There was a closeness between
the granddaughter and her grandmother. Sometimes, the others in the family
may not have understood. For Jenny it was as something she could not
explain at the time but, she was most content with the bond. A bond after
all was what it was, a close knit society of two. If she could have known
about the relationship between a grandmother and the first granddaughter
in the Native American ways it would have made no difference to her at the
time. The girl confided easily in her grandmother and the older woman was
always there to advise.
For the most part Jenny was
with her own family, while they all lived at her grandmother's country
place. There were acres of land and it was a full, free, life for the
children. The beauty of the timberland was eighty acres of playground for
them. They skipped along sand bars close to the river, swung on low
growing limbs over the smaller streams, enjoyed picnic lunches under pecan
trees, hunted the timber lands for small game with their father. There was
never a shortage of people coming in to enjoy the beauty of the land,
fishing or just lingering around the shores of the river. It was a hidden
place and gave those strangers an escape from the civilized surrounding
where they lived. Sometimes, folks who lived in row houses became so
hungry for outdoor places, untouched by mowing machines and manicured
care. When the children's family lived on the ranch lands there was always
a place made for gentle people to come for relief and refreshment. On the
prairie this had been the watershed their father built. Here in the
timber, it was simply the solitude and removed spaces from the town area
to give peace and quiet from small city life. According to their father's
southern culture instilled in him by his mother they were obligated to be
These were the times to mold
Jenny toward the love for nature. At every turn there was a new scene of
involvement with the world about her. If she wasn't learning about the
roots of the buck brush plant as to their usefulness in weaving small
baskets, she was being taught to identify the trees according to their
bark and leaf. Of these things she spoke with her grandmother and the
elderly woman was pleased to hear it. At these times too, Jenny's
grandmother would tell her stories of events to have transpired over the
years on the timber land. The girl never tired of hearing the many and
varied stories her grandmother told.
"Yes, there were gypsies
who came to stay in the timber lands." "It was removed and
isolated from unfriendly people who might push in upon them in an
unwelcome way." The grandmother was slipping into another story the
girl could tell. In her mind she could see the camps of the sparkling,
dancing gypsy women as the old woman wove and spun the story. She could
see the men too, who her grandmother said her mother told her to avoid,
lest they be spirited away to disappear and never be seen again.
Grandmother laughed and talked about how her husband would notice there
were goats missing, only to to into the camp of those folks to see the
hides of the animal spread across the floor.
"I didn't know folks
visited the timber way back in the olden days," Jenny was typical of
all young people who think of grandparents as being from another world.
Jenny's grandmother smiled.
"Yes, the timber land has as long as I can remember has been a place
for quiet meditation, even when I was a girl our folks came there for
prayer and meditation.
When Jenny was ready to leave
she casually mentioned something she had seen in the timber. It had to do
with the way gas bubbled up through the mud in places.
"Where did you see this
in particular?" Granddaughter. "Oh, just about everywhere."
"Any place there is soft liquid mud." "The gas bubbles up
and pops on the surface."
"Hm-m, the old woman
Some time shortly later oil
wells were put down and the rich fluid brought an extra revenue for her
grandmother. The girl in her heart and mind had a great consolation as to
being able to gift her grandmother, first, with the news about the gas
which came before the oil.