So do you want to come with me or should we take you

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“So do you want to come with me, or should we take you toyour church now? Really, I can go either way.”They wanted to come with me. I can see, looking back on it,that we were getting attached.“We’ll have a picnic by the lake, and stay in a cabin, andmaybe find a boat somewhere and go out on the water. We’ll havea vacation,” I told them. “When’s the last time you two had avacation?”Estevan thought for a while. “Never.”“Me too,” I said.214TH EBE A NTR E E S
F I F T E E NLake o’ the CherokeesEsperanza and Estevan were transformed in an unexplainableway over the next two hours. They showed a new side, like theHoly Cards we used to win for attendance in summer Bibleschool: mainly there was a picture of Jesus on the cross, ablurred, shimmering picture with flecks of pink and blue scat-tered through it, but tip it just so and you could see a dove flyingup out of His chest. That was the Holy Ghost.We must have been getting closer to the heart of theCherokee Nation, whatever or wherever it was, because as wedrove east we saw fewer and fewer white people. Everybody andhis mother-in-law was an Indian. All the children were Indianchildren, and the dogs looked like Indian dogs. At one point apolice car came up behind us and we all got quiet and kept aneye out, as we had grown accustomed to doing, but when hepassed us we just had to laugh. The cop was an Indian.It must have been a very long time since Esperanza and
Estevan had been in a place where they looked just like every-body else, including cops. The relief showed in their bodies. Ibelieve they actually grew taller. And Turtle fit right in too; thiswas her original home. I was the odd woman out.Although, of course, I supposedly had enough Cherokee inme that it counted. I knew I would never really claim my headrights, and probably couldn’t even if I wanted to—they surely hada statute of limitations or some such thing. But it was a relief toknow the Cherokee Nation wasn’t a complete bust. I read a storyonce, I might have this confused but I think the way it went wasthat this lady had a diamond necklace put away in a safe-depositbox all her life, thinking that if she ever got desperate she couldsell it, only to find out on her deathbed that it was rhinestones.That was more or less the way I felt on that first terrible tripthrough Oklahoma.It was nice to find out, after all, that Mama’s and my ace inthe hole for all those years really did have a few diamonds in it:Lake Oologah, Lake o’ the Cherokees.“The Cherokee Nation has its own Congress and its ownPresident,” I reported to Esperanza and Estevan. “Did you knowthat?” I wasn’t sure if I actually knew this or was just elaboratingon what the girl in the restaurant had told me.

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