Wednesday, May 29, 2013

We Seized the Day

Stop sign written in both English and Cherokee languages.
The Memorial Day weekend was quiet here as we usually try to stay off the highways as much as possible letting other folks rule the road those days. But once the holiday ended and we heard another four days of possibly severe thunderstorms were on the way, we decided to squeeze some kind of a day trip in to one of the intermittent clear days.

I got to choose and since I had been reading Mankiller, the memoir of the first female chief of the Cherokees, I wanted to do Arkansas or Oklahoma. Something about pointing the car to the west always fills us both with a sense of adventure and that Oklahoma border is so close!  So we ventured out deciding on taking the Afton, Oklahoma exit off the turnpike. This was the location of the original Buffalo Ranch where you could buy great moccasins, western souvenirs, ride ponies, and see real buffalo. I loved the place as a child. Today there is a nice convenience and gift store there called Buffalo Ranch, but nothing like the memory I have tucked away.

Then we hit Sailboat Bridge over Grand Lake of the Cherokees, another memory. My grandpa had boats always, and we often did the lake scene with him and Gran. It has grown up and is more commercial in the area. Road signs showed Lake Tenkiller, Oglala, Nowata, and Spavinaw, other haunts from childhood. We pushed on into the hills that were exquisitely beautiful in the wet, cool spring. Pastures and forested hillsides were decorated in shades of green from light sage to velvety emerald. Creek beds trickled with the last rain. The winding roads were almost empty of traffic, and we felt delightfully free.
Traditional summer home of Cherokees, note thatched roof for summer air.

We ended up in Tahlequah, home of the Cherokee Nation. It has been a long time since we were there and the place has sprawled out like most towns with chain stores and fast food places. We stopped at one flea market and drove about the town noting the pretty parks, the Northeastern State College,  and the red and brown skin tones I remembered from my grandmother and her side of the family. Then we went to the Cherokee Heritage Center.
                                           Stick ball game

                   Making blow guns to shoot hunting darts
We took our children 30 years ago, but both of us enjoyed seeing this place all over again. There is a reconstructed village staffed by Cherokees that can tell you about the homes, games, food, dances, and tools the Cherokees once used. Nate explained how in the religious songs and prayers, they hold hands…because Cherokee are one and if someone falls down, the others pull him up. Cherokees might live like other people now, but they still practice the old beliefs like living a life of balance.
                                      Making arrows for hunting

We also visited the John Murrell Home,  a rare antebellum-styled house in Oklahoma because Murrell was from the Old South, Virginia. He married into Cherokee life through Minerva Ross, daughter of Cherokee Chief John Ross. The home was built in 1844 but is still a lovely home. Many of the furnishings are the originals belonging to the family. John Murrell and his wife left during the Civil War as he was a devoted Confederate. The house had a rough life but still stands strong.

We had gone without breakfast and lunch, but we missed eating at the Cherokee Restaurant near the Cherokee Nation headquarters by four minutes after 2:00! A local gal guided us to Del Ranchos which she said was a 50s diner. It looks a little scruffy, but we noticed a big business was patronizing the place. Inside it was neat as a pin and echoed the 1950’s. Aqua table tops, 1950’s lighting, and even a special phone in the booth you used to call in the order! DH tried to stay honest to healthy eating, but once I saw the Tahlequah Taco on the menu, I fell off the nutrition wagon like a wino under the grape arbor at a winery! This taco was made on the best fry bread I ever tasted…beans, chili, lettuce, tomato, and green salsa with sour cream topped it. It was wonderful stuff!

We knew we needed to head back north and drove to the Arkansas side to get home. Unfortunately, we ran into rush hour traffic. But we made it home fine and slept well after being out in sunshine and country air. Now, the weather is coming in with a promise of nasty stuff for the next few days. Dread that volatile weather, but hope it won’t live up to the ugly forecast. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Thrifting and Other Things

The weather is like frenzied child, throwing a tantrum one minute and cuddling up for hugs the next. Suddenly the weather has been perfectly gorgeous for two days. I am so grateful! You see that while the cold and wet has set farmers back a bit, this field of winter wheat is lush and flourishing.

