Friday, March 30, 2007

Exploring the environs of the elk

We awoke to dry skies and semi-dry sleeping bags which we hung around the small Travelodge room to dry out.

A consignment shop and several antique stores in downtown Elk City proved worthy for a few hours distraction before the 11:00 a.m. pouring of the tea at the County Dove Tea Room on nearby 3rd Street. Despite the raised eyebrows our server lapidated our way when we ordered hot tea for the girls, we had an excellent esculant experience.

S had the chicken / avocado salad sandwich, I went with the chicken pot pie daily special and the girls split a mile-high club sandwich. The heartshaped muffins were a hit with the girls, as was the soup and the speciality dessert of the house, the French Silk Pie.

The warmth of the victorian home turned tea/gift shop and the hospitality of the staff did wonders to steam away the sogginess wrought from our previous days flash flooded feats.

A quick call to the Flying W revealed it was still too muddy to take the girls for their horseback ride, so with hopes of a sunny day to dry out the prairie enough for a ride tomorrow, we intrepidly made our way to the sprawling Old Town Museum complex that Elk City is most proud of.

For a measly $5 (adults) we were afforded access to the National Route 66 and Tranportation Museums the entire Old Town Complex and Pioneer Museum, and the Farm and Ranch Museum.

Proudest moment for me was when my 7-year old corrected my wife as she mistakenly identified the Corvette on display in the Route 66 Museum as being the same as our old C3. "No Mommy," she stated with conviction, "this Corvette has a shiny back bumper and ours didn't -- remember, ours has a soft rubber bumper on the back?"

It's all in the details.

After an exhausting afternoon exploring every nook, display, and interactive feature this wonderful complex had to offer (getting C off the corn grinding machine at the Farm and Ranch Museum took several verbal threats of no dessert tonight). we sought out a sugar rush at Nana T's Old Fashioned Confections on Main Street in the downtown district.

Her sugar-free delights were "Splenda-splendid" as were the coconut bon-bons. This was also the first place I'd encountered that only offered Dr. Pepper as a caramel colored cola alternative -- a theme to be replayed often on our trip, as I later found. Seems out west, the Okie's don't even bother with Coke/Diet Coke. You either want dark (Dr. Pepper) or light (Sprite) and never the twains shall meet.

While replenishing our blood sugar, we noticed several signs decorating the walls of Nana T's proclaiming support for the re-election of the town mayor, a certain Teresa Mullican. Wouldn't you know it, "Nana T" of Nana T's Old Fashioned Confections just happened to be the honorable Teresa Mullican, Mayor of Elk City.

We had a nice visit with the Madame Mayor and even got to bend her ear a bit on why we had chosen her fair city for our "spring-break-road-trip-see-Oklahoma" destination. Not every day you get to have the mayor of a city of 11,000 citizens serve you up some Dr. Pepper and bon bons she made herself.

Our reservations for the next several nights was our fall back recreation retreat (in case the horseback riding didn't work out) - the Holiday Inn Holidome, which offered the ultimate facilities for parents traveling with small children - an indoor pool and recreation area.

Ahhh, let the vacation begin...

Next up, Holidome smiles, a battlefield hike, holy Mexican feast, and our search for Radiator Springs comes to an end.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Still routing on 66

"Won’t you get hip to this timely tip: when you make that California trip..."

Our first night on the road was planned for a cowboy tent adventure at the Flying W Guest Ranch in Sayre. Upon arrival we enjoyed a boardwalk conversation with our host, Don Whinery, where we both bragged about how great the weather was and even though the threat of rain was hovering nearby, we seemed to be in for a continuation of a dry spell that has the ponds on the ranch down over 100 inches.

10 minutes later, as we were moving our gear into our canvas cowboy tent, the clouds of ironic vengeance opened up and let loose with a torrent of the wet stuff.

Drip, drip, drip went the tent. Sop, sop, sop went the tourist. Wring, wring, wring went the towels.

