You know you’re in Oklahoma when you see this sign on a city street:
And you know it’s springtime when you pay attention to it.
You know you’re in Oklahoma when you see this sign on a city street:
And you know it’s springtime when you pay attention to it.
Happy Birthday, Oklahoma!
Statehood: November 16, 1907, 46th state
Capital City: Oklahoma City
Motto: Labor omnia vincit (Labor conquers all things)
Nickname: Sooner State
(Content taken from 50 States.com/Oklahoma
and my memory.)
A few photos from our trip to Oklahoma last weekend.
What a crazy mixed up world this is. Our society has become so complicated; but then there are magazines and television programs and books, ad nausem focusing on simplification. Most of them are trying to get us to buy even more products. Somehow I don’t think they’re getting the point that they say they’re trying to make.
However, it’s best to use some wisdom when reviewing and making decisions. When I was in high school and thought I was so smart, I rejected a lot of tradition. Through 17 year old eyes, tradition looked tired and out-dated. I remember saying that it was not a good enough reason to keep doing something just because that’s the way we’ve always done it. And while there may be some truth in that, it’s not enough to say that just because this teenager doesn’t understand the origins of something, that it’s passe. Thank the good Lord above that I did not reject all tradition: Joe and I were married at our church, we both worked, we still valued family ties.
Our wedding ceremony was a mixture of traditional and not. I wanted a “practical” wedding dress – something that I could wear again and not have people thinking that I was like Grandmother Tzeitel in Fiddler on the Roof (she was ancient and wearing her wedding dress in the dream sequence). So I chose an evening dress pattern from the Vogue catalog and some aqua crepe fabric. No bridesmaids, groomsmen, my father didn’t give me away. Joe and I entered together, singing “To Be Like Jesus” a Capella; we wrote our own vows.
The church we attended was a small group of believers (New Life Fellowship in Jesus). Our pastor, Ray Vogt, was a former Mennonite. I think there were former Baptists, Mennonites and Catholics in our congregation. Going by appearances it was untraditional because we met in a YMCA building. Actually, those buildings had family history connected. The YMCA was only leasing them from the Tulsa Public School system. My brother, sister and I had all attended school there; it was the original campus for East Central High School. When I was there, it was Lewis & Clark Junior High; East Central had moved to the new building on 11th St. by then.
It was wonderfully New Testament fellowship, but it didn’t look like a “church” building. This was before the advent of the steel building mega-churches. Most church buildings up until that time, were wooden, brick or concrete block and they were all identifiable by simply looking at them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the new style, but I confess that when I visited the Congregational Church in Middleboro, Massachusetts and saw that soaring spire and the huge columns, it made me wistful. Here was a place that was set aside from the world – identifiably so.
Hopefully all this gray hair is not in vain. I would like to think I’ve earned it.
Growing up in 1950s and 1960s America -it was a different world. My sons don’t really believe that. Like many other young people, they think that things have always been like they are now – for instance, crime and deviancy and government control, selfishness and a lack of self control, victimology,etc.
Life was palpably different. It was simpler. It was harder. It was better. (Right here is where one always has to insert the politically correct caveat about the things which actually have improved. That has become tiresome and I’ll resist it this time.)
A common complaint/observation about modern life is the commercialism, greed and joylessness at Christmas, which I believe is pretty accurate.
How has it changed? Well, for starters, it was a joyous season.
Born in the mid-1950s and raised in Mingo, a working class neighborhood, my friends and I looked forward to Christmas for lots of reasons, presents being only one of the many elements. Among them were the art projects and the yearly religious Christmas program at our public school, a program at church, shared secrets about gifts, helping my mother stamp the Christmas cards, receiving cards in the mail and hearing from friends and relatives, the family gathering to open presents on Christmas Eve (we had to wait until the sun was down and it seemed like it took forever). The big dinner at noon on Christmas day and the drive around Tulsa looking at lights on Christmas night. Daddy and Mama enjoyed it all as much as the children did.
