanted to finish his chores in time for his
nightly correspondence. His conservative ways would allow him to pull the
covers over his shoulders later on during the night for warmth. The wind
generator provided electricity, because propane wasn't low in price to
buy. The stored gas was a commodity to be saved for the very windy cold
nights to come.
As he finished his kitchen chores, he
walked across the large dining room to the very small desk in the corner.
It was as meticulous as was everything else about the place. Old habits
die hard. For years they had managed this ranch by planning and having
materials at hand for work. It saved money and time because there was
nothing practical about running, "back and forth," for supplies. Here, in
the middle of the desk were his tools in readiness for the letter he would
get off to one or another of his family in distant places.
The loss of the wealth of the ranch home
was evident in this small desk. Dennis had picked it up at one of the junk
shops and he set it here where once stood his very heavy huge oak, roll
top desk. His old desk had cubby holes filled with official looking papers
of every sort. There were receipts for the sale of expensive Hereford
stock, Dun and Bradstreet credit ratings, transactions for cattle sales,
personal correspondence, etc. This little desk knew nothing of that. When
his daughter had sold the desk he knew she needed the money and didn't
protest. That desk was the one his wife had fallen over when she committed
suicide after trying to balance money matters. It remained in the house
for many years, but it was really "good riddance" as far as he was
concerned. Probably, the same thinking on his daughter's part also.
He wasn't bothered by the humble service of
this desk and he made himself comfortable before it. The thing served his
needs for the moment, and this was to simply dash off a note to someone he
loved. There was a nephew in a boarding school, who was always pleased to
get a message from his Uncle. The letters were always addressed to Master
Jones, and this was a bit of longed for remembered elegance for the boy.
There was a niece who was married with
children and she too was glad to hear from him via the old home place. She
could see him sitting comfortably at the little desk in a quiet corner
with the expanse of the large old house all about him as she read and
reread his letters.
His daughter lived in the mountains of
Colorado. She appreciated her father giving her a break from her duties of
home and four sons.
There was a sister, who was older and
widowed and she too enjoyed the friendly notes from her brother. If the
writing was scrawled in a hasty manner and was sometimes hard to read,
this was of no consequence.
In the middle of the last note Dennis
stopped long enough to start the tub for his nightly bath. The water
splashed and ran in a full stream from the faucet. This provision came
from a triumph of his younger life and he would never tire of the luxury.
The fact that his father had "witched" the water in an area where there
was no water made it a rare pleasure. In his mind he could see the pump in
the well house put into action by a switch. This activated the flow of
water from the small holding tank into pipes and finally out of this
spout. The electrical hot water appliance and tank were left there by his
daughter during her stay in the old home place when she was raising her
daughters. He knew the electricity was quickly heating his bath water.
While Dennis was waiting for his tub to fill, he finished his last letter.
Clean pyjamas along with the soft leather
fur lined slippers gave a good feeling his day was quickly coming to an
end. He went through all parts of the rambling old house, checking a
window here, pulling a drapery straight, locking a door, and switching off
lights behind him, leaving the immaculate rooms as though ready for an
occupant to step into them. After slipping between the heavy covers, some
sewn by his mother more than fifty years before, Dennis switched on the
little light attached to the head piece of the bed.
The revised version of the Bible taken from
his large collection of many translations was kept on his bedside table.
This he reached for now. He read until he was too sleepy to continue. If
the ghosts of the children still born in this same poster bed or that of
his wife, who too died close by, bothered him, he would never speak of it.
Dennis heard no strange sounds in the night, he slept a good undisturbed
sleep, dreaming only of the sounds of the hired hands in the hay field or
the voices of happy children playing on the floors which were covered with
expensive Persian rugs.
When the man was young, he never was an
early riser. Morning would find him in his robe sitting at his roll top
desk, then in this bedroom, going over papers pertaining to the business
of the ranch. With this need no longer there to keep the ranch
functioning, Dennis took the time for reading or for sorting through his
mail at an elegant narrow table in front of the large window opening onto
the front rock porch.
Soft cool breezes from off the prairie
filtered through the window. It moved the lace curtain and was a reminder
of the constant presence of the wind, who was the true owner of the land.
It was the warming of these breezes to warn Dennis this pleasant time was
seeing the morning slipping away. The cooing of the young pigeons,
chirping of other little birds, and the possessive meadowlark warning
about his territory, told Dennis it was time to get about his business.
