Dr. Hammond's revelation was a great victory for the truth, and I felt vindicated.  But it was a hollow and short-lived triumph. 

Dr. Hopewell slunk off to some corner somewhere and left me alone. 

Judge Marcus suggested that I see another psychologist, but didn't order it, and set my hearing for the week of November First.  I thought winning my case would be a piece of cake now.

Meanwhile, I had an appointment to see Doctoro Milagro in Dallas.  But it turned out that 'an appointment' meant a battery of invasive and painful tests with a team of a dozen specialists.

It also meant the whole family, so it turned into an adventure for all of us. 

Dr. Hammond was concerned that my defect might be inherited, so we had to attend the coven of Texan witch doctors as a unit.

Dallas is seven hundred miles from St. Louis—a drive of at least fourteen hours through Indian Territory.

My brother wanted to do that, or go by train, which would entail two five-hour legs with an overnight stopover in Oklahoma City.

Mother wanted to fly and she always gets her way.  It was a shorter and faster route, 550 miles, and flight time would be five hours by airship or only two hours by plane.  But flying is prohibitively expensive for five people.  Flying would cost us more than the rest of the trip combined—including the medical bills.

So we drove, and drove. 

And drove. 

Well, my parents drove, mostly Daddy, but I couldn't, because I didn't have my permit yet!  Not that I was bitter, or anything; but I was determined not to make my family suffer for it, so I decided to hold my tongue—for the time being.

Robbie had never been in Oklahoma before and was fascinated.  It was all still Indian Territory, divided into districts and further into tribes.  Each tribe had its own lands, its own laws, and access was strictly limited to tribal members and authorized visitors.

Of course the Interstates went through, but they too were limited access.  Getting off the highways and seeing the sites required stops in each Nation and endless paperwork.  Robbie wanted to see everything.

Daddy finally settled the matter by telling him we could stop in one district, but it had to be on our route, but we could stop at any nation in that district, because the family visa would be good for all of them.

He chose District I, which was mostly the Cherokee Nation, but included a lot of smaller tribes in the northeast corner of the state.

I have to admit that was pretty neat.  We spent a day exploring the tiny museums of the Quapaw, Seneca, Shawnee, and Ottawa Nations and the bulk of the next in Cherokee territory. 

We stopped at Big Cabin, and Robbie told us all about the Confederate victory there late in the First Civil War. 

We stopped in Tulsa, which he delighted in calling 'Tulsey Town'; it was surprisingly modern and urban.  Someone there told us Tulsa was the smallest big city in the world.  It was quaint, compared to St. Louis, and the people were friendly.

But the most amazing thing to me was that all the signs were in two languages—English and Cherokee, which is totally unrelated to the Indo-European language family.  I'd never seen Sequoyah's syllabary before. 

I bought three Cherokee language texts in the bookstore and a Muskokee dictionary to give me something to do on the road.  By the time we got to Dallas, I could read and write the syllabary, had memorized a few dozen phrases and knew it was called 'Tsalagi.'

Robbie was unbearable in Disctrict IV.

"Did you know that both the Seminole and Creek Indians speak Muskokee," he asked when we stopped for fuel in Muskogee, the capital of the Creek Nation.

"Yes," I answered.  I'd learned that in the introduction of my new dictionary.

"huh-uh," he replied and went on picking through a rack of cassette tapes. 

"Did you know that 'uh-huh' came into English through Cherokee?"

He looked at me blankly.


"Also, some Seminoles speak the Mikasuki langauge." 

I loved being able to out-trivialize him.

"Yeah," he said sheepishly, "I knew that," and went back to his search.

"No you didn't.  You'd learn more if you read books instead of these tapes.  Can you even use these in your Nack?"

"Sure," he held one up to me.  "Most of them are in English, for tourists.  Besides, they're all audio tapes; they'll work in any player."

I spotted a Nack logo.

"Here you go," I said, looking at the label.  "Native plants of the tall grass prairie.  And it's even in English."

"No thanks.  Do you see anything about Code Talkers?"

"No.  You're not likely to find that here, but I think I saw an audio about 'Combat Weathermen'.  Don't forget new batteries."


"You know," Robbie asked me when we were passing through Wewoka, "this is where the Harjo brothers settled after the war?  The whole I.C. revival," he announced to the whole car, "started here.  Hey Dad, can we stop in Seminole?  It's got a great war museum."

"No," Daddy scolded him.  "You had your choice.  We've already spent two days here, letting you explore, and we have to be in Dallas by the morning."

"Aw," Robbie protested but went back to his Nack.  It was a strange device, half electronic calculator, half tape recorder.  It had a keyboard and four rows of bright LED's that spelled out text and numbers in an awkward hard-to-read format, but he loved it.

It was a bit like a typewriter, but it stored what you wrote on tape.  It could read tapes specially written for it, so that you could store books and other data.  It was like a very small computer, but much simpler and had several built-in functions. 

Daddy had bought it used and was able to repair the broken tape mechanism so that it worked like new, and had given it to Robbie for Christmas last year.  I'd seen new ones in a HamCo store for $500.

How it worked was a mystery to me, but Robbie seemed to be very adept in its use.  He could make it talk, dial telephone numbers, play tinny music, read books on it, or use it as a programmable scientific calculator.

I watched him use it for another half hour until we passed through Sasakwa.  He put it away and started up again.

"Sasakwa is where Alton Harjo landed the Galegi when he returned from St. Louis.  His father was from there.  Hey Dad, the canal that connects the Red River and the Arkansas River is not too far from here."


"Can we go see it?  We'll never get another chance."

"No, and stop asking. We don't want to see it, you do.  And you make your own chances, young man.  You'll be free to do anything you want when you're twenty-one."


  1. Ah teenagers.

    You're missing a word: "for the sole reason of protection from their illegal actions Mexico"
    actions IN Mexico?

  2. hmm...en español, probablemente el doctor Epstein deciría, "Estoy encantado, también a conocerla, señorita Heywood."

    estoy encantado in this case is happy, as in happy to meet you - estar encantado a conocer a alguien.

    'me encantado a fulano' is more like, 'I loved whatshisname.'

    I LOVE this new series! I am reading with riveted attention.

    1. Gracias, Gatita mio. I shall fix it today sometime.

      I'm very glad you enjoy it. I kinda wanted to pick your brain about Spanish, as Dani speaks it much better than I do (she's brilliant with languages).

      Eventually, I'd like to produce this in Spanish and German (via Shirley) versions.