Friday, June 4, 2010

I have been gone for a few days. A nephew, John Richard Bradley, was killed in an automobile accident and my family attended his funeral. He apparently swerved to avoid an accident and left the road hitting a tree. The funeral was in the Cedar Ridge Christian Church in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, with burial in Haskell, a small town 25 miles south of Broken Arrow.

As the large funeral procession made it way, cars pulled off the road and waited in respect of the dead. Almost every grave in the cemetery was decorated and the day before a ceremony had been held comme rating those who had died in service. As we traveled on Memorial Day, we noticed that most every country graveyard was decorated with flowers. I, for one, am sorry we changed the name from Decoration Day to Memorial Day.

We drove a total of some 1,500 miles. Down I-35, along the Plaines of Illinois, across the Mississippi, through St. Louis and then I-44 to Tulsa. In Missouri, a well maintained Interstate crossed rivers, moved through carved openings in solid rock, up and down great hills and valleys. In Oklahoma, the Turner Turnpike ran across the flat prairies where cattle and horses grazed on green grass. The speed limit in both states was 75 miles per hour.

There were towns and rivers with Scottish names. Here and there a business displayed that heritage. We talked about those early settlers as they moved west. They came on horseback, many walked and later there were wagons and families. My own family had made this same journey, perhaps along this same route, which once may have been an Indian trail.

My family moving west from Tennessee, through Kentucky and Illinois finally settling along the foothills of the Ozarks in Missouri. The Rethfords and the Jacks built their log cabins along Panther Creek, 30 miles east of Springfield, Missouri. The Jacks on one side of the mountain the Rethfords on the other.

In the early days of the Great Depression, my Dad drove a 1929, Model A Ford to Oklahoma to find work in the oil fields and I became a proud Okie.

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