Today, he planned to go by the little town
of Foraker, setting in the middle of the ranching community. The only
evidence of its continued existence was seen by the old red brick
buildings standing vacant and neglected. The one building still open was
used for the post office. This was manned by one person who simply kept
the inside boxes stuffed with the mail of the few remaining residents in
the far out places. He planned also to go on to the next small town where
there was a grocery store, still. There he could restock his pantry with a
few essential items. Dennis had never worked for hire, had no income
except the smattering of small oil royalties he drew quarterly. If he was
not very cautious before the end of the quarter, he could be seriously,
financially in trouble.
Quickly now, he selected his wardrobe for
the day. Although his suits were no longer new, they were still
expensively cut, well pressed and neat. His matching socks and tie were
set together beside a handkerchief for his suit coat pocket. This morning
he chose a light blue suit and a white shirt along with a tie of a
shimmery fabric in a darker color. The handkerchief was of the same
fabric. The western cut of the suit called for the expensive, though worn,
cowboy boots, which were well polished. His constant companion, a Stetson
hat was impeccably cleaned and blocked and it topped off his attire. Soft
leather gloves he always carried, possibly going back to a tradition and a
time when men wore them to protect their hand from the reins of the horse
and from the rope they threw. Though Dennis had long since stopped working
horses, there had been enchanted days in the memory of the children when
he easily, gracefully looped a rope, picking up his target as though he
were floating it carefully through the air to land with the least possible
injury to the subject it encircled.
Dennis's modest little black car put,
putted along the dusty, rocky road through pastures, across bridges,
beside the ever present pumping oil wells, past old established rancher's
homes and on into the small settlement where a few houses remained. If he
remembered how his once shining, always new, car sped across these same
roads easily, and flashed into the earlier bustling country town, there
was not an indication of his thoughts visible.
He pulled up to the post office. There were
only a few of the town folk who stayed around the entry way in hopes of
picking up a short job there at Foraker. The men today watched the aging
rancher walk toward them. As he walked by them, they spoke to him in a
How're you, tahday, Sir?" they nodded
He stopped briefly to acknowledge their
greeting, "Well, now, couldn't be better." "Thank you, kindly." "Nice of
you to ask."
"What can I do for you gentlemen today?" he
continued, just as he had done over the years. The fact hat he could do
nothing for them never seemed to cross his mind, or theirs, for that
matter. Or if it did, they were too loyal, too kind, to acknowledge his
"Oh ah reckin' ever thang is all right."
One of the other men would respond. With these small pleasantries over,
Dennis would tip his Stetson hat, "If you gentlemen will excuse me, I'll
just be about my business."
His little car chugged over miles of green
pastures, mile after mile lending a vision of far away green pastures
which reached to a distant blue horizon of low hills.
Grazing in large numbers, still looking
small against the great expanse of the land, were the different breeds of
cattle. They were a mere sprinkling over the vast prairie. Some herds were
dots of white, the Charlaois. Other were called Brangus because they were
a mix between the Black Angus and the Indian Brahma. The most common was
the Hereford or white face. They were popular because of their being able
to forage these vast grass lands. The breed off those was the polled
Hereford, named so because of their lack of horns which freed the rancher
up from having to perform the dehorning chores. This animal's short stocky
square build provided tender cuts of fine beef.
Occasionally, two young bulls, or males, in
polite society, would test their strength against each other by butting
their heads. Maybe this was a memory woven from a distant wild past, but
now mostly bred out of this stock.
The old rancher noted the tanks, or ponds,
which were filled with run off rain water. This said too, the blue stem
grass, would be plentiful. His mind noted there would be a good winter
pasture. This year he would have held his calves from market to winter
over on the plentiful grass for a greater increase in the next years.
Following that philosophy of, "make hay while the sun shines."
The road was a friend, a companion, and it
stayed with him while he covered the smooth highways over the rough
terrain of the rolling hills. He thought back to another time and he was
thankful to those of his acquaintances, large ranching landholders, who
brought tax money to the area. Their pushing for good roads in order to
move their cattle to the city by the big cattle trucks were a benefit to
everyone. He recalled not too far in the past the gumbo mud roads. This
was the mud to stick to anything and everything it touched. It stuck to
shoes, horses hooves, the underside of the car until it was as if the
automobile had been customized with weights to bring it low to the ground.
