By LEON YOUNGBLOOD
When I showed visitors the arrowhead I found at Briar Circle, one displayed a very mild interest and asked, “What’s it worth?”
“What’s it worth?” Was that the best he could do? The arrowhead is small, black, crudely made and not particularly impressive.
I am impressed by it, however. It shows me that at Briar Circle, centuries ago, a human banged rocks together to get a “blank” which he refined until he produced this arrow point. Then he used other stone tools to fashion a shaft, to which he attached the point and fletching feathers using sinew string.
He likely did this work by daylight, sitting near a fire pit with tribal members working on similar projects. Doubtless, they talked while they worked, chatting about concerns and interests of their day and culture:
“I hope there is better hunting this week,” one might have said, and another responded, “I hear there are plenty of deer over by Long Lake Resort,” though it wasn’t called that, then. Another may have said something along the lines of, “Prancing Turtle has been coming around lately—wants to court my daughter,” to get the response, “P’shaw! You don’t want him! But, now, his cousin, Noble Elk—invite him over!”
Then, maybe, they discussed local businesses: “Do y’all know anything about the new Shaman who’s put up his sign? Is he any good?” and someone perhaps answered, “I hear he’s more ‘sham’ than Shaman. The last ceremonial dance, he wouldn’t even pick up the rattlesnakes!”
The subject matter may have been different, but I’m sure the casual chit-chat went on same as it does in most work places today. “Small talk” suited while routine tasks were being done. The arrowhead’s maker was part of this group of “knappers,” and part of a tribe and nation with its own culture, religion, history and traditions.
Individually, these people had families, “jobs,” joys and sorrows. This is what my little Briar Circle artifact represents to me; yet all the visiting Philistine could think of was, “What’s it worth?”
It’s a shame we should come to that, but society seems to generally feel that way. On a popular PBS program, people haul in their antiques in hopes an assessment by professionals would justify keeping the stuff.
Unique finds and discoveries are often made, ranging from things like “Grandpa’s dentures” to items that are National Treasures. Every segment, however, closes with an appraisal—the “What’s it worth?”
But by “worth,” is one thinking in terms of price? Or value? There is the old adage, “A fool and his money are soon parted,” and it certainly applies when you consider some of the things people spend their hard-earned dollars for.
After all, many costly things are valueless. Recently, the Heavener Ledger has carried articles concerning the possible revitalization of our local dusty artifact, the Heavener downtown area. The memories of downtown are there for many people, and nostalgic memories have value in that they can create a new vision.
If the buildings and streets can be roused from their comas, and made into something nice, something pleasant and enjoyable—it would have a heavy price—would it not be of value, creating income for people and the city, and new memories for the future?
Poteau is doing this with their downtown, and it’s looking pretty good. I would love to see a “friendly rivalry” between Heavener and Poteau for local and tourist dollars.
The Heavener Public Library is hosting a “Loving Our Hometown” get-together Saturday, Feb. 21, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. As Milena Davis said in her article last week, “It’s a place to start.” Mark it on your calendar and bring some ideas.