 Early this morning,  I meandered out to the deck in a flannel robe for juice and muffin. Later DH joined me. There were so many different choruses of birdsong; the local rabbit hopped all over the yard. The flowers looked great although small; the skies were clear. We started reading and talking and dreaming and thinking…we read books and had lunch out there. The first thing we knew, the whole day was gone, but oh my, it felt good to be outside and unhurried and restful!

Friday I made the mistake of going to the store when the world was gathering up to “get away from it all” at the lakes and campgrounds of the Ozarks for Memorial Day. Lines of big trucks pulling campers and boats filed into the gas stations. At Wal-Mart, “way backs” on SUVs popped up while folks tucked beer, soda pop, and ice in waiting coolers. So I got my goods and then stopped by the thrift store, again filled with people. Shouldn’t they have been busy buying hot dogs instead of thrift?

I found a shelf organizer, a replacement spatula for one I broke, and a great picture frame for $1. For another $2 I brought home one nifty cobalt blue pickle or olive dish. I didn’t “need” it but thought it went well with all my blue and whites.

I recommend the movie MUD.

I recommend the book Mankiller about the first female tribal chief of the Cherokees.

My library just started providing eBooks to loan!

DH has learned to eat zucchini and like it!

My flag is out and flies in a gentle breeze. Tomorrow, may memories and gratitude fill your day.


                                                 Happy Memorial Day Weekend.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Not Again!

Bruised sky twists in fury,
Dropping an angry fist.
Knockout punch wreaks havoc.
Biased bout is uncontested carnage;
Earth is stunned.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Not Exactly Thrifting, But Treasures Anyway

When we headed out camping and fishing last weekend, I had no plans for shopping. When we went to Eureka Springs, I had still no plans for real shopping. But things popped up!
There are two flea markets before you get into Roaring River. We often stop at one or the other to poke around. This week we went to a nursery to see if there were any Mexican petunias in that part of Missouri. No such luck. But across the road, we checked out the flea market.

A nice bag of tractors for our grands for a song…a closed dollie for covering the summer pitchers of tea against flies and such on the deck…and then I saw Fiesta ware bowls. These are newer colors but pretty, and the price was reasonable. I have one covered casserole left from my Gran’s original Fiesta Ware. It was the late 1950’s and eating a meal at her house was such fun because each plate was a different shade of some primary color.

In Eureka Springs the next day, we parked in front of a store that was full of “stuff”. I never go in there as it is crowded with old pieces of glass or porcelain. The narrow store is so crowded you can hardly get down the aisles which means something can crash and break on your dime! But this day, there sat a Blue Willow egg cup in the front window. The lady talked a mile a minute about its worth, but she reduced to price a chunk to move it.

While many stores had gone out of business or changes products, there was a new hat store! An assortment of nice Panamas, straws, felts, and even silks. What caught my eye was an anti-cancer hat that I was familiar with. I have a couple and gave my mom one. They are soft, foldable, and are made in Canada with a fabric that repels harmful sun rays. This store had a whole new design I had never seen. Well, you know, I could not leave it there!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fishing Season

We have all the amenities in our Ranch-style home plus a fair sized yard, much of it with wooden fencing, and nice fire pit waiting for a blaze. Our deck is under spreading trees and two steps inside freshly brewed tea can be found along with full bins of refreshing ice. But for some strange reason, DH prefers to load a camper with hand- held food , bottled water, a rick of wood, and drag it all miles to a state park to  line his Grapes of Wrath wagon in an endless row with others.  A cement shower  located a quarter mile away that doesn’t know Lysol personally added to wind blowing lawn chairs and plastic tablecloths are followed by an evening’s  smoky fire to complete the pleasure.

But being a good wife, I try to play along. I refuse to cook though. It is sandwiches, instant soup, and cookies for three days, my limit so far. I packed computer, books, Kindle, paper and meditations. While he fished, I would create, meditate, and vegetate. Three days later not much of that happened. DH decided he is old enough to not be first trout line in the water so he sleeps in a bit. Then he tires out sooner than he used to do. He needs a nap in the afternoon before going back to the trout stream after supper. When the park whistle blows, he thinks the alert means snack time!
Due to the aberrant weather, we were late this year. However, we managed to squeeze in a couple of days between freezing at night and coming rain-again. The first night was freezing, then it warmed the next day, with the third day being hot enough to remind us of summer and why we don’t camp or fish much in blazing sun.