The mud was a glue like material, sticking, and drying to a rock hard
Driving into the larger town of Shidler he
became aware of the marker made from stacking flat rocks in a cylindrical
shape at the end of a fence to become the corner post. This was once an
oil boom town, but now, it was quiet and far removed from its uproarious
past, when its neighbor was named "Whiz Bang," The town itself was settled
into a hill and a rock ridged valley causing the road to take on a roller
coaster look. Remnants of a grand old hotel modeled after a Spanish stucco
style was on his left. Moments later the downtown appeared.
Dennis parked his car, long ways, in the
middle of a wide street as was customary. He walked toward the corner drug
store. When he settled into a stool against the bar of the soda fountain,
a pretty girl whose dark beauty whispered of her ancestry, waited on him.
She smiled and asked if he wanted his usual limeade. Just as he finished
his drink, the owner came from somewhere in the back, and put his arm
around Dennis, shaking his hand at the same time.
"Where have you been, Ole Boy?" The owner
made him feel welcome and comfortable in his establishment. "I thought the
coyotes and bob cats had your old carcass," and both the men laughed
together like two boys.
"Naw," Dennis shook his head and grinned,
"I'm too tough for those varmints." The two men laughed again at their own
"What do you see in that old spread up
there any how?" "Why don't you come on into town and rent one of my small
apartments?" "I've got some nice places here over the store." "Shucks, I
live up there myself." " It is a lot easier than trying to carry on a
place out of town," The drugstore owner knew he was wasting his breath,
but he made the effort anyway.
The thought had crossed Dennis's mind and,
it was certainly true he did get lonely. But, he quickly dismissed the
idea as he excused himself in order to get to the business at hand. And
this was that of stocking up on provisions. Deep in thought, Dennis had
not noticed the old man leaning up against the building until, he was
immediately upon him. The grizzly, unshaven, tattered person there was of
another life style. He had never been in the path Jones walked, but he was
now. For only a moment, Dennis acknowledged him, briefly nodding a hello.
The few things he needed he quickly
purchased and went about loading them into his car when the aging gnarly
man again caught his eye. This time Jones stopped and made some sort of an
attempt at conversation.
"Bill Jake!" "Are you still working at
Looking down at the sidewalk, and then
looking to a distant unknown place on down the street; Bill Jake was
gathering his thoughts. "Well, now, ain't doin' a thang to speak of,
anymore." "My workin' days is over, it looks like." "I haven't had one of
my saws cranked up now since I can't remember when." The old man looked a
little forlorn while he dropped his head, as if was ashamed not to be ever
Dennis glanced at the building behind the
man and studied the pattern of rock slabs fitted together on its wall.
There were dark and light sawed rocks forming a patchwork design. He
remembered when Bill Jake had put these buildings up, and it seemed to him
to be a long time ago. In his mind he could see Bill Jake, when he was
young and working here. He often had stood for long hours at his saw
slicing the slabs of large rocks. Dennis felt it must have been a
monumental chore. Somehow, this man standing before him had single
handedly edged the stones up into four-sided walls. He built them slowly
until he had one building, two, then three. The buildings stood in a row
to make a large part of one side of the street.
"Well, I know what you mean about work,
Bill Jake." "Things are mighty quiet around my place too." "The family is
all off and gone." "There's nothin' around here for them to do." "They
went out where there are jobs, quick money at the end of every week, for a
pay check." "They don't want to wait a whole winter for a calf crop to
come off, you know."
"Yeah, I guess that's the way things are
anymore," Bill Jake wasn't much of a conversationalist, but he could see a
point. "They never set their sights on anything long range anymore."
"Every thing is jest for the time bein', and I reckin' that's all right,
what ever suits their fancy".
"Might as well be headin' on back toward
the ranch." "It''ll be gettin' dark soon and I'm not much wantin' to
change a flat tire in the dark," Dennis excused himself and was off toward
"Come on around sometimes, Jones." "I'm
stuck there in that little hole of a dump of mine, most of the time," Bill
Jake called after him.
"I might just do that," Dennis called back
to the lonely old man standing there under the street light.
As his car followed the same road home, he
had time for thinking about the brief encounter with the old timer. The
days were when he could not have had time to even wonder about the aging
resident of the town. Recently, his days were long and free from hurry.
Once he had lived a hard fast life and he honestly felt his creator had
used him as a stylus to make an impression on the area. As a boy, he had
come to the land when the town he was now leaving was nothing more than a
rowdy oil booming community. He would be first to tell he wasn't to be
remembered as a saint. His Dad had worked for the Texas Rangers there to
help clean up the place, but that is another story.
