Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ron makes a good burger

One night last week S and I had to make a Tulsa run to attend an event for which my wife is seriously considering participating in this coming June...the Oklahoma Freewheel Cross State Bicycle Tour.

After securing our kids snugly with my In-Laws, Wife and I bombed up the turnpike and made it to T-town with about 40 minutes to spare.

Famished and needing some sustenance to carry us through the evening, we hunted around downtown Tulsa in the very industrial area surrounding the venue for the seminar -- OSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine (who knew OSU had a med school?).

Other than a neon glaring Coney Island greasy spoon of questionable safety and sanitary standards (the downtown bus depot location might have been a giveaway), our only other option in sight was a Golden Arches and several pubs.

Flipping over to a side street in desperation, with the clock ticking and our gullets in shut down mode, I was desperately hoping we wouldn't have to result to a QuikTrip Fast-Feast-o-Death, when along to our wondrous eyes did appear but a hovel of fine hamburger hideaways...Ron's

A Tulsa institution since the heady days of disco fever, we had both heard of Ron's famous chili and burgers for awhile, but never had the time or wherewithal to partake of this burger joint wonder.

As our time frame neared it's temporal horizon, we opted to share an arterial sclerosis inducing concoction known as the Sausage Cheeseburger (Oklahoma's best burger!.....$5.25)."1/3 lb. Cheeseburger made with 1/2 beef and 1/2 Owens sausage. Topped with hot pepper and American cheese. Dressed with mustard, pickles, fried onions, lettuce, and tomato." Sadly, after shaking our heads to clear the haze and glaze that had covered our eyes after consuming the big burger, we had no time for dessert or even a palate and vein cleansing cup of joe.

We paid our bill, left a few bucks for our friendlier than friendly waitress and grabbed a ToGo menu on our way out the door.

Now, considering the remainder of the evening was spent listening to a health professional tell my Wife and the gathered FreeWheel faithful how to get in shape and prepare for the cross state bicycle ride a mere 5-months away, every burger-infused belch I shared with the cosmos during that time not only stopped my heart, but provided an ironic sweetness that almost...almost, made up for our dessert-less meal.

As I was writing up this blog entry, a quick trip around the Googlesphere revealed that the Coney Island joint may not have warranted such ire from our hunger panged decision making process as revealed in this article.

Ah well, livin' and learnin' in T-town.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

My daughter, the back alley candy dealer

"I'll sell door-to-door, but not on Main Street!"

Confused and seeking an explanation for such a statement, I launched into a futile and exasperation laden explanation that there is no difference between wearing her emblem encrusted red vest to school, at meetings, and in front of WalMart hawking boxes of candy for her Campfire cause, and wearing that same vest while she pulls her Radio Flyer full of chocolates and nuts up and down the sidewalks of the busy 4-lane that runs through our town.

I took a moment to channel the energy that spawns from the popularity of The Prairie Home Companion, Norman Rockwell's artwork, pharmacy soda fountains and a two-tone red 1957 Chevy BelAir convertible (although I'm partial to the '58 Chevy), as I explained to my 8-year old the significant impact she may have on passers-by as she takes her stock of Campfire candy down the sidewalks of Main Street.

My diatribe began with a summary definition of nostalgia, followed by a flowery explanation of the importance of preserving the past so we don't make the same mistakes over and over again.

Next we discussed the positive effects that the triggering of the neural connections that stimulate long-term memory have on both physical and mental well-being.

Finally, with a flourish of wild gesticulations, I launched into a passionate speech relaying the positive impact on the world she could have by making just one person smile, by helping them rekindle an image of a time long past, and traditions not yet forgotten.

All this by simply walking down the sidewalk of Main Street, ringing doorbells, and saying with enthusiastic authority, "Would you like to buy some Campfire candy or send a box to the Troops?"

To which I finally received my answer..."I don't want to do it because people will be honking and waving and seeing us selling candy...that's so embarrassing, Daddy."

Will I ever understand girls...even the two who spawned from my very own seed?

Not likely.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Backyard bovine excision

Well, it took almost 3 years, but finally an X-Files has arrived in my small town.