So much for the 8 year dry spell.

We gathered our gear into the center, thinking the rain would let up and we could sleep in relative dryness later that night. We then we "mosied" up to the little western town on the ranch for a buffalo steak dinner at Sassy's Cafe.

The buffalo ribeyes were outstanding, fried green beans, garlic mashed spuds, and a berry cobbler to email home about. Sassy's is the cowboy bomb.

While slurping the final drips of decaf, the floodgates opened.

We stood, bellies fully and appetites suppressed, on the boardwalk outside the cafe, watching the dirt road turn to a dirt river, and raising eyebrows as we tried to calculate how best to cross the rapidly flowing river that used to be the main street of the western town.

The rain was so unbelievably heavy that my clothes were soaked in the 10 seconds it took me to cross the river and get into the car.

Needless to say, our after dinner priorities involved retrieving our soggy camping belongings from the rain soaked cowboy tent, slip and sliding our non-4-wheel drive import car out of the mud, and heading straight for the nearest motor lodge with a flashing vacancy sign.

We spent the rest of that uneventful night in a Travelodge of questionably quality in nearby Elk City, listening to the weather outside our window and hoping the down sleeping bags we borrowed from my F-i-L weren't ruined.

The next day we learned that a flash flood had occurred in the stream near our tent and the other occupants camping near us had to be evacuated soon after we left.

Parting words from our host that night were, "here's a spring break your girls won't soon forget."

Next up, experiencing all that Elk City had to offer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Spring Breakin' on Route 66 Part 2

We paid homage to Oklahoma Mother Road maternal icon, Lucille Hamon, at the gas station where she and her family tended to road weary travelers for almost 60 years. While my wife grabbed some quick snapshots of the girls by the vintage Conoco gas pump out front, I took some curious glances into the now 7-years vacant building, trying to sneak a peek into the heart and soul of the historic roadside artform.

"You see Amarillo -- Gallup, New Mexico."

Hunger pangs found my little family truckster pulling into the huge expanse of a parking lot at Lucille's Roadhouse in Weatherford, a few mileage ticks down the road from it's namesake station.

This placed both rocked and rolled but several downers attempted to spoil our roadie/foodie experience here. First, our young waitress seemed to be having a bad day as our service left much to be desired, even though it wasn't all that crowded when we were seated. The menu selection was appropriate for the venue, the food vittles were yummy and there was plenty of it. The ciggie smoke that drifter over to our booth from the smoking room (clearly in violation of the state's recently imposed secondhand smoke law - wonder how this place got around the law?) was unwelcome as well.

If you visit this place, be sure to read the menu board at the entrance, otherwise you'll miss out on the delectable dessert and drink selections (glaringly absent from the laminated menus we were handed as we were seated).

The saving grace to our lunch was a terrific conversation we had with the gentleman manager who sold us some Lucille's Roadhouse souvies in the gift shop. We could have listened to his colorful anecdotes all day, and I was especially enamored with the large photo of his '69 Chevelle big block that sat behind the counter.

A quick snapshot of the girls out front (mimicking the pose we took at Lucille's Gas Station) and we were buckled up and road bound once again.

"Flagstaff, Arizona. Don’t forget Winona -- Kingman, Barstow, San Bernandino."

Next stop, the Route 66 Museum a few short miles away in Clinton.

What a wonderful museum this was, from the fabulous exterior design to the road-trippy feel of the displays inside.

The little old lady volunteer/docent who happily gave my girls their own admission stickers to wear had a little trouble determining that my 4-year old was indeed between the Infant to 5-year old category of free admission with a paid adult, but once that was settled, we stormed through the double doors entrance to the displays within with the gusto and finesse of a Pamplona bull run.

The best endorsement I can give for this museum is that it instills a sense of personality into what amounts to a very long hunk of concrete and asphalt.

