The noise of the clatter and
bang of the dishes being shuffled back and forth along with the hammering
rhythm of the juke box wasn't a symptom of bad business. Rather it was an
indication business was moving at a fast pace. It always was amazing to
Donetta to see folks roll into the booths and steadily. Certainly there
was no ambiance of decor. There was simply starched country patterned
curtains of gingham. The floors were so swept and mopped they actually had
no design left to them. Their waitresses were country girls, not classy.
but described more as cute. However, some were definitely on the back side
As the juke box blared some
soul searching country tune about someone's lost wife, dog, or house there
was some difficulty in hearing. The waitress would lean over turning her
head to the customers voice in order to get their order correct, and this
was what Donetta was doing while a newly arrived person was trying to
convey a message. She heard him say, "Martin is your brother?"
"Well, he's crashed his plane
and is in intensive care at Oklahoma City." He named the hospital.
Donetta always felt strange in
her remembrance of the message. Rather than miss an order or not pick up a
plate from the steam table where Cook set it, she simply passed the
message on so that it would find its way around to the family. One by one
she could see as they were told, a look of startled disbelief was
registered on their faces.
The first day they visited
Martin he was out of intensive care and for what he had been through,
looked fairly well. Of course, there was the traction of the broken bones
and so on.
The second day he was sitting
up and seemed glad to see them. His coloring was good. He was sitting with
little effort and was complaining about the weight they were using to keep
his leg in traction. His old sparkling personality was coming through and
the Welch "wavy lips" were in their characteristic broad grin. They joked
with him about how the crash happened. He told he dipped down too low when
he saw one of his hired hands on the ground. The wheels of his plane
caught a high voltage power line and the rest was history. He was still
"I was watching television
last night." He told them. "There was a terrible plane crash." "It was a
light aircraft and I looked at that." "Hmm, a lot like my crash." He went
on with his story true to the genes of his blood. "I looked at that, and I
said to myself, Man that was some crash." He went on. "The plane had
landed in a creek and they were pulling this guy out of the mud and
water." "As I looked at it, I was startled." "Hey!" "That's me!"
Donetta was glad to see him so
light hearted about the whole thing. He laughed and seemed okay with the
scene. He wasn't emotionally upset but taking it all in stride, as the
Okie saying goes.
The third visit they made for
some reason Donetta noticed a line outside one basement part of the
hospital. The line was long and it was obviously the winos and derelict
people who lived in and around that section of town. The people were the
homeless ones who sold their blood for a small amount of money. Down on
their luck to the point of being gaunt and shabby made them obvious. Like
everyone else Donetta simply noticed them and made no comment one way or
At this visit Martin was
shocking in his appearance. He had a sallow almost yellow color. He seemed
lethargic and listless. Donetta was startled and a little frightened.
"Martin!" "What is the
matter?" "Are you feeling all right?"
"Aw." "Well, no." "They gave
me a blood transfusion last night and I don't know what it did to me, but
it sure has knocked me for a loop." "I don't feel worth anything."
"Martin!" "Don't let them do
that to you again." Donetta was uncompromising.
Martin had the look that he
was about to be assaulted by some lengthy spiel as to medical reasons or
spiritual reason or whatever. He looked at his sister with that level
studied look only he could get. "Why not?" He asked her.
"Donetta, as his sister, had
the advantage of reasoning with him. "Go down where the folks who give the
blood are lined up." "You might have second thoughts as to why or why
Martin looked off to another
point in the room. He still held that same studied look he could have when
he was thinking. Almost like the ringing of a bell his countenance cleared
up. Donetta was always amazed at the workings of the mind and the body
when they were in unison. He was different, more alert, and certainly in
command. He didn't say anything, but simply looked back at her, raised his
eyebrows and looked back away with a more learned expression.
"Oh yeah?" Came his short
reply. There was never any more discussion about the subject for as long
as they lived.