Wednesday, January 23, 2008

That's Pulitzer, with a capital "P"

Thus far, having just scratched the surface of my net-excavation into my Wife's maternal genealogy, I've had the rare occasion to utter "Eureka!" but once.

So far.

I mean c'mon, her Mother's maiden name is the most common family name in the country - not to mention the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

Verified by only two sources (more coming, if people would only check their email more often), it seems my Wife's Great Grandfather's sister (Great Great Aunt) married a fella named James W. Faulkner, making Uncle Jim, her Great Great Uncle.

Now this J.W. cat shared a Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather with two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author, recipient of the Nobel Prize for literature, and one of America's finest novelists, poets and storytellers, William Faulkner.

Faulkner. C'mon, you gotta get excited about this guy. He hung out with Bogie and Bacall and wrote screenplays for Howard Hawks. I personally recall reading "The Sound and the Fury" in high school Sophomore English class, then again in Grad school when I was studying Kurosawa's "Rashomon."

Never read Faulkner?
Shame on you.
I have in the past and will again in the future.
Another thing to thank Mr. Hooper for.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A long circus soliloquy...but you can listen if you want

I've sat in bewildered childhood awe to "The Greatest Show on Earth" at the Ringling Brother and Barnam and Bailey Circus.

I've marveled at the unique combination of traditional and modern circus acts in the very Eastern European heavy Circus Vargas.

The family and I took in both the Carson and Barnes and Culperpper & Merriweather big top extravaganzas when they traversed our state in years past.

Heck, we even took the girls to see the Shrine "Shriner's" Circus when it came to OKC last year.

Finally, I've even fallen asleep while acrobats zoomed around, above, and behind me at Cirque de Cirque's defense, I was going on little sleep, working 20 hour days on a 6-day a week low-budget production at the time, so anywhere dark was an excuse for a quick nap.

But none of those big circus venues will ever make it to my small town. It's merely a matter of economics and a limited # of available show dates during the circus season (yes, like Football and all the other organize sports, there is a circus season as well).

Instead, we get little, family run circuses like the one which pulled into town yesterday afternoon, setup in the all purpose building at the fairgrounds, and were packed up and history before I checked my email for the final time of the night.

The Latin-American flavor and vibe of the entire performance rekindled memories of a little film I worked on quite awhile ago, La Carpa.

Back in the 20's and 30's, there was a tradition amongst the American Southwest Latin community of vaudeville troupes and their "tent theaters," which rolled into town, setup up shop, sold as many tickets, food items, and penny trinkets they could, then moved on to the next town before being chased out by the local non-Latin constabulary.

While the "La Carpas" of old and their programs of comedy, song and dance were catered to Mexican farm workers and their families, the little tent-less circus that we were presented with was definitely a family run operation, with each performer wearing multiple hats; ie. the Juggler was also the Cotton Candy man, and the Hula Hoop lady was making snow cones.

Back to the big, the all-purpose building and a few observations...

Hula hoop girls. Every small family circus that has come to town (and we've seen...let's see, this would be our third since moving to our small town) begins with a bevy of hooping hula ladies o' the swing.

Never guys, they're always sequined costumed young ladies with big hair, big smiles, and hoops galore. From the seat of a person whose never been able to get one of those Whamo! plastic rings to circle his rotund little body, I'll always be amazed at anyone who can get not just one, but dozens of these hoopies to do the round-de-round on their own ankles, knees, waists, chests, necks, and foreheads.

Even more so when they're made of highly polished aluminum and must weigh in at a few lbs. a piece.

Even, even more so when they're circling around sequined costumed young ladies with big hair, big smiles and big....earrings (ahem).

Then there's the Juggler. This guy did the standard juggling fare - pins (4), rings (6) and flaming sticks (4). Then he donned a belt that had three billiard table net pockets attached - one at each side and a third at his back.

You guessed it, after juggling 6 white pool balls for a few flourishing minutes, he tossed them one at a time high into the air, did a Michael Jackson "Billie Jean foot spin" and sunk two balls into each and every pocket - nothing but net. Most impressive.