For the $3 admission fee, it makes you want to belong to the Route 66 family.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Breakin' on Route 66

"If you ever plan to motor west,"

We began our Spring Break family truckser adventure by jumping onto John Steinbeck's Mother Road in a town called El Reno, the digital compass display on my wife's overloaded compact car announcing proudly in green backlight that we were indeed heading West.

First stop at my wife's insistence was the old Fort Reno, where we had taken our ghost tour date night a short time ago. She wanted to see the place in the daylight and since we were told that many of the spookies showed themselves during the diurnal hours to children, she wanted to see what our girls would see.

" my way, take the highway that is best."

They saw old buildings and broken windows and big open spaces to run around in. No spirits of the unearthly plane, so back on the road we went.

"It winds from Chicago to LA, more than two thousand miles all the way."

This section of the historic highway bends and dips and makes a few ladylike curves between the old fort town to where we somehow lost track of it and had to jump on the interstate. The road hourglasses abruptly at shorty bridges, and illicited coos of joy and excitement from the two rugrats in the back seat who likened the highs and lows in the blacktop to a kiddie rollercoaster ride.

It was during one of these dippity-dos that the resident 7-year old "Cars" scholar in the back seat blurted out "Look Mommy, Sally was right!"

Then, almost verbatim she quotes a line from the Pixar flick, as uttered by the Bonnie Hunt Carrera, "...the road moved with the land, it rose, it fell, it curved."

On cue we all looked to the Interstate running alongside, as it ran straight and level on our left. This portion of the old 66 gave our struts a workout, and the rack and pinion some flexing, but our tires kept to the pavement and the history of those who came before soaked gently into our radials.

"Now you go through Saint looey - Joplin, Missouri, -- and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty...."

After enough rounds of kiddie knock-knock jokes at 70-mph to make even Henny Youngman cringe, we jumped off the interstate to search the town of Hydro and stumbled upon some ancient carnival rides, innert and seemingly frozen in time and space in the equally still city park. It had an eerie aesthetic vibe and we all felt a touch of Radiator Springs driving through this not-quite-dead-but-certainly-not-growing small town.

Next up, Lucille's Station in Hydro, Lucille's Roadhouse in Weatherford, and several museums celebrating this most famous stretch of highway.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hippie food where I least expected it

As a relative newcomer to this state - by relative I mean I wasn't born here, I was surprised to learn that there exists, much to my shock and dismay, another major 4-year University of note and stature within a 30 minute drive from downtown OKC.

My family and I spent some time cruising around the wonderfully sprawling campus, liberally littered with ample green space, bricky academic buildings, respectable greek house rows, and what has to be the largest football stadium in the state of Oklahoma.

Yes fellow Okies, just south of Downtown OKC in a little town named for a race of medieval Northern Frenchman, a little known university sits awaiting discovery and recognition from it's fellow Sooners.

I give you, The University of Oklahoma.

You may catch a few locals around Norman, OK sporting a red shirt with the letters "OU" emblazoned on it, but look quickly because they'll be gone as fast as a pallet full of 12-packs at an OU tailgate party.

We were visiting my brother-in-law and his wife who just bought a second home down in Norman proper (their first home is up in Missoula, MT.) They showed us the campus, the old downtown district, the stadium, the artwork outside the campus art museum, and the James Garner Plaza (complete with a scary-lifelike bronze statue of Jim Rockford himself--dressed as Maverick of course).

We bypassed the famous queso dip at The Mont in favor of less crowds, no wait, and petroliana ambience at a converted service station uniquely called, The Service Station Restaurant and Club.

The evening temps in the 70's drove us to dine on the patio, where we inhaled one too many puffs of ciggie smoke from the not-too-likely-but-possible cancer survivors at the table next door, before we moved to a table upwind and thoroughly enjoyed our meal.

I chose the Alfa (dishes are named after car makes and models), which is not my favorite of favorite automotive marques, however the grease associated with the Camaro, Stingray, or Boxer hamburgers would have proved too much for my unleaded fuel only ticker.

