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Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
Through The Empty Rooms


John took care of the buying and selling of their land and improvements. He had a way with real estate and made a fine profit. With his carpenter-skills he had built his own home and outbuilding. When the railroad track came through and missed their settlement, the town’s people moved all the buildings to that railway. John was instrumental in this and did much of the work. But that was neither here nor there. Now was a time for moving on-to another place. If they could live where Zona and his son might breathe in an easy way free from the hated asthma then that was good enough for him.

John’s brother Billy lived where they were going and he at least would have family. Zona’s mother, Elizabeth Ann, kept in contact with her grown children and somehow or another was able to make the trek from one of their homes to another. Her light-hearted ways and true respect for her son-in-law made him know Zona would never be lonesome and totally without family. It was a pleasure for him for his mother-in-law to visit. She always made sure his favorite foods were on the table. With her lilting sweet voice she sang her hymns and old folk tunes and it made the house a home. All her children played instruments and no matter where they were living there was always a congregating of family for some occasion. He was sure it would be the same in the panhandle where they were going.

’ll just go through the house one more time to make certain we haven’t left anything.” Zona actually wanted to say goodbye to her home. She wandered through the empty rooms. This strong little woman wouldn’t allow herself to weep but as she stood at the window, looking out over the beautiful terrain of the Oklahoma land she was sad to have to leave.

“I’m sure going to miss seeing our calves frolicking on that hill." The nostalgia of the moment threatened her composure. Clouds drifting over the landscape made her want to reach up in a foolish effort to capture their memory.

She slowly walked from one room to another. The bare floors rang with her steps because she had gathered all the woven rugs up. Her children’s rooms were stark and bare now but she could see them playing in her mind, on the floor, or sleeping in their beds as if they were still there instead of just this empty space. As Zona walked through the kitchen, she noticed her colorful gingham, curtains hanging on the windows. They stood out against the emptiness of the room.

“I’ll just leave them, they are probably dusty anyway. Maybe someone else will need them more than I do.” With that last observation she closed her eyes, whirled around and walked out the front door without a look backwards. The wagons were loaded with their possessions and her family was waiting for her.

“It’s a far piece from here to Guymon and I suppose we better be on our way.” John was watching his wife to make sure she was taking this stressful time in stride. “We’ve got some good weather for it.” He encouraged her and as soon as she was up on the wagon they began their trek of approximately 264 miles. Once again they were traveling in a slow-moving wagon pulled by oxen. None on board were without hope. They believed the move was to a better place. They had no idea or clue to the fact that the new location was actually located in the center of where the great dust storms were yet to happen.

End of Volume 1


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