Impressions. Polio, first round


When the Okies left Oklahoma and moved to California, it raised the I.Q. of both states.
– Will Rogers

Impressions. Some are innocuous. Others are vital, setting life-altering forces in motion. An impression, when acted on, can foster adventure, inspire faith. Hardships seem postponed. Then they wash ashore and into our lives. Some in manageable waves. Others overwhelm us, tsunami-like, leaving us reeling til we re-gather ourselves. Hopefully in the comforting aid of others.

Impressions played their roles in the young Oklahomans. From their California arrival ten years earlier and going forward. .

Unexplained comfort administered through a sister-in-law’s hands drew them into a life new to them. They began the long journey of yielding themselves to the new way. A way of prayer. Of faith.

Clyde responded to a later impression, leading them to trust for added children.

On still another occasion Clyde met with an inner constraint. It was a tender, yet cautionary word while he was taking in a scene at a movie theatre. The path you’re on isn’t leading you to where your little boy has gone. He exited the viewing.

Then, on a Spring night in 1946 my mother, Thelma, dreamed vividly of our family travelling a long roadway.

Clyde, I feel the Lord saying we’re to return to Oklahoma.

His response was surprisingly sudden and certain. They both laughed. Sensing the guidance was sound, they followed the impression.

Okmulgee. Bubbling Water.

The winsomeness of its Creek Indian meaning was matched by the strangeness of the town’s name to an unaccustomed ear. (Ohk-muhl-gee)

I was five months old when we entered the land of my family’s roots. It would be my land, the place of my roots. We were home.

An aggressive disease showed up near my first birthday. The polio virus disabled my legs and feet before I had a chance to try them out. The assault was rapid and, thankfully, short-lived. It contorted my left foot, permanently curbing it’s range of motion. In time my left leg resumed growing. So the right leg trumps the left by more than an inch. The redesigned foot and the shortened leg combined to supply me with an uninvited trademark of sorts. A limp.

The disquieting polio intruder wasn’t finished. Awhile later the illness paid a second childhood visit. It was then the term iron lung entered our vocabulary.

©2015 Jerry Lout



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