She comes down from Yellow Mountain
On a dark, flat land she rides
On a pony she named Wildfire
With a whirlwind by her side
On a cold Nebraska night
Oh, they say she died one winter
When there came a killing frost
And the pony she named Wildfire
Busted down its stall
In a blizzard he was lost She ran calling Wildfire
My pregnancy was a slipping back and forth between
struggling to maintain my health and the sorrow to know I was still
facing the surgeon’s knife once more. Grandmother’s home housed us and
we struggled financially.
There was a loud WHOMP, thumping sound as the heavy
old tree truck landed exactly in the place where Rodney had planned for
it to come down. He couldn’t work a nine to five job because I was
partly down, advised by my doctor to stay off my feet, as much as
possible. Rodney has a daughter in a wheel chair and a son in grade
school. There were clothes to wash, dishes to wash, runs to be made to
their schools, the whole load of it was on his shoulders.
The only way he can take care of his family and
support us too was by picking up odd jobs. My own father never
criticized but he couldn’t understand why I was on the couch all the
time. It worried him and no way were we going to add to his anxiety with
the total truth. For the moment he was grieved to think he raised a lazy
My help was not much but I tagged along with Rodney
on his jobs a lot of the time. The fear of him on his back, alone, with
a heavy limb coming down on his head made me afraid.
"I can’t do anything but at least I call for help.
I thought to myself.
All the work with Rhonda was paying off in subtle
ways almost too invisible to see. The children loved her, especially her
cousin, Kemy. It was a joy to see the two, one in a wheelchair, tearing
down a hill, or running to the park with Kemy’s dogs Pogo and Sienna.
Sienna's tongue out of the corner of her mouth,
loping along side their mistress was a picture. She was a gorgeous red
Irish Setter of distinctive origin, papers and all. Pogo was a bit of
fluff usually looking like a powder puff from the hair dryer.
Occasionally Sienna tired and had to be allowed to
sit on Rhonda’s lap in the wheelchair as Kemy pushed them both.
"Sienna has bad breath," Rhonda often giggled when
The strength of character Kemy was building with her
caring for her disabled cousin came through many years later when she
became a mature, responsible, loving mother. And so the stage was set.
How many children came under Rhonda’s tutoring over the years? Her
learned skills were from a place higher than the common. She had the
finest of teachers herself and she was easily able to pass this learning
on to any sweet child caught in a sad circumstance and who came under
her protection for a time.
Presently, there was no way of knowing this of the
future. We just went through the days, loving each other, the children,
our community, and even branched out a bit to our tribe.
In the shower I hummed the tune of Michael Murphey’s
lyrics to Wildfire and wept quietly while I entreated my Higher Power,
Jehovah, to please spare my life in the days to come ahead.
Don’t make your trip to Oklahoma City at the last
minute, my doctor in Dallas wisely advised me. December 17, could be in
the middle of a blizzard. He knew of what he spoke and we fled Ponca
City just ahead of the heaviest of an ice storm to check into the
Community Hospital at Oklahoma City.
Mother was with us. She kept the children, Mark and
Rhonda in a motel and Rodney took me to the hospital. The ice on the
roads and sidewalks was like Oklahoma storms often happen. First comes
the snow only to melt during a warm sunny day and again freeze at night
to make every surface a slick ice skating rink adventure. To walk across
the hospital parking lot saw Rodney holding me close to him as we took
baby steps to keep from slipping.
Last thing I needed was a fall.
Lights overhead glistened on the ice and shown like
sparkles from a jewel out of the darkness of night. We concentrated on
walking on impossible torturous surfaces. This phenomena and beauty of
nature wasn’t even enjoyed because our goal and purpose was too real and
just ahead of us.
Who knows the ways of our bodies. There was a
reconstruction work going on in the hospital. A heavy odor of some
product, maybe glue for the tile, assailed our breathing.
No sooner was I in the hospital bed when my water broke.
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