In a Wagonyard

Originally published in The Perkins Journal on Sept. 13, 1984.

By Zola Sample

I’ll bet a nickel none of you have ever slept in a covered wagon in a wagonyard. That was some night I will never forget, not even if I should live to be one hundred.

The wonders I experienced as a youngster were printed on my memory. Even the smells of sow belly or pork chops frying in hog grease bring back that night.

I was amazed with all my surroundings, the other children and families camping in the yard that night. There were several all shy like myself. They probably were just as bashful coming from their homestead homes. I was about 20 or 25 miles from home.

It was in late summer or early fall and father was peddling peaches, watermelon and cantaloupe. It was a big trip for me, a real wonderland experience. I was dressed in my Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and trying to be on my best behavior.

At all other lodge meetings and brush arbor meetings the folks said I roamed around amidst the crowds getting out of hand. But I was a social child and generally got acquainted with others.

With my long yellow curls that mother had wrapped in rags was one of my great assets to get folks to notice me. Mother often dressed me in a blue dress that folks said matched my eyes. But in this strange atmosphere of many rough-looking men and large youngsters, I stuck close to my folks.

Supper was cooked on fires in the yard. Each wagon had a stall to park in kind of like trailer courts of the day. Families had their own grub, skillets, coffee pots to boil coffee and other items such as salt and flour to make gravy, and of course hog grease to fry your eggs.

There were privies for both men and women and children. I must have been 7 or 8 years old and had never seen at boughten loaf of bread. Pa managed to get a loaf even though mother had her homemade. He wanted me to see how it tasted. We had potatoes to fry and had a good supper.

Before crawling into our covered wagon for the night we managed to get acquainted with other wagonyard folks. Finally the yard quieted down for the night.

When I woke to dress, mother was already frying eggs for our breakfast. We were all in high spirits. We were going to sell our fruit from house to house that day.

We had to crowd in among sacks of hundred-pound flour, navy beans and sugar, coffee and many items purchased from our sales. We returned home from the big city of Sapulpa in worn-out condition but thrilled with the outside world.

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