The Alfa sandwich took me back to Cali with one delicious bite after another.

Smoked turkey breast, avocado, sprouts, slightly spiced mayo and tomato on whole wheat berry bread.

This was the first place in Oklahoma I've encountered what I consider to be the quintessential '70's era California sandwich, and I wasn't about to pass it up.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Ghost Tour Date Night

Last weekend, despite fighting a 100-degree fever my body produced to combat a nasty little virus I lovingly acquired courtesy of my 4-year old's pre-K class, S and I took a date night out.

Not far from my small town stands an Indian Wars-era U.S. Calvary fort...or at least the remains of the fort. A dozen of the buildings are still standing, most are functional, a few have been restored, others are in various states of disrepair and neglect.

A group that is overseeing the preservation and restoration of the historical treasure offers nightime, guided ghost tours of the grounds, the visitor center, a chapel built by German WWII POW's, and the graveyard.

Each participant is offered a fuel burning lantern to light their way, as they're told tales of apparative sightings (both verified and not), hauntings and spookings amidst a small gathering of intrepid tourists out for a light evening of paranormal voyeurism.

Providing a somewhat counterintuitive balance to the evening was probably one of the most paranormally skeptical fellows I've ever encountered. What made it all the more interesting was his advanced degree in Parapsychology (don't you dare try to call him a Ghostbuster, buster!) and his professional title of Paranormal Investigator.

I'm not sure if his skepticism was an act to draw our trust and support for his chosen profession ("He's so skeptical, he must be onto something with this ghost stuff..."), or whether he was hip to all the emotional hype associated with the publics perception of the search for paranormal phenomenon and wanted to keep the science as pure as possible.

Whatever the case, between his CSI-like narration of EVP's (Electronic Voice Phenomena) he's recorded in the exact spot I was standing ("Yikes!") to his textbook descriptions of all the alternative explanations for photographed orbs and apparition sightings, we were all hooked. For a science geek, he could work the crowd.

For 4 hours we peered into 80-year old buildings, strolled the parade grounds once trod upon by Buffalo Soldiers, fantasized about seeing the little blonde girl in the upstairs window of the Commander's house, and found ourselves walking in a tighter formation as a group by the end of the tour.

A few Aleve made short order of my fever and body aches for the night. A few hours of daylight should do the same for my spooked and frazzled nerves.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Pancake toppings

A few weekends ago we bundled the girls up early on a Saturday morning and hustled across the street for an all-you-can-stand-to-consume-in-a-public-venue pancake and sausage fundraiser for the Catholic church's school band.

We always try to support the arts, but little did we know that there, amidst the hundred or so people happily downing flapjacks and skinless link pork products, would we discover a new culinary twist on an old-time favorite.

Sitting next to us at the long, 12-person table, was PK's dance instructor and her familly. This wonderful woman is unfortunately undergoing chemo/radio therapy for breast cancer and we've gotten used to seeing her at lessons and around town with her knit hats and doo-rags donning her noggin.

After the familiar conversational niceties, we all dug into our first of hopefully many platters of griddle cakes, when what did my wondering eyes did appear, but a jar of Braum's peanut butter emerging from the Dance Teacher's oversize tote bag. I covertly nudged my wife and we both proceeded to watch her spread the gooey pressed peanut product over the tops of her pancakes. With the delicacy of a 4-year old doing a grand plie, she then poured the table syrup over the entire stack of doughy comestibles and dug in.

I had to comment.

Was this a special dietary menu to fortify her chemo weakened bones with some sugary protein?
Were we witnessing a new Rachel Ray-inspired snack'em method of eating your way to $40-a-day?
It obviously tasted wonderful, but did Elvis have anything at all to do with this savory syrup sub-layer?

None of the above. She just liked it that way.