Later C asked me if I ever learned how to juggle. I told her juggling is done is two parts, the tossing/catching of the balls and the dropping of the balls, and that so far I've only learned how to do the second part. Got an 8-year old eye roll for that one, thank you very much.

The clown act was long and scary, but the presence of a 3-year old clown was a novelty in and of itself, making the entire act somewhat tolerable. Kids today don't have the love (or tolerance) for clowns that my generation did, since they don't have Bozo the Clown to greet them on a bright and early Saturday morning.

Then there's Jargo the Giraffe....but we'll come back to him later.

Rounding out the performance were several opportunities to buy overpriced bags of popcorn that may contain a coupon for a free gift, toy or balloon ("Not every bag of popcorn has a coupon, but MOST of them do..."), overpriced Circus-themed coloring books ("Not every coloring book has a coupon for a free gift, toy or ballon, but MOST of them do..."), or a $5 polaroid picture with the 3-year old clown dressed in a Chinese-made knock off (and un-licensed, I'm sure) Sponge Bob costume.

Speaking of unlicensed costumes, a post-intermission break was broken up by the entrance of the dancing characters from Madagascar. They scared as many little kids in the audience as they thrilled, and I smiled knowing that at least my girls were old enough to not let the furry, need-a-good-laundering costumed characters give them nightmares tonight.

The featured act of the circus was a family of Argentinean performers led by a scary Father with a wild frock of jet black hair styled somewhere between Don King and every Russian-mobster you've seen in low budget made-for-cable movies.

The Mother was in a sequined-black leotard and seemed content to stand back with her arms raised in an ever-present taa-daa position, sacrificing her own attention to maintain the focus of the sparse crowd to her three, amazing offspring.

Jordan, the 13-year old ("Direct for Las Vegas, Nevada!") opened with her balancing-on-a-board-on-a-pipe act.

This kid was on fire and had all the bells and whistles when it came time to milk the audience for applause and adoration...which in my opinion, she deserved in spades.

For a person who has trouble balancing on the same two feet I've had my entire life, anyone who can balance on a foot-long length of 6" pvc drain pipe atop several boards, in front of an audience of rural Okies stuffing their faces with cotton candy, snow cones (yes it was 18 degrees and icy outside, but a snow cone is a snow cone), pickles, and nachos, deserves and gets a big rousing round of applause from me and my brood.

The Argentinean family finished the show with their gaucho boleadoras performance, where they donned sequined and flaming versions of the traditional Argentinean cowboy garb, stomped their feet into big, loud boots, and swung their bolos around with the fervor and gusto of a pre-K class that's had their sugar-rush mid-day snack and has been let out for recess for the first time in a cold, winter month.

Like everything I do and everywhere I go with the girls, I miss half of what is going on due to the fact that I'm watching them watch whatever we're all there to watch. You parents know what I mean.

Argentinean bolo performers aside, nothing is better than watching your kids "diggin' the ride."

Okay, this circus soliloquy has gone on long enough, but before closing I need to get back to Jargo the Giraffe.

Even though my 8-year old preferred the loud and raucous acts over all, the performance that had my 4-year old glued and transfixed (as well as her pre-K classmate sitting next to her) was Jargo the Giraffe, "The Original Joker of the Jungle."

A little online research revealed that the origin of Jargo goes back a ways into circus tradition and history. In circ-slang, Jargo translates to "why pay for a real animal, when two guys dressed up as one will do."

This particular incarnation of Jargo looked to have originated circa 1940's or so, as he was looking a little early Looney Tune. Jargo, the act, was basically a naughty giraffe, who wasn't as respondent to his trainer as he should have been. While it successfully tapped into the "oh man, this is cheesy" section of the adolescent and adult brain, a quick glance over to the pre-K peanut gallery revealed that Jargo was a hit.

Later that night at tuck-in time, PK stated unequivocally that Jargo was her favorite act of the evening, relating his entire act verbatim in 4-year old speak.

