Mr. Flood, my father
in-law, was a descendant of Daniel Boone and he had the records and
pictures to prove it. Well, I never knew old Dan'l but if he was
anything like John he must have been a wonderment. John was the
caretaker for Lew Wentz before I knew him and, in fact, before Rod, his
son, and I were married. The tales folks told me about his trapping
beaver for Mr. Wentz so they wouldn't dam up the streams made me see him
in my mind's eye setting traps with bait. He knew every animal by their
tracks and would make plaster of Paris molds of those tracks so the boys
in his Scout groups could see them as well. They said he would crawl on
his belly for a distance to get up close to the ridge along a pond so he
could get a clear shot of a goose. Fishing was just a lark for him. He
never brought anything home that wasn't of a good size. The fillet from
the sides of the fish was all he wanted. John was a man who enjoyed the
efforts of the big oil men, Lew Wentz and E.W. Marland. Those men's
projects for creating game preserves agreed so much with his ancestor's
pioneering spirit. It was true the pioneer's days were gone but the
heart of their descendants still held a love of an undisturbed terrain.
John worked shift work
for, first of all, City Services and then later Conoco oil. He always
kept a secluded place in his house where a fan roared a noisy buffer
between him and anything to disturb his sleep. It was, on his time off,
week-ends, he worked his care taking of the great estates of Lew Wentz.
If the shift work allowed him to sleep part of the day then the other
time was spent covering by foot, the miles of his employer's great high
deer-fenced-grounds. The tall fences kept the deer from going over the
top easily but some did, anyway. Other exotic game was held there, too.
Mrs. Flood, my
mother-in-law, told that John could walk up a wall.In my youth and
ignorance as well as innocence I really had no way to understand the
man. I didn't really try. I was handicapped by my Mother's culture of
the Native American which did not let me speak to my father-in-law,
traditionally. Of course, it wasn't my idea to follow to the letter
those old laws. Still, there was a reserve I had to hold with John. He
seemed to always respect my personality. His mother was a teacher and
had taught Native American children. Their ways were no mystery to him.
My father-in-law was well acquainted, for a life time, in fact, of the
character and behavior of my ancestors.
Of all the things I want
to remember about John Flood was his always being there for me, and many
times when I didn't even ask. It was a strange association we had. Very
much like father and daughter, rather than father-in-law and
daughter-in-law. Years later when I began studying the Flood name and
the family history how I wish I had done it earlier so that we could
have talked of things only he knew.