Sometimes the simplest answer is also the most satisfying.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Things of value...and then some

I'm starting to feel that people in my small town are fostering an over developed sense of least in terms of material things. For example, I cite a recent police blotter:

$127 for a videotape? C'mon, even my 25th Anniversary edition of American Graffiti DVD autographed by Paul LeMat, Candy Clark, and Bo Hopkins isn't worth half that.

And what the heck kind of metal-studded belt can do $387 worth of damage to a steel reinforced and sheetmetaled door of a late-model Ford Crown Victoria black and white? Has S&M fashion progressed so far that I'm that out of touch...not that I was ever in touch with THAT brand of fashion to begin with.

I'd best stop typing now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Living will, or willingly living

Couldn't help but notice the following ad that was placed in today's issue of our local small town news rag.

I'm not sure the legality of a living will published in this way would hold up in a US court, but it sure makes for some thought provoking humpday reading about what items I'd have in my list of things that would indicate some higher brain function activity in my grey matter.

I don't personally know Dorothy, but her entire list including the # of times she lists chocolate and the order in which things are listed (chocolate before and after sex) tells me that she is someone definitely worth knowing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia

I've been anticipating the arrival of the film version of the Newbery Award Winning novel to our local theater since it went into wide release a month ago.

The book was released in 1977 and I didn't become aware of it until recently, when we were unpacking our book boxes and I stumbled upon it at the bottom of a fiction pile. S' brother had given her a copy years ago, since it was one of his favorite angst-filled teen-years books - he's a literary generation behind my wife and I.

The strange name in the title got me to open the book, a quick glance at the first page turned into an hour of reading, and by the end of a busy day I managed to finish this wonderful novel.

As with many books that are a little too lengthly for reading with the girls, I encapsulated the story, taking out the more mature situations, and used the tale as bedtime storytelling fodder for my 7-year old. Previous incarnations of these types of nighty-night tales include A Wrinkle in Time, Holes, Charlotte's Web, Ring of Bright Water, and the Tales of King Arthur (more like the Monty Python version, but it works well in spoken form).

While S bought popcorn and snacks, I amused myself by watching several groups of families go their separate cinematic ways in the foyer - fathers went into Theater 1 (Wild Hogs), mothers went into Theater 2 (Music and Lyrics), grandparents and kiddies escorted my family and I into the third and smallest theater.

Not to give away any movie spoilers, but when the pivotal event of the 2nd act occurs, it illicited tears from my wife, snores from my 4-year old (darkened theaters make her nap), and knowing sighs from C.

Later she told me that the "girl in the movie looked just like in your story, Daddy," but that she herself felt "a lot sadder to watch the movie than to hear my story."

"Daddy filter" is engaged and will remain in place until...forever.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Rodeo Queen loot

I was tickeled at the order in which the prizes were listed. I'm pretty sure a 13-year old would be more enthused about the tiara, buckle and queen sash, but since it'll be the folks who are paying for everything, they gotta get that horse trailer first in the queue.

Does one have to know how to ride a horse to be a rodeo queen?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bowing to pressure from the Defenders of the Universe

Breaking my vow of weekend new blog posting silence is a serious matter.

However, due to requests from several loyal family members of YASTM, I come to you live, on a non-weekday, to present to you, my electronically scanned interpretation of, the Voltron vinyl zipper bag (circa 1985), taken from the warm bosom of my glove box and later found, discarded as fodder of little value by a 13-year old midnight loose change alley stalker.Tuesday, your Voltron name will hereforth be known as Princess Allura. Sexist, I know, but what can I say, there was only one girlie-girl on the Lion Force.

MyBestInvest, sorry but after reading much of your blog, you my friend are to be named Hunk - and no, that is not a come on in any way, shape or form. I was going to make you Lance, but the #5 item in your recent Six Things list made it hard for me to see you as the "snappy punch, speedy pun line" Lion force dude.
Dinotherms connected...megathrusters go!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Crime wave hits the alleys

A few weeks back I was locking up the house for the night and I noticed the dome light was on in my Civic. I usually park it outside when the weather is decent and leave it unlocked - a bad habit I've picked up since moving here to Mayberry.

