Pioneering Spirit Alive and Well (most of the time)

 Certainly, Its been quite slow around here. I had the pleasure of speaking to a small group of writers whom were brought in by the Oklahoma Tourism Department on Friday. It was quite a sight to have 7 women sitting under the patio safe from the rainy weather eating my grandmother’s peach cobbler recipe served up by Paul (my 7 yr old) while listening to me tell the story of the Rock Cafe. My first question to the ladies were had they ever had a stop like this. Immediatly, I got a big No!  It was really hard to talk about the Rock Cafe history then tieing up with the fate of the fire and then lift their spirits to understand that this is not the end of the story.  One of the ladies rushed to ask the question if I felt like a pioneer woman. I was quick to answer – surprisingly – YES!  What a relief to be reminded of my heritage. Another woman, Diane Lebow, PH.D., asked if I thought that my Chickasaw Indian heritage also played a role in my NEVER GIVE UP SPIRIT!  Again the answer is YES!  My mothers family came to Oklahoma during the Land Run and homesteaded here.  Often, when I watch any movie about the hardships of this time, I’m sure these people had lost all their marbles for never giving up and staying through all the difficulties of making a home out of nothing but the land. My fathers mother was full blooded Chickasaw Indian. She walked the Trail of Tears. She married a man who was half Irish and half Cherokee. He hid the Indian side of his heritage. My grandmother was proud of her Chickasaw roots. She was smart enough to sign the Indian roles which has helped me through the years. But her real gift to me was her strength. The strenght to work hard, never feel sorry for yourself, believe you can get through anything, and be proud of who you are and where you’ve been.


Emma Finley, pictured above, was a strong Chickasaw Indian who was proud of her heritage and her family.  She lived to be over 90 years old and outlived her husband who was also 90 before he passed.

The past few weeks have been a very slow process with the cleanup and the paperwork end of the Rock and through it all I’ve had times when I wonder if it isn’t smart to run away to an easier path. The way I felt some of these pioneer and Indian people of Oklahoma should have done when I listen to the hardships they endured. Quickly, the idea passes and I pick up my shovel and continue to literally dig my way back from the devastation that has become my life. I feel the strength of the women in my past and remember their struggles and think of the bright future that I can represent when this short period of my life is over. Also, I feel the strength of this great American Road that also represented that early pioneering spirit we had as Americans. This Route was literally a series of connections of cattle drive and stagecoach trails that helped shaped America and brought my forefathers to this great state to be Pioneers of a New Frontier. For this reason, I feel tied to keep this piece of tradition alive to represent what Oklahomans have come to be known for; stong-dedicated-trustworthy-friendly people whom anyone who pauses to meet us can be inspired to follow their own dreams!!


3 Responses to “Pioneering Spirit Alive and Well (most of the time)”

  1. kevin sheedy Says:

    Thought you might be interested in this piece that mentions the cafe.

  2. redforkhippie Says:

    Dammit, Dawn, you are not allowed to make me cry with this blog again until you have posted the link for people to Paypal donations to the Rock.

    Yell when you’re ready for a few more drops of Irish and Cherokee blood to show up with a shovel. I get to make my own hours for a few more weeks, but after the 28th, Zaphod will be running my life. Or, at least, the 8-to-4, Monday-through-Friday part of it. (And probably the would-you-mind-helping-me-chaperone-this-school-sponsored-evening-activity part of it, and the hey-could-we-use-your-garage-to-build-the-freshman-class-float part of it, and the unexpected-last-minute-curriculum-deadline part of it, and the … well, you get the idea. Let’s just hurry up and get the Rock cleaned out before school usurps the Mother Road as She Who Must Be Obeyed….)

  3. boy peeing on girl Says:

    well.. it’s like I thought!

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