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A Little Girl Under The Big Texas Sky
By Michelle Smolen
Monday, May 17, 2004
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Once There was a little girl.
She lived in a great white two-story house surrounded by feilds of cotton as far as the eye could see. Tiny white pillows like cotton candy on a bush. Set off by a bright blue sky that just goes on forever and ever. Flimy clouds race across it conjouring dragons and butterflys, shoot, whatever you can imagine.
The porch swing creaks away as she swings, the kittens meowing lazily under the veranda that wraps around the entire front of the house. The dogs bark to bully the billy goats. All of them scattering over the wide lawn playin' at some game only they know the rules to.
The smell of honeysuckle blows in with the hot, moist breeze, reminding her it is the day to pick the strawberries. That means we make the jams tonight! Oh, it's a big todo! The big pots come out and all Mamma's pretty jars. There's the corin', the cuttin', the boilin' with the sugar. Oh, and the heavenly smells it magically creates!
Then Sunday, after church we'll all have fried chicken, mashed taters, corn on the cob, sweet tea, and for desert...YUMMY strawberry short cakes! Ain't nothin better than that.
The sweat runs down her back and her legs stick to the old wooden swing. "It's about a hundered'n two here in the shade", she thinks. Giggling, thinking of her GrandPa pushing his cowboy hat back, wiping his perspiration away with an old faded bandana. That's what he would say anyways.
Swingin' away daydreamin', thinkin' up stories of how the Indians used to ride these lands with all their mysteries.
My Great Grandma told me a story once of how I come from them Indians. Her Mamma being one, and all. The way she told it, it was a great love story.
Her Mamma's people were run out of their village by the law men. So they run up into the hills to hide. Not wantin' to be rounded up like cattle and put into a camp. They hide there livin' off what they brought up there and huntin' for food. So the young daughter is sent out to find a creek, a stream or any water at all. They musta been so thirsty. Anyways, she is out huntin' up some water and she hears a noise. Like a horse sneeze so she freezes up like a deer in headlights. She looks around and don't see nothin'. So she just sits real still 'til she sees a horseman, big and burly ride out of the brush. So, being tenatous,like Daddys says, our women are, she follows him a bit. Lo and behold he leads her right to a stream! She hides until the horse is done drinkin' and the rider goes away. She quickly fills her skins quiet as a church mouse, and runs all the way home. She doesn't dare speak of it.
Then the next day she's sent out again. Being silent and cautious, like her Daddy taught her, she makes her way back up to the stream. While she's fillin' the skins she gets an aweful bad case of the willies. She just can't shake the feelin' that somebodies out there somewheres watchin' her. So she scans the trees the under-bush, then the tall grass all the way around her. Nothin', but as she goes to leave she hears a twig break and two crows, black as night fly from a tree off in the same direction. Runnin' as fast as her legs can manage she gets back safe and sound. She lies in the hay that night thinkin' of all the horrible, unspeakable things that might have happened to her.
So on the third day she is scared as a turkey on Thanksgiving. She can barley keep herself from feignin' sick. Then she thinks if her Daddy has to go what would happen to him if he gets caught by the Texas Rangers. Shudderin' at the thought, she sets out scarin' herself more and more with each passin' step and thought. She creeps behind the under brush and checks the area every now and again. As she walks up to the creek bed and she sees four flat rocks stacked two by two, side by side with a big round river rock smack dab on top, like an alter or table. Lyin' on this was a wild flower, a yellow one.
A hundred thoughts all skip through her mind at once, not being able to help herself, she picked up the wiltin' little thing holding it to her heart like a first prize blue ribbon. Wonderin' what trouble it would land her in, but the feeling she had told her it would all be ok.
Then each day she finds a little gift on them rocks. One day a white flower, one day a bluebonnet, one day a rattler tail.
Carrin' back the water and hidin' her treasure for the day in her little soft deerskin pouch, a storm starts to brew in the sky. The clouds go grey and the lightenin' splits the sky in two like a tomahawk. Running as fast as she can, tryin' to out run the darkness fallin' she finally spots the little lean-to.
