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Donna Flood
Where the Tallgrass Grows


Out on the back roads of Osage country up around Foraker and Grainola is where we go when all the games are through. Something whispers in our ear, “Come on away from it all, climb the high lands through rolling pastures and look up to skies with clouds massed in great fluffy forts.

       When our friends sauntered in from Houston it was like some angel was resting up in one of those clouds whispering, “Here you are girl, you know I promised you a break!”  It didn't take us long to make plans for the next day.

        “Are we going to eat at Bad Brads?”  Luanne was the same girl Dawn had known so many years ago. She was mischievously referring to the little café in Pawhuska, Oklahoma serving the most delectable, Bar B Q beef a person could ever wish to devour.

       Worn and torn, tattered an shorn of our pride and stride we could only grab a few bottles of water, Kleenex, and Tums in preparation for our foray out across the land. If the genteel, soft riding, luxury cars, that was a touch of the Jones brothers,  was gone who could worry about that. The bouncy, little, hard seated automobile would just have to do. The stretches of long highways over unfettered acres was enough to sooth us better than the old Watkins liniment the peddlers brought to our door after they dug it out from the wagon their horse was pulling.

       Touching heart strings was the concerned face of the nephew as he told what a hard trial his Dad, our brother, had going through broken shoulder and ribs. There was no time for thinking, for sorrowing or regrets. We stayed just long enough to drop off a hurried wish for brother's recovery. From the boy of long ago who struggled and worked like a machine to build a place for his own out on the immense, harsh space to the place where his works and will alone,  endured.

        “I've brought some friends and we are going to walk around a bit up to the old home place?  Okay?”  Dawn knew and respected her brother's love for duty and protective ways about all that transpired around and about the prairie be it a wily coyote menacing a calf or a varment on two legs. The love for the place where she grew up gave her ties no one could take away but legalities and whims of the human element decreed other issues. None of this was to her interest. A moment beside the old garden wall her Dad had built, a step across the threshold of the place she had only ever been at joyful abandonment was the only abstraction to give solace and relief from daily common living. She wanted nothing more than this.

       The buffalo were up for the cowboy's work on them. Inoculations and such would keep them healthy. The herd had to be thinned, too. 200,000 acres would support only just so many. Dawn missed seeing their burly, heavy tossing heads as they mozied across the road in front of their car.

      After a short stop and visit to the newly built larger gift shop they were then on their way to Pawhuska for a meeting at Bad Brads. The car skimmed along the road and only gave Dawn a minute to read the sign at her left. 250,000 acres for sale.

      Entering the backside of Pawhuska showed the many beautiful, rich, brick homes built in this last generation. The houses were large and placed elegantly at a distance from each other.

       Bad Brad seemed to be able to step them back to the time of her youth some how. Was it the older house converted into a restaurant? Or was it the friendly, pleasant banter and conversation of the folks eating there? Maybe it was the opportunity to visit with the sister of her friend who lived in Pawhuska. She was what could be the memory of beautiful girls from off the prairie. There was a grace about her telling of healthy worlds involving clean air, unfettered living and hopeful to morrows despite the agonies and sorrows of circumstances with life.

       The total joys of the trip are too many to call up,  be it the opportunity to visit the great room of the Osage council room, the Osage museum or another very small incident.

       As they drove away from the old home place they came to  where small bridges allowed them to pass over  streams that stayed and seemed determined to exist. On an old stalk of a long dead rack of a tree two giant, bald eagles lifted up away from their place of rest.  Somehow this was a testament to Dawn. Here were these once endangered giant birds who had continued to survive. Prairie lands were held jealously by men like her brother,  who were determined to keep everything as pristine as possible. No one would know of their great battles.  Men of generations from his father to now stood to hold what was from their belief to respect life. Though devious ones had thrown every possible stumbling blocks, with insideous ways, still, these giant birds lifted so easily into the air with such unbelievable grace. To see and be gifted with the eagles presence which make them the champions of the land,  the winners,  was a blessing.  If we are sensitive,  we can appreciate the Creator's and our brother's work as well.


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