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Donna Flood
Finding Heart
On the Salt Fork


On the Salt Fork This old push lawn mower was probably responsible for my loving gardening. Actually it worked quite well since the blades were kept very sharp by Dad, Lee Otis, and Grandpa Jones. Once I reached down to pull grass out and found out how sharp they were. The gentle mowing of the machine kept the bermuda grass clipped and attractive. Occasionally,  I dream the yard was like it was when we first moved there and in my dream I'm thinking, "We will never get this lawn in shape."  Strange at the time I don't remember thinking that.

We walked to Union School District 98 in Kay county, half way between Tonkawa and Ponca City, Oklahoma. It would be nice if I could say it was a tough assignment, but that wouldn't be true. Actually, it was a fun time especially in the evening when we played along the road with our friends all the way home.

Union School gave me a foundation and a love for learning to be ever appreciated. One of the memories was being rewarded for work well done by being allowed to spend time in the library reading. There was an overstuffed chair there and loads of books. There was where my love for reading was really established. Right away I learned there were far away places, beautiful ladies, rich gentlemen, tall castles, and many other experiences just for reaching to the book shelf.

We had long recesses, in the morning, at noon, and in the afternoon. When we were called back to class by Mrs. Hron standing at the top of the tall wide steps ringing her long handled bell we were ready to settle into our studies. The rosy red faces of our classmates showed they were as relaxed as we were. [John Hron, the attorney, is grandson to John Hron who lived in the big brick house at White Eagle. On the other corner of the property lived Ray Hron, John Hron's brother. Ray Hron was married to my teacher, "Mrs. Hron."]

Basketball and baseball were favorite sports. At this time I foolishly challenged one of the bigger boys for the ball and in the scuffle had my collar bone broken. He was just a big gangly farm boy at the time, all legs and arms. He was so contrite and disturbed that it happened.  My father was angry on one of the rare occasions I ever saw him at the edge of loosing his temper. For me it was a good lesson and an understanding not to  come into competition with someone bigger than I am, hard though it was.

The house in which we lived was little more than a shack and I'm not exaggerating. For some reason it didn't bother us in the least. Dad was busy repairing, rebuilding and repainting everything and that actually was a fun time with us helping in all the activities. We pulled shingles off the old roof and sailed them like aeroplanes. We were allowed to chose paint colors for the walls and looking back some were pretty wild. Bright yellow for the living room?  Dad compensated by choosing a little more mellow yellow and putting a dado of a rich chocolate brown on the bottom half of the room. The old furniture of grandmother's was still in place and there were large desks, unusual willow pieces and small in tables. They combined with our furniture  and worked for us.

Week ends could be spent listening to the battery charged radio, "The Shadow,"  "Green Hornet,"  "Red Skelton," "The Lone Ranger,"  and others.

Mother and Dad were totally absorbed in family activities. I don't ever remember being bored. There was always something going.  Once Mother invited a friend over for dinner and she went to end of planning and preparing. The old shack had been transformed in to a quiet little country home with soft lighting coming from the mantles of Aladdin lamps on the table where she served the special dishes.  There was an air of mystery about the evening and the woman talked about it for all the years I knew her. Even in her old age on occasion she would recall what a transformation had been made from a shack of a house to a comfortable space.

These were the fifties. There were modern life styles all about. I find it strange that we were never drawn to them or felt left out while we lived there close to the Salt Fork River.


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