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American History
Osage Highlanders - Chapter 2


Leslie walked through the small kitchen and the door leading out to the back porch. As she looked around the door, a scene  opened up to her. A long room was flanked on all three sides by windows and it was bright, airy, pleasant.  It looked like another house within a house. Here was a long table and lined up on both sides of it  were the men  who were obviously cowboys. Rough work worn hands, deeply lined faces from exposure to the elements,  soft western clothing of Levi's, and tall leather boots, made their occupation quite evident. She noticed as they talked they rested their foot on their spurs and rolled them on the floor.

Unlike the table she had just left this one was simply piled high with food. There were crispy looking large steaks. Mashed potatoes heaped up were in bowls. Large serving dishes  of brown gravy were placed all along the table. Drinking glasses plain and large served these men, unlike the delicate stemmed glasses she had  used earlier.  Even the silver was substantial and utilitarian  looking with heavy easy to hold handles. The plates of sturdy stoneware with symbolic brands of ranches from all around the area was different and opposite to  the thin china on that other table.   Big mugs of brown coffee cups set beside the plates and some of the cowboys held them in their hand. The spoon rested inside the cup while they held it to one side with their forefinger.

The men were casually conversing and just for a moment Leslie wanted to eavesdrop on what they were discussing.

"Did jah see that  hoss clearin' those fences with ole' Melvin jest a hangin' on fer dear life? Hot dang! I thought fer sure he was a goner. I'd reckin' he'll do a lot of thinkin' afore he draws that hoss agin. Ha! HAHAHAHAHAHA!"  The men were laughing with pure delight at the cowboy's observation of the the English riding horse trained  to jump fences. Melvin, a young hand,  was suffering the initiation common to all new comers.

The animal discussed was one the owners had bought  from Ben Johnson Senior so as to indulge their daughter's wish to learn English riding. That horse was the topic and focal point of the men's  hilarity.  A horse sailing over the fences with a young surprised cowboy on his back was too good for them to pass up as to having fun with the boy.

So as not to rudely make her presence known,  Leslie quickly left the kitchen to return to the table where the place for her meal should have been waiting. Instead of the quiet little group  nothing was there now. The silence of the old house was once again upon her as heavy as an old cold weather coat.  It was  heavy and uncomfortable.

She turned away from  this table and the back porch to see if she could find something else yet to touch in upon her senses. True to her wish, the back bedroom she stepped into was furnished and looked to be just as the family  left it. These furnishings in the bedroom were striking. They were obviously most expensive and rich looking of a cream colored off white. The bed had a solid head and foot board. In the middle of the head board and  also at the middle of the foot board there was a raised relief decoration of a vase with flowers which looked to be hand painted and with delicate colors. A dressing table stood in one corner of the room. On it were three mirrors, a long one in the middle and two smaller ones on the side with hinges to fold at any angle.

Across the room from this was a very big low chest of drawers holding a large flat mirror.   Opposite the bed was an armoire.  The rich heavy doors closing over this piece was elegant and was for the pleasure of any guest to use while they stayed. The windows of the room were covered with the venetian blinds which at the time were a modern addition. Over the blinds hung lace drops of fabric.

Leslie was all of a sudden very tired. The sprite of a girl walked over to the bed and  curled up on it.  Before falling off to sleep  she was seeing a large  portrait hanging above the headboard. Looking back at her were the eyes of someone just her age who could have been her twin. Too tired to question anything,  she slept.

When this estranged resident awoke there was the twittering of little birds outside her window. The sunlight filtering through the tall narrow windows covered with  lace curtains and the quiet of this very pleasant room said the storm was gone.  She dropped her hand off the side of the bed to run her fingers through a softer carpet of a delicate muted gray green color. It was more to her liking and she somehow knew the floor covering came from someone closer to her era.

The girl arose, walked back over the floors now again covered with the rubble of old plaster. Her weight, though light, still crunched the material as she trod slowly over it. When she stepped out of the house onto the old stone porch her horse tossed its head and whinnied to her.


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