As I settled back onto her headboard, stroked her hair and anticipated the deep breaths and periodic snorts of my baby girl entering REM-slumbertown, I took nostalgic comfort knowing that in this day and age when just about any form of entertainment is available at the turn of a mouse wheel or wave of the tv remote, two guys dressed up in a giraffe costume doing slapstick comedy under the fluorescent lights of my small town's fairgrounds all-purpose building, can give a little girl something to smile and dream about.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Flossing her way to a brand new Corvette

Dental floss has apparently been around since 1815, but I'll have to ask my Mom when it was she started my brother and I on a daily dental flossing routine since apparently it should start sometime before your 4th birthday.

Case in point, my youngest daughter's latest acquisition...

The tooth had been irritating her for awhile and even though she was very good about twice daily brushings, she only flossed when she caught her big sister doing it and wanted to copy.

Seeing as how our youngest was only 4-years old, my Wife and I never pressed the floss point on her too vigorously. Surmising that since our 8-year old is a twice daily brusher but only flosses when she remembers - which isn't all that often - and she has been cavity free thus far, we set the same lofty oral hygiene goals for our second daughter as well.

I personally have had two cavities in my entire lifetime (in the same tooth) and even they both arrived during my let's-neglect-our-dental-and-physical-well-being Grad school days. S is a consummate brusher and has only two anxiety-filled amalgam procedures filling the lines on her dental chart.

So as a family, we have relatively strong teeth, and by the precedent being set by our eldest offspring, that tradition would hopefully continue on down the genetic line.

At the dentist, PK's itty-bitty little mouth was too small a fit for our family practitioner to get a good set of x-rays. So off we went to follow the unearthly path of the Delta Dental referral slip.

A very short time later, PK ended up sitting in the comfy chair of a pediatric dentist, happily watching Scooby Doo on the flat screen monitor strategically hanging from the ceiling above her head and getting the first complete set of dental x-rays in her life.

What started out as an irritant became a cavity, that became a probable filling, that eventually became an extraction and ended with some sort of placeholder apparatus in the crater hole where her baby tooth once sat.

So now were on a 3-a-day tooth brushing routine, ACT bubble-gum flavored fluoride rinse in the evening, Dentek Fun Flossers with fluoride after meals, and a space being made on the bathroom counter for our next purchase, a Water Pic.

Oh, and Wifey and I were harangued pretty decently by the cute and perky, twenty-something Asian pediatric dentist for not putting our 4-year old on the Hogwarts Express floss train earlier in life.

So, what you ask did Tooth Fairie have to cough up for this whopper of a deciduous enameled wonder?

Not a thing.

PK refused to hand it over to the flittering trader of enameled goods for trinkets and coins. This one, she wanted to keep, and show off, and possibly use to torment her parents in the future in a guilt vs. consumable goods exchange.

What color did you want your Corvette in floss white...haha, very funny.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

C and PK joining the American Revolution

The rumor on my Wife's maternal side had always been that somewhere in their ancestry, they were related to Mary Todd Lincoln -- Abe's beloved wife.

On our anniversary trip to Kentucky some years ago, we traveled across the southern border to the scary town of Jellico, TN to root out some family roots and dig up some long dead relatives...figuratively of course.

We also stumbled upon a wonderful Tennessee History Center about an hours drive south in Knoxville that had an impressive collection of genealogical material related to the area. We dug, we read, we printed and spent the better part of a day piecing together the puzzle pieces of her long dead ancestors.

We ended up at back at the Jellico cemetery taking gravestone etchings with crayons and paper we picked up at the local Dollar store, feeling pretty confident that we knew even less about the origins of the age old family relationship to our 16th President's wife.

Fast forward to a few days ago when my Wife noticed that the local chapter of the Daughter's of the American Revolution(DAR) were holding a meeting to discuss, among other things, possible candidates for year end scholarships.

Now, my Wife was one of those over-achieving scholarship queens at her high school and walked away with considerable spending cash to see her through her first semester of college and the ever important Rush Week.

To me, the whole idea of researching, applying for, and smiling for the local papers photographer as you are handed checks on your way out of town is relatively foreign to me. So with the knowledge that my Wife's pre-college strategy to let her good grades do the talking and donated funds do the walking, it wasn't all that much of a surprise when she shoved the article concerning our local DAR group meeting into my face and said, "our daughter's need to join the American Revolution."

