If I was anything but an
unlearned youth concerning the cultures of the European's history, I
would have known the questions to ask. As it was my learning about John
had to come through living and life as his daughter-in-law. Maybe this
is the way things are supposed to be as we think far back to the days of
Ruth, Boaz, and old Naomi. John was nothing like the Joneses of my
family but because I had been raised on a ranch where the gentle
directions of all the Jones men were respected so too, I respected John.
He was quiet and when he
did speak, his words were few, short and clipped. One had to pay
attention and listen closely while thinking over the meaning of what he
said. On the other hand, he seemed to respect my holding to the
teachings of my father.
“The truth set you free,
Girl,” my father would say, “now stay that way.”
I went my way in the
beginning of my marriage with John Flood's son. I didn't subscribe to
the activities of their church, their traditions and not even a great
number of family gatherings. When I did go, I was careful to stay in the
background so as not to interfere with the short time his brothers and
sisters had together. John never said anything but his sticking up for
me in times of crisis told me he approved and liked the way I behaved.
Comparing my family to
the Flood's was like trying to mix water and oil. You could have stirred
on and on and it would have never happened. On my side I had the heavy
Scot-Irish background married into Native American people. The mixing of
their philosophy was a bit more like mixing heavy and light oil. It
could happen but might return each to its original state after a time.
Something of a balance
was achieved at one point in my life though. It was when Rod and I moved
to the old ranch home which was then, just on the edge of drifting away
forever. The great unmarked expanses of prairie must have reminded John
of his days on the estates of Lew Wentz. Here were rolling hills where
secluded little tanks of run off water was caught for the cattle. Big
mouth Bass in some places was there almost like pets coming to the
surface to be fed. It was a wealth and a land of plenty for the avid
fisherman. Dad's old watershed still held tumbling, bubbling waters
caught and kept by his low water dam. Blackbirds trilled over the far
out retreat. Mr. Flood was in his element and joyfully spent hours at
the place. He became acquainted with the people who leased our land and
for years and years went back to the quiet places out away from towns
My husband grew up under
his parents care like so many boys do today. Conoco's constant salary
gave them freedom from having to scratch for a living like my family had
done as a rancher, albeit there was the oil money on Dad's brother's
side. Even if that only took care of their children who had expensive,
We lived as Dad always
said, “close to the earth.” John came from a farming family and I'm sure
he was well acquainted with this scenario even if he, himself, in his
life time always kept a modest income and at a regular, steady place. So
then, here again, was the friendly agreement in our personalities.
My Jones mentality pushed
me forward and I'm sure the Flood's were standing back a little like
spectators on a playing field. When I used my money to buy Rod an old
cluncker of a car there was a bit of protest on their part, but not
They weren't even too
upset when he was working on it out in the garage and got his sleve
tangled in a drill he was using. Luckily he was working in an old shirt
and the rotating tool simply ripped it off. I was in such a state of
hysterical laughter I had to retire to an upstairs bedroom where I could
quietly bury my face in my hands so as not to be heard while I laughed
and laughed. The Floods were not saying anything but their expression
spoke for them. “I told you so.” They seemed to be saying.
On another time Rodney
came charging up the back steps of our tiny garage apartment. “Honey!
Honey! The car's on fire!” He was excited. I reached over from the
dresser chair where I was sitting to pull the curtain back. Sure enough!
Rolling white smoke was covering the whole car and climbing up to the
“Go next door and call
the fire department.” I quickly called to him.
We had no phone at the
time. Rodney told me later he could hear the volunteer firemen picking
up the phone from their various businesses there in Tonkawa, Oklahoma.
In minutes they had the fire out but it was a wet, soggy car we had to
ride for the next week or so.
I couldn't complain
because I was the one who had bought him the torch as a gift. While
trying to clean the tracks upon which the seats rested so they could
move forward and backward he accidently torched the car seat. Here again
our divergent backgrounds had caused havoc.
My brothers had their own
tools from the time they were, literally, babes, even though they were
toys. Rodney was a Marine with all that experience behind him and it
didn't occur to me that he was unskilled with the use of tools. Mr.
Flood's brother, Ross, once complained that he didn't approve of the way
John had allowed Rod to always keep his nose in a book. This was the
kind of man John was though. Whatever your particular passion was he
supported you in that. And, again we must allude to the life and living
of John's ancestor, Daniel Boone. From reading about him, it seems to me
this was the way of that man. The wistful longing for uncharted places
kept him always wishing to be out far enough he could not hear his
neighbor's dog bark.