I’ve come to Indiahoma all 66 years of my life. As a youth in the 60s and 70s dad packed us into the Country Squire station wagon. We’d head out for the 12+ hour drive from Atwood, IL to Southwest OK. Mom’s fried egg sandwiches sustaining the 5 of us for the entire ride. Hypnotic drone of rubber to road lulling me to sleep on the back floorboard. Waking to red clay and finally the Wichita Mountains, letting us know we were getting close.
Visiting Grandma Katie, matriarch of the Lindgren family. Namesake to one of my own daughters. The reason we are here, to honor her and dad’s memory. The hardships she endured will never be fully known but the sacrifices she made as a single mother of 9 during the 30s and 40s were immeasurable.
The family scratched and dug and kept chickens and fished and hunted. Uncle Ivan, the eldest, took his turn before joining WWII. He was the first boy from Indiahoma to do so. And then it was up to dad. A teen handed a burden. Hardening him as much as the granite mountains. A Real Cowboy. A corral once where our orchard and garden now reside. Breaking horses bare back. Days long trips to the mountains resulting in stringers of fish, wild game, and berries.
Dad did his best to raises me with that ethos. As a youth we subsisted on deer, rabbit, turkey, quail, squirrel, pheasant, turtle, crappy, catfish, carp, morels, and the harvest of mom’s substantial garden. I didn’t taste steak until high school. Growing up without a father of his own, it had to be difficult. I grew up admiring those skills. Instilled a desire, if not quite the tool kit, to be like him.
Dad moved mom to his hometown in the mid 70s. Cindy graduated in ’74, I in ’75 and Jim dropped out as a junior the next year. Freeing a return to his beloved Indiahoma. Moved into the old “Baker” house that now has its own new life. In the early 90s he built on and spent the rest of his days tinkering and piddling.
My visits continued and I came to fall in love with the original Bar None. That 120 acres up next to the Wildlife Refuge. Ponds for fishing, plenty of shooting, both bullet and arrow. In the 90s I started bringing my own kids every Thanksgiving. Happy they got to know him.
I’ve come to love Indiahoma too. Enough so to invest energy and resources. In April we hosted the first annual “We Are Indiahoma 5K & 1 Mile” kicking off our healthy kids efforts. Our garden has been bountiful enough to share. Our involvement in the local civics also very satisfying.
Thanks for checking in on what’s happening here in Indiahoma. If you are new to my musings you’ll find I love to write, one of my life’s passions. Hoping to offer a perspective (Indy-Pendent) that might refresh you, stimulate you, or tickle you. I’ll be covering local issues as I see them and look forward to informing you on the progress of our “Small Town with a Big Heart!”