The Travels of Foy and Odela

This is the day my family waits for, Friday the 13th in January. It’s the best day. My parents were married this day and yes, it was a Friday. They were married for 59 years before my dad passed away. We consider this day a good luck day. We don’t believe in luck, except for this day, Friday the 13th in January.
I know I typically tell the story of how they met and eventually fell in love, however, today I am going to tell a different story, the one of how they journeyed to California during the depression.
Foy and Odela realized that in order for them to make enough money for their family to thrive they needed to leave Oklahoma.
So, they packed up their Model T Ford and started the journey to California. Foy had already been there and knew that there were so many more opportunities than where they were at. Odela trusted his judgement more than anyone else on earth.
They packed up not only themselves but a four-year-old and a baby. Off they went, they worked their way across the country, picking cotton, picking fruit, vegetables, whatever work they could find.
When they made it to New Mexico their car decided it had been worked too hard and died. On the road, in the middle of nowhere with darkness coming on quickly.
A family drove up that spoke very little English, however through gestures and some words Foy was able to let them know what the problem was. The father of the other family was able to convey Foy, Odela and their children should get in their car and come home with them.
So off they went, trusting that these were good people. They were, they were also very literally dirt poor, the house had a dirt floor, but the family happily shared their food and made a pallet for Foy and Odela and their children.
The next morning the family once again shared their food with the travelers. The father took Foy to fix the car and Odela helped the mother clean up after breakfast.
Foy was able to fix the car and they continued on to California.
Odela would later say it was the first time she had ever encountered people who were not like her. She would say it was one of the best experiences of her life and she felt God had purposely allowed their car to break down so she could meet that family.
Foy and Odela started life out as poor as the proverbial church mouse, but they worked hard, never complained about the work and not only made it to California, their family flourished. They eventually made their way back to Oklahoma where they spent the rest of their days.

New Year New Actions

It’s that time of year again, you know, the time where people start making unrealistic “resolutions”. Where did this come from? The new year brings a new life; I have found that life goes on as it always did. There is no fresh start there are only paths and you have to choose the ones you want to travel.
I have never given up anything or made any resolutions, my only resolution is to not be a sheep. Or a lemming, either one of those things in this world is bad.
I think for myself, I do my research, I pray to God for wisdom and strength every single day of my life. I always, always try and do the right thing.
The right thing for a lot of people involves self, self-interest, do whatever makes you feel good. That is the biggest load of hogwash known to man.
I have said it before, if I did what makes me feel good, I would be 8 million pounds. Because what makes me feel good is puffy Cheetos, chocolate, sour skittles, diet coke, Starbucks and dressing. Oh, and watching television, if I didn’t need to sleep I could watch television 24×7. I have loved television since I was little, I seriously cannot remember a time without it. I have a bigger love of books, but television is right up there.
Do what makes you feel good, seriously, who buys into that? The world, that’s who, the world is going to tell you that you are the only one that matters in your world.
But here it is folks, there are more important things than your own selfish wants, I count myself in this as well.
I have a huge love of shoes, fashion, makeup and candy, it would be easy for me to do what makes me feel good. It is human nature, but we are not supposed to aspire to human nature, we are to aspire to Jesus nature. I am speaking as if anyone who reads this is a Christian, so if you’re not, then you cannot be offended. It’s Angie World for a reason.
Jesus commands us to take care of each other, this is not a political thing, it is not up to the government to take care of us. We are supposed to be looking out for each other.
My dad told me that when he was a boy, about once a month his dad would load their wagon up with bags of food from their farm.
They would then go to certain homes and simply leave the bags on the front porches. There was no knock, no interactions, just the act of leaving the food and getting out of Dodge.
My dad said this went on for a while and finally he asked his dad why they were doing this. His dad’s simple answer was that neighbors take care of each other. Their farm was doing well, some others weren’t’ and he wasn’t about to see folks starve.
It was the depression and in Oklahoma, it was real, people were starving. But not in their world, my great-grandfather saw to it. As long as there was enough for his family he would take the excess and make sure others could feed their children.
That is who I am descended from, that is what we do, we see a need and we fill it. This is the way the world is supposed to work according to Jesus. Feed the body then feed the soul.
Before today’s world, neighborhoods were different, there were no garages in the back, everyone was in the front. We all knew each other and we especially knew when a family was in trouble.
We are too insulated today, all of us, I am not absolving myself from this scenario. I don’t know my neighbors, I kinda know the ones behind me, but the ones next to me moved and the other side they are never home. And well that’s about it. I am very non-social as well, I am an introverted extrovert. An anomaly as it were.
So here is what I believe we should all do in the new year, ditch the resolutions, just walk out your front door and meet your neighbors.
Take care of each other, take the government out of it, we should be helping one another.

