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Paddle Your Own Canoe
Chapter 10


Ponca City, Oklahoma is a town with a population of around 30,000. Probably, the outlying district past the city limits are that much or more.  In any  modest prairie towns there were numbers of old historic homes.  It was through these old homes Dee and her friend Chelsea walked for exercise. Driving past them was one thing but to slowly walk by  was another experience.

The hail storm earlier had given the home owners insurance money to do necessary repairs. Along with these repairs were the lovely new colors of paint on the exteriors. Each home was with a careful harmony of hue looking to have been designed by  professionals.

There was a street sign marking the area as to being heritage homes. The two women had more or less grown up in and around this  very town and it was like they were stepping back to some forty years ago when these houses were somewhat newer but certainly no better in appearance than they were now.

One house was so beautiful with a full veranda around the total structure. The large posters of the porch were standing on the hewn squares of rock which were a rich dark tan color.  A burgundy paint decorated those posters and lest there is a standing out of that color in only one place there was also a portion between the gables to have the same color.  That decoration looked a little like fish scales and with the burgundy color calling attention to it the high accent was striking as well.

One of the houses was painted with shades of tans. The columns on it were more like pillars. The porch was totally different from a veranda but it was equally as striking with a deep dark red color on that porch and down the wide steps.  The side walk leading to the street came all the way to the curb and widened out to what was probably, a total car's length. The tall curved  roof made this house different and beautiful.

“Chelsea, do you remember when we were kids and the houses looked just like this along here?”

“I do remember.  But, seems like they have never been this beautiful since then.”  Chelsea   was   reflective.

“There is a strange feeling here too.  Do you notice it?  Almost like living in another time.  Even the rich growth, the flora,  seems to dictate to another mood.  What is it?”   Dee was quick to pick up on the moods of things.

“I don't know.”  Chelsea  was thoughtful.  “I suppose it is all the living and life to have gone on here. For instance, that house over there?  One of my friends daughters lived there with her first husband. They are divorced now and he lives there alone.  That house over on that side  was where one of the girls lived who was in a class with me at the  high school. I think it is just all the memory.  So many generations of people with all their histories left here.”

The cool of late dusk was upon them too and Dee was glad when Chelsea wanted to walk  back toward her own home. “I'm ready to turn back. Something about the shadows even seems stronger.”  Dee reached up to touch one of the leaves of a red bud tree.  “Look how much larger these leaves are than on my old clay hill.  They sure make a deep shadow all around at this time of the evening.  There is a strength to that too.”

“Probably these yards hold  years of having been cultivated by one loving family after another.  It is no wonder they are so verdant with these rich dark greens.”  Chelsea commented.

As they walked past one of the homes, Dee couldn't help but notice its architecture as to being Spanish in origin.  “Isn't this a rare home?”

“This house was once owned by a doctor.”  Chelsea told Dee.  “Later on my daughter's uncle and his wife bought it.  And, I don't know who owns it now.”

“It is a stucco, and I don't care about them.”  Dee commented.

“Why not?”  Chelsea wanted to know.

“Oh, I don't know.  I guess because Gramma Jones lived in one over at Foraker.  Seems like Dad was always having to  repair the surface of it for her.  Also, I don't think it was very well insulated which made it cold in the winter.  There are more heating capabilities with wood too. Of course, today with insulation I'm sure this is different.”

For Dee, what started out just as a walk for exercise turned out to be the nicest of gleaned information from her friend.  They had driven through these streets many times before and not once was this much knowledge about the residents of these homes shared.  It was like a tiny, misty trip to another world and if it had lasted  only briefly it didn't matter because this  softened the edges of a tedious day for her.


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