Monday, September 28, 2009

Family Foliage Tours

John Hendricks, a '74 Heavener grad, lives on the Ridge Road above Long Lake Hill, and he runs the Long Lake Resort. (Our e-traveling friends, John and Cynthia Inman, stayed there on the first leg of journey.) John takes the most awesome photos of our home land, some you can enjoy on their website: http://www.longlakeresort.com/
The picture above is one John sent to show me the first leaves that are turning on Cypress trees there at Long Lake. We are all anticipating a beautiful fall down at home this year! We have fabulous memories of the annual family pilgrimage, a foliage tour down by Three Sticks and over the mountain. I remember stopping every year at a place with a natural spring coming out the side of the mountain. I even have pictures of my boys at that special spot, but I can't remember where it was or what it was called. Harry thinks he could still find it. We also drove a bit out of the way to a place called Horse Thief Springs. That is where Mo and June fell in love, or at least that was what Mom told! We have pictures of them as teenagers at Horse Thief Springs on a double date with Jane Freeman and J. T. Teeter.
As we drove, Mother would count the number of different shades of red and orange and gold that we saw. Daddy would teach us what kind of trees we saw on the mountain, and we would vote for which kind was the prettiest. I remember the year that Judy was pretty restless about the family pilgrimage. She was really anxious to get it over and back home so she could hang out with friends. My parents didn't want to give up the annual family foliage tour, so they offered Judy the keys. I thought that was so cool!! Daddy had bought an old Falcon station wagon, so I loaded myself into the back of the wagon with all kinds of books because I was in first grade and Miss Betty had taught me to read that year!
It was probably not the year my parents remembered most fondly in all the years of our pilgrimage, but it is definitely the year that I remember the best!! Judy drove 60 miles an hour around those mountain curves. Daddy sat with white knuckles grasping the dashboard and didn't say a word for miles. Mother gasped every once in a while, and I laid in the back of the station wagon reading my books! I honestly thought this day was going to turn into a very bad scene - either the wagon would tumble off the side of the mountain or Judy would get grounded for the rest of her life! But what I remember most was one of my favorite memories of my Daddy, and one that probably helped shape my own child-raising years. Daddy yelled out, "If you look real quick, there's a pretty red one up here on the right. Zoom!!! It was there alright! I caught a glimpse of it. Look on the bright side, June, it's a great year for us. Judy can drive, and Kathy can read! We have so much to be thankful for!"
Well, just hearing Daddy say those words made Judy slow down a little bit, and I climbed over the seat to sit with Mother and count the different colors of the leaves. Neither of us ever balked about going on the family foliage tour again. It remained a tradition that we shared with our own kids for many, many years. Gosh, I think even now of all the things Dad could have said or done, but he said just the right thing that drew his family right back around him. I wonder how many colors we will count this year?!?!

11 Comments:

At September 28, 2009 at 11:46 PM , Blogger Chuck Hudlow said...

Very nice story, Kathy. I think our family took that same "foliage tour" several times when we were kids. The place you mentioned where you would stop at the spring coming out of the side of the mountain sounds like what we always called "pipe spring". It's still there. After you cross the moutain and pass the Three Sticks monument, you'll find that spring on the left side of the highway just a few miles before you reach the spot where President Kennedy dedicated the highway at Big Cedar.

I may be wrong in my recollection, but someone will surely correct me.

 
At September 29, 2009 at 5:25 AM , Blogger Kathy Bain Dunn said...

You're right. Pipe Springs is it! I was there when Kennedy dedicated the highway - something to do with Kerr wasn't it? I was really young, maybe only 5 or 6. Was the actual spot of his speech at the intersection there at Page? I remember cars everywhere in an open field.

 
At September 29, 2009 at 8:00 AM , Blogger Chuck Hudlow said...

It was at Big Cedar...the intersection of U.S. Hwy 259 and State Highway 63. Even at age 5 (or 6), you remembered it pretty well. Cars were everywhere. I still reminisce when I drive by there. The caretakers of the monument (flag pole) don't seem to care for it as much these days, but it's still there. I remember how the Army or National Guard troops were scattered all over the surrounding hills and the helicopters flying in low over the highway as they brought in the President and his party. It was definitely a day to remember for those of us living in the area back then.

 
At September 29, 2009 at 11:41 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your right Chuck, here comes the correction. Pipe springs is south of Skyline Drive, which is now designated a Senic Byway, and north of Big Cedar. Three Sticks is south of Big Cedar on top of Kiamichi Mountain. You both have great memories, by the way.

Bo Shupert

 
At September 29, 2009 at 5:53 PM , Blogger colin said...

We drove through there last week and it was a foggy rainey day which made it pretty in a different kind of way. Didn't stop for a drink at pipe springs but thought abut it. JFK didn't dedicate the highway (as I recall); it was the monument. Now the test; What does the the "3 sticks monument" stand for? We were on the way to Whitesboro where Peggy's sister Claudiette lives. Claudiette's husband Alvin Branscum gave us 5 gallons of fresh picked Okra and two watermellons. That was a sight almost as pretty as the mountain vista. Bo, we saw your pretty grand daughters too. colin

 
At September 29, 2009 at 9:22 PM , Blogger Kathy Bain Dunn said...

I think the 3 Sticks were Wind, Wood and Water. I'm real sure about Wood and Water. But were we already into Wind energy back then? I might be mixing it with Earth, Wind, and Fire?!?! I saw one red tree just outside Poteau on the new road this evening. There are a few yellows here and there. I don't think we will get down to the mountain this time, but there won't be much color yet.

 
At September 29, 2009 at 9:27 PM , Blogger Kathy Bain Dunn said...

When President Kennedy came I remember us all sitting on the top of our cars or standing on top to see him above the crowd. I, too, remember the helicopter landing and seeing the "Army guys" stationed all around the area. I was a little disappointed that Caroline didn't come with her Daddy.

 
At September 29, 2009 at 10:06 PM , Blogger Chuck Hudlow said...

Of course you're right, Bo. I didn't think quick enough before I started typing. Pipe Springs is before you get to Big Cedar and then you start climbing the mountain as you continue South.

Thanks for the correction.

 
At October 2, 2009 at 8:02 PM , Blogger colin said...

I think the 3 sticks stood land
wood
&
water

 
At October 2, 2009 at 8:03 PM , Blogger colin said...

make that stood for

 
At October 2, 2009 at 11:57 PM , Blogger Kathy Bain Dunn said...

Yeah, I think you're right. LAND, wood, and water. I knew that Wind thing didn't sound quite right!

 

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