More than a decade away from their first day of Rush Week, I pondered why my beloved was suddenly concerned with our offspring's college funds.
She wasn't.
All that much.

But like a 75% off After Christmas Sale banner can draw my Wife's attention from several miles away, through the thickest fog and the haze of millions of swarming locusts, so does the prospect of free money for our daughter's future

Fortunately, our research back in the green hills of her maternal family's stomping grounds did indeed reveal that somewhere back in her patriotic gene pool, she had Grandfathers and assorted relatives (8 generations back - yep, they've been here that long!) that donned the red,white,and blue and raised their muskets in defense of our new nation.

So with a little more research and verification, DAR membership should be in our daughter's future, and their chances for yet another scholarship solidified.

A by-product of all this interest in her Mom's family history rekindled a desire to discover whether or not the Mary Todd Lincoln connection was true or not.

Onto the net I went and what I found...will have to wait for yet another blog posting.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hazards of spending too much time on the adult playground

There are times when the disparities between my childhood and that of my Wife's, make story time for the girls a surprisingly twisted bedtime ritual.

While I spent countless hours learning the intricacies of visual storytelling in 22 and 46 minute increments (no wonder Gilligan never got off the island...he only had 22 minutes to do so each week!), Wifey was out in the boondocks, catching crawdads with bits of bacon on a string and painting her initials on their backs with nail polish.

While my friends and I were traversing the outlying communities from the safety(?) of the RTD busline, Wifey and her brother were taking the canoe out exploring the hidden coves of Lake Eufaula.

While I was reading every book my Mom would bring home from the library that had a fantasy theme to it and a dragon, elf, or other mysterious figure on the cover, Wifey was plinking on her guitar and writing sorrowful songs of youthful angst and wistful preteen wisdom.

So naturally, my bedtime stories usually involve a fantastical array of creatures of various shapes, types, and forms (unicorns and pegasus ponies are a favorite), a journey of epic scale in search for magical items of great power ("...without the cylindrical power cells, the odd-shaped radiowave device wouldn't work"), and plot lines that any fan of 70's American television would vaguely recognize ("Here's a story, of a lovely dragon lady, who was busy with 3 little dragon ladies of her own...")

The other night I overhead my lovely Wife telling our girls the tale of "Gibble the Hamster.""When your Mama was little, I had a hamster that I named Gibble. I loved Gibble and saved up enough money to get him a deluxe four room Habitrail setup.

He was the only pet I ever owned, since our dog was a family dog, and really belonged to my Dad, since he used her for hunting.

One day, we were going to leave for a week long stay at the lake house, so I gave Gibble plenty of food and filled up his water bottle to the top, thinking that it would get him through the week we were gone.

When we got back, I found Gibble having a seizure on the floor of the feeding room in his Habitrail condo.

When I reached in to pick him up to see what was wrong, he instinctively bit me so hard that my defensive impulses took over and I flicked my hand away, sending the still convulsing Gibble across the room, smashing into a wall, and hitting the floor with a loud thud.

Moments later, he died.

After a tearful burial in the backyard, further investigation of Gibble's now vacant habitat revealed that in my rush to get out the door and into the lake-bound Travelall, I failed to properly insert the water bottle into the steel retaining sleeve, thus placing the nipple that was to provide Gibble with the life preserving liquid, ever so slightly out of his reach.

I had killed my beloved Gibble."
Our 8-year olds response after hearing this tale of pet hamster woe was, "Cool, can we go dig him up and see what his skeleton looks like?"

Our 4-year old simple frowned, shook her head and said, ""Not a story like that Mama."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mangers, monster truck and muzak

The Oklahoma wind has less respect for the ceramic statuary depicting the nativity scenes than a rowdy group of Atheist skater dater teenagers.

Thus, my nightly walk duties have of late included upending and repositioning various livestock, Shepherds and gift-bearing Kings in one or both of the yet-to-be-put-away-for-the-season manger displays in front of two of the churches on my downtown dog walk route.

Is there a statute (or should that be statue?) of limitations on manger display time?

Tonight, after placing a myrrh bearing Magi from the East back into his upright position, I heard, no felt was more like it, the unmistakable sounds of a domestic internal combustion engine with a freer than free flowing exhaust, rumble and stop in the adjacent intersection.

