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Donna Flood
Finding Heart
Lee Otis Jones, and spouse Velma, 1982


Lee Otis Jones, and spouse Velma, 1982This picture was taken at the wedding of my sister's girl. Dad passed away October 31, 1986. This was four years before his death. He suffered from hemorrhage from his nose because of injuries he sustained as a young man with an accident involving a spirited race horse. We, of his family, fought through so many near death incidents. The love we had for Dad sustained us through those traumatic times. His doctor, Dr. Paul Davis, worked so carefully with him and his skill, I'm sure, gave Dad many years of life he would not have had otherwise.

Dad was a deep thinking man, but this didn't stop him from enjoying all the patterns of life lived by those around him. He was equally as impressed with the ways of a little Indian woman as that of a burly old cowboy. "No love lost, we'll do okay, we settled down, the young one's will pass it on down," are Oklahoma phrases sung by Chuck Dunlap in one of his songs. If Dad could have known, the descendant of the Collins family would he ever have loved the young man's songs.

Chuck goes on, "Leave your troubles far behind, I'll be travelin' lite, just a pack on my back and a pole in my hand, some time to unwind." When we hear Chuck set these phases to the music of his ringing guitar tears well up in the eyes of our family and we aren't even embarrassed for each other to see them.

Chuck sings, "When a friend lends a hand, and a hand is your friend." This was the philosophy Lee used as he worked to build the Jones place. People worked for him with willing devotion. To say he accomplished the work with ease is not a true statement. There was a constant maneuvering Lee had to do to keep the place functioning and progressing. It was too bad that he wasn't able to work as well with the younger one's who grew up anxious to enjoy the fruits of his hard work without knowing what went into the establishing the place.

How could they know about the hired hands who worked the cattle with a toothache only to have a wife pull the tooth with pliers so they wouldn't have to leave cows while they were calving. The young people had no comprehension of what went into the work in the freezing cold weather while the cowboy rode along with Lee on horses across the range to care for cattle. Stepping off the horse and all at once realizing their legs felt to be stiff and frozen were things they hardly even discussed so how could the young people know. Especially, the one's who married into the family who had no experience with ranching.

There was a sadness too as Lee spoke about his disappointments before he died with words like, "Lost everything." "We lost everything Dad and his Dad worked so hard to get." For him it was important, but we were too well protected by his love we didn't even know of what he spoke. Not until after he died and the researches as to the family's history were we able to understand.

Therefore, if the lines of this man's face, the steady blue eyed steel stare, and the rather grim look to his mouth makes Lee look hard, don't be fooled. He was meek which simply means he was the most patient of men who stuck steadfast to his beliefs and struggled to pass them on to "powerful young men." They picked up on his teachings and who knows how many have learned from them. Mother, Velma is living today, January 26, 2003 at ninety years young.


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