I figured that C had gone into the car after we got home from school and just hadn't slammed the door well enough. Not even bothering to check out the car, I bumped the door with my left glute and went up to bed.

The next morning, Franny and I were just starting on our walk when I noticed a Voltron zipper pouch (don't ask) identical to the one that I normally keep in my glove box lying on the ground a few distant yards away down the alley.

Deducing that the chances of there being two identical, 80's-vintage Voltron zipper pouches in my town, let alone the state of Oklahoma was pretty remote, I retrieved it and quickly scanned the nearby terra firma. Sure enough, the bags contents were scattered about as of wet-light matches, a pen, a pad, plastic pouch containing my registration and PofI, box of spare fuses, and a white plastic container of dental floss (no one can ever accuse me of not being prepared for any emergency). Everything was present and accounted for...just not residing safely in my glove box.

That tingling sensation went up my spine and in a CSI-montagy flash of images, I realized my little Civic had been burgled last night.

I loped back to my car and found that the only thing missing was my mini-maglite (holster was still there, but the torch was gone) and the Volton bag (I told you, don't ask). The pocket knife was still in the bottom of the glove box as was my Leatherman, about $4 in change in the ashtray, all the trash and leavin's typical of a Dad-mobile (at least the thief could have cleaned up a bit...sheesh), and most importantly, my Supergirl action-figure that sits on my dash.

Fuming a little at the violation of property, and fuming a lot at the loss of my mini-maglite, Franny and I made our way back down the alley. I was trying to decide whether to call in the report or not, when I spotted, leaning up against my neighbors garage, my mini-maglite. It worked just fine -- so the question needs to be asked, why would the burgler toss away a perfectly good and functional mini-maglite?

My deduction -- it was a kid (somewhere between 10 and 15 I imagine) who had no idea how to turn the darn thing on ("There's no button to do you turn this confounded thing on...oh the heck with it!") and just tossed it aside.

Had I been in my Law and Order mode, I would have remembered to pick up the flashlight using some rubber gloves or the plastic baggie that I carry around for Franny's dookie. But I was just happy to get it back, and once retrieved, I put the incident behind me, as people who grow up in cities have been trained to do with petty offenses against their property.

Flash forward to yesterday, when I pull the rubber band off the local paper that sits patiently on my front porch, and read the following headline...Auto Burglary Case SolvedTurns out my little auto B&E case was only one of many during a 10-day time frame. The culprit, a 13-year old male suspect.

Ding-Ding. Give that man a stuffed animal.

They have the kid on 17 known vehicle break-in's, with many more unreported, according to the Police Chief.

They recovered $159 in cash $12.37 in coin, video games, and clothing that were either stolen or purchased with the ill-gotten gain. Just some greedy, bored, misguided kid, who got away with it once, and it became easier to do as he kept getting away with it.

I say make the kid wash every car he broke into, every weekend for a year. Or at least make him mow our lawns for the entire summer. Heck, I'd even pay him a few bucks to do that.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Another fault to blame Mom for

There's a young, attractive waitress at a local diner who is very fond of my girls. Whenever I happen to treat myself to someone else's a.m. epicurean entrees (every other week or so), she asks about the girls by name, wants to know what and how they're doing and seems genuinely interested to hear me talk about them. Her demeanor is pleasant, her make-up is tastefully sparse, and her food service skills are worthy of a 20%+ tip.

The other morning I was treating myself to a #32 omelette (avocado, green chili, olive) and hash browns. The girls were in school so for company I took along my latest public library loaned acquisition, (Deep Storm by Lincoln Child).

Lovely waitress (we'll call her Rita), asked me how the book was. I responded that I hadn't gotten to page 100 yet, and that I usually give the writer that many pages before I make a judgement on their single volumed tome.

Lovely Rita then told me flat out that she didn't like to read books.

