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Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
I Brung Yu Some of Thet Lye Soap


Zona spread her best damask table cloth over the rough hand-built table John put together for her. Even if the meal happened sometimes to be nothing more than cornbread and milk she managed to serve the food up in delicate dishes that had been guarded with an iron will, needed to protect the fragile china. Their little camp was neat to a fault. John’s carpentry skills were bringing their new house up to where it could be seen. Maybe this is what allowed his wife to tolerate having to camp out. To wake up in the morning with the framework of their new home on the horizon was solace to her and made their rough living conditions tolerable.

“Howdy!” called out Mr. Stanton as he and Mrs. Stanton rode into John and Zona’s camp. “Say now! Things are looking mighty homey around here and you sure are comin’ along on your house. You reckin you’ll have it up by winter?”

“Don’t have no choice. Can’t live outdoors here when the snow is flyin’ although the Indians do live out of their tee-pees. I’d feel better about having something more substantial over our heads.” John shared his thoughts on the matter.

“This is sure a beautiful shady place you have here by this old creek.” Stanton’s wife commented as she brushed the dust from her long skirt after the buggy ride over the dusty road.

We-youuuuu, we-yyouuu, we-youuuuu came the noisy call of locusts or jar-flies as the settlers called them. The heat of their Oklahoma summer had lifted and now were the days coming into what they called Indian summer. It was Zona’s favorite time of the year. She loved it and relished every moment of it before they had to go into the miserable, windy, cold days of winter.

“Say Stant! You folks are just in time. Zona has a meal whipped up fit for a King. Git down off that wagon and come have supper with us!” John wanted to make his good neighbors welcome.

Stanton stepped out of the wagon and turned to lift Mrs. Stanton down. “Say John, I brung you some of thet lye soap Mrs.Stanton has carried all over this side of Oklahoma. I heard Zony say she wanted some.”

“Now that’s a mighty fine thing for you tah-do, Stant. Maybe we could trade you some of those onion sets’ Zona’s been carrying all over the other side of Oklahoma.”

The two men laughed heartily together as they shared a joke at their wife’s expense. The women simply smiled and felt secure with this understanding that they all shared in their willingness to battle this harsh land whether with lye soap or onion sets.


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