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Donna Flood

Pecan TreeThe peaceful quiet of a comfortable house once belonging to her Grandmother Lizzie was broken into by the jangle of the telephone. The little table holding the phone was exactly the same as the one Jennie's grandmother had and it was the same one. Instead of her grandmother being there to answer, her mother picked up the call.

Jennie could see her mother was deep in thought. She had a concentration about her when she was deliberating over a decision. To the person on the phone she said, "We will see to it." Almost as soon as she hung up she was again on the phone. "Is this the Federal Marshall's office?" Jennie heard her mother ask. "There is a logging company with semi- trucks loaded with the trees off our timber land!" Jennie heard her say.

When she hung up the older woman turned to her daughter. Jennie knew whatever her mother instructed would be what she would do. "Daddy is sick. I can't leave here." "You will have to take care of this."

Jennie was more than a little insecure about her ability to handle the situation involving, no doubt, burly logging crews, driving semi-trucks loaded with massive logs. Her mother must have seen her hesitation.

"Go on." "The Federal Marshall is on his way out there, and you are the only one who knows the boundary line."

Jennie felt very small and alone. "Why me?" She wanted to complain. But, she could not because, she knew why. The men were all working their businesses and jobs and her Dad was most elderly. Aloud she did say, "You know I'm really sick of the timber land." "Why do we keep balancing with the Bureau of Indian Affairs." "The only time we own it is when something like this comes up."

"It was your great grandmother, Esther's allotment." "Go!"

As Jennie drove down the dusty country roads many memories were coming back to her of the times when they were children and played up and down these same quiet tracks. Dropping off the main road the little truck necessarily had to ease through the rough ruts of cut out places the heavy oil field tankers had probably made, as they carried their loads from the few wells located in the timber. The young but maturing woman was carefully observing to see what she might come upon. Following the winding road into the depth of the heavy timber she was all at once able to see the very large logging trucks. They were easily visible since the area around them had been cleared of timber. Slowing the truck she was looking to see if she could see a federal man any place. There was no uniform in sight. The men were not in their trucks but busily getting ready to pull out she could tell. Indeed, they were loaded with newly cut gigantic logs. If there was a tight place in her throat and around her heart, Jennie didn't give in to it. This was the real reason her mother didn't want to come. She glanced in her rear view mirror just in time to see the truck pulling up marked with the US government insignia.

Jennie breathed a sigh of relief. She reached for the handle of the door and was sliding off the edge of the uncomfortable high seat of the truck when the federal marshall walked up beside her.

He was a tall big man, dressed in a brown leather jacket and trousers of the same color. This must have been the uniform and she would not have recognized it as such. He looked more like a Forrest ranger, indeed, of which she had only seen pictures. At this point she didn't care what he looked like, he was big and he was there.

Before we go any farther," Jenny spoke to him, "You should know they are not on our property." "Do you see that old rusty barrel over there." "If you go over and reach down you can pick up what is left of a barb wire." "This was once a fence to divide the two properties."

"Are you sure?" He asked.

Pecans"Sure?" "I know so." "I only grew up wandering these timbered lands." "Gramma once owned that land there, but she sold it." "I'm a little sick to my stomach to see those beautiful old gentleman cut down after all these ages of their being there." "I can't explain the feeling." "A little like losing someone in death." "First there is the shock."

The ranger was standing beside the door of her truck with his arm easily resting at the top of it. He seemed to be in a staring stand off with the logging crew. It was obvious they were uneasy with his presence, but since he was making no move, neither were they.

"Part of the reason we have held to these trees is for the conservation and holding of this land," Jennie was trying to lighten the moment as to heaviness she knew was there. The ranger was easy with his stance, but she knew he was like steel in his resolve. "The man who bought that property is not Native American." "It is his to do with as he wishes." "This is the difference, you see." "Culture gives these elderly old gentlemen of pecan trees respect." "They stood firm, holding this land through flood and time." "Over the years they bought me many a pair of shoes." "Of course, this only after I was able to pick up the pecans they dropped." "It is a little like losing a friend, you know."

"Yeah, well," the ranger wasn't going to bend to sentiment or anything to interfere with his work.

"If you are sure about the property line, I guess we might as well clear out of here."

"Suits me," Jennie was relieved to not have any association with the rough looking lumber jacks, but she did smile and wave to them as she backed her truck out away from the scene, waiting for the law man to follow along behind her.

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