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Donna Flood

If anyone was tied to a world wrapped up like scraps of different colored yarn into one large ball,  possibly it was Mary Sue.  Each strand of the yarns was tied onto with another loose thread creating a variegated colored sphere of experiences as varied too.

Anyway, this was the way she felt as her friends expensive car was leaping over the long stretch of prairie highway to the ranching town not too far away. When the two women slowly wheeled into the broad streets Mary Sue knew exactly where they were. Tall men in blue jeans and cowboy hats were striding with their long wide steps across the streets and down the sidewalks too.

The two women were searching for ancestors but,  the driver of the car who had retired from the medical world and was ever alert in her observances. Mary Sue smiled to herself as her friend commented on one or another unusual aspect of this different world not so far from them but still obviously miles apart.

When the women decided to go to lunch with two other women at the church one of them offered the suggestion, “The Whiz Bang Café is a good place to eat.”

“Oh?  Whiz Band?  How interesting!” Mary Sue and one of the older citizens of the town both exchanged knowing glances with each other while grinning big grins. They were too respectful to make any comments while they were in the church, but this didn't keep them from thinking back to another time and place in history when the rowdy town of Whiz Bang was no more than a story to be told today  on television.

Sure enough the little café was unbelievable rich in lore and legend by the way of artifacts, real country cowboy music, slim beautiful Indian girls with slick black hair in braids waiting tables. Business men who were native but so much Americanized only the beauty of their physical appearance and the color of their skin made a knowing person aware of their heritage. The reserved controlled quiet dignity of the Native culture made a strong statement. There was such a difference one might almost feel they were about to pull a flap back and enter the cool dark of the interior of a teepee. Although, as we looked to our feet the rough boards of a country store floor told of the Anglo culture.

The women chatted with such pleasure covering subjects with which each one of them was acquainted as to the history of the area.  The time too soon came when they had to be about their own business.

Now  Mary Sue and her friend walked into the trade store. Her mission was to pick up some fringe for a couple shawls for her mother but her friend was ever alert to the interesting contents of the store where
Indian Jewelry was lined up in glass cases, Pendleton blankets  rested on shelves and Native artwork hung on the walls.Mary Sue considered picking up some of the dried corn but thought better of it,  since the store was a smoke shop also,  and she wasn't sure the strong sweet smell of the tobacco might have permeated the cellophane sacks holding the corn.

Again the women were on the long stretches of highway where Mary Sue was having to direct her friend as to every turn. The woman was nervous and rightly should she be. It was very easy to become hopelessly lost on the great prairie by simply slipping onto one wrong fork of the road. They drove the expanse to slip across the meadow to the old home place as Mary Sue was prone to do from time to time.

After a short visit with her sister-in-law Mary Sue told her friend, “We must get along. Time can slip up on a person out here. We don't want to be too late getting home.”  With that they said their good byes and were off and gone one more time.

Mary Lou turned to look back at her brother's  beautiful sprawling ranch home rich with heavy dark stone. She knew this was a rare privileged to be able to  share a bit of his life for just a whisper of time, while time was so quickly moving forward now.

Her friend drove a Buick and Mary remembered how her own folks easily covered these miles also in Buicks over the years,  even when the roads weren't this well kept.

She wasn't home but for what seemed an instant when she was busily arranging Crepe Myrtles, sage and purple cone flowers from the garden in a bright brass drum looking container. While picking up this small painting, folding a length of fabric, draping a beaded ornament, and placing bits of ground sage wrapped in plastic  Mary Sue was readying a small give away basket for a friend's evening services at the Baptist church where the woman's husband was held for the traditional “wake.”

Again the still quiet of the Native world seemed to call to Mary Sue as she walked across the grounds toward the modest church. She could hear the sounds of the songs. They were not hymns of the Caucasian world but had the softness of the Indian songs.  There was a guest book standing beside the closed doors there in a small atrium and this she signed.

Mary Sue would not enter and break into the services but waited and in a little while a petite woman she knew well from years now came out into the space. A few words were exchanged and loving expressions made by the woman.

Now, as Mary Sue walked back to her car she could not help but think how really fortunate she was to have the joy of walking through so many worlds and in such a short space of time too.


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