are chores are chores. We ramble though doing the best we can with what we
have. If there are dirty dishes, laundry, and hundreds of other little
nitty gritty, mundane, bits of necessary duties, everyone seems to get
through it. These were the thoughts going through Sherry's mind. Shining
shoes, trimming hair, washing out bath tubs or whatever, becomes such a
habit there is no thought going to it one way or another.
Every once in a while a chore
comes up that is a little harder to work through, and the cleaning of
their father's grave was of that sort. The hill where the grave rested was
altogether pleasant. A river with wide sand bars was at a short distance
below.The wide skies could be filled with ballooning clouds, fluffy and
drifting leisurely.These pleasant surroundings; however, did not make the
task any easier.
"Will you go help me with
Dad's grave?" Sherry asked her husband.
"Sure, what do we need out
"Oh, probably the weed-eater,
a shovel, an old broom, a five gallon can of water?" Sherry knew from
experience the gas powered weed-eater did as well as a lawn mower. It was
easy to carry and the space of the family's area was not that large. The
water would wash down the base of the stone, which was white. The broom
was used to first sweep it off. A shovel would lift soil away from the
marker, which might have washed down onto it.
Here was just another part of
her life tied up with being one half of Native blood. "Which half?" It was
a joke and she chuckled to herself, while thinking. "Is it one arm, and
one leg, or my head and my torso?"
"What is funny?" Sherry's
husband wanted to know.
"I was just thinking about
Grandsir being buried in an Indian cemetery." "He with his Irish ways is
still mingling with folks where he lived from the earliest of times in
Oklahoma history." "Some might consider it ironic." "I don't."
When they approached the area,
the stones were marked with the names of those people from the Ponca
tribe. Here was Little Dance. Over there was Cries for Ribs. White Eagle
was ahead. The different sounding family names were all there. Little
Cook, MakesCrye, Warrior, Gives Water, Little Voice, Little Warrior, and
Big Snake. Then there were the names derived not from the interpreters
gifts, but from intermarriage to other nationalities. They were: Primeaux,
LeClair, Pensoneau, Smith, McDonald, Williams, Jones and others. At the
very peak of the hill on the ridge was their father's grave.
The soil was of red clay and
not conducive to growing anything but prairie grass. Nevertheless, for
years a purple sage bush had grown behind the marker she had planted
there. The purple blooms were always lovely against the white stone.
"I was very put off when the
workers cut all that sage bush out from Dad's marker." "I could never
understand why they would cut Sage down." "It is almost a sacred plant
with our folks." Sherry had been deeply hurt when she saw the large bush
cut out. Not only the purple blooms were beautiful, but the soft grey
colored leaves too, were striking. At the top of the barren hill it was
just the delicate touch of finery their father would have loved, and it
reminded Sherry of him. She could almost hear him say, "Well now, Girl!"
"Is this for I-key?" Why he always referred to himself as I-key was just
one of his little jokes she never understood. Well, this was not totally
so, as to understanding. There were always quiet reprimands for deep
wishes his children would not be so tied up with hero worship of any sort,
be it an ancestor, or whatever. Years after his death she realized he was,
indeed, the key to many mysteries she had to do research to discover. If
his daughter asked, he would have told her. She like many other children
would make the same mistake and statement. "Too late." "Too late."
Directly behind her father's
grave was the place, her Grandfather was buried. Sherry's husband worked
swiftly and cleared the grave of her father easily with the weed-eater. It
wasn't only until the grass was down she all at once caught sight of
something to make her call out to him. "Please wait!" "Wait!" "What is
that green at the head of Grandsir's grave?"
"I haven't the slightest
idea." Having to hold up from finishing the chore was not to the liking of
"Look!" "Look!" Sherry held
disbelief in her voice. There on the ground in a mass of brilliant fresh
green were Shamrocks.
"What is it?" Sherry's husband
was interested in her surprised discovery.
"Oh my!" "How beautiful!" "I
don't think I've ever seen anything so very nice."
unbelievable!" "They are more delicate than the Sage."
"Wouldn't Grandsir Jones be so
pleased?" "I've never seen those before in this whole area." Sherry found
the Shamrock's appearance to be truly incredulous. Somehow, the loss of
the Sage was softened now with this new introduction of a plant particular
to only this one place, here at the head of her Grandfather's grave.