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American History
Osage Highlanders - Chapter 4


"Surely, the old rock wall is here."  Dawn couldn't imagine it being destroyed.  When they drove around to the back of the property to, where it had been another sadness struck at her heart. It looked as though someone had taken some large machine and pushed a part of it over.

I can hear Dad.  “They say, ignorance is  bliss, but I don't believe it.”

She shook off the heartbreak involved and asked, “Can we measure the length of it?"

Pete pulled out his tape measure and after pushing overgrowth out of the way he was able to come up with numbers. "It is one hundred feet long, and more than six feet tall,"  he told her.

"My! My!  Can you believe Daddy picking up all this off the meadow by hand  with a wheelbarrow?  He used a crowbar to pry the rock out of the ground.”

She had a mixture of emotion and couldn't define quite what her feelings were. Was it pride in her father's perseverance, anger to see the wall destroyed, sadness to know her father could no longer be with them as he rested in death, or relief that he could not see his work so destroyed?  The emotions were probably partially good, else how could she have been able to endure any one of them alone. At the moment she knew she was ignorant about this wall. Somewhere in her mind she remembered reading about eco systems and the contributions of a garden wall but at the moment there was no recollection of it.

"Let's go film the watershed." Dawn mumbled.  She wasn't anxious to see that either.

While they slowly drove down the rough, rocky, deserted  road past that ancient German immigrant, once part of a Lutheran church yard, cemetery, the car moved at a necessary snail's pace lest the bad road take its toll on their automobile. As they moved along, she happened to look to the right as if someone was tugging at her to do so. There in the middle of the pasture was the dolman her father had built so many years before.

"Look! Pete?  Look out there!"

"I always wondered what that thing was."   He glanced for a moment from the job he had of creeping down the very bad road.

"It's a dolman. It is a house for the little people."

"Hm-m. Little People?  Sounds like your father's sense of humor."

"Stop the car.  I want a picture of it."

Dutifully, Pete stopped the car, trudged out to the object, measured it and snapped a photograph. When he returned to the car he said, "It is ten feet across the top of it and that is one large solid rock."

"How in the world did Dad ever get a rock that size up off the ground?" Dawn had to laugh. "He said he did it because Gramma Bell wanted a house for the Little People. Some folks take flowers and food out for them."

"Believed in them did they?" Pete smiled.

"Well, I would say so. That was Gramma Bell's Collin's blood. Irish." She smiled.

At this point they were approaching the old watershed. "Better go slow here.  I don't think we can drive over it anymore. It looks like it is washed out."

Sure enough,  mammoth rocks her father at one time had pulled up to make a low water bridge had a foot drop between them.

"We could never drive over this now, and look, no water, just a dry creek bed. This used to be such a beautiful watershed. Oh, we spent so many happy times fishing this old water hole and the fish were so good to eat.”  Again there was a sadness about her heart as she knew her own father would have been hurt too, by the neglect.

"Let's go, I'm through filming this and I don't want to look at it." Dawn had no wish to experience any more.

They drove over the long stretches of roads, many of which were set there by her own grandfather, Joe.   They were driving back over some of the very roads he  had helped establish. This was in the days of horse drawn wagons, picks, axes, and men's back power.

Dawn was quiet with no discussion of what they had just seen.  In her mind she was forming a plan. If she could have known all the intricate little trivial gremlins to bar the decision she made, probably, she would have gone on with it, anyway. She was just that certain of the rightness of her act.  Only later was she to reiterate her teachings by her father which said, “there is a way that seems right.”

As usual, in the following days their time was pushed in upon with an impossible number of chores. The closing of Pete's aging parent's home was occupying most of his thoughts and the emotional drain it was taking on their little family was a difficult time for them also. The loss of his parents to a retirement village would leave a hole in their lives. They were elderly and needed attention but even in their feebleness they had been much encouragement and a source of emotional support to the grandchildren when they were just trying to begin their lives. Now without the guidance and wisdom of the old folks the young grand kids were having to face a cutting off and isolation from them. It was very difficult for the whole family.

Any plans to work on the old house would have to be done with great care and this she did. The first stage of her plan was simply to get over to the place and clean out some of the thorn trees in front of the place. They had to just do it with no discussion with family other than having permission of the owners in Colorado. This Dawn was able to do  over the telephone. Her cousin told her to be sure to get the permission of the man leasing the property and this she did too. All Native Americans were schooled and learned as to whom really owned the land and theirs was ownership in name only. She did tell the lessor what her plans were and that she would be sure to include his family on the list to send invitations for her planned gathering, after there was a clearing work accomplished.

Today, on a pleasant Saturday afternoon they drove up to the old place armed with all the things needed to get to the work. Lawnmowers Pete quickly unloaded from their trailers and went swiftly about mowing. By hand they cut the thorn trees and trimmed the other  tress until they were without a chain saw after it refused to start one more time.

"I think I will drive down to the next ranch to see if there is anyone home." Dawn told Pete. "I will be back shortly."

A  car was parked out in front of the antique house but as she knocked on the door over and over no one came out. While disappointed and turning to walk away it was only then someone called to her. Startled, she turned to look and was pleasantly surprised.

There stood a young man about her son's age. He was handsome in a dark striking strong Native American way. He had a very well cared for physical appearance and was healthy looking, more so than the youth of the town where they lived. He had a rested and well groomed look about him. Dawn had not seen this stature among the young people of the day for quite a while when even those of the wealthy had a tired strained look about them. This young man seemed to step out of a different time period, which was of another day when there was a more simple life style.  He had a wide friendly uncomplicated grin and he was obviously blessed with a charming personality as he spoke with a slow Oklahoma drawl.

"Is there some way I can help?"


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