I Remember When . . . .
Great Stories about growing up in the Horntown, Oklahoma area!

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Peaceful Indians & Wild Onions

     I have always liked Indians. Bobby Powell, Lee Gibson, George Jesse, Don Brown, and one of my all time favorites was only part Indian. Johnny Jay. Weldon Jackson is part Indian and we were almost like twins when we were young. And that is just to name a few. George Jesse taught me to speak Cherokee when we both worked at the Piggly Wiggly Grocery in Konawa. A large percentage of our customers were Indian and some of the older ones did not speak English. He taught me enough that I could wait on them in the meat market. I liked being able to do this, because there is some evidence that I may be part Indian. I don't know for sure, but I sure hope so. Like I said, I like Indians.
     It was not always so. When I was about six, I had two sources of information. One was the Indians I saw at the Dixie Theatre on Saturdays. This did not always show them at their best. The other source was the Indians who lived in the first house south of us in the Hickory Grove community two miles west and two south of Horntown. Two or three families lived in that house, but no one ever doubted that the one in charge was a huge woman named Mollie Harjoe. There were some scary stories that a couple of the men often got drunk and did some terrible things, but I have never heard one bad word about Mollie. Yet, in my mind she was a mysterious and scary person. She was a huge woman, and to a six year old appeared even bigger. She always wore a long dress that almost touched the ground. And always, she wore a large apron. At the
age of six, I was somewhat afraid of the Indians in our neighborhood.
     One day Mother gave me a knife and a paper sack and directed that I go down on Sandy creek and dig up some wild onions. It was down by the a place we called the Indian bridge which put me about half way to the Indian residence. I had often been there with her and knew the way. I went down to where the creek overflows. There were always lots of wild onions there. There were also lots of weeds and brush that were taller than me. I pushed myself through the tall brush until I came to the place where the onion picking was especially good. I put the sack down, took out my knife and had just started digging when I heard a noise. I
raised up and looked through the brush. There, not more than thirty feet from me stood big Mollie Harjoe with a huge butcher knife in her hand.
     She looked directly at me. I froze. The hair on my arms felt stiff and I had goose bumps on the back of my neck and on my arms. I turned and ran as fast as I could. I would run, fall in the brush, get up, run and fall again. I listened, expecting her to be right behind me. I ran until my heart pounded in my chest, my lungs burned for air and I could feel my pulse in my forehead. Finally, I could run no more. I came to the fence,
crawled through, and while doing that, I could see that she was nowhere behind me.
     I was in trouble. We could probably do without the sack, but the knives was an important possession. We had no income except at cotton harvest and could not lose things and replace them. And the onions. Mother had ordered me to get a sack of onions for our dinner. (the noon meal was called dinner at that time) I sat down, staring back at the timber along the creek. No sign of Big Mollie. After a while, I came to understand that she had not chased me at all. I began to think that maybe she had never been a threat to me. And I had to get Mother's knife. I don't know which I dreaded worse, facing Mollie or telling Mother that I had lost the knife. I walked back to the creek, still afraid and searching the woods in front of me. After a time, I came all the way back to where I had encountered Mollie. There was no sign of her. I saw my sack but could not find the knife. I searched through the weeds, trying to remember where I was standing when I dropped it. I knew I was in trouble and was in tears when I noticed something different about the sack. I walked over, looked inside and saw a generous pile of wild onions. And on top...my mother's knife.
     That was the day that I lost all notion that our Indian neighbors were any different than we were. Some had weaknesses, which made them exactly like us. But Mollie Harjoe had a heart as big as she was.  I hope someday to find out for sure if I'm part Indian. I surely hope so. But that's another story.
Clayton Adair, Class of 1954 (Clayton attended Moss 1942-53 and graduated from Holdenville - 1954)

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