The surprised and disdainful look on my face must have been obvious to a blind mole rat, yet Lovely Rita either chose to ignore my physical faux paux or didn't let it bother her. Either way, I felt like an elitist, snobby...bookist for reacting in such a way.

Who am I to judge another human being for their reading selection...or lack thereof. My M-i-L hasn't read a book in years and freely admits doing so with not a lick of shame to her proclamation (she reads tons of government documents in her work, which is as dry as the printed matter can get).

My own Father professes no passionate love for books as well, preferring to gather his information through direct conversation whenever possible. I hereby blame my own Librarian-book-loving-Mother for my bookist ways -- although something tells me she will carry this particular blame banner with pride and glory.

Perhaps Lovely Rita is a poetess and prefers to peruse her prose in periodicals.
Maybe Lovely Rita is a magazine maniac and marks her monologues in manuscripts.
Not impossibly Lovely Rita invents her intrinsic information and interprets the images internally.

Coming full circle (in a roudabout way), Lovely Rita dropped off the check while I was swathing my biscuit with a spoonful of orange marmalade taken from the plastic portable pull-top container that was sitting with the other flavored jams and jellies on the table.
"Wow," she murmured. "I've never seen anyone younger than my Gramma put marmalade on their biscuits."
"Blame it on Paddington."
I replied.
"Paddington the Bear. Little British Bear. Wore a rain coat and hat. Sign around his neck, saying 'Pleez look after this bear.' He loved marmalade. It was one of my favorite books when I was a kid."
"Oh him,"
she said. "I think my niece has that dvd."

Next time I go in, I'll have to remember to bring the girls.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Your business is everyone's business

One of the pitfalls of living in a small town is that everytime you want to kick someone in the groin, it ends up in the local newspaper.

Call me old fashioned, but if I wanted to get harassed and have my genitalia abused in my work area, I'd want to keep that sorta quiet....since my screams of agony, pain, and suffering would drown out any and all noise to begin with.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Morning meeting of the LFKK (Local Farmer's Kaffee·klatsch)

This morning I detoured from my a.m. stroll with the pooch to get some cash from my bank's ATM -- 1 block away.

I'm starting to get used to the fact that here in Oklahoma, most ATM's will dispense bills as small as $5. I'm accustomed to getting my cold hard currency in denominations of $20, since the banking higher ups in LA have deemed the Jackson as the one and only bill worthy of the So Cal ATM dispensing lifestyle.

While undergoing the well-rehearsed and ultra-familiar routine of my electronic cash withdrawal, the following words wafted by my ears and entered my fully awakened consciousness.."They compared the DNA and the third body wasn't a match, and according to Jewish traditional, only family members can be buried that means that third body must have been his wife..."
The ATM at my bank is located inside the lobby (they still haven't installed a drive-up ATM, but I'm ever hopeful), right off what the bank people call, the "conference room.""I'm not saying I believe it all, but I am saying it was on tv."
I'm not sure the bank personnel ever get to use this room for any morning high finance meetings or were-gonna-have-to-let-you-go HR face-to-faces, since the room always seems to be occupied by a group of men."Was the tomb discovered by the feller who made that Titanic movie...did he find the Titanic too? No, that was a different fella, you're right, you're right."
They usually number in the high single digits. There's room around the round table for 8-10, but I'm sure they would always skoode over for an 11th or 12th visitor. Some wear worn out overalls, some not. Most have baseball caps, the majority of which are promoting agriculture products of varying types. There's always at least one OSU cap, and one OU cap. Most of the gents appear to be in their 60's and higher."It was called the Lost Tomb of Jesus and it was on the cable last night.
All are drinking coffee from white styrofoam cups, dispensed liberally from a duet of plastic, copper colored thermos' stationed mid-round table."No, it twernt like a movie, it was more like a 60 Minutes type-a-deal."
My wife tells me that Farmers, Ranchers and Retirees can always find an early morning spot to sit and gather and gab and drink a decent cup of $.05 cent coffee in a small town. I'm told that all of the banks in town have such rooms as well."Tell ya what I like to watch, I like that show about them crab boats, what's that called, The Deadly Crab Catchers," or something. Boy, I tell you what, those are some crazy boys on those boats."
Nice to know that in today's society of $6.00 grande lattes and $5.00 bottles of water, that a local business would defray the daily cost of a few thermos' of coffee to provide a convenient service for the citizens who may or may not make up their customer base.

