What else did she get? She got some good attention by a local writer, Linda Sue Warner when she added Tar Creek and her unquestioned ability to share what flows out of her onto property near and new to be flooded with Senator Inhofe's dream coming true to raise Grand Lake's level up 2 more feet especially so when she will be spreading across yet unflooded properties near her. Warner's series of Coyote stories brings him from a visit on Monkey Island to a fishfry and pot luck at the LEAD Agency office where Coyote gets more than fish and fries, he gets the load-down on who gets injured when that creek goes out of bounds.
There is a great deal of talent out there and Tar Creek desires it. She is damaged, yet, she wants to be thought of, considered, themed in literature and rhymed in poetry and put to music in lyrics that will be hummed when you might be doing dishes or walking your dog.
Tar Creek has potential and has dreams of being your friend, your playground, your stomping grounds, your swimming hole. She wants friends to come to her and sit on that log and have feet dangle in the water. She longs to have batches of baby wood ducks learn to swim in her and duck their little bills into the water to find sustaining nourishment.
Cherokee Volunteers can you imagine it was 25 years ago you planned the First Tar Creek Fish Tournament? And still there are no real fish tournaments held there? Your work made history, planning that inventive event, that first virtual fish tournament Tar Creek ever had. I verified you made history when I found it on the Oklahoma Historical Society's TRI-STATE LEAD AND ZINC DISTRICT page for all the world to read.
Millions of dollars has been spent moving, selling and stacking up chat that is not sell-able, while Tar Creek waits her turn. The Superfund site's name sake has patience. It is what she has. She waits for justice. She waits for equity, and waits to be included in the work done at her superfund site.
A creek knows no time, just as the river who accepts that water, they are simply vessels and paths for that water to flow. All moving to the wider rivers and on to the sea. The water cycle is the cycle of life, flowing from and to perpetually moving. But our Tar Creek, she flows as Ryan Lovell said as a sophomore in high school knew when he described what he saw as her "eternal flow of evil."
Our Tar Creek is not evil, but she carries with her the sins of our grandfathers, the ore left behind in the mines bleeds out and into this creek every day for forty-one years this month. I am keeping time for her. Another set of children will grow up not knowing they lost the use of a treasure. Growing up next to a creek running through your hometown? Doesn't get any better. Ask countless people who knew this one before it was tainted. Ask people who grew up in Tahlequah, and other little and bigger towns all over America. They haven't had their creek taken from them.
It is serious what this creek has seen since mining began and on to our present. This is Tar Creek's second pandemic. Mining was in the heyday in 1918 and the interurban, the network of electric railway lines allowed miners to commute to work. The first case of the Spanish Flu was reported on March 11, 1918 in Kansas and less than 2 years later over 1,000 people had died of it in Ottawa County.
To date we have 22 deaths in this county, but at the rate we are going we could certainly match that number. That early flu and COVID19 are both respiratory viruses. Both pandemics have closed schools, but ultimately enough people wore masks and contained it before. Very interesting to many reflecting on the similarities between these time periods when looking at the presidents in power and their slow reaction and that they both contracted the virus of their day.
Tar Creek is still on course for this second round, and would gladly remind you the ones who lived through before outwitted that virus by not breathing it in and did that simply by wearing masks.
I wish you the kindest of weeks, full of fresh air, time with the people you share your home, and loving thoughts for those who from afar wish you the best.
Respectfully Submitted ~ Rebecca Jim