Foy and Odela, the Story Continues

So, today, my parents are celebrating their 82nd wedding anniversary in heaven, I know without a doubt there will be coconut cake, as that was my dad’s favorite.
They were married January 13, 1934, during a time in America that was bleak and chances of success were seemingly nonexistent. They beat the odds, they worked together for a good life for themselves and their children. They didn’t attribute any of their success to luck, they attributed it to God and hard work.
I know on this day, in the past, I have told their courtship story and how they came to be a couple, but today I’d like to tell about their journey across the United States during the Great Depression to find work and keep their family together.
After they were married and after they had two children, Foy and Odela had a conversation about the future welfare of their growing family. There was no work in Oklahoma and it was the dust bowl of America at the time. Crops were not growing, there was no work, Foy knew there was work in California, so they packed their family up in the old Model T Ford and started their journey.
It wasn’t a straight shot, it didn’t take several days, it took months, as they worked their way across the nation towards a better life. You see when Foy and Odela started the journey, they had no money for gas or food, so they had to work their way towards the future.
They found farms along the way that needed migrant workers to help bring the crops in. Foy and Odela picked cotton, they picked tomatoes, they picked green beans, they picked anything they could to make the money for their next leg of the journey.
Their car broke down in New Mexico, there they were, on a dirt road, knowing no one, with a toddler and a baby. There were no cell phones in those days, not even phone booths on every corner, and it wasn’t a well-traveled road.
Foy flagged down the first car he saw, it was filled with other migrant workers, ones that did not speak English. But by hand gestures and the looks of panic on Foy and Odelas’ faces let the family in the other car know something was wrong. The man took a look at the engine and somehow conveyed he knew someone who could fix it, however, night was coming and it could not be fixed in the dark.
The other family gestured that Foy and Odela should ride with them to their house, the family was very literally dirt poor. Odela would later recount how the floor was dirt, but the house was somehow clean, the family shared what food they had with them and made sure they were comfortable for the night.
The next morning, true to his word, the man went to get the mechanic and they fixed the car, gave Foy and Odela some food from their meager supply and sent them on their way.
Odela later said it was the first time she had ever encountered people who were different from her and God taught her a valuable lesson. All people, everywhere, just want to provide for their family and make sure their children have better opportunities than they had. She would say that day she had been humbled in the presence of grace and generosity.
They finally made it to California where my dad worked in a gold mine, my parents painted houses, had another baby and then my dad landed the job at McDonald Douglas, which after a few years allowed him to transfer back to Oklahoma, where they landed in Owasso.

Scraps

I have been thinking a lot lately about my mom and the kind of woman she was and the legacy she left. My mom was a seamstress, one of the best, there was always someone coming and going from our house that she sewed for. After she was done with the piece she was creating, she would carefully fold the scraps and put them in the bag for the customer.

Nine times out of 10 the customer would tell her, I don’t want these scraps, what am I supposed to do with them, you keep them Mrs. Testerman. I am now going to tell you all what she did with those scraps.

If there is anyone who reads this that my mother sewed for in the 1970’s and 80’s, you might be astonished, or you might think yup, that sounds like her.

She would take the scraps and make quilt tops; she would work all year long on these things. This was the time of polyester, and colorfulness, so the quilt tops were very colorful. One weekend in November I came upon her and my dad putting all of these quilt tops in the car. I asked what they were doing, my mom seemed embarrassed, my dad said they were taking them to Mother Tucker.

I didn’t know who that was, so of course I pressed the issue, my mother then told me that Mother Tucker ran a homeless shelter for men in Tulsa. You see back then it wasn’t families that were homeless, it was primarily men, mostly Vietnam Veterans that were having a hard time fitting back into society.

I asked my mom why quilt tops and not a whole quilt, she said that the polyester material was thick enough to keep someone warm and thin enough that the person could fold it up and easily carry it with them during the day. She said the colorfulness reminded her of Jacob’s coat of many colors, it made her feel good think of someone wrapped in something pretty in such a bleak circumstance.

I wonder if there is anyone out there that remembers Mother Tucker and the things she did in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I wonder if there is anyone out there that was the recipient of one of my mothers’ quilt tops, if they felt the love she sewed into every stitch.

You see she remembered the hard times of the depression and the many times that families went without. Her heart was with these men and the struggles they faced, she knew struggle and she knew hard times, she wanted to ease someone else’s struggle. I do believe she did, more than she ever knew, she eased my struggle in life, her memory and her life lessons continue to ease my struggle on a daily basis.

If you are reading this and you were one of her customers, or maybe your parents were her customers, please know that your scraps went to good use.

Irritated

As most of you know nothing gets me riled up like infidelity, there is now something going around on Facebook (where we all know is where I get my information) about how devoted Brad Pitt is to Angelina Jolie. I’m sorry; these two sicken me, if he was such a wonderful man, then where was the devotion to his actual wife?
However, according to Pat Robertson it was acceptable for Brad Pitt to cheat on his wife because he is good looking. Angelina Jolie has been quoted as saying that she cannot wait to show her children Mr. and Mrs. Smith because that is the film that shows their parents falling in love. Hmmm, wasn’t Brad Pitt married to Jennifer Aniston at that point and time? Didn’t Jennifer Anniston visit Brad on the set of that movie? Yes to both, it also means that Jolie met Jennifer, knew Brad was married and went after him like a tornado goes after Oklahoma.
I have been the victim of a woman seeing what I had and going after it with a vengeance. See, want, take, that is the philosophy of these women, don’t think you are safe from that kind of vicious attack. If someone perceives your life as something they want, and they have no morals, they will take it.
I don’t want to even see a film that these two are in anymore, that is how much they sicken me. Before you go off on some tangent about how brave Jolie is having a mastectomy, please know that the test she took and the surgeries she had, the normal, average woman in this country and many other, could never afford. EVER.
Much less the plastic surgery afterwards to replace her breasts, I don’t believe there was anything brave about what she did. She is wealthy and privileged; she can make these choices, where we cannot.
I will continue to not see their movies; I will continue to be sickened by the very public, poor treatment of Pitt’s first wife. The way they continue to want to slap her in the face every chance they get. Especially Angelina Jolie, you won, ok, you got the man, I hope it is worth an eternity in hell for you. What God has joined together let no man, or woman put asunder. Those words are there for a reason; God so hated infidelity it is mentioned twice in the top ten. Do not commit adultery and do not covet what is your neighbors. This is it people, don’t think these two are romantic; the couple that was so romantic to me were my parents and grandparents. They stayed together during the dust bowl, during the depression and they worked together, through good times, bad times, sickness and in health. That is what romance is, not cheating and stealing.

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