I’ve known you for a long, long time.
I saw the move from draft horses to tractors.
The transition from rabbits, quail, and doves
Over to turkey and deer and bigger fish
Squirrels have been around all the time.

I caught my first fish and first fish on lure and fly
First rabbit, first squirrel, first duck, first dove,
First quail, first bullfrog, first deer, and first turkey.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some important firsts;
I just remembered my first campfire on Briley Creek.

I remember Bear Creek Church Homecoming
My Grandmother spoke there while her health
Permitted; the Iconium Picnic and the Courtyard Follies
Kaysinger Bluff Dam morphed into the Truman Dam and
Truman Reservoir; that changed everything about Osceola
Game fishing improved; economic development
Not so much; the dam was over-hyped and oversold.

I left the area pretty much for thirty years before
I returned and lived in Osceola for twenty more.
Both the early and later periods were very good
Very different, but I really enjoyed both of them.

GOODBYE, OSCEOLA

The only way we can communicate is spiritually
You died over a century before I was born.
You never set foot in Missouri, but the
Town of Osceola honors your name and life.
Congratulations on being a Full Chief and
Medicine Man; you were a great Seminole
Leader; you never surrendered to the US
The conditions of your captivity ended your
Earthwalk; the world would have been better
Had you defeated or captured Andy Jackson
Enjoy your period of time in Summerland.
Osceola, your spirit lives on and inspires us.

Walt Birdwell
12/16/ 2016

Author: Walter Birdwell

Born in Missouri in 1942, Walter Birdwell graduated from the University of Missouri in 1964 with a BA in creative writing. Immediately enlisted in the US army to avoid the draft and was in the US army from 1964 to 1967. Married Yolanda Garza a month after discharge from the Army and have been married forty-five years. Walter is a progressive political activist and has been for about fifty years and a follower of Pagan religious tradition for about twenty years. Have previously published newspaper articles in The Southern Patriot and the New York City Guardian newspapers (both defunct progressive newspapers) in the 1970s and have recently published articles in The Missouri Chigger, an Ozark area magazine, and the Brownsville Herald. Enjoys writing, sculpture, hunting, fishing, hiking, birdwatching, reading, traveling, and all outdoor activities.

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