Going North on Highway 37 through Red River County, Texas, you will pass through some dense piney woods, all the way until you come to the Red River. That is where I lived before I went to jail and on to prison (see Red River County Jail). I soon learned that my old horse Jack was long gone, sold, given away, or just wandered off according to who was telling the story. Jack was a Gypsy like me, at least he had a Gypsy soul that is. So I went with the just wandered off version of the story lest I end up back at odds with the law man. After all, all who wander are not lost. So I headed off across the river into Oklahoma where there are lakes and mountains and blue skies, or so they say.
So far it had been pretty dusty and flat as this was my third day walking across the great state. Then on the morning of the fourth day I saw a sign on this gravel road heading north-west with a picture of a mountain lake. It was beautiful and I knew that was the road I should take. I had me a peanut butter sandwich right there under the shade of this big old oak tree. Then I set off down that gravel road to the distant mountains and land of the free.
Now, I have to admit I did not give much thought to this expedition, well at least not to the eating and drinking part, because another days walking and not much peanut butter and no bread made me give some thought to how in the hell I was gonna live and eat. When I got out they gave me 50 dollars and I still had some of that but there was no stores not even a car passing in the two days on the gravel road. There were some good clear streams so I had water but I was getting hungry.
It was on the third day of gravel road that I seen the sign It was a green and said America. That looked like a good place to be. Land of the free and all that. I could not read so I just thought it looked pretty classy. Then off to the east of the road I saw an old home almost completely covered with honeysuckle and ivy, with an old fence around it. On the porch was some old chairs with holes eaten in them, the white stuffing sticking out through the holes. There didn’t look to be anyone around so I went up and had a seat as my feet were killing me 7 days of walking in them new brogans the gave me when I got out of the big House 10 days ago. I was plumb tuckered out and was soon fast asleep in the cool shade.
I awoke just before dark, something had waken me then I realized it was the sound of someone or something on the gravel you could hear it crunching. Then two hounds came onto sight and they immediately spotted me and let out this loud drawn out howling bark. Wow hounds with a southern drawl. Then Dewayne appeared saying what you girls found now. I stood up and said me I think. He laughed and they came on up to the porch and I was swarmed by the hounds I scratched their ears and back and Dewayne said well you got you some friends for life now. So he ask where in the hell you come from? How in the Hell you get here and Where in the hell you going? Kinda all in one big long sentence. so I replied Right outta the Big House and I walked from Texas and I am where I was going… here. And He said America well yes It does have a nice ring to it doesn’t it?
Then I ask who lived here said no one for the past year or so as the folks that lived here just up and left one day and never came back. Then we got to talking about work he said he was a pulpwood hauler and If I like I could help him and give his wife a break as they had a little girl a year old. Said we would get paid every time we got a load into Ashdown Arkansas one a day most days. DeWayne lived just up the road a piece in the next town Moon bout a mile a way. Well him and Sue and Sue-Ellen set off for home saying he would be back around daylight and would bring some sausage and biscuits with him and some coffee. I couldn’t wait for daylight as I was starving.
As I set and watched them go off down the road I felt really content, at peace with the world. Yes Sir-re I was gonna like America. So I got up with a big smile and opened the screen door and walked into my new home… and all hell broke loose and I ran back out the screen door so fast it didn’t have time to open so I went through it tearing the screen off then at the edge of the porch I got tangled up in the honeysuckle and ivy and fell off into the yard right smack dab in the middle of a very large and very thorny rose bush. I lay there wondering what in the hell could scream like that and not be at least part woman.
To Be Continued
America is a ghost town in southeastern McCurtain County, Oklahoma, United States. It was located 7 miles southeast of Haworth. The town was named after America Stewart, wife of Tom Stewart, a local resident.
America, Oklahoma – Wikipedia