The Robbers Waited Until
"This is the place to
settle," Rod and I believed. Casual days filled with uneventful routine
filled our world. All that was left for me to do was to get the children
to school, clean the tiny house, be involved with small community
projects and attend meetings.
My senses were alert to
what was a different world. It was nothing to see Mrs. Donahoe flying
over the dusty fields in her tractor. True the machine had an
air-conditioned cab to protected her but when she was up on the tractor
before entering the cab wind was tugging and jerking her hair and dress
in a wild way. Something about this scene magnified the woman’s spirit
A painting of her tractor
running determinedly before a storm was something I felt needed to be
done. The dark clouds and ominous looking sky told the story. I gave the
painting to her son and daughter-in-law, who hung it in the entry way of
their lovely home.
Once in a while, weeds
close to the road were missed by the tractor and Mrs. Donahoe could be
seen at these edges with a hand held hoe. This went on canvas, too,
depicting the Dallas skyline in the distance. I purposefully put her in
a brown dress to make the woman look to be a part of the earth.
On an early morning while
breakfast was being readied for my kids I looked up and out our kitchen
window to see Mr. and Mrs. Donahoe stringing a wire fence across the
field for a bull pasture.
Her clean house dress was
always matched with a bonnet with staves in it something like the
pioneer women wore. The shade of that hat kept the hot sun off her face,
she said and I remembered my grandmother often told me the same thing.
Those were the days when the women worried about keeping their skin from
aging. There was no worry for that because the two finished up the job
in what to me was record time at that early morning before the sun
heated up our world.
Building fence back home
was a big deal but here these two elderly persons were out there pulling
up a sturdy looking stretch of barb wire.
On one occasion I had a
small coffee party for just the few of us, mostly the Donahoe’s and one
other lady. The eighty year old Mrs. Donahoe came in a soft, delicate
pink dress. She had arranged her very white hair in a neat fashion and
the beauty of her clear skin made me believe she must have once been a
lovely, young woman, as well.
Not a day passed without
me sharing time with the woman who was priceless as fine china. Her
wealth of wisdom was part of her, too. Mrs. Donahoe had a way of sharing
with a person so no offense could be taken nor did she have a preachy
way about her. For someone who owned 1000's of acres of land and farmed
every inch of it to provide food for the masses of population in Dallas
there was nothing prideful about her.
We picked food from the
great acreage of her sprawling lands until all my cabinets and freezer
was stocked full of wonderful, fresh vegetables.
"We will leave the
frontage for the folks who come by on the road so they can pick there."
Mrs. Donahoe told me as we went to harvest from the back of the field.
In other ways her deep spiritual side could be seen, too.
"I must apologize for
bringing this okra to you on the Sabbath but it was ready and I didn’t
want to leave it another day." She grinned in a secretive way and I knew
why. There was no okra in fields she owned. Mrs. Donahoe must have
traded some of her produce with a neighbor who did have okra. My asking
for okra brought her to do that for me. There was everything else: Bell
peppers, Blackeyed peas, Spinach, Corn, Cantaloupe, Onions and more than
I can remember
The gentle, caring woman
grieved over the fact so much produce was not used because it was
unacceptable to the big chain stores who backed up their semi truck
trailers up to the sheds. Because it was too big, too small or not
standard shapes ther farmer was under contract to destroy. When the
vegetables were dumped in the feed lots for the cattle there was always
a call to tell me where the food was being unloaded. It was incredible
to see. One year I was advised to drive by the cattle lot. A tall pile
of cantaloupe with seemingly nothing wrong with those wonderfully ripe
melons was there. The cattle were busily taking advantage of the
As many as could be
loaded I lifted to the trunk of my car and brought them home to
Oklahoma. Folks talked about those cantaloupes for years, how sweet and
good they were.
Rhonda and Mark were
doing well in school. Each one had their activities. Mark played soccer
and we went to the games. It was fun for me because the parents were
always friendly and enjoying their children, too.
Rhonda’s art class
involved her in learning to do a craft with weaving. It was difficult
for her to use her hands but she loved to try to work at that. Texans
are a great, obedient people as far as being agreeable to their country
and whatever is being
initiated by the powers above them. Authors tell of how the root of
these people came from the military leaders of the nation who were
transferred to Texas in order to populate the new territory.
The beginning to educate
these disabled children was practiced to the letter even though this was
totally a new concept. Later I discovered one of the founding fathers of
Plano, the town, also had a child in a wheelchair. There were pictures
of that family in the library. They must have been the ones to bring and
initiate schooling for their child. Her chair in the pictures was one of
the older designs with a tall ornate back but; nevertheless, a
wheelchair. She was a lovely young girl whose parents were pictured with
Certainly the town had a
positive attitude toward us. To tell of that a note has to be made of
how we shopped one night at one of the department stores. To read in the
paper the next morning of how the store had been robbed soon after we
left made an impression on us. Evidently the robbers were watching and
kindly waited until the people who had a child in a wheelchair left.
No one was more satisfied
with life and living than I was. How often everything can suddenly