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Donna Flood
Shamrocks for Grandsir

ShamrocksChores are chores are chores. We ramble though doing the best we can with what we have. If there are dirty dishes, laundry, and hundreds of other little nitty gritty, mundane, bits of necessary duties, everyone seems to get through it. These were the thoughts going through Sherry's mind. Shining shoes, trimming hair, washing out bath tubs or whatever, becomes such a habit there is no thought going to it one way or another.

Every once in a while a chore comes up that is a little harder to work through, and the cleaning of their father's grave was of that sort. The hill where the grave rested was altogether pleasant. A river with wide sand bars was at a short distance below.The wide skies could be filled with ballooning clouds, fluffy and drifting leisurely.These pleasant surroundings; however, did not make the task any easier.

"Will you go help me with Dad's grave?" Sherry asked her husband.

"Sure, what do we need out there?"

"Oh, probably the weed-eater, a shovel, an old broom, a five gallon can of water?" Sherry knew from experience the gas powered weed-eater did as well as a lawn mower. It was easy to carry and the space of the family's area was not that large. The water would wash down the base of the stone, which was white. The broom was used to first sweep it off. A shovel would lift soil away from the marker, which might have washed down onto it.

Here was just another part of her life tied up with being one half of Native blood. "Which half?" It was a joke and she chuckled to herself, while thinking. "Is it one arm, and one leg, or my head and my torso?"

"What is funny?" Sherry's husband wanted to know.

"I was just thinking about Grandsir being buried in an Indian cemetery." "He with his Irish ways is still mingling with folks where he lived from the earliest of times in Oklahoma history." "Some might consider it ironic." "I don't."

When they approached the area, the stones were marked with the names of those people from the Ponca tribe. Here was Little Dance. Over there was Cries for Ribs. White Eagle was ahead. The different sounding family names were all there. Little Cook, MakesCrye, Warrior, Gives Water, Little Voice, Little Warrior, and Big Snake. Then there were the names derived not from the interpreters gifts, but from intermarriage to other nationalities. They were: Primeaux, LeClair, Pensoneau, Smith, McDonald, Williams, Jones and others. At the very peak of the hill on the ridge was their father's grave.

The soil was of red clay and not conducive to growing anything but prairie grass. Nevertheless, for years a purple sage bush had grown behind the marker she had planted there. The purple blooms were always lovely against the white stone.

"I was very put off when the workers cut all that sage bush out from Dad's marker." "I could never understand why they would cut Sage down." "It is almost a sacred plant with our folks." Sherry had been deeply hurt when she saw the large bush cut out. Not only the purple blooms were beautiful, but the soft grey colored leaves too, were striking. At the top of the barren hill it was just the delicate touch of finery their father would have loved, and it reminded Sherry of him. She could almost hear him say, "Well now, Girl!" "Is this for I-key?" Why he always referred to himself as I-key was just one of his little jokes she never understood. Well, this was not totally so, as to understanding. There were always quiet reprimands for deep wishes his children would not be so tied up with hero worship of any sort, be it an ancestor, or whatever. Years after his death she realized he was, indeed, the key to many mysteries she had to do research to discover. If his daughter asked, he would have told her. She like many other children would make the same mistake and statement. "Too late." "Too late."

Directly behind her father's grave was the place, her Grandfather was buried. Sherry's husband worked swiftly and cleared the grave of her father easily with the weed-eater. It wasn't only until the grass was down she all at once caught sight of something to make her call out to him. "Please wait!" "Wait!" "What is that green at the head of Grandsir's grave?"

"I haven't the slightest idea." Having to hold up from finishing the chore was not to the liking of her husband.

"Look!" "Look!" Sherry held disbelief in her voice. There on the ground in a mass of brilliant fresh green were Shamrocks.

"What is it?" Sherry's husband was interested in her surprised discovery.

"Oh my!" "How beautiful!" "I don't think I've ever seen anything so very nice."

"Shamrocks?" "Actually unbelievable!" "They are more delicate than the Sage."

"Wouldn't Grandsir Jones be so pleased?" "I've never seen those before in this whole area." Sherry found the Shamrock's appearance to be truly incredulous. Somehow, the loss of the Sage was softened now with this new introduction of a plant particular to only this one place, here at the head of her Grandfather's grave.

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