This Thanksgiving, while driving to the farm in Oklahoma for a weekend of work, we decided to take a little detour. Upon reaching the junction for Highway 60 in Ponca City, I turned off our beaten path and headed east towards The Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile. It was supposed to be a three-day weekend of clearing unsightly trees covered with thorns. But I decided we first needed a day of fun and a meal ordered straight from a menu prepared by Ree Drummond herself. With our trailer in tow loaded with tools and equipment, we took the 45-minute drive out of our way to check out the history in a small town we had never before visited. Pawhuska.
The drive to the Mercantile—namely, passing the Drummond Ranch—was stunning! To think that such a wide-open expanse of land, similar to the Flint Hills in Kansas, belonged to one family alone was quite thought-provoking. And suddenly I found myself comparing my land situation to that of the Pioneer Woman. But really there was not much to compare and not much in common. Here was a woman who came to live upon this land near Pawhuska by marrying into a family—landowners of four generations—wealthy by an abundance of land. And here was I, on the third generation in my family to live upon a much smaller portion of land belonging to a struggling poor family. But still a family which managed to hold onto the land. The Pioneer Woman lives on a vast amount of acreage with tall prairie grass and scarcely a tree in sight (or so it seemed from my drive-by view on the highway). While my land has a vast amount of trees with scarcely any acreage in sight (or so it would appear due to the abundance of trees).
We arrived at The Merc and were somewhat astonished to learn that there was nearly a two-hour wait for the restaurant. Fortunately for us, however, we were able to get in after a short wait because we were the first “party of two” standing in line. After a little shopping (um, I mean daydreaming of kitchenware to be placed in my new kitchen), I picked up Ree’s book, “The Pioneer Woman Black Heels to Tractor Wheels,” and then Steve and I made our way upstairs to the bakery. It was there I spotted the beautiful Ree Drummond in the middle of an interview, after which she motioned to me and two other women that we were welcome to her table for an autograph. Lucky me—I dodged a long line again! And I had a good book in hand with which to finish the day.
Finally at the farm—helping Steve cut down trees and dig up truckloads of debris left behind by my ancestors—I not once had any doubt that this land is where we are meant to be. This acreage of ours is beautiful, as small as it may be. We are truly blessed, and there is nowhere else I would rather be. Hmm, perhaps Ree and I do have something in common.