Turning to see what was causing the audible ruckus, I found myself staring side out with what my 4-year old would label (screaming out loud) "a MONSTER TRUCK!"

From inside I could see the red/orange embers of a Marlboro being puffed on, while in the next instant, the driver rolled down his window to expel a healthful dose of air from his tar and nicotine depleted lungs.

Sunglasses at night. Sure.
Trucker cap with camo design. Course.
Lift kit from h*ll, 4" deep treaded tires, a pair of blue testicular-looking gizmos hanging from the bumper hitch. Classy.
OU stickers plastered on the liftgate. Typical.
Flicking ashes onto the street when there was a perfectly good ashtray inside the cab. Naturally.
Delilah's theme music pouring forth from the am/fm in-dash stereo in the Truck driving man's passenger cabin? Whoa...huh?

For those not in the easy-listening-Delilah-radio-show know, here is a link to the syndicated radio show hostess who "...Each night shares your requests, dedications and stories over the airwaves and she always picks out the perfect song."

Some find her-it-them-whatever, nauseating beyond compare. My Wife however digs Delilah, especially on a long drive home from having dinner at her folks house, the girls conked out in the back seat, the darkness of the Oklahoma night surrounding her little import gas miser, and nothing but the sounds of schmaltzy thoughts and dedications to ease her down the road.

But then, my Wife isn't a Keystone Light swigging, ciggy ash flicking, Sooner for life swearing, camo clad monster truck jockey either.

Delilah beware, the edgier Okie crowd may be taking a liking to your brand of radio.

Showing their softer side, no doubt.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Reason #4922 to live in OK...low pressure sales

Spotted this ad in a local Penny Saver-Free Ads type of circular.

The line at the bottom cracked me up.

All I can say to this business owner is, "shaka brah."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Getting Pop'd

Leaving Tulsa proper we hesitantly bypassed Ollie's Station Restaurant, knowing full well that we would someday make this unique and train filled family eatery a destination on a future sojourn up north.

Even caught myself dipping down below the posted speed limit as we buzzed by the realm of Red Fork Hippie Chick . The art gallery appeared well lit and open for business, but we didn't slow down to look around since we were on a mission to keep on keepin' on.

The drive down 66 between Tulsa and Sapulpa was an uneventful stretch which, unless you like the view of dozens of derelict cars in dark and dusty driveways, it's best to keep your head in the game and eyes on the road.

Unfortunately (for my family), I do enjoy the view of dozens of derelict cars in dark and dusty driveways as I'm constantly on the lookout for a discount diamond in the rough.

Apologies to the guy in the pickup behind me who must have thought I was searching for a particular address on a particular mail box at the end of a particular driveway, since I would drop a few ticks below 45 m.p.h. whenever I spotted a pile of metal and chrome that may or may not have been a nose to a '58 Impala - never mind the ''63 Riviera, or '57 bowtie pickup, or '70 Cutlass, or '73 Satellite, or '49 Ford that I also spotted on this stretch of road.

In Sapulpa we passed by a promising burger haven called the Happy Burger, it's bright and garish road sign boasting over 50 years of greasy spoon dive existence. Cute historic downtown district here as well. Definitely worth a second look in the future.

Made our way back to the Turnpike (44) right about where the 66 and 33 say sayonara to each other and part ways, then bombed our way to the section of the Mother Road off the Wellston exit.

Wellston came up relatively fast since it had turned dark outside and the girls had fired up the dvd player and were headphone-zoned out to Ratatouille (from which C learned a new vocab word...critic, as in food critic).

Fourteen miles down a dark and roller-coastery section of old 66 between Wellston and Arcadia, I found myself playing a dozen or so games of high-beam/low-beam with approaching cars, as we all tried to make our way in the dense night air.

Taking my eyes off the road only long enough to calculate how much more of the promised 14 miles we had to go, S finally announced our arrival in Arcadia as our headlights provided just enough ambient light for her to trace the outline of the famous Round Barn out her side window, it's unique profile and shape as welcoming a landmark as the smile on the Blue Whale or the smell of an onion burger frying up at Robert's Grill in El Reno.

