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Dugout

By John I. Blair

GREAT UNCLE FRED AND GREAT AUNT LEE
IN FRONT OF THEIR DUGOUT HOUSE
OKLAHOMA TERRITORY 1903

They look so young and mild.
Fred wears clean overalls,
Lee soft gingham.
Each shows a sober face.
All their wealth
Is mustered at their back . . .
Two horses, four cows, a pony,
Buggy, wagon, and dugout shack
With an arbor frame
And blank board walls.

Beyond, the unplowed prairie swells
As if this place could engulf them yet
Or any day a wild Comanche band
Might ride across the ridge.
But no; the land is not the same.
Soon the plow will come.
Only tame Comanches wait.
There in front
Stand a tight new fence
And a new gate.

2003 John I. Blair

 

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Reader Comments

Name: John I. Blair Email: jblair@nch.com
Comment: I just want to assure readers that the Native Americans who lived in the vicinity of Great Uncle Fred and Great Aunt Lee were actually quite peaceful and friendly at the time of this photo. And they weren't Comanche, rather Kiowa and related groups, living in the vicinity of Canton, Oklahoma. But Fred and Lee might have heard stories from their parents' or grandparents' generation about the time of the Indian Wars, 30-40 years previous, when the land didn't look much different from the grassy ridge behind their new house.

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