Bell, his mother had raised him with a hard
ready switch of discipline to inculcate the strong Christian values right
for success and there would be no way he could fail even if he only half
obeyed them. A daughter and her seven children remained for him, but they
were living in a distant place. This left him quite alone. Dennis had
witnessed terrors unbelievable to the average person. There was no more
room left for fear, especially not for a lonely, cranky, elderly man
spending his time leaning against a wall he had built when he was young.
Dusk caught Dennis Jones driving up the
last section toward his place. Forever, he enjoyed the meadow which
provided so abundantly for their stock, over the years. His brother Lee
and his wife had single handedly picked the rock up off the meadow which
allowed the eighty acres to produce and be harvested with a hay baling
machine. The blue haze over the grass, had a beauty about it reminding him
of a blue green sea as it rippled in the evening breeze.
His eye followed a movement, and he looked
on up toward the house, then on to the fence surrounding the yard. Here he
caught a rustling in the tall grass at the fence line. Slowing his car so
as to look more carefully, he was sure he saw a coyote in a slinky way
moving toward the other side of the yard. Once there the animal would
allow himself to slip unnoticed behind the separate two car garage, toward
the barn yard and back to the one hundred foot rock garden wall and so on
Opening the car door, Dennis took with ease
the weapon he kept for varmints and with a slow easy motion he rested the
gun on top of the car. He leveled a shot off toward the direction of the
crafty animal. The crack of the rifle so startled the coyote, he jumped
straight up into the air and was running before he came back down to the
ground. The ability Dennis had with a gun simply allowed him to place the
bullet close enough to the coyote's ears to frighten him off and the
knowledgeable old rancher held no intent to kill. There was no live stock,
nothing for the sneaky little animal to haul off in the way of a settin'
"See if that doesn't cool your heels, you
sneakin', chicken thieven' outfit you," Dennis couldn't think of enough
names to call the pesky creature. There had always been a co-existence
between the Jones's and the little varmints frequenting the prairie. They
were never hunted or pursued by this branch, and as long as they kept out
of the immediate proximity of the meadow and the fenced yard during the
day, peace was maintained. Rarely, did one come close to the house, but
today, Dennis noted its boldness. This was just one more sign of the
changed condition of the place. There were, in fact, no chickens and
probably, this one was a young curious animal who had never heard the jolt
of a bullet speeding past his sensitive ears. "You go on, tell your
buddies you are not welcome," Dennis brushed the clever little animal off
with a note of respect in his voice. He knew they had their place. The
mice and rats, snakes and such was food for the coyote and they controlled
the little variety of rattlesnakes in the meadow allowing the children to
play freely in the grass.
The yelping of the coyotes sounding like an
inexperienced fiddle player at night told they were hunting close about,
if not within the confines of the fenced yard. Occasionally, in the years
of drought and poor hunting conditions there would be times when a coyote
would come into the back chicken yard to make off with a hen, even at the
risk of the singing bullets, but then, so would the hawks, skunks, pole
cats, and every once in a while a bob cat would make an appearance. The
bob cats with their large size and their reluctant fear of man would only
be seen at the most careless of their roaming or their most desperate
hunger. So, the balance of the prairie was maintained, and it was a
pleasant sweet place Jones truly loved throughout his life time.
He was home now, settled into his evening
ritual. If a stranger were to come up the drive through the meadow, they
would have thought a party was in progress at the lone ranch house
standing here on these stretches of prairie. The big outside light over
the porch led to a perspective view through the yard and up to the porch.
Lights all over the house were blazing. Why not? Free electricity. There
was a fiddle playing, sandwiched in between singing banjos. Occasionally,
Bob Wills called his playful, "Ah-hah," over the sound of the fiddles. All
this was issuing forth from the big phonograph in the corner of the living
room. To see the solitary person busy with this or that chore would have
been a surprise to anyone viewing the scene. It appeared more like an
entire family was still inhabiting the old ranch house.
Before turning in for the night this
resident promised himself he would look in on old Bill Jake. He was
curious about the old man, who was truly alone. His own solitude gave him
an understanding of the old man's situation. In direct opposition to his
own life, which was filled with extended family....Bill Jake seemed to
have no one.
The morning light coming over the top of
his bed, today brought Dennis up to the plan of his day. While in his
robe, lingering over a cup of cowboy coffee, he, for some time, had a
project he was thinking of finishing up and this was to make a trip to
Tulsa, Oklahoma, one of the largest cities in the state. An early start
was necessary. This was a chore he felt he must see through.
