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August 21. Day 8 of quarantine. 

I was in and out of sleep all day. I woke up around 7 a.m., went back to sleep and woke up at noon. After I had lunch, I went back to sleep again and woke up around 6:30 p.m. Each time I woke up I took my temperature, 99.1. I have a splitting headache. I gave in and took some Advil and I’m starting to feel better. At this rate, I don’t think I’m getting out of here on Sunday. I have to be fever-free for 24 hours, without medication.

I spoke with some of my friends today who forwarded me some articles on COVID-19. According to these articles, there are a lot of patients who don’t develop symptoms until their 9 or 10 day of having the virus. I already knew this virus has a 14-day course, but I was hoping to be spared. I thought that by resting all day it might break my fever. I was wrong.

As I type this, I’m eating a delicious meatpie made by my cousins Lainie and Julia Maker. In my opinion, and mine alone, and everyone has their favorite meatpie maker in our Osage universe, but Lainie and Julia make the BEST. Lainie dropped off 19 meatpies this evening, four of them spicy (my fave). That’s almost $100 worth of meatpies. I almost cried.

A meatpie is basically beef and suet, baked inside a biscuit-like dough. Cooked to perfection, it comes out golden brown and is wrapped in foil and served piping hot. Every cook has their way to prepare it, special spices to add, and their own dough to mix, and the end result is delicious. We do not put potatoes or other vegetables in our meatpies, I repeat, there are no potatoes or vegetables in an Osage meatpie.

Lainie and Julia sell their meatpies at E.lonshka. And, don’t tell me you’ve never looked over your shoulder, Sunday at Hominy, to see if they had set up yet. When they show up, people are running. I’m not even kidding. Kids are running as hard as they can to line up for these, holding places for their parents and grandparents. They sell out within the hour. People are doing hand signals to dancers in the arbor, holding up 1 finger or 2, mouthing “How many??” And, it is a pure travesty if you don’t get one. A good meatpie on Sunday, with a nice cold soda, sittin in your Osage clothes is the BEST!!

Let me tell you, it is a very traditional Osage thing to give. My late grandmother, Mary Agnes Wagoshe Shannon, grew up in Pawhuska. 

She told stories to my mother and her siblings about the generosity of Osages. Even before our oil money in the late 1920s and 1930s, we were generous to the white people in this area. I have seen photos of the white people, families, camped along the banks of Bird Creek. That is where they lived. Many Osages employed white people back then to cook, clean, to help take care of their children. And in many cases, we took in white children because their families could not afford them. This was especially true during the Great Depression. My Irish great-grandfather Claude Shannon was such a case. He ran away from home, ran away from an abusive stepfather and came upon some Osage kids outside of Hominy on horseback. They played together all day. He went home with them and that’s where he was raised. True story.

My Editorial Board member Jerri Jean Branstetter, Osage, has talked to me about her parents and their “visits” with other Osage families when she was growing up. It was normal for Osages to visit each other and bring dinner. Just show up with a full course meal and hang out with each other and just have a visit. This is something we need to do more of, after COVID, of course.

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At our E.lonshka, we have a whole day where we just give. On Sunday, even if you’re not on a committee or your family doesn’t have a song, you give. It’s one of my favorite things to do each year. My mother especially enjoys it. We’ll make a special trip to Tulsa every year before E.lonshka and go to Williams-Sonoma in Utica Square and have lunch. She’ll buy all the best gadgets and utensils and put them in beautifully packaged gifts for her favorite cooks. She’ll give it all away at Grayhorse, Hominy and Pawhuska.

At all our traditional doings, dinners, hand games, funerals, E.lonshka, we bring food. The act of making something and taking it to someone who is sick, or in need, or has fallen on hard times, is an act of love and kindness. Osages strive to be good; we strive to be kind, we always have. O.Zha^keh, Good Road.

That is what I am experiencing right now. The unspeakable kindnesses of friends, neighbors and relatives. My cousin Ericca Unap Dennis sent me this beautiful handkerchief and two brooches, Cheryl Potts and her husband Stan brought over a five-course meal, enough to feed 20 people. Our neighbor, Kelly Patterson, brought us three food boxes from a local church giving food away. Alice Goodfox brought us pizza from Mazzio’s, and she brought me Chinese food. And tonight, my relatives bring us these meatpies.

I am just so thankful that I don’t have to worry about my children, I don’t have to worry about my husband, my people will take care of them if something were to happen to me. It has truly humbled me, and I will have a lot to give back when this is over.

I will pay this forward. 


Shannon Shaw Duty: 'Quarantine adventures' (Day 1 and 2)

Shannon Shaw Duty: 'Quarantine adventures' (Day 3 and 4

Shannon Shaw Duty: 'Quarantine adventures' (Day 5 and 6)

Shannon Shaw Duty: 'Quarantine adventures' (Day 7)