Out on the back
roads of Osage country up around Foraker and Grainola is where we go
when all the games are through. Something whispers in our ear, “Come on
away from it all, climb the high lands through rolling pastures and look
up to skies with clouds massed in great fluffy forts.
When our friends
sauntered in from Houston it was like some angel was resting up in one of
those clouds whispering, “Here you are girl, you know I promised you a
break!” It didn't take us long to make plans for the next day.
“Are we going to
eat at Bad Brads?” Luanne was the same girl Dawn had known so many years
ago. She was mischievously referring to the little café in Pawhuska,
Oklahoma serving the most delectable, Bar B Q beef a person could ever
wish to devour.
Worn and torn,
tattered an shorn of our pride and stride we could only grab a few bottles
of water, Kleenex, and Tums in preparation for our foray out across the
land. If the genteel, soft riding, luxury cars, that was a touch of the
Jones brothers, was gone who could worry about that. The bouncy, little,
hard seated automobile would just have to do. The stretches of long
highways over unfettered acres was enough to sooth us better than the old
Watkins liniment the peddlers brought to our door after they dug it out
from the wagon their horse was pulling.
strings was the concerned face of the nephew as he told what a hard trial
his Dad, our brother, had going through broken shoulder and ribs. There
was no time for thinking, for sorrowing or regrets. We stayed just long
enough to drop off a hurried wish for brother's recovery. From the boy of
long ago who struggled and worked like a machine to build a place for his
own out on the immense, harsh space to the place where his works and will
“I've brought some
friends and we are going to walk around a bit up to the old home place?
Okay?” Dawn knew and respected her brother's love for duty and protective
ways about all that transpired around and about the prairie be it a wily
coyote menacing a calf or a varment on two legs. The love for the place
where she grew up gave her ties no one could take away but legalities and
whims of the human element decreed other issues. None of this was to her
interest. A moment beside the old garden wall her Dad had built, a step
across the threshold of the place she had only ever been at joyful
abandonment was the only abstraction to give solace and relief from daily
common living. She wanted nothing more than this.
The buffalo were up
for the cowboy's work on them. Inoculations and such would keep them
healthy. The herd had to be thinned, too. 200,000 acres would support only
just so many. Dawn missed seeing their burly, heavy tossing heads as they
mozied across the road in front of their car.
After a short stop
and visit to the newly built larger gift shop they were then on their way
to Pawhuska for a meeting at Bad Brads. The car skimmed along the road and
only gave Dawn a minute to read the sign at her left. 250,000 acres for
Entering the backside
of Pawhuska showed the many beautiful, rich, brick homes built in this
last generation. The houses were large and placed elegantly at a distance
from each other.
Bad Brad seemed to
be able to step them back to the time of her youth some how. Was it the
older house converted into a restaurant? Or was it the friendly, pleasant
banter and conversation of the folks eating there? Maybe it was the
opportunity to visit with the sister of her friend who lived in Pawhuska.
She was what could be the memory of beautiful girls from off the prairie.
There was a grace about her telling of healthy worlds involving clean air,
unfettered living and hopeful to morrows despite the agonies and sorrows
of circumstances with life.
The total joys of
the trip are too many to call up, be it the opportunity to visit the
great room of the Osage council room, the Osage museum or another very
As they drove away
from the old home place they came to where small bridges allowed them to
pass over streams that stayed and seemed determined to exist. On an old
stalk of a long dead rack of a tree two giant, bald eagles lifted up away
from their place of rest. Somehow this was a testament to Dawn. Here were
these once endangered giant birds who had continued to survive. Prairie
lands were held jealously by men like her brother, who were determined to
keep everything as pristine as possible. No one would know of their great
battles. Men of generations from his father to now stood to hold what was
from their belief to respect life. Though devious ones had thrown every
possible stumbling blocks, with insideous ways, still, these giant birds
lifted so easily into the air with such unbelievable grace. To see and be
gifted with the eagles presence which make them the champions of the
land, the winners, was a blessing. If we are sensitive, we can
appreciate the Creator's and our brother's work as well.