For years at the back of his closet had
stood an Osage cradle board belonging to his first son, Dempsey. He saved
it over the protests of his Osage wife. It was going against her tribal
customs as to the burning of a deceased person's possessions. He had
always given her the freedom to practice her own culture. However, this
one time he stood firm against burning this one object.
Dempsey, his first son died when he was a
baby. If anyone wanted to believe a ghost haunted the place, it would have
been his. He was a charming child and had stolen their hearts.
The cradle board Dennis saved was carved
and decorated in the Osage fashion. There was a flat board decorated with
large brass headed nails along the edges. Designs were hand painted around
the edges also. There was a pull down wooden fully beaded, hoop over the
top section for the head, which allowed the child to be covered without
the blanket touching its face, thus creating a warm tent. This allowed the
child not to necessarily have to breathe the cold air when being carried
outside. Beaded finer woven bands acted as belts for binding over the
baby's swaddling and held him to the board. Whether this custom was, as
the history told, to insure a straight back or a shaped head or simply to
make it easier to carry the child, was of no importance to Dennis. It was
simply something his wife had wanted and he had made sure a proper cradle
was created for the baby. Over the years he kept it and as time was
slipping by for him, it was his resolve to take the board to a museum
where it would be preserved as an artifact. This would be to keep a
visible record of the fast fading ways of the Osage tribe.
The trip to Gilcrease Museum at Tulsa,
Oklahoma was a success and he had no trouble in placing the board there.
With the chore completed he decided to stop off at Shidler and take bill
Jake up on his offer of hospitality, and also, to inquire of some gossip
he had heard all the way up to the larger town of Pawhuska.
Patiently, he stood before a door, at the
back of the long stone building, The door was looking more like a utility
room than for a lodging. The humble abode of the elderly man pulled at
Dennis's tender heart. There was a bed, less than half a bed, really more
of a cot, holding rumpled and tattered worn blankets. All the furniture to
be seen was a rickety old chair, along with some saw horses and five
gallon buckets setting about here and there. Open tin can in varying
degrees of spoilage explained the old man's diet. The unfinished studs of
two-by-fours were the walls, and nails hammered into them served as
As sad as the surrounding were, Dennis was
not to let the dreariness of it deter him in his mission. Bill Jake
greeted him, "Man!" "You are a sight for these old eyes, Denny Boy!" "I
never thought you would in a hundred years take me up on my invite."
"Yeah?" Dennis was cautious in his acknowledging the comment. "I heard you
had some misfortune?"
"Well, it ain't no secret, I don't guess,
how I kept a roll hid in this here hole in the wall, becuz yesterday when
I went up to tap into it, ever bit of it wuz gone," Bill Jake spoke with a
"Gone!" "What do you mean?" "Someone took
it?" "Or what?" Dennis was skillful in his fact-finding ability. He still
carried an honorary United States marshall badge even though he never
practiced, unless it was the utmost necessity.
"It wuz that old floozy who comes in here
to sleep on my cot during her time off." "I know she got it." "Ain't no
use in tryin' to git it back neither; she's done "cavaged" on to it and I
might as well kiss five thousand dollar's good-bye."
"You mean, you don't put your money in a
bank?" "I can't believe anyone, these days, would not put their money in a
"Oh, I ain't broke, by no means, but I just
had not got in with my rental monies for some time now," Bill Jake
informed the started Dennis. "I guess this means I won't be takin' you out
for no treat tonight," Bill Jake sadly shook his head.
"Forget about that," Dennis had a way of
lifting a person out of their misery. "Get your things together and come
on up to the ranch with me for the night." "I've got some steaks and a
bottle of wine in the car." "Dennis found his sympathy for the old man was
overcoming his usual strict dictates as to association."
So began the December friendship of the
unlikely characters. One a craggy, tough, old shaper of stone, who had
worked hard and hung tightly to every cent he earned except for this last
indiscretion. The other man had worked equally as hard with his mind,
moving mountains in his need for service to his community. To see the
prosperity of a very large family, even down to in-laws and cousins had
been his goal. The last court battle and lawyers fees to keep a wealthy
estate to his grandchildren had swept his house clean, but down to the
necessities. Today, the placement of the baby's cradle board, even for a
small price would yet be a whispered legacy onto future generations, who
would not even know its tie to their family, but would; nevertheless, be
reminded of their heritage by the article hanging in a museum.
