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Genealogy Library Gallery
Chapter 5


I awoke from a sentimental dream in which I spoke with an art teacher I had so many years ago. The dream was foolish, but so real, it was almost as if it the conversation really happened. When I rolled over and glanced out the window to see what weather was there, I was not surprised to see a blanket of snow, all over the trees, lawn, and bushes. Usually these dreams stick in my mind just like the snow last night had stuck to our grounds.

My cousin-friend was, always childlike, easily coerced into an adventure, and this is what I had done.

“I’m bubble-headed and not connecting too well,” I told her. It’s to the point I’m putting the salt in the refrigerator, catsup under the sink, and paper towels in the middle of the table. There’s nothing other than the usual six and sevens, but I’m feeling so overwhelmed, I can’t remember if I gave Mother her medicine, washed her clothes, did her breathing treatment or not. I’m having to write everything down, I think I’m getting more addled than she is and I’m not 94.

“I want to drive over in the Osage just to clear these cobwebs out of my mind. The air is so clean and fresh over there after a snow. I feel if I could inhale a bit of the prairie beauty my brain synapses might become connected again, or whatever.”

“Sure.” My cousin was ready for anything to break the monotony of being shut in during our bad weather. Personally, I wanted to entertain her during this short visit from California as much as anything. I was relatively sure she had never seen the outbacks of Osage County.

Our car sped over the now sun cleared roads, across the bridge over the Kaw lake, and on toward the small town of Shidler. Some miles out of Shidler she broke the silence.

“Oh my! I can breath easier here. What is that? I think it must be the broadness of the land. Just look at the snow on the pastures and aren’t those Black Angus cattle beautiful against the white fields? The clouds! the clouds! Each one looks as if they can come right down on top of us. What is that grass? I’ve never seen any growing wild like that and so tall, too.

“Blue Stem, its called.” I told her. See how many cattle are being grazed on it. This is because we had a good rainy season, last year leaving ample growth. The grass is some of the richest, highest in protein at any place.”

“Everything is so in balance with cycles,” my cousin observed as she watched the wild geese flying over head. “Look! A hawk.”

“He’s out looking for a mouse, probably, I told her.”

“I brushed away tears as I drove up to my brother’s home. It was the first time the car had been down the long juniper lined drive since I was there for his death. “Stop it!” I silently chastised myself and quickly brought my emotions under control.

After a short visit with my sister-in-law we drove up past the old home place. Somehow, that old lady always beckoned to me and still could give my heart a jump start again even with seeing her at the end of the long drive. It was good for me. Then we were on our way and started back toward Shidler.

“I don’t have my boots or we would have walked up there.” I told my cousin. The reasons were that, but more, too. I didn’t want her to be shocked at the interior of the place. I was past being shocked at the sight of it, but the rubble of destruction would surely be new to her. I didn’t want this tired woman, who was seeking recreation to see ugly things today.

The waitress at a small café in Shidler gave us a huge cup of coffee, as big as the ones we used to serve to the cowboys. She was a tall, lovely blond with the look of holding genes from some Scottish-Irish back ground, or maybe German. Her Celtic hair style only added to her beauty. Even though the bowl of chili she brought was huge and at a most reasonable cost, I managed to finish the whole thing.

The sound of children playing as I walked up to my own home, was a good-greeting and the cobwebs were gone. My vision opened up, so I could see the beauty of these happy children, the warm house, and Mother quietly visiting in the living room with my daughter.

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