One of my fondest memories is of the time I made marshmallow snowmen with toothpicks. That was a really simple thing but I remember how much fun it was.
Christmas wish lists were only in the cartoons. I never wrote one and if my friends did, they never told me about it. It never even occured to me.
None of the children in my neighborhood demanded particular gifts. Certainly there were things we wanted and told our parents about, but our world wasn’t centered around what we didn’t have or didn’t get. Christmas and birthdays were about the only times during the year when we got new toys but even then it was with restraint. I never had my own hula hoop or twirling baton or baby buggy or dollhouse, but some of my friends did and they shared nicely. It seems that I was the only one with Tinker Toys and I shared. My friend, Joy, had her mother’s original Shirley Temple doll and wicker doll buggy; we were allowed to play with it together.
My mother made all the females new Christmas dresses every year – everything else came from the store or catalog but even so it wasn’t as commercial as it is now. Retailers are only partly to blame for what has happened; we have become a very greedy, demanding society. There are gift registries for brides and babies and probably every other occasion; goodness, someone wouldn’t want a gift that they haven’t chosen for themselves!
We were not princesses and we certainly weren’t treated as such.
As for the decorating, we always had a cut tree and the big lights and a star on top of the tree. Each year my parent sent out lots of cards. Mama decorated with the ones we received and we enjoyed looking at them on display during December. She had a few other decorations sitting around, but it wasn’t the overwhelming obsession with more and more. I enjoy beautifully decorated houses at Christmas, but honestly, it is a little tiring just to even look at them.
This year Christmas is simpler at our house. Fewer decorations and I’m enjoying that. The perfect gift is not my goal; I am considering what each member of my family would enjoy and I’m also complying with what we can afford.
It is absolutely no coincidence that Christmas has lost a lot of joy in modern times. Leftist leaders have stripped as much meaning out of everything as they can.
If we can’t acknowledge the birth of our Saviour, how can we celebrate? Silly, manufactured “holidays” like kwanzaa and winter solstice are empty and hollow pathetic attempts at counterfeit substitutions for Jesus.
What is there to celebrate? God’s gift of His Son to a lost and dying world.
Both sides of my family have roots in small business. In the past it was groceries – the kind of stores that are now called “Mom & Pop”. My brother has always had his own business but is now retiring; my sister’s family has their own. Joe and I seem to be the only ones who’ve stayed solely in the corporate world.
My maternal grandfather had several different country stores – not at the same time – in western Kentucky. The last one was in Iuka; in 1937 there was a massive flood (I think 7 states were affected); when everything they had, including the store, stood under flood water for 2 weeks, he retired.
Then in 1970, my dad and brother quit their construction business to buy a grocery store and station across from the school in Mingo. Cortez Carnathan had built it a few years previously to replace his old wooden structure. It reminded me of Wally’s Filling Station in Mayberry. The new one was very modern looking with glass walls all along the front. It had several DX gas pumps (full service only, this was before self-service), a mechanics bay with a lift and a good sized grocery area. I was in high school and worked there off and on until it was sold a few years later.
It seems to me that I have a fairly good understanding of and sympathy for local businesses. I know that having his own business made the difference between scary lay-offs that Daddy had suffered at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft and finally, prosperity. He worked hard at that store, getting there to open at 6:00 a.m., washing down the concrete pad every morning; staying there all day until we closed at 8:00 p.m. But the day was not over until all the shelves were stocked and the floor swept and mopped. Every day. He was 61 years old when they bought it and I can’t imagine working that hard when I’m that age.
So, I have a real empathy for local business and try to shop at them whenever I can. There are bonuses for both the owner and me. The local hardware store here is a good example. A can of Bon Ami costs about 70 cents more there than it does at the IGA. But, when I called to ask the proprietor if she knew anyone locally that sold firewood, she said we could have all we wanted – free – from their acreage. They even gave us a key to the gate. My friend, Patti told me they opened up the store after hours one night for an emergency plumbing repair part that cost less than $5.00. Try getting a major chain to do that for you.
