peaceful quiet of a comfortable house once belonging to her Grandmother
Lizzie was broken into by the jangle of the telephone. The little table
holding the phone was exactly the same as the one Jennie's grandmother had
and it was the same one. Instead of her grandmother being there to answer,
her mother picked up the call.
Jennie could see her mother
was deep in thought. She had a concentration about her when she was
deliberating over a decision. To the person on the phone she said,
"We will see to it." Almost as soon as she hung up she was again
on the phone. "Is this the Federal Marshall's office?" Jennie
heard her mother ask. "There is a logging company with semi- trucks
loaded with the trees off our timber land!" Jennie heard her say.
When she hung up the older
woman turned to her daughter. Jennie knew whatever her mother instructed
would be what she would do. "Daddy is sick. I can't leave here."
"You will have to take care of this."
Jennie was more than a little
insecure about her ability to handle the situation involving, no doubt,
burly logging crews, driving semi-trucks loaded with massive logs. Her
mother must have seen her hesitation.
"Go on." "The
Federal Marshall is on his way out there, and you are the only one who
knows the boundary line."
Jennie felt very small and
alone. "Why me?" She wanted to complain. But, she could not
because, she knew why. The men were all working their businesses and jobs
and her Dad was most elderly. Aloud she did say, "You know I'm really
sick of the timber land." "Why do we keep balancing with the
Bureau of Indian Affairs." "The only time we own it is when
something like this comes up."
"It was your great
grandmother, Esther's allotment." "Go!"
As Jennie drove down the dusty
country roads many memories were coming back to her of the times when they
were children and played up and down these same quiet tracks. Dropping off
the main road the little truck necessarily had to ease through the rough
ruts of cut out places the heavy oil field tankers had probably made, as
they carried their loads from the few wells located in the timber. The
young but maturing woman was carefully observing to see what she might
come upon. Following the winding road into the depth of the heavy timber
she was all at once able to see the very large logging trucks. They were
easily visible since the area around them had been cleared of timber.
Slowing the truck she was looking to see if she could see a federal man
any place. There was no uniform in sight. The men were not in their trucks
but busily getting ready to pull out she could tell. Indeed, they were
loaded with newly cut gigantic logs. If there was a tight place in her
throat and around her heart, Jennie didn't give in to it. This was the
real reason her mother didn't want to come. She glanced in her rear view
mirror just in time to see the truck pulling up marked with the US
Jennie breathed a sigh of
relief. She reached for the handle of the door and was sliding off the
edge of the uncomfortable high seat of the truck when the federal marshall
walked up beside her.
He was a tall big man, dressed
in a brown leather jacket and trousers of the same color. This must have
been the uniform and she would not have recognized it as such. He looked
more like a Forrest ranger, indeed, of which she had only seen pictures.
At this point she didn't care what he looked like, he was big and he was
Before we go any
farther," Jenny spoke to him, "You should know they are not on
our property." "Do you see that old rusty barrel over
there." "If you go over and reach down you can pick up what is
left of a barb wire." "This was once a fence to divide the two
"Are you sure?" He
"I know so." "I only grew up wandering these timbered
lands." "Gramma once owned that land there, but she sold
it." "I'm a little sick to my stomach to see those beautiful old
gentleman cut down after all these ages of their being there."
"I can't explain the feeling." "A little like losing
someone in death." "First there is the shock."
The ranger was standing beside
the door of her truck with his arm easily resting at the top of it. He
seemed to be in a staring stand off with the logging crew. It was obvious
they were uneasy with his presence, but since he was making no move,
neither were they.
"Part of the reason we
have held to these trees is for the conservation and holding of this
land," Jennie was trying to lighten the moment as to heaviness she
knew was there. The ranger was easy with his stance, but she knew he was
like steel in his resolve. "The man who bought that property is not
Native American." "It is his to do with as he wishes."
"This is the difference, you see." "Culture gives these
elderly old gentlemen of pecan trees respect." "They stood firm,
holding this land through flood and time." "Over the years they
bought me many a pair of shoes." "Of course, this only after I
was able to pick up the pecans they dropped." "It is a little
like losing a friend, you know."
"Yeah, well," the
ranger wasn't going to bend to sentiment or anything to interfere with his
"If you are sure about
the property line, I guess we might as well clear out of here."
"Suits me," Jennie
was relieved to not have any association with the rough looking lumber
jacks, but she did smile and wave to them as she backed her truck out away
from the scene, waiting for the law man to follow along behind her.
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