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MARY’S MEANDERINGS: Feb. 19 — Our Enjoyable-Historical Jaunt

It’s truly a blessing…having friends, and I’m thankful for mine and from time to time one will call inviting me to join them on a short and pleasurable trip. That was the case and what a fun day it was for my friend, Glenda and me;

We left around ten, not letting the drizzling rain deter us to visit the Overstreet-Kerr Historical Farm in Keota, Oklahoma. We had read brochures. Both, excited knowing what awaited us. We had directions written down so we wouldn’t make a wrong turn. From 1-40 Sallisaw, take Highway 59, south, ten miles to Overstreet-Kerr Road, one quarter mile west.

In the late 1800’s, Oklahoma was a place where pioneer met Native American and an American culture was born.

A young Missourian named Tom Overstreet came to Oklahoma, which was then Indian Territory, with his Choctaw wife. Tom Overstreet built the beautiful-old home in 1895.

Glenda and I took a self-guided tour of the lavishly restored antique-filled, 14 room home with the high ceilings and beautiful finished floors. There were hand-sewn quilts on narrow beds, canned fruits and vegetables in old glass fruit jars on shelves in the kitchen. Every door, of which there were many, had a black, porcelain door-knob that sparkled. every room was lavishly furnished and breath-taking:

The Historical Overstreet-Kerr Farm showcases farm life in the early 20th century. We toured the original out buildings, the huge barn, the potato house, the smokehouse and the chicken house, where my favorite, the pretty Dominique hens, with their rose colored combs, yellow legs and barred plumage walked around clucking and the roosters strutting for their attention.

We watched demonstrations of activities common on farms one hundred years ago. Demonstrations on quilting, basket weaving, kraut making, blacksmithing, lye soap making, dutch oven cooking, and my favorite demonstration…sorghum milling and cooking. I was fascinated by the little mule that played such an important role in the sorghum operation. Her name was HASSIE. I was awed by her patience and while Glenda snapped pictures of interest from beautiful handmade quilts to corn shelters, I kept my eyes on Hassie

I enjoyed watching the little mule as she slowly walked the circle, over and over…almost in slow motion, turning the crude construction that extracted the green juice from the sugar cane. When she came close, I talked to her and called her by name, and, she would stop for a few seconds, as if posing for Glenda to snap one more picture of her.

While the crowd watched and listened to the demonstration of sorghum milling and cooking, I thought about the time Mr. Alien planted a small crop of sugar cane, down by our house, when we were kids. My brothers, my sister and I would venture across the road and swipe a stalk from time to time. I suppose Mr. Alien grew the sugar cane for his old horse to enjoy as succulent feed. Some varieties are grown for feed while others are grown for syrup production. I remember the sickening-sweet taste and as we stood there watching the demonstration, I saw a man peeling a piece of sugar cane with a pocketknife and he offered it to me. I tasted it and passed it to Glenda and she in turn offered it to another lady, who passed it to her friend. After sampling, we all decided it wasn’t something we would crave often. We sampled the cooked sorghum. One of the ladies smacked her lips and commented what good gingerbread it would make. Just the thought of hot gingerbread and. the aroma from the boiling sorghum in the huge cooking vat told us it was getting close to lunch time, so Glenda and I ordered lunch and sat on the steps of the back porch of the farm house and enjoyed a leisurely meal that was prepared there on the grounds while sampling some of Oklahoma’s answer to maple syrup…SORGHUM.

We snapped a few more pictures of the beautiful Overstreet-Kerr Farm House and soon it was time to leave. What an enjoyable day!

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