Now, we’ve bought a lot more in there over the years than merely tub cleanser. We’ve bought paint and plywood, a few gifts and some things for the kitchen. Joe buys as many car parts there as he can. We could get cheaper prices at Home Depot or Autozone – and we still shop at those stores when we can’t get it here, but we want our local store to stay in business. Home Depot is never going to build a store in this town, it’s too small. If we want the store to survive, we have to decide whether saving a few dollars is worth them going out of business because they can’t compete.
The produce stand down the road is struggling. Honestly I hadn’t shopped there in a good while, but I’ve started to again. Okay, their prices are a little higher on some things than the grocery store, but generally the quality is much higher. A few weeks ago I bought the best grapes there that I’ve ever had. When I was checking out, the owner gently pointed out that the cucumbers I’d bought were past prime and she asked if she could substitute 2 others. Then she said she’d give me the first ones if I wanted them. Joe was there buying some things one night about closing and she offered him a large bag (probably 5 pounds) of West Texas tomatoes for $2.00. They were good ones, just a little overripe. He came home and made some really wonderful hot sauce (salsa).
Now, I wish that all the local businesses were like that, but they aren’t. The feedstore owner doesn’t care if I shop there or not, so I usually don’t for anything but the occasional bale of hay. I had a really horrible experience at the local beauty shop and will never go back (I was with a friend who had just lost a son, and the yacky beautician would not shut up complaining about kids). The scrapbook store owner in a nearby town is so rude that she has a reputation as far as 50 miles away. Some of the shop owners in Decatur won’t even wait on me when I go in, so I don’t go back.
This is a mystery to me and I can guarantee you my dad wouldn’t have understood it. He was always polite to customers because he knew he wouldn’t have a business without them. As Dave Ramsey says, “If you’re not making money – it’s a hobby, not a business”. It took a lot for my dad to get cranky with a customer.
Local businesses are vital to a community. I’ve read that small business is the backbone of American employment.
All that said, I still love Wal-Mart; I’ve been shopping there for over 35 years. I can’t imagine all the money I’ve saved in that amount of time.
It’s so tres chic to denigrate Wal-Mart. And the funny thing about it is
that most of the critics I hear, shop at Target or buy Microsoft or pay way too much for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. You get the picture. The media, New York and California hate Wal-Mart and make the rest of us look like cousin-marrying rubes if we shop there.
Do they honestly believe that shopping at Costco instead of Sam’s makes them superior? One major corporation over another?
If major corporations are so evil, then maybe those critics should stop buying gasoline of any kind and walk everywhere. No more clothes unless they grown the cotton (no tractors) or wool and weave it themselves.
To sum it up: both small business and big business have vital roles in the American economy and life. I support them both.
Mamosa, my blogging friend over at Eyes on the Prize, just tagged me to name 10 random things about myself and pass it on to 10 others. The goal is for us to all get to know each other better.
Seems to me that I’m a rather transparent, simple person and that anyone who talks with me for a few minutes or reads some of my posts will probably be pretty familiar with me. But I’ll try.
1. Vintage Barbie dolls, 1958-1964 are one of my favorite things. They bring back very pleasant memories just looking at them. Mine was a 1962 brunette bubble-cut (I call it the Jackie Kennedy hairstyle) which came with a red mailot bathing suit and black high heels. Alas, I no longer have mine, but a few years ago I paid way too much for a replacement original at a doll shop in Fort Worth. Playing with Barbies did not scar me or make me feel inadequate.
2. The Drama Department was one of two main things that kept me in high school (the other reason I stayed was that my brother had dropped out and my mother never got over it. I couldn’t do that to her.) Norma Davis was a wonderful, kind Christian teacher who really helped me by giving me a chance to blossom when I discovered my love of theater. Auditions can be really scary things and I chickened out at the door when I was a sophomore. But in my junior and senior years I got the lead in the class plays and won the Best Actress awards for both years. Over the years, I’ve only done a few community theater shows and one at the junior college, but just walking into a live theater gives me a rush. There’s nothing like walking around on a stage, either empty or a fully dressed set. The atmosphere, the smell, the magic. Ahhh.
