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Sweeter Than Elderberry Wine
Read to Me. Won't you Zona?

Zona and her mother-in-law were becoming acquainted. The two women sat up to the kitchen table. Coffee was as much a part of their life as water and they were enjoying the hot cup Mary poured from the big pot that always was at hand on top of the wood stove. Zona liked hers laced liberally with sugar and cream. The cowboy’s method of brewing left grounds in the cup but that was okay because Zona liked to turn her cup over after she finished to study them for a possible reading. Mary tolerated this custom. The younger woman’s beautiful, large Bible her mother, Elizabeth Ann, had shared with this daughter was in front of her and it was open. This balanced out the other practice of which Mary didn’t approve.

‘The Bible was treasured by family for generations because it had the account of their births in it. The way it was exchanged and passed around in the family was an incredible story, all of its own, and came full-circle to a granddaughter of Elizabeth Ann’s in the year of 1986 where the truth of genealogy was salvaged from notes made by some unknown hand regarding births and deaths. In Oklahoma the Bible is a legal record.’

“Read to me. Won’t you Zona?” Mary was not a good reader but she was the best listener. This young woman her son had brought from Arkansas was like a breath of fresh air. Zona’s southern ways inherited from her Kentuckian mother, Elizabeth Ann Brewer, Collins, Mrs. Nathaniel Stewart Collins, agreed with Mary’s own culture brought with her from Tennessee.

“Let me read this here out of Second Kings the sixth chapter.” Evidently the young woman had read it many times because the pages of the Bible simply fell apart to the place, even as it would, one hundred years later when her great granddaughter opened the book. “It reminds me of how John dived for that pin out of the oxen’s yoke.” Zona began to read.

“And the sons of the prophet said unto Elisha, Behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.”

2. Let us go pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man take a beam, and let’s make a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye,

3. And one said, Be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.

4. And so he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down some wood.

5. But as one was felling a beam, the axe-head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas master! For it was borrowed.

6. And the man of God said, Where fell it? And he shewed him the place, Ane he cut down a stick and cast it thither; and the iron did swim.”

“The iron did swim? Just like the iron pin out of the oxen’s yoke, did swim, in the hand of my boy, John.” Mary was glad her son’s wife was so schooled in the scriptures.

“Zona, I must tell you how the Civil War soldiers burned our house when John was just a child. One day soon, you must know about that war.”

‘It was told that the Joneses never forgot and, indeed, they didn’t.

Verbal history along with writings found in the letters to each other, before and after the Civil War, in the book, “Children of Pride,” attest to this. How far back into the eons of time this practice existed, even unto the writings of the man, John the Baptist, are histories kept. Small, everyday incidents in the book, Children of Pride, are interesting in how some of their habits are practiced today among family members.’

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