One morning, DH took off from fishing, and we drove over to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. It is a short and beautiful drive of about 20 minutes. I saw some favorite barns and the hillsides were perfectly green and inviting. You can see why people settled here, pushing the natives out of their hills and hollers and away from bubbling natural springs with healing waters.
There were also a few beginnings to summer wildflowers!
The town was fairly quiet as the summer season has not begun in full force. Some of my favorite stores have ceased to be this winter. The book store, run by one of the crabbiest women ever met, did not open on time. The Mud Street Café was not open on Tuesdays! We found a new place with outdoor seating though called Local Flavor. I think it will be our new favorite.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It Is Helicopter Time!

So, weather is still the controlling factor of my days. I wait on the rain and chill to leave, but I am not in a hurry for steamy summer yet. I am afraid the spring is going to vanish under the clouds, and we will wake up to unbearable heat like that of the last couple of summers. The trees and flowers and birds are as confused as we are.

We were promised a break on the weekend, but it did not arrive until Monday afternoon. Knowing rain was to return again Wednesday afternoon, we ran out that day and “made hay while the sun shined” so to speak. I repotted my May Day daisy from a friend into a nice Spode bowl. I moved out the limp poinsettia and the Christmas cactus so they could catch a few rays.

On Tuesday the sun did not shine. I took the itching and burning rash that I have fought for two months to the doctor. Allergy contact she said and suspected poison ivy or oak but could not be sure. Ah, gotten in March? But it was warm and sunny for two days in March I think! Anyway, steroids which are not good but the only answer she had.

After that stop, a load of shrubs with hopes of getting them in before more rain. DH had already tilled so we laid weed barrier, planted, and shoveled bark mulch before supper. We came up one shrub short. But supper, a watch of Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Whew!), and bed completed the day. I did not sleep due to steroids and about the time I finally could sleep, DH awoke early!

So, we got up only to face cloudy skies! Where was the promised 80 degree sunshine for half a day before more rain? We took our new car out to Ford to have a new windshield since the old one only lasted four days, a long story. Then we left and headed to the nursery again. By the time we got the shrub, it was drizzling. After a stop to replace the paper shredder which also broke this morning, it was pouring by the time we got home. DH dressed in rain gear and went out to finish our new front. The shrubs look so shrinky in the rain, but they will grow, right?

            Wish I could catch the man who planted the gas meter on the front of the house!

After a good warm lunch and tea, we turned up the furnace (again), dragged out afghans (again), and retired to our winter worn chairs. About 4:30, we heard bird racket. The wrens were trilling beyond belief. Bless their hearts, they were so glad to see a break in the sky and some sun! They called us to join them and we did. We took a little popcorn, a book and went out to the deck. The breeze was blowing down the maple seed leaves, spinning like helicopters which are a sign of spring here. They filled the yard and deck, but no complains, only appreciation for this next sign of weather we love.

Joy! Blessings! Sunshine!

We know that heavy thunderstorms are the forecast for tomorrow, but a taste of sun lets us dream a little this evening. Neighbors are mowing trying to beat the next downpour, but hey, we are following the wrens advice and just singing…and not singing in the rain for maybe a couple of hours at least!

                                                          Bark needs raking but just too wet to finish.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Friday Fictioneers, Morning Rituals

Today I am joining Rachel at Friday Fictioneers. Using a picture prompt, write a piece of flash fiction with only 100 words. For full rules and more pieces of fiction to read, go to

Morning Rituals

He stepped out on the concrete terrace of his high rise in the nascent dawn. As every morning, his eyes raced to her wrought iron balcony, curved like a clam shell  where she brushed long hair looking like Rapunzel. He touched those silky locks in his imagination, wondered if she were married, longed to hear her voice.

He felt sure her apartment smelled like lavender, soft and calming, but he could only envisage the décor since the angle didn’t let him view more than gauzy drapes she floated through each morning.

“Harvey! Eggs are ready,” barked his wife.

The real day began.