3. Galveston is my favorite place in Texas. Of course the water is nicer in Corpus Christi and obviously it is touristy and I know that men in Italian suits (you know what I mean) used to do a lot of business there. But it’s tropical, affordable, historical (until the 1900 hurricane it was the largest city in Texas), beautiful, reachable (only 6 hours away by car) and fun. Not for me the luxury resorts in foreign places. Nothing beats staying at the Galvez Hotel (built in 1911), eating breakfast in the dining room (with beautifully appointed settings on starched, white table cloths), walking on the beach, feeding the seagulls, going to one of the many museums, eating seafood at Gaido’s, and mostly just driving along the seawall with the windows down.
4. With only a couple of exceptions, I have sewn my own curtains during our 36 years of marriage and also made a lot of clothes. But I have never put in a zipper and have a lot of trouble with sleeves and collars. Patterns need to be simple for me. It would be better if I would actually learn to sew better because I’ve always been hard to fit. I’m tall (about 5’10) and it’s not easy finding things that fit correctly.
5. I’m passionate about not being in social drinking situations. My father became an alcoholic when I was a young teenager and nothing good ever comes of drinking too much. Nothing. That said, I don’t think drinking alcohol is wrong or evil, but excess is and I know very few people who stop at one drink. Alcohol could be a real problem for me because I love the taste of champagne and Tecate beer, but I limit it to one or less and very rarely have any. For goodness sake, I’m 55 years old and can’t quit biting my fingernails – how good would I be at having to give up something really difficult?
6. My politics have come full circle, or at least my political affiliations have. The Watergate hearings were going strong when I registered to vote. My daddy and his family were yellow dog Democrats, in fact a good way for my dad to get mad and start cussing was for a Republican to be on television. But watching the hearings, I was absolutely appalled at the way the Democrats were acting – they were like witches dancing naked in the moonlight. So, I registered Republican. A few years later, I re-registered Democrat but always voted for who I thought was the best candidate and have never voted for a pro-abortion candidate. Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter was my selection in 1976, but I voted for Ronald Reagan both times. It was Bill Clinton who drove me back into the arms of the Republican party.
7. Long straight hair and little or no make-up were the styles when I was young and it’s not been easy to leave that behind. For years I almost never wore any make-up, and now I only do when going to town, and not always then. But I no longer have the glow of youth (walking by a mirror or a plate glass window is like a Halloween scare); a little powder and mascara sure help polish me up. My hairstyling skills are almost as good as my sewing, and I don’t know what to do with my hair and I’m way too cheap to get it done often. Mostly I wear a pony-tail, about every year or 2 getting it cut into a short page boy… it’s probably time for my annual trip to Pro-Cuts.
8. Raised in the Southern Baptist Church,I became charismatic in my teens. I love the SBC but some things about it irritate me. The ‘moderates’ went way too far, but some of the conservatives have swung back too far (even more conservative than the Bible and that’s not right). It feels so familiar and at home when we attend one, but then I start to feel like I need to hide the scriptural things I believe, and that’s just not right. So, we don’t know what to do. We are between churches right now and I would so love to have a church home where we can worship, share, learn and fellowship.
9. I used to have a very good memory (my husband does not think this is a good thing). Maybe it was memorizing those scripts (by the time opening night rolls around, one usually knows not only their lines but everyone else’s as well). I can remember what I was wearing when, and sometimes what someone else was wearing and describe the outfits. Trivial Pursuit is one of my favorite games but I don’t get to play very often. I am a wealth of useless information (the Battle of Hastings was 1066; don’t ask why I remember this or what it has to do with anything). My memory is not as sharp as it used to be, and since my mother has Alzheimer’s, this concerns me a little.
