The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

July 16, 2013

Viewing surroundings

How do you view  your surroundings?  Think about it.

Most of us are observant when we travel across country and see the sights as we go.  We like to see the wheat fields, grasslands, trees,  houses, rivers and other scenic pictures. It is part of our education to see how other people live and make a living, and project what the wheat pastures will do to the cattle market, and other interesting observations.  

Jim and I remember when we were able to take so many bus trips across the country. It was surprising how much more one can see  simply by being a few feet above the usual traffic in a higher bus. There were ponds we saw that we never knew existed within a short distance of home. There were streams and gullies and canyons we were excited to see that had never come into view before.

When I was a kid, we went on many weekend trips. We would gather all seven kids and Mother and Daddy in the car and drive to Tulsa or Oklahoma City, and go to the zoo or a park or something else of interest. Daddy was a wealth of knowledge about the countryside and pointed out fascinating things along the way. Even if we were just riding pasture or checking cattle, Daddy would tell us about the history of early Oklahoma and draw our attention to springs and old house foundations and plants.  

Because of Daddy’s constant observations, I know where stage stops were and where trails were located. We knew every spring around Pawnee, where I grew up. I knew where the Pawnee Indians camped and knew about their customs and pow-wows. What an interesting history!

Thinking back to how I was raised looking at things with interest, it kind of makes me think of how we look at things in life.  Sometimes we need to look at things from another view.  We certainly will see things differently. We need to back off or rise above them to see variances.

Sometimes we see things half full and sometimes we see them as half empty. Both are correct. It just depends on how we view things — in a positive or negative frame of mind.  

I did not always see eye-to-eye with my parents when I was  growing up. In fact, many times I truly disagreed with them. We kids were always allowed to voice our views, but never were we allowed to be disrespectful to either parent or be sassy. They heard us out and then gave their views. Usually, I could see their point, but see it or not, they had the final word. We disagreed without being disagreeable.  

Now that I am grown and my parents have passed on, I see how almost all of the things my parents taught me have a lot of merit. They were right in nearly every circumstance. With few exceptions, I want to be just like them. I absorbed and respect their traits and values.

I have thought many times of the roads that my ancestors trod on the wagon train to early Oklahoma (Indian Territory). They must have seen the trip as only rocks and fear. They likely did not view the trip as a sightseeing venture and fun. They probably were constantly on the alert for snakes and birds and animals that would spook the horses and cause a run-away. They viewed the trip as a  necessary step and not one of joy. They had to do what they had to do, to live and to be on their own in new surroundings.

Lucky for my generation, the perils of my grandparents’ trip faded with time and they were able to look back with satisfaction and  pleasure at their adventure. Their view changed.

When I was a kid, we would spend an entire day gathering apples in the orchard or picking blackberries or sand plums. As I look back, those days are wonderful memories, but at the time we hated the thought of possible snakes or chiggers or mosquitoes or heat. We despised the wasps around the fallen apples.  For every blackberry, we got at least one chigger. Now, I remember the great times we had and the delicious jelly and pies and cobblers we made from that fruit, and I forget about the chiggers, snakes and heat. Now I see from a different view.  

I have come to the conclusion that the beauty of the countryside, circumstances or people are in the eyes of the beholder — but first, we have to BEHOLD.

While Jim was in the hospital this past week, one of the respiratory therapists, Dannel, shared an easy cookie recipe with me. I pass it on to you because it is fast and so good. It gives us a new view of having to cook during the heat of the summer.

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