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Days of Happy Talk
Lawton Tulles

    “My sore leg muscles from laying tile have made me worthless around here. I can't even bend over to pick up something I've dropped on the floor.”  I was complaining and laughing at the same time as I shared my foolhardy ways with a friend on the telephone.
    “Well! You know, you don't have to go at a project like there is no tomorrow. We both laughed at this evaluation of a character fault that was mine.
“Would you like to ride over to Pawhuska with me and a friend?  We have some business at the court house.”
    I knew she was interested in genealogy so I felt that I could possibly do some research, also.
    To begin the story I must first tell about this court house of Osage County, one of the biggest in Oklahoma. The Grecian type architecture of the building has been placed high atop a bluff of solid rock. The walls of stone are easily seen as you drive up to that high point. Maybe you aren't superstitious, interested in Greek mythology, or not even sensitive to any kind of vibrations. Nevertheless, a person would have to be hardened beyond belief not to experience some sort of  intimidation from the location. In fact, I've heard deeply religious people express an uneasiness about the place.
    For some reason this anxiety seemed to be more oppressive on this particular day. It was evident by the way people were briskly stepping along either with their head and chin tucked down or, otherwise, looking straight forward with no turning of their head to either side. Their eyes were focused on to some point ahead. Stress was so obviously the mood of the place it felt like there was a force all of its own weighted on them. Our expressions must have been one of questioning because one of the gentleman all but whispered, “this is the day for the murder trial of the waitress who was shot and killed while she was on her job.”
    Certainly, we had read the papers about it but reading about the tragedy and actually being where the trial was coming up was two different things.
    I wondered if my expressions were like those of my companions and the other people who were sitting in the waiting room for one or another bit of business there.
Their eyes had a furtive, wide-eyed looked.  Our position was at the very top of a long wide stairway going to the lower floors.
    As usual in a situation when people are waiting together no one bothers much about the person or people around them. It is almost as if it is a private time for them when they can either read, meditate or to do something which excludes any conversation. This wasn't any different. Small groups of people who were together were talking softly to each other as we were. All about was a hushed,
nervous,  anticipation of what was going to come about that day.
    Suddenly there was a woman yelling in a loud voice from somewhere below us. She was calling a name that was odd, more like a phrase than a name. Maybe it was something like, “LAWTON TULLES......LAWTON TULLES, and then again two or three times, “LAWTON TULLES.”
    In an instant the expressions of the people changed from one of disinterest to looks that said, “What? What? Whatever is that?  One of the women was trying as hard as I was not to laugh out loud. Our eyes locked for a moment and when I said, “Sounds like someone has finally lost it,” there was an understanding between us and I felt that,  not only was she holding her laughter but it was if she wanted to take one leg, bounce it up and down and slap her knee with one hand while she laughed uncontrollably.
    Even though we had no association, no acquaintance, the yelling by some unseen woman of some silly name was just too funny for us not to share the moment. Needless to say, the cloud of anxiety was broken through.

Osage Co. court house

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