Monday, March 05, 2007

We've got spirit, how 'bout you?

Our state is all abuzz with High School Basketball right now, as the state tournament is/was being played out.

Late last Saturday night, I was treated to a parade of pickup trucks, Pontiac GrandAms, Ford Tauruses, and a minivan or two, honking and dragging up and down our Main Street. The human contents therein whooping and hollaring to any and every person, dog, or cow who happened to be awake in the wee midnight hours.

I looked around and I appeared to be the only biped awake, standing on the front porch of the only house with the lights still on.

Several of the cars windows were covered in various team inspiring phrases, such as "Take State," "Onto the Big House," and "Seniors Rule," in addition to rhyming ditties involving the name of the school from which the caravan of revellers apparently originated.

From what my squinting eyes could surmise, the celebrating caravan was from the miniscule town just north of my small town. Then it dawned on me that they were raising a victory ruckus in our town not because they had beat our town's team, but because there was no Main Street in their own town to raise a ruckus on.

Their downtown area consists of several abandoned brick buildings, a smattering of churches, a gas station/eatery, a post office, and a few dozen occupied homes. The rest of the town resides far enough off the main drag or well out in the boonies to not warrant a drive-by celebration of any note. There isn't even a single stoplight to wait for and do a Chinese Fire Drill at (what we called them back in East LA...don't know what they call them here).

In the spirit of small town synergy, I waved my hand that wasn't holding my mug of brown rice tea, and momentarily joined in their celebratory spirit.

That was on their 3rd pass in front of my house and down Main Street.

By the 5th pass, I had stopped waving and just smiled as they drove by.

By the 10th pass, I acknowledged their presence by nodding.

By the 14th pass (yes, I was counting) I was chuckling and heading back inside as the local fuzz had decided that enough was enough and was escorting the dozen or so remaining vehicles out of town -- roof mounted light bars flashing, headlights pulsing, sirens politely silenced.

Go Team.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Behind the wheel chuckle

On occasion I have to leave the confines of my small town and hit the road to get some exotic groceries of a more international flavor. Normally while behind the wheel, my eyes are glued to the road..unless my head is doing a pre-exorcised possessed-Reagan routine and is turned 180 degrees backward dealing with the two rambunctious kidkins in the back seats.

I'm a parent, so I always have my digital camera handy. With that device, I clicked this gem of marketing marvel that caught my eye the other day.

Okie downhome humor with a twist of ironic wordplay. I approve.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Trash talkin' to the Oklahoma wind

One of my daily doggy walks takes me down the alleys that circumnavigate our neighborhood.

Of the many things I've been noticing of late are the wide variety of apparati that my neighbors have constructed to keep their trash cans from succumbing to the swooping Oklahoma winds that come sweeping down the plains.

I haven't come up with a name for this particular photo montage, but perhaps a dedicated YASTM reader will chime in. Trash can retainers, your time has come for some recognition.

Wheels keep you mobile, and who says trash cans don't need their privacy.

Faded paint makes for a great "rat rod" look, and rebar is the wonder metal product of a thousand uses.

Hangman lids keep them from flying down the alley, and raised platforms are back saving niceties for the Waste Engineers.

Wrought iron and white picket fencing are traditional fence fare that will never go out of curb appeal style.

The Third Little Pig lives in this house -- huff and puff all you want, Big Bad Wolf Wind -- my trash cans ain't going anywhere by the hair of my chinny, chin, chin.