A Check for
A check for 1500
dollars lay on my dining room table. The Ponca tribe won a life
time court battle for land settlement. The whole of their home
in the Black Hills was paid for by the United States Government
at last. My share was the sum total in front of me.
"Not bad!" Rodney
chuckled. Only took them some 122 years to pay their debt.
money, you know. Bury it in the land," Dad and Mother both
agreed on that.
There was a 300
dollar 1955 Ford I wanted and an acre of land and that was the
end of my inheritance money.
We were doing
everything we could to survive as a family. Rodneyís job was low
pay but he purchased a wood stove and with the chimney modified
we were able to keep warm that winter.
Rodney passed his
test for a license to repair Wurlitzer organs. While repairing
one way out on the prairie for a little woman whose few
pleasures included this instrument. He was late returning. I cut
up some of the Poplar wood from Grammaís old, dead tree. The
height of it had been incredible and we worried that it might
fall on the house. That was when I learned why the wood was
called POPlar. The noisy bullet like popping was contained by a
screen over the front of the stove still Rhonda, Mark and baby
Kay thought this was fun and something to watch and hear.
I sewed a suit
coat for Rodney out of tan corduroy looking fabric that was
actually soft upholstery material found on sale. The very fine
plaid fabric in a muted, dark, Hunter green made him a shirt and
it was acceptable, with a tie up to a point, in our
Mark needed a
coat for a part and I couldnít sew one in time. That was not
acceptable and a too large coat was draped on his shoulders by
one of the elders while he was at the podium . He was forever
embarrassed over that and I couldnít change what had happened.
If I had tried harder to make Mark understand there was no value
in being obsessed with clothing things would have been better.
We shouldnít have let it be a big deal. But unfortunately it
All of us were
struggling through too much and knew nothing in any regard for
competitive social achievement being important at the time. The
work to hold our family together was what we had to do and we
did it. These were the happy times for us in spite of any
arrived Mark was nine years old now, just a boy, but he was the
one who seemed to pull us out of our doldrums. How he had
managed to save up the money to buy an old lawn mower was never
known but this is what he did. When he began to mow lawns for
the neighbors soon word got out about how well he worked and his
time was filled with appointments.
After we loaded
the lawn mower into the trunk of our car he climbed in beside me
and showed me the ten dollar bill he had earned.
"Son, I donít
think that is enough to charge. Look. She has two lots and that
is a big yard." I felt he had not charged enough but was I in
for a shock to hear his thoughts were going to what he had been
taught at the Kingdom Hall.
"Aw, Mom. Sheís
an old lady. Her husbandís dead and she has no kids. The yard is
big but itís all dandelions and they cut like a breeze. I just
walk through them."
For just an
instant I felt sorry, sad and proud all at the same time. Here
was this little person having to reason and work just like a
man. All the suit coats, ties, learning public speaking and
Bible study would not touch what he had learned just from
listening and observation. These were the things to give me
courage and a will to go forward.
interesting about the classified?" Rodney asked me as he walked
past the table where I had the paper spread out.
special. I see we got a good deal on our acre of land. I donít
know how in the world we can ever afford to build but I like to
keep the thought in my mind. This is Mamaís house, after all,
you know. I donít think we will want to live here forever."
supper? Rod was poking around at the steaming pans covered with
lids on the stove.