10. Today’s my birthday. I share it with the state of Oklahoma. Mine in 1954, Oklahoma’s 1907.
I don’t know 10 other bloggers very well, but I will post here later the ones that I’m tagging. Some bloggers have Tag Free/Award Free Zones and I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.
Previous Review Timeless Treasures by Emilie Barnes
Dancing with Rose by Lauren Kessler
After her mother died of Alzheimer’s, Lauren Kessler took her guilt (years of ignoring her mother) and her journalism and went to work in an Alzheimer’s facility as an aide. Her goal was to learn more about the disease and get first hand experience with patients, then write about it. The resulting book is fascinating and easily readable, but troubling. Troubling not simply because it’s a tough subject and was a very tough job (she has my admiration for being willing to tackle the unpleasant physical labor).
Whether intentionally or not, she comes across as a voice of authority on approach to the disease, family vs. caregivers and the personality changes. Kessler stops just short of saying that who these people have become is really who they always were. She seems to catch before herself saying that these are people in their purest form, without all the restrictions that we put on ourselves to live in society. To me this is a ridiculous, silly and empty-headed view of Alzheimer’s. It is obviously a left-over philosophy from her hippie days. In fact, she says that she and her husband joke about nursing homes of the future: hash brownies and Black Sabbath music.
Which brings me to my biggest complaint about this book: the hidden buddhism. She doesn’t openly name her philosophy until nearly the end of the book, which I consider a cheat. Early in the book, and even without knowing her religion, I saw a pattern developing that bothered me. A more honest approach would’ve been to state it up front.
This was the second book on Alzheimer’s that I checked out from the Grapevine Library that took a buddhist approach to the disease and caregiving. The first book I didn’t even bother to read. If she had been more forthcoming , I wouldn’t have wasted my time on this one, either.
Because the other reason I resent her and her book, is that I wrongly took to heart something she said about a family member who was calling on the phone to talk to their parent. She wrote that she believed that they did it more for themselves than for the patient and that the patient would’ve been better off if they hadn’t called. I don’t know if she meant this as a general rule for everyone, but I took it to heart. We live in another state and can only get up to see my mother about every 3 weeks, so I call her on the phone in between times. With only one exception, she seems to enjoy the calls. But there was once when she was agitated and I thought maybe Kessler was right and I shouldn’t call; that it was making Mama unhappier. So, for several days I didn’t. Then I decided to call and talk to the nursing staff and get their opinion because they deal with her afterwards. I asked if she seemed worse after the phone conversations, more unsettled. Each one of them said that she enjoyed them and they considered that it was better for my mother if I did call. Then I felt like a lousy daughter for having taken Kessler’s advice. I don’t even know if she meant it generally, but that’s how I took it. She sure seems to think she’s one of the experts after her experiences.
Published in 2008, this is the 19th Agatha Raisin mystery by M.C. Beaton. Publisher’s Weekly referred to it as ‘saucy’, which I found perplexing. Surely I’m not more liberal than Publisher’s Weekly! Obviously that’s not so, therefore I really don’t know what they meant. There’s no hard language, descriptive sex or gruesome details.
Cozy mysteries are my favorites and I certainly think that M.C. Beaton is probably the best at this genre, after Agatha Christie. Of course, Christie was the best by far, but both the Agatha Raisin and the Hamish MacBeth stories and light, diverting and easy reads. One of the things I appreciate most about her books is the unexpected humor.
Sooner Cinema – Oklahoma Goes to the Movies, Edited by Larry A. Van Meter
Being a native Oklahoman and a movie buff, I was very interested in reading this book. Van Meter is the editor, rather than the author, because the book is a compilation of 19 chapters by different writers, each focusing on either a film which was set in Oklahoma, or someone who was a native (i.e. Woody Guthrie, Bound for Glory).
To be expected some of the chapters are better than others, but one that I found absolutely outrageous was the one by David Charlson called “Oklahoma Values in One Hour or Less: Gary Rhodes’ Banned in Oklahoma and Bradley Beesley’s Okie Noodling” .
