Blessings from the Four Winds is a novel inspired by the life of the author's great-grandfather. The novel opens following him as a young cowboy traveling to join a cattle drive driving a herd from Waco, Texas to Dodge City, Kansas. It is during one of these cattle drives that he happens upon a beautiful Native American-Choctaw girl.
Set in 1885, the storyline follows their forbidden courtship and his rivalry with the Chief's son for her hand. In the beginning, the Indian girl rejects all of his amorous attempts to win her affection, until he devises a way for her to consider him as a serious suitor and end the rivalry once and for all. This story contrasts traditions of Native-American, Euro-American, and African-American peoples and has something for every reader – romance, intrigue, action, comedy and spiritual introspect.
"Blessings from the Four Winds" is a combination of western, historical, and romance fiction story-telling inspired by the life of a real person, the author's great-grandfather. In the novel, as a young man, he works as a cowboy on cattle drives driving herds from Waco, Texas to Dodge City, Kansas. It is during one of these cattle drives that he happens upon a beautiful Indian girl bathing in the Red River in Indian Territory. Set in 1885, the storyline follows their forbidden courtship. In the beginning she rejects all of his amorous attempts to court her, until he devises a plan capable if winning her over completely, or making her totally rebuke him. The storyline includes small vignettes about other colorful characters whose lives are weaved into a tapestry of a time in America's history when prosperity dwelt adjacent to widespread destitution and desperation. There is a long train ride with White passengers unsettled by the presence of Indian passengers, visits to a Choctaw Indian village, recounting of Negro soldiers in a Civil War battle, and three sermons by a charismatic Negro Christian pastor. By the end of the story everyone to different degrees has been touched by the blessings of the four winds according to long-held beliefs and due to uplifting remarks from the story's characters about the brotherhood of races in America and the promise of the Constitution's principles.
List of Chapters
Chapter I The Start of the Cattle Drive
Chapter II Fork in the Road
Chapter III Crossing Red River
Chapter IV The Taking
Chapter V Finding a Way
Chapter VI Bonding
Chapter VII The New Assistant
Chapter VIII Life for a Life
Chapter IX Redemption and Revelations
Chapter X Invitations
Chapter XI Good News
Chapter XII All A-board
Chapter XIII Accommodations
Chapter XIV The Ceremony
About the author
Syvila Weatherford makes her debut as a novel writer; a third career for her. In her first career she worked for 25 years as a systems/computer engineer and technology consultant, and for a second career she worked ten years in patent law.
Born in Los Angeles, California, she attended grade schools in the Compton Unified School District and thereafter achieved computer science/ engineering degrees, a J.D., was admitted to the California Bar and passed the federal patent bar exam. She has worked for major aerospace and network systems corporations across the U.S. and in London, as well as for the federal government. She says writing brings a lively peace and serenity like no other endeavor; and she hopes readers of her book can immerse themselves into a safe, joyous mind-space.
Her Awards and recognitions include receiving the "Entrepreneur of the Year" Award from the Los Angeles Urban Bankers in 1985 in recognition of publishing the WORKS magazine, CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Patent Law in 2002. Among leadership positions she has held include Vice President of USC Black Alumni, 1980- 1983, President of the Los Angeles Black Professional Engineers, 1980-1982, and Chairperson of the National Council of Black Professional Engineers, 1982-1989. For a period, she was active as an educational counselor/recruiter for M.I.T., her undergraduate alma mater, and she is most proud of having developed a low-income housing project as part of the Watts/Willowbrook Community Re-Development Project 1991- 1994.
Her writing puts front and center the frailties and sensitivities of the human experience, and is vividly expressed in Blessings from the Four Winds. When asked about the book, she characterizes the story as similar to the movie Dances with Wolves because of its tender and respectful patronage of the Native American culture, and the original Lonesome Dove mini-series because it brings you along on the rugged trail of a cattle drive, witnessing drovers toiling sun-up to sun-down, followed by the interplay of personalities around the campfire after a long day's work.
Her objective with this book is to tell a story inspired by the life of her great-grand father, shedding light on what he experienced to elevate himself from the servant class, his courtships, and how he coped in Black skin during the late 1800's. Also relatable are the life experiences of many of the story's characters, which she hopes fuel positive insight and entertainment for all readers, regardless of ethnicity or economic status.