1889. A tall African American who once was a slave, and his family, leave Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, leaving the dead sharecrop behind and seek their Promise in the Oklahoma Country. Andrew Jackson Johnson, Pa, led his family and 18 others who joined his wagon train and honored him as leader, Blacks and Whites alike, through hate filled and lynch ready east Texas. They suffered attacks that were mostly vocal and passed through most towns with little difficulty. Except Malsomberton. The KKK and like-spirited mob attacked the train at night, in the countryside, and were defeated. Two lives are lost for the people of the train, a grandfather and a good horse.
It was Pa's lead horse, Oscar, who ended the battle, and, it was a miraculous moment for that horse. He roughly spoke. Just two words, and only on the anniversaries of that battle does Oscar speak again.
At the Sulphur River in northeast Texas they made one-at-a-time crossings. The river was waist high and flowing brisk. Pa helped every family cross, and his own family was the last to cross. Pa dies of a heart attack just as they complete their crossing. I kill off my lead character at about two thirds way through.
The core 5 families pull together around Penney Mae Johnson, and her six children, and they finish the Land Run together, realizing Pa's Dream. They are two black Loui. families, two Mennonite white Alabama families and an Arabic Shia family from Ascalon, Ottoman Empire.
This story is being told by Oscar on March 15, 1914, the 25th anniversary of the battle with the KKK. Oscar is 38 years old. It is on this one day he can speak and so he does. Telling the gathered family of grownups, children, horse and colts, flycatchers and hummingbirds, from many farms for miles around, the story of their Oklahoma Land Run and the Journey of Dreams they realized because of that quest.
It could end gently with the Oklahoma wind and sunset, Indian blankets waving in the wind and "hawks making lazy circles in the sky." It does, and it does not. I double twist the ending, it will make you cry, then you will smile; and that is my intent.
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.11(d)|
About the Author
The writing impetus faded and I have returned to my art, with a series titled Dancing Birds which evolved from drawings of bird pairs flying to anthropomorphized birds dancing to humans in costume with bird mask, and finally no mask. That too came to an end and now I work a series titled trees, which is realism mixed with fantasy.