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Velma's Work
Valiantly Velma - Page 11

Ribbons of the Osage - Dedication and design

Jeff, the new Vista, walked into the living room of Lee and Velma’s home like any carefree young man might do. His mane of black, curly long hair was twisted up away from his face. Denim shorts were of a proper length and called attention to the heavy leather men’s sandals he wore on his feet. He looked polished clean as if he had just walked out of his mother’s house. His skin coloring was attractive and made them believe he had spent time on the beach to make it so which he may have done, because he was the one who took his grandmother earlier to her home in Florida.

Velma introduced him to the other Vistas who were there for an early morning meeting which was the time for planning daily activities. She, as their mentor, was always a stickler for seeing to it the young people were in attendance, daily, to be briefed on whatever project was their assignment at the time. The others didn’t have the credentials Jeff had. He was on his way to being an attorney after having graduated from one of the finest universities. To look at him no one would have guessed. On the other hand, there was an intrinsical feeling of depth with this boy-man. He was cautious, as he entered the group and was quiet as if he wanted to acquaint himself with these new surroundings. This was Oklahoma and all new to a boy from the east.

“Jeff! As soon as the farmer’s wife has her vacant cottage ready, you will have a place to stay at Red Rock. It is a country, two bedroom house but she is cleaning, decorating with new curtains and finding a nice wood stove for you for any cool nights. Today, I need to go over to Pawhuska to visit with Georgeann Robinson.* She is a master seamstress and I want to arrange with her to come and display her ribbon work at the Mansion. You can drive me over.”

Enthralled with the beauty of the drive to Pawhuska Jeff was in such a deep appreciation for the sky and landscape he was unaware of anything unusual to stand out. The ranchers kept the pastures clean from anything unwanted in the way of shrub trees so there was, indeed, a great expanse of clear terrain.

Lyndon B. Johnson’s attorney, A.W. Morrison, in Texas, rented the land from Oscar Hadden, the rancher on the south side of the road. When Oscar died they bought it from Edna, Oscar’s second wife, according to family legend. Oscar’s first wife was an Osage-allotted citizen. He was said to have only a horse and clothes on his back when he came to Oklahoma from Texas to marry his Native American wife. He was a distant cousin to L.B.J..

For years’ Oscar kept a small buffalo herd that always settled into one place which was immediately beside the road. Without fail these large, interesting beasts were a great eye-catcher. Jeff suddenly drove up to where they were resting. He was totally taken by surprise to see the great, wooly beasts and wildly ran the car up and down both sides of the road almost to a point of losing control while he tried to see the buffalo as they rested on the ground and grazed beside the fence.

“Jeff! Jeff! Watch the road! What in the world are you doing? You are going to wreck this car?” Velma wasn’t sympathetic to his elation at having seen a buffalo for the first time. One of her own kids best not loss control and Jeff wasn’t going to be allowed to, either. The young man would soon be introduced to a form of dicipline he would have to learn and that was, “a leader does not loss control.”

Today, the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve out of Pawhuska gives the same impression when tourists see a buffalo for the first time. It is a feeling of awe, respect, and even, a bit of fear involved because of the animal’s size in comparison to cattle.

*A video of Georgeann’s work can be purchased at the KiHeKah Hill’s Osage Pawhuska, Oklahoma. It is called, “Ribbons of the Osage.” It is a wonderful documentation because it not only gives instructions for the intricate Osage ribbon work but has a visual of her family as they prepare for a ceremony.

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