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Observations in OK

December 2, 2013

I spent last week in Oklahoma with family for Thanksgiving. My parents live on acreage outside of Tulsa. (For my city friends, that means there are no buildings taller than 2 stories and there are cows. Lots of them.) While I grew up in Oklahoma, we lived in the city limits, so the country still surprises me sometimes. And while I visit often, every now and then I see the good old plains state through the eyes of someone who has experienced so much of the world outside of the flatlands.

Some observations from Oklahoma…

Camouflage is acceptable daily wear. I was under the impression that camo was designed to blend in to the surroundings of the woods to conceal hunters from their prey. I was wrong. It is apparently appropriate at the movies, while shopping or out for a nice dinner.
I had no idea camo came in so many styles and shades of pink.
Wifi is not necessary for life. If this confuses you, you are not alone. I, too, was confused. It would appear, however, that when your nearest neighbor is a mile away, fiber optics are out of the question. (If you’re wondering, this is also the reason this blog is 4 days late. At a certain point, you give up and just go drink a glass of iced tea.)

Country is not the same as Southern. In the South, people speak with an accent and may have different words for common terms. (For example, “ya’ll” means “you all” and a buggy is a shopping cart.) In the Country, people speak another language. Just like visiting any other foreign environment, you can get real lost, real quick. Dark thirty is not a movie – that’s just after sunset. You might say “no worries.” They say “don’t give it no never mind.” Food is kept in the icebox and yesterday Wal-Mart was busier “than who laid the chunk.” (That one may be less Country and more just my dad. When frustrated he also claims you are “overcooking his grits.”)
My dad didn’t write this book. But he could have.
You see more when you slow down. There is a rule when you turn onto my parents’ drive. You slow down and creep around the corner (with brights on if it’s after dark thirty) and you scan the horizon for whatever may be waiting – whether its the cows at the fence or deer in the field. You can’t see what you don’t slow down and look for.
You see more when there’s less to see. When surrounded by lights and sounds and cars and phones and tweets and texts…things can get lost in the noise. When you stand in the middle of a field, you see the way the wind blows the grass. You see the shape of a snake in a fallen tree limb. (Which Brynna affectionately named Princess.) You see animals in the clouds. You hear birds and feel the peace that comes with silence.

These town names are not normal. I thought they were, but I now realize I just never knew differently. Oklahoma is the heart of Native America, so Talequah, Sapulpa, Checotah, Atoka, Wapenucka and Nowata are just stops along the way – as is Quapaw (where we drove through on the way to Thanksgiving dinner).
If I hadn’t taken a picture you wouldn’t have believed me, would you?
Gravy goes with (and on) everything. We met my grandparents for dinner at the home of the world famous hot hamburger. (I’m still trying to understand what you’d do with a cold hamburger.)
To answer your obvious question…no, I didn’t have the famous burger.
I stuck to chicken tenders. Seemed safer.
It’s so dry! I realize I live in Houston (ie.e: the inside of a cloud), but Oh My Gosh! My dad’s temperature gauge says there’s 24% humidity. My skin has sucked up every drop of moisture in the air and it’s still cracked.

“News” is relative. Traffic was backed up a whole mile after an accident. We watched a helicopter shot of an intersection with a water main break for 30 minutes. The weatherman who asked viewers to send in Twitter updates read them from his phone (which he struggled to see). Better to have no news than bad news, I guess…

Kids don’t need half the stuff they (or we) think they need. Brynna doesn’t need Barbies or castles or movies or electronics when she’s in the country. She feeds horses and dogs. She climbs trees and runs and counts stars until the rest of us are too cold to stay outside any longer.
Sunsets have more colors than Crayola could fit in any box of crayons.

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