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Donna's Journal
Reprieve, Town Site Cafe, September 1, 2007

The heat of summer was clinging to the land but its vice like grip had been weakened. As is the way of early September occasional cool moments were coming along to make themselves known. Rodney, my husband, pulled the car up into the parking lot of the Townsite café where we had been invited out by old and dear friends. When I stepped out of the car a small gust of wind caught and pulled at the voile fabric of my long, ankle length dress.

“Too bad,” I told that small current. “You can’t handle this much material. I’m wise to your ornery ways and have found from experience you can’t jerk a longer skirt over my head.” My husband is used to me speaking to abstract entities, and such, so doesn’t, after fifty years, pay any attention to my conversation with nothing.

On my right hand was a statue of only little less than a life-size buffalo with her calf. I learned in a sculpture class taught by Gallagher Rule this is the way you do things and that was about all I learned. Not to complain. There is something to be said for art appreciation. When I reached up to touch the statue, the hard metal didn’t give to the touch like the real fur of a buffalo would have. Their fur is unbelievably soft. Still, the impression somehow soothed me. It was an idea and for a moment I was transported back to simpler, easier ways of where I grew up on the prairie. The wind was still trying to tug at my skirt and that was a memory too. It was like a friend who was always present, reminding a person in the way of a constant personality, albeit it, sometimes, a nuisance. The feel of the soft fabric on my tired legs was a comfort so I took my small pleasures as they were offered.

You must have had to live in our little town to know how deplete we are from fantasy. I become even more tolerant of gossip because I understand how much folks wish for a bit of whimsy. You walk in a fast food restaurant, order your burger, scarf it down and walk out and that is it. Tonight was for a different kind of treat. Here we were walking into the Townsite café operated by a gentleman who had lived in Texas at one point in his life. Somehow he manages to combine good food, not Haute cuisine, but just common foods; pizzas, salads, home-made ice cream, sandwiches and such. Still each offering is carefully prepared and delicious. Along with the good food is a western-like atmosphere. One wall of thirty feet or so is covered with a large mural depicting the land run. There is little realism in the artwork and that is okay. The thought comes across, somehow, it was a hurried, busy time with horsemen rushing to stake their claim on Oklahoma soil and we can relate to that.

The young women who was acting as the maitre de came up to our table and welcomed us. We, of course, had known her as a youthful girl from the east who settled in with her husband who was a descendant of folks we had been acquainted with for years. So we felt a bit like family was present and that was nice.

While we watched the live entertainment was hooking up all the wires and such required by entertainers these days. Something about this was different though. His guitar had taken on the look of the guitars owned by members of my family when I was a child. It was decidedly worn and used from having been played. The man was dressed very much like one of the hired hands, but he was cleaner. No barn yard residue was sticking to his boots. The soft well-worn shirt of maybe a plaid design was without question, old. Little did we know the treat we were to experience.

Scott R. Taylor sang his songs while the rhythmic strings of his guitar never broke down. He tapped his foot and the beat was perfect. He sang, “We danced in the cottonwood snow, A feeling you can’t fence in, Summerlea, Ride Molly ride, A cowboy’s lullaby, The long lonesome trail," and too many more to tell.

Gone was the sadness I felt over my brother’s congestive heart failure, his diabetes out of control and the ultimate hurt of seeing him beat and whipped by the miserable trials of life.

My face must have told how much I loved the music because someone said, “I wonder if his wife is here.” And then, I was again in the modern world, one that has never learned of past softer ways. To my abstract friend I silently spoke, “Don’t you know, you can love without being in love?”

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