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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 51

A Check for 1500.00

A check for 1500 dollars lay on my dining room table. The Ponca tribe won a life time court battle for land settlement. The whole of their home in the Black Hills was paid for by the United States Government at last. My share was the sum total in front of me.

"Not bad!" Rodney chuckled. Only took them some 122 years to pay their debt.

"Thatís blood money, you know. Bury it in the land," Dad and Mother both agreed on that.

There was a 300 dollar 1955 Ford I wanted and an acre of land and that was the end of my inheritance money.

We were doing everything we could to survive as a family. Rodneyís job was low pay but he purchased a wood stove and with the chimney modified we were able to keep warm that winter.

Rodney passed his test for a license to repair Wurlitzer organs. While repairing one way out on the prairie for a little woman whose few pleasures included this instrument. He was late returning. I cut up some of the Poplar wood from Grammaís old, dead tree. The height of it had been incredible and we worried that it might fall on the house. That was when I learned why the wood was called POPlar. The noisy bullet like popping was contained by a screen over the front of the stove still Rhonda, Mark and baby Kay thought this was fun and something to watch and hear.

I sewed a suit coat for Rodney out of tan corduroy looking fabric that was actually soft upholstery material found on sale. The very fine plaid fabric in a muted, dark, Hunter green made him a shirt and it was acceptable, with a tie up to a point, in our congregation.

Mark needed a coat for a part and I couldnít sew one in time. That was not acceptable and a too large coat was draped on his shoulders by one of the elders while he was at the podium . He was forever embarrassed over that and I couldnít change what had happened. If I had tried harder to make Mark understand there was no value in being obsessed with clothing things would have been better. We shouldnít have let it be a big deal. But unfortunately it was.

All of us were struggling through too much and knew nothing in any regard for competitive social achievement being important at the time. The work to hold our family together was what we had to do and we did it. These were the happy times for us in spite of any materialistic inequality.

When spring arrived Mark was nine years old now, just a boy, but he was the one who seemed to pull us out of our doldrums. How he had managed to save up the money to buy an old lawn mower was never known but this is what he did. When he began to mow lawns for the neighbors soon word got out about how well he worked and his time was filled with appointments.

After we loaded the lawn mower into the trunk of our car he climbed in beside me and showed me the ten dollar bill he had earned.

"Son, I donít think that is enough to charge. Look. She has two lots and that is a big yard." I felt he had not charged enough but was I in for a shock to hear his thoughts were going to what he had been taught at the Kingdom Hall.

"Aw, Mom. Sheís an old lady. Her husbandís dead and she has no kids. The yard is big but itís all dandelions and they cut like a breeze. I just walk through them."

For just an instant I felt sorry, sad and proud all at the same time. Here was this little person having to reason and work just like a man. All the suit coats, ties, learning public speaking and Bible study would not touch what he had learned just from listening and observation. These were the things to give me courage and a will to go forward.

"Whatís so interesting about the classified?" Rodney asked me as he walked past the table where I had the paper spread out.

"Oh nothing, special. I see we got a good deal on our acre of land. I donít know how in the world we can ever afford to build but I like to keep the thought in my mind. This is Mamaís house, after all, you know. I donít think we will want to live here forever."

"Whatís for supper? Rod was poking around at the steaming pans covered with lids on the stove.

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