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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 37

I Like the Green

Plano, Texas just outside Dallas was really only a small country place at the year of 1971. There had been building projects with the schools as if they knew in advance about the great crowds of people who would cause the town to explode with population. For the moment, it was comfortably a little town. Ultimately it would become so big the streets formed one solid residential area all the way to Dallas and completely filled the pastures we were presently driving through.

"Oh look! There is my street." By some chance we had driven by a short lane named Donna.

"Will you drive up this street?" Rodney was well acquainted with my weird requests when we were driving and he readily turned to go up the street. At the very end of the drive was a farmhouse. It was unique, small, yet large. The high peaked roof gave it a presence on the end of a wheatfield rich with tall waving green wheat. This field was directly at the end of the road.

I remembered living in the middle of such a wheat field when I was growing up. I always loved the changes of seasons as the wheat was first planted in brown fields only to grow first as beautiful green grass and then became even more beautiful as golden ripe grain. The wonders of whiskered wheat stalks I knew would be forthcoming from this delightful green pasture where there were cattle grazing on it. No more would my son have to point to a horse and ask if it was a cow as he once had done.

The house was built close to the ground with a low foundation and this made it easily accessible for a wheelchair. A for rent sign on the front lawn gave us a phone number which we called. The friendly lady who answered with a heavy Texan drawl gave us directions to her home.

Mrs. Donahoe was in her front yard when we drove up. She was snapping green beans. I sat down beside her and began to help her break up the brittle pods into bite size pieces. The elderly woman and I chatted there under the shade of a tree which gave a little relief from the blazing Texas sun.

"We would love to rent your house at the end of Donna avenue," I asked.

"Oh you wouldn’t want to live up there. This is country out here, quite a way out from Dallas, you know." This gray haired, country woman had an opinion of me, I could tell. The new car, my town clothes, everything about us probably screamed, "city."

Mrs. Donahoe would you let me pay several months in advance? That way if I decide not to stay you won’t have lost anything."

This was no problem because instead of the 60 dollars she was asking, we had been paying close to 500 dollars a month for rent. That was quite a difference in the range of cost. It would be easy to pay even six months in advance at the price she quoted to me. Mrs. Donahoe was a business woman and money was the key to success with her. For my part, our returned cleaning deposit alone could easily cover the rental on the house for six months.

After we were moved in there was just no joy to equal the freedom I felt. Mark was out buzzing around the yard on his new go-cart, or riding his bike down the road with a boy who lived on the corner of the other section. To see him running through the tall wheat or fishing in one of the ponds was a thrill for me. It was wide flat land and I could see him in every direction. This was close to the childhood I knew and to me was wonderful.

This house was old but well kept with new flooring, new bathroom and kitchen.

A tiny entry of a back porch was very much a part of the house and I filled that with living plants from top to bottom. This changed the whole appearance of the back of the house and back door entry way all farm people use.

What good are they? Mrs. Donahoe smiled as she asked me that. She was ever the grower of food for a city on acres and acres of rich land. There was no comprehension in her mind for what purpose these house plants served.

"Oh I just like the green in winter when every thing is dull outside," I smiled as I tried to win her over to my thinking.

Mark’s new friend, who was just a couple of years older seemed more like a brother than buddy. Pete’s mother worked and his father who worked shifts watched him during the day when he wasn’t in school so the little boy was happy to have a friend.

Rodney installed a wood stove at one end of the small living room and when winter arrived Mark and I cuddled on one sofa and Rhonda on the other one while we watched television. This was as close to country living we would have at the very edge of the massive metropolis of Dallas where we could look out the window in front to see that landscape of skyscrapers over the horizon.

When I took Mark to enroll in one of the very new, modern buildings I was sure this was the perfect place for him. The strength of the Native American with athletic ways often makes ordinary classrooms hard to live through. Here was what was called an open school and was just the perfect place for Mark. There was more freedom for the children in the classroom and they weren’t so tied to a desk. Everything was indeed, open with divisions only made from one activity to another such as book corners where they could read or tables set up to do activities. No walls separated classrooms and the teachers moved easily all about the space with each one helping another if the need arose.

If that was a pleasant experience I had no idea what was in store for me when I pushed Rhonda’s wheelchair through the wide doors to take us into the junior high school.

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