“My sore leg muscles
from laying tile have made me worthless around here. I can't even bend
over to pick up something I've dropped on the floor.” I was complaining
and laughing at the same time as I shared my foolhardy ways with a friend
on the telephone.
“Well! You know, you don't have to go at a project like there is no
tomorrow. We both laughed at this evaluation of a character fault that was
“Would you like to ride over to Pawhuska with me and a friend? We have
some business at the court house.”
I knew she was interested in genealogy so I felt that I could possibly
do some research, also.
To begin the story I must first tell about this court house of Osage
County, one of the biggest in Oklahoma. The Grecian type architecture of
the building has been placed high atop a bluff of solid rock. The walls of
stone are easily seen as you drive up to that high point. Maybe you aren't
superstitious, interested in Greek mythology, or not even sensitive to any
kind of vibrations. Nevertheless, a person would have to be hardened
beyond belief not to experience some sort of intimidation from the
location. In fact, I've heard deeply religious people express an
uneasiness about the place.
For some reason this anxiety seemed to be more oppressive on this
particular day. It was evident by the way people were briskly stepping
along either with their head and chin tucked down or, otherwise, looking
straight forward with no turning of their head to either side. Their eyes
were focused on to some point ahead. Stress was so obviously the mood of
the place it felt like there was a force all of its own weighted on them.
Our expressions must have been one of questioning because one of the
gentleman all but whispered, “this is the day for the murder trial of the
waitress who was shot and killed while she was on her job.”
Certainly, we had read the papers about it but reading about the
tragedy and actually being where the trial was coming up was two different
I wondered if my expressions were like those of my companions and the
other people who were sitting in the waiting room for one or another bit
of business there.
Their eyes had a furtive, wide-eyed looked. Our position was at the very
top of a long wide stairway going to the lower floors.
As usual in a situation when people are waiting together no one
bothers much about the person or people around them. It is almost as if it
is a private time for them when they can either read, meditate or to do
something which excludes any conversation. This wasn't any different.
Small groups of people who were together were talking softly to each other
as we were. All about was a hushed,
nervous, anticipation of what was going to come about that day.
Suddenly there was a woman yelling in a loud voice from somewhere
below us. She was calling a name that was odd, more like a phrase than a
name. Maybe it was something like, “LAWTON TULLES......LAWTON TULLES, and
then again two or three times, “LAWTON TULLES.”
In an instant the expressions of the people changed from one of
disinterest to looks that said, “What? What? Whatever is that? One of the
women was trying as hard as I was not to laugh out loud. Our eyes locked
for a moment and when I said, “Sounds like someone has finally lost it,”
there was an understanding between us and I felt that, not only was she
holding her laughter but it was if she wanted to take one leg, bounce it
up and down and slap her knee with one hand while she laughed
Even though we had no association, no acquaintance, the yelling by
some unseen woman of some silly name was just too funny for us not to
share the moment. Needless to say, the cloud of anxiety was broken