Dennis had a way of working steadily
through a situation and this he did as adroitly as if he had been managing
a major sale of cattle, or planning some other such chore. He was busily
pulling clothes from his closet while his guest eyed him suspiciously.
With encouragement, Bill Jake made a selection of shirt, slacks, socks,
belt and shoes.
Dennis excused himself to run a tub of bath
water. "I'll just be seeing about our steaks while your tub is getting
"We will have our wine before dinner when
you have finished dressing," cleverly. Dennis manipulated his tattered
charge toward a presentable dinner appearance.
As if to reward Dennis's efforts, a shaven,
clean, though casual; but nevertheless, well dressed gentleman appeared
from the bedroom and could have been any one of the neighbors from one of
the surrounding ranches.
"And so, Mr. Bill Jake, are you ready for a
toast with this good red port?" Dennis offered the man a drink from the
crystal left there from days of another time; a time when youth and
merriment filled the house. It may have been the guests were from a more
prominent position in life, but they were none the more welcome. In those
days the homemade elderberry wine flowed easily from the large wooden
barrels kept in the cool of the cellar. The wine's rich burgundy red lent
its magic to the pleasure of those evenings. "I'll wager you will enjoy
your steak much more with this wine," and Dennis raised his glass. Their
evening was shared along with the swapping of tales of the rough and bawdy
day of oil fields, and to the stories of ranching and building fortunes.
The old ranch house once again lent its
aura of mystery, and quiet protections to its occupants, even though they
were only two aging men as different as day and night as to their life
"Denny, do you remember when drip gas run
down the bar ditches?" "The only thing you needed to do to fill your car
tank was take a pop bottle and hold it down under the gas until it bubbled
"Yes, yes, those were quite the days!" With
this last observation Dennis rose from the table feeling suddenly very
tired. "I guess, if you will excuse me, Sir, I had better bring myself
away from the pleasure of your company." "It has been a long day for me."
" I had some unfinished business I attended to and I'm surely ready for
bed." "It seems we both were needing some support from a friend." "If you
don't mind, I'll thank you for your kind visit by showing you to your
The next day, bill Jake went back to his
pattern of life, living among the town people, Dennis went back to his own
quiet life as well. Dennis Jones's life was by no means over and he would
go on to face many a trial as if he had been appointed to it by some
higher hand. He didn't know, how could he know, sons in laws. who came
from a different culture would see this elegant old home become total and
tattered ruins not unlike old Bill Jake. Was there an aura with old Bill
Jake to remain, causing it to happen?
Generations of family work to make this old
ranch possible was not known. These accomplishments looked to be only
Dennis's. The raging jealousy for this accomplishment he accepted with no
complaint and if we wondered how he could do so, it wouldn't be until many
years after his death the documentation of long lines of workers in the
family would be seen, reaching back to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and
one of a closer place, Valley View, Arkansas here his Great-grandfather,
William Beaver Jones, was a blacksmith.
Dennis's grandfather was one of the first
persons in the state, before statehood, acting as an Indian agent
delivering food to the Little (Kaw) and big Osage. Not a popular job at
the time. This was William Stephens Jones.
William's son, Joseph Hubbard Jones,
Dennis's father lived during a time of pushing for reform. His running the
Cherokee strip gave the family a start. Joe was a worker and worked on a
crew and gang who lifted the big rocks from the tracks that would become
roads making the inaccessible back places available. He worked for wages
and worked for himself. Once when the railroad track moved away from the
little town he started, he simply rebuilt houses close to the new track.
He owned a bicycle shop in Perry, Oklahoma. When he worked for the Texas
rangers it was for wages. All this was history and since the Jones men
were not much to talk about these things they have only been learned
And finally, Dennis's brother Lee was a
worker too. His project made the ranch successful. Too bad the brothers
broke up over the less wise decisions of younger people.
Standing at the pinnacle of his ancestors
hard work gave Dennis an unusual position. Really, he did fairly well with
it. Not perfect, because the empire the ancestors worked toward crumbled
in his generation. There were too many changes for him to work through. To
this day older members of the family have a deep resentment for his
pushing them to higher achievement. They say low things about him while
they themselves enjoy the great material fruits of his labor as to his
teaching. Only the children, who themselves are becoming elderly now,
remember the gentle way he had of directing them, never wavering, always
there with the admonition, "You Can But You Can't," or "Hmm.." "It all
comes back to me now!" "There is more in savin' than makin' ." And on and
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