As we curved around yet another bend in the road we were soon greeted with the high pitched squeals of the girls jumping in their seats, faces aglow from the holiday inspired red and green neon emitting from the monstrous Pop's bottle looming on the horizon.

It was a Friday night, so the crowds were plentiful and mooing up a storm. However, the staff was hopping and our suggested "45 minute wait" turned out to be just shy of 25 minutes -- enough time for us mosey on over to the Soda Ranch to pick out a bottle of, what else, pop -- no small feat here since Pop's carries over 500 different types of soda pop.

Both girls glommed onto bottles of Sioux City Sarsaparilla (the preferred drink of their favorite cowboy friend, Stormy Lane). Wifey selected an orange flavored egg cream concoction called Jeff's Orange Dream Egg Cream soda, while I went with a bottle of No-Cal Vanilla Cream

The service was decent and cheerful and the joint was clean and well maintained. Of the food I can only add that the chicken fried steak was not up to Okie standards - bland gravy, and they may need to change their deep fry oil more often. However the signature OKC burger I had was more than edible, as were the onion rings and chili. The fresh cut pineapple and cantaloupe offered on the kiddies platters were a welcome change and the girls happily ate right down to the juice at the bottom of the bowl.

By now the inevitable drive home was looming in the not so near future, and at this point we were anxious to just be home. So onto the turnpike we went, the familiar beeps of our Pike Pass beckoning us to points well known.

Thus endeth yet another family truckster trip to yet another small town on yet another section of Oklahoma's portion of the Mother Road.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Take me home, Mother R.

Heading east out of town via Lynn Riggs Blvd (what Route 66 is lovingly called in Claremore), S spied this wonder of roadside accommodations called the Elms Motel. The place looked about inviting as a restored and fully operating Mother Road motel could be, ensuring any future stay in C-town would surely be had here. Even found a pic.

Once outside the hometown of crooner Patti Page (yep, she's from Claremore as well), we trekked across the steel truss bridges in Verdigris. While crossing , my eldest asked me "why they had to make the bridges that way, with all the metal and stuff?" To which I replied, "the question I have is why don't they anymore?"

Found a neat photo here.

Then there's the Blue Whale of Catoosa.

After a lifetime of knowing that this road icon existed but having never seen it up close and personal, my wife actually squealed with delight as we caught a glimpse of it's royal roadside blueness rounding the bend just inside Catoosa's city limits

While my developing paranoid eldest daughter whinnied and complained that we were "tresspassing" and that we shouldn't be on "these people's property," we took the open gate as a sign that lookee-loos were welcomed and had ourselves a picturefest while conducting self-guided tours of the blue cement beastie -- finding more than one loose wooden plank in it's belly.

A search on flickr revealed over 200 images of the Blue Whale in Catoosa, but this photo was spot on in terms of the wintry background surrounding us as we gazed at this so-tacky-it's-cool testament of one man's love for his wife.

Had to exit 66 outside of Catoosa, but after a few exits on the interstate, we managed to find our way back on before reaching Tulsa proper.

Entering Tulsa from the East, we found ourselves in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County, as my neck was snapping left and right at the Latino named used car lots populating a good portion of the real estate along the highway. Strange how "at home" I felt in this section of town that had a very barrio vibe to it...right down to what looked like a few all night taco stands.

Cruisin' 66 through downtown Tulsa we managed one stop at the Lyons Indian Store in what was apparently a historic market place. The art deco exterior was a dead giveaway that the building had nods to Tulsa's decorative architectural past. Other neck snapping "ooh, that looks like a cool place to stop" opportunities along the road included:
  • Tally's Good Food Diner looked promising. Goes on the list.
  • Wonder Bread Factory. No time to stop and smell this trip. Bet if they did give tours, they'd be wonderful. Wonder if. Have to call and see.
  • Bama Pies Factory. Bobby Hill said it best when he uttered the chubby-Texan-kid phrase for the ages, "they got fruit pies in there..."
  • Next up, T-town in our rearview mirror.

    Whoops, gotta go wake up the girl's and tell them 2008 is here.