I’m so glad to have discovered a story from my dad to share with you today. Months ago, my sister sent via her husband, a large canvas box filled with Tahlequah Times Journal newspapers from the years my dad worked there. I thought I had shared all the “stories” and was left with sports articles of how the Tulsa Hurricane Little Leaguers won the Championship or Arnold Palmer’s hole-in-one. But today, I uncovered some more commentaries. This one was written on Sept. 14, 1996 by my dad Bob Briggs. I miss him dearly. I wish he were here with me this morning, stoking the fire, listening to some classic rock, drinking coffee on this frosty December morning as we look forward to little Miss Emma Kate to arrive in six short weeks (give or take a day or two). He would’ve liked this day.
She was always a heroine of mine. I admired her from day one when we were attending a small country school there at Briggs, Oklahoma. We walked the long miles to school together and talked of many things, of the many dreams that two country kids knew the outside world held for them.
She, being a couple of years older than me, always took my part when I got into a skirmish with the older boys. You know how kids on kids are? That’s the roughest kind of play there is and the girl was also a pretty good rough and tumble fighter herself.
She never had much time or even the chance to be a child herself. Her mom worked at many menial jobs trying to hold her small family together after the girl’s father left. She was regulated to the task of caring for her younger sisters and brothers—so there went her childhood.
Then, one day, the girl was gone from the small house on the south side of town where she had lived with her siblings and hard-working mother.
She had married a young man and moved out of state. She was 16—so there went her teenage years.
When she could have been readying herself for the prom and having fun with her friends, she was busy having children of her own and keeping house for the man she chose to be her lifelong mate.
I don’t recall seeing the girl smile much as a child. There weren’t many occasions for her to smile in later years either. The man she married, though a boy himself, drank to excess and was generous to a fault. But I’ll say this for him, he never missed a day’s work.
The three children she and her husband produced, grew into teenagers and faced the typical teen problems of today, but she went the extra mile to see the kids were raised up with Christian values.
I guess I was always proud of the girl that became a woman more out of necessity than the process of growing. She went back to school and earned her diploma and learned to drive a car after she was married. She worked for a newspaper in west Texas and stuck with her husband until he quit the whiskey. And mightily fought the drug demons along with her son.
Now she and her husband have a house full of grandchildren and three well-adjusted children. And when she should be kicking back and enjoying the fruits of their labor, she is girding her loins for a battle the doctors have no name for. She’s been religious most of her life and I hope it carries her through these trying times.
I’m writing this on her birthday so she’ll know that my love and prayers go with her. Happy Birthday, sis. May you have many more years of happiness.
Speaking of relatives, my brother surprised me a couple of weeks ago by inviting me to his place for a T-bone dinner.
Being the type that haunts fast food places and convenience stores I readily accepted.
He put the potatoes on to slow bake and the corn-on-the-cob went into a large pot on the stove. Then he peeled the lid from a bottle of Jim Beam and we retreated to the patio where the coals were just beginning to turn a nice shade of grey and plopped two inch-high steaks on the grill.
The hour we waited for the steaks turned into three and we talked of new cars and old friends. Relatives make good fodder for conversation when you’re in the process of getting into the cups and non of ours (except unknown grandfathers and our three sisters, who are saints) escaped unscathed.
Cousins, uncles, aunts and brothers-in-law all were praised or caught hell with equal zeal and fervor as the levels dropped steadily on the bottle.
About mid-night, I was treated to one of the finest charcoaled steaks I’ve ever laid into. My brother rummaged through his lower cabinets until he found a long forgotten six-pack of Busch and we talked on and on till the early morning.
My brother became so adament on one point of the conversation, he said, “That’s the truth, brother, and if it ain’t, I hope that moon up there comes flying through the air and crashes into the earth.”
Later on we slept.
I was awakened by the pattering of rain of a passing storm. My brother slept peacefully in his chair as Sissy, his chowdog, slept at his feet. I looked through the branches of the huge evergreen that graces his bakyard and saw the low flying rainclouds as they made their way toward Adair County. The clouds broke a little and there was that moon—-that sucker hadn’t moved a bit.