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Jones Place on the Osage Highlands
Page 3

Ura May Jones
Ura May Jones

We played continually, as children do. Velma, our Mother, Lee Otis Jones, our Father, and Bellzona, Grandmother, cooked, cleaned, canned vegetables and fruits. They slaughtered chickens for meals. The chicken eggs laid in the airy clean chicken house and were always available only bothered occasionally by a varmint.

The adults worked and brother Dennis Michael Jones and I played on the banisters around the stone steps of the house.

Bellzona actually lived in the town of Foraker, five miles away. We lived on the adjoining ranch, "The Strike Axe Place." Most of the work centered around this larger ranch house and our childhood was spent playing around  this area.

Actually, The Strike Axe place at the time was more beautiful. It was an older built home with rich design worked through the house. The older more established yard was overhung with the dripping branches of very large trees which were a bonus for a prairie home.

Probably, Velma felt more comfortable working at the better equipped kitchen  because there was a flat lawn with little landscaping as to only a few bushes. Geese roamed in and about the lawn and were back and forth to the pond. Their presence was a defence from the little prairie rattlesnakes, which gave the mother a freedom from worry as to that.

The kitchen was not large, but it was designed with modern advantages of running water, large sink area with porcelain drains. The wood countertop was a cutting board and work space. Lee made a small chopping block for the cutting up  of the chickens, game, beef, and pork.

First there was a kerosene cook stove. It had a small lever on one side and this was used to pump air into its tank. The stove was white enamel with a green trim around the edges. Later on a propane stove replaced it, and still later an electric stove.

Oak Ice BoxEarly days saw the use of what is an antique now, called and "ice box." Literally, this was what it was. A wood built cabinet, box like, with a place at the bottom for ice. The ice melted and dripped out the bottom into a pan. The top of the cabinet had a latched door and this is where the food was stored. Ice was bought at Foraker, five miles away, and carried home.  It would be wrapped in paper in order to slow it melting time.

Later on there was a "Servel" refrigerator, and still later the electric refrigerator and home freezer.

Velma had the advantage of the government boarding school training behind her. She was schooled in preparing and storing food, sewing, managing small livestock. Her knowledge of genteel culture allowed her to keep the flow of a wealthy looking environment. In this way the Jones's never knew the depression. There ws the good taste coming from education. The cash flow was controlled by other forces and was not to bother into this working family.

Lee Otis was someone who loved to tinker. His inventions helped the family to live with the advantage of electricity in this far out place. He hand carved a fan out of two by sixes. This fan was the paddle for his wind generator which was  rigged up with car batteries for storage. Lee came up with many gadgets to serve as labor saving devices. How did he do it?  Probably, from reading and experimentation. Welding with wires stuck in salt water, while using house current was always a surprise.

Ura May Jones, later Holt, Finn was Dennis Homer Flynn Jones's daughter. She would dart in and out. She was protected from the heavier work. Typhoid fever caught from swimming in the stagnant waters of the water shed when she was a child gave the family such a scare as to her survival she was forever treated in a guarded way.

The girl had horses and was often seen about the place in her tall English style leather boots fitting up and around her jodhpurs. Ura May glowed under Velma's gentle guidance and from Gramma Bell's wisdom. Her mother's death in 1938 left her without  that security. The people around filled this vacancy as best they could.

All things considered this was the shining bright times of their lives and would never be as brilliant again.

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