“Son! I saw what you did.
I’m shore enough proud of you. Not only did you save your wife but a
prize team of oxen, as well.” It was easy to see where John had learned
his riding skills. His Dad, Wily, had ridden back to where his new
daughter-in- law and son were resting on the sandbar bank beside the
creek. They were soaked through and through. Their wet hair, clothing, and
shoes made them at risk. A dip in the stream would have been all right in
summer but now freezing temperatures made this dangerous.
“Zona, I can’t find
enough words to tell you how well you handled what could have been a death
trap. If you had not controlled yourself all would have been lost. You
were as capable as any of my sons, and a whole lot purtier!” Wily and
John both laughed heartily.
“I best get a fire
started or I’m guwin’ to freeze plumb to death.”
He slipped back into a
vernacular of another time and place as they sometimes did by using the
word guwin’ instead of going. John was shivering so hard his teeth were
‘Hogshooter Creek in
Bartlesville, Oklahoma was, indeed, where John was baptized into his
marriage. Wily was now secure in their log cabin along that tributary with
his wife, Mary, while he told her about the incident. The same cook stove
where she had prepared their meal heated the space and made a cozy, warm
room. Wily was happy to be home and Arkansas had given him a profit from
the cattle-drive, as well. He felt life was good to him.’
‘His wife, Mary,
pulled her dark hair back into a severe style and somewhere in her genes
there must have been a tie to an Italian ancestor. Those of the Guarneri
families of Italy associated with The Stradivarius have a striking
resemblance to Mary. Her sons were named Seberno, Cicero, Alonzo, and
Joseph, DeWitt and that left a question regarding their origin. Their
musical ability gave them a unity in culture and may be one of the reasons
for Zona’s being able to marry into the family. Joseph, their son, also
played the violin, when he was young. Red -Wing was his favorite tune.
The words were never sung, though, which is understandable. They are
quite seamy in a cowboy kind of way. The tune is catchy.’
“Oh the moon shines so
bright on pretty Red-Wing. The birds are crying, the wind is sighing while
Red Wing waits on her brave so true.”
‘And these were the only
words fit for singing where there were childrenin the room.’
Wily was pleased to see
his plans work out. “I believe John has found him a fine wife. She took to
driving that wagon without one peep of complaint. You would have thought
she had been driving one for all her life.” The ending of the successful
trip was his. Wily’s cattle sales coupled with a new bride for his son
made up for the misery of the rough roads and rutted trails they
followed from Harrison, Arkansas in freezing weather, at that.
“I hope you are right.
If she is content here in Bartlesville it will be the best thing to happen
to John. He needs a wife. I’m just afraid she will miss her folks over
there out of Boone County. We shore don’t have no fancy dresses and fine
clothes here at Jake Bartles store. Not even if you got as many cattle,
hogs and horses as you have, Wiley. You would have to go all the way to
Kansas City to find clothes as fancy as she brought back in that trunk of
hers.” Mary wasn’t as sure about things as her husband was.
“She comes from a
family that is skilled in weavin’ and growing their own cotton and wool.
Sewin’ comes as easy to her as ranchin’ does to us. Zona’s a fine
seamstress.” Wily spoke well of his new daughter-in-law. He had no idea
that same craft would be a tool to bring her and that family great wealth
before she died.
“I pray you know of
what you speak.” Mary was more cautious.
“Wiley wasn’t worried
about the match. His Dad was a blacksmith in Harrison, Arkansas. It was a
small town and their families all were acquainted with each other. Zona’s
folks moved in from Bolivar, Missouri to the little Arkansas community.
Before that, the family migrated to Missouri after living in Kentucky.
The Joneses came from Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. The south and that
culture were strong with both families and John's Dad felt this would be
something to give them unity in their marriage.