Her Mamma's cryin' clutchin' the baby and the other six kids are all gathered 'round her, and she can't see her Daddy anywhere.
Then, she see's the horses and riders off to the side where her Mamma's yellin' after her Daddy. The Rangers have found us what do we do? Panic screams inside her throat, the fear freezin' her in her Mamma's arms, tears fallin' like the rain. All they can do is watch as the Rangers round up all their kin in the downpour.
Out of the darkness she recognizes the horse and rider comin' out of the brush. He rides toward them huddled together helpless, as the rain just keeps comin' down in buckets.
The horse is a big paint and she knows it's the one from the stream 'cause of the markin's. All she can do is just stare up at him. He starts barkin' orders at the other men and they bring blankets and he breaks off little pieces of chocolate for the kids. He is tryin' to calm everyone down, but nobody can understand what they say. Pretty soon the man gets off his horse and walks away towards the group of prisioners. Then he comes back a little while later with her Daddy. He can understand the men some 'cause he used to do some tradin' with their kind before all the trouble started. Furs, and skins and such. So then her Daddy explains that the man has taking a likin' to her and if they will trust him, he will try to sneak them away, so they won't have to go to the camp.
He talks real quite with her Daddy for a spell, and tells him the camps are awful bad and no place for all them youngin's. After they talk for awhile her Daddy looks right in those sharp brown eagle eyes and asks her what she thinks. So then she tells her Daddy about the way he led her to the stream and shows him all the little trinkets in her pouch. She tells of how her heart swells up each day when she goes to fetch the water, and see what present he's gonna leave her.
So they decide to trust the man, and they wait 'til everyone's asleep. He gets up from his post and sneeks over to where they have the horses tied and gives the signal to her Daddy. Her Mamma gets all the kids up whispering to them all to be quiet, that their life can all start over right this minuite if they can just be very quite for a little while. Tryin' to keep their hearts from pounding out of their chests they walk a long ways 'til
they finally see the man. He has four horses for them and they get away.
They ride and ride for days. Just stoppin' here and there to eat and do their business.
Then the man tells her Daddy they are almost to his home. When they ride into the little town it has nice farms with barns, and feilds, the houses are all painted with pretty colors with flowers planted out side. My Great Grandma said she never saw such a site. Where she came from it was shacks and lean-tos and everything was tan from the dust that covered everything. She said it was like riding into heaven.
So, the man paid for her family to stay at an inn. He came a courtin' right and proper. They fell in love and about a year later the man, John Jeffers of Irish desent asked my Great Grandma's Daddy for her hand in Marriage.
They had ten children and my Grandma was number nine.
We can't trace our family on that side back much further than that, but that's a good story to me.
I like to sit and swing and think about it, watching the whispy white clouds sweep over the big blue Texas sky. Maybe when I'm grown up if I can remember it often enough like Grandma said, I might be able to write a story about it, so I'll never ever forget.
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|Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor
|Wonderful little story.|
|Reviewed by Sandra Mushi
|Michelle, this is so beautiful! I felt I was there with the narrator.
|Reviewed by Mark Rockeymoore
|what a beautiful, soulful story, 'Shell. love the writing, the voice of the little girl and the magic of love, and how it transcends all boundaries, changing the world in the process!|
|Reviewed by Barbara Terry
|OMG Michelle, this was so wonderful. May The Lord be with you and at your side always. With much love, peace & (((HUGS))), your friend in Wisconsin,
Barbara Lynn Terry
"If I have too...Then I may as well be."
|Reviewed by Roxanne Smolen
|I love the voice of this story. It is almost as if you are sitting in front of me, just talking. You have a nice conversational style. I would like to see the story lengthened and told in real time so that we can see everything happening as the story unfolds.|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|nice story, michelle! thanks for sharing!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your fellow texas friend, karen lynn. :D