Charlson is an instructor in English and Documentary Film at Oklahoma City Community College, which is really a shame. He is not a native and has nothing but disdain for the conservative atmosphere in the state. He is appalled that John McCain carried every single county in Oklahoma in the 2008 election (the only state in which this was true). He punishes conservative students who won’t watch one of his assigned films by giving them another choice: gruesomeness instead of child pornography.
Other chapters are about Cimmarron, True Grit, Silkwood,The Outsiders, Far and Away, Oklahoma Crude and The Grapes of Wrath, among others. The rest of the book is interesting, but Charlson’s chapter is so snide and irksome, it was a waste of time and money.
Handmade Home – Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures by Amanda Blake Soule
Speaking of a waste of money brings me to Amanda Soule’s book. I bought this one while traveling home from Oklahoma and we stopped at a book store to stretch our legs. I should’ve known better than to stretch them in a book store because books are my biggest weakness. I usually buy used ones. Rarely do I pay full price and I have kicked myself repeatedly for doing it this time.
It is craft book, a sewing book, which is what I wanted. What I did not want was a new age/green/hippie book. But that’s what I got.
In the store, I briefly looked at the introduction (she talks about the family history of practicality, which I appreciate) and some of the projects like pot holders, wall pockets, and computer mouse pads. What I didn’t see until I got home was the publisher’s leaflet advertising their zen/new age books on family. Had I seen this, it would’ve been the Red Warning Flag: Carla, you will hate this book. And I do. I don’t even like the smell of it. They probably used strange ink.
Sewing books should be just that. I’m not interested in her personal beliefs. I don’t believe that I should have to carefully look through a SEWING book to see if I’m going to be offended. As I was for the “Women’s Cloth”. Gross. Just plain gross. Besides which Soule doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She wrongly opines “Disposable menstrual pads have become the norm only in the past 30 years or so …” (emphasis mine). I am almost 50 years old and disposables have been the norm and around a lot longer than me. How do I know? Because one of the things I collect is old magazines. Frankly I was surprised that these products and some of the ones I considered more modern were available as far back as they were.
So, there were happy experiences with books in October, and some which set my teeth on edge. And I didn’t even list the ones I started and gave up on.
My November reading is off to a good start. Kind of gets some of the bad taste out of my mouth.
Houses were much smaller when I was growing up in the 1950s and 60s. Even new houses in Tulsa were small. I grew up in Mingo, just north of the city, a tiny community where none of the houses were new.
Nearly everyone in Mingo ate their meals at the kitchen table. There were almost no dining rooms in my neighborhood. I can only remember 2. Every night families gathered together after their day to share the evening meal. Late afternoon activities that would interfere with a meal were unheard of. Kids in my neighborhood didn’t have dance lessons, and very rarely piano lessons. I had heard there was a boys Little League team but in those days it would not have interfered with the evening meal.
It was a working class neighborhood. After school (and maybe a little television), weather permitting, children played outside: little kids played with dolls or cars, yard games like Hopscotch, Hide and Seek, Statues, Red Light-Green Light, or dress-up and make believe; bigger kids rode their bikes, played driveway basketball, or impromptu softball. Mothers prepared the evening meal. Dads came home from work.
Families sat down together and ate dinner. Webster defines ‘dinner’ as the principal meal of the day. My mother always referred to our evening meal as supper, because when she was a girl, the noon meal was the big one and her mother called it dinner. But unlike her growing up years when her father operated a country store a hundred yards from her house, my father worked at Douglas Aircraft or on a construction job and was too far away at noon to come home and eat. But old habits die hard, and even though she cooked every night, she still called it supper.
So, kitchens were an integral part of our homes.
The kitchen table was where my mother cut out the fabric for the clothes she made for us, where we did our homework, played cards or dominoes on Saturday night and met again each evening over home cooked food. I can remember the table covered with waxed paper and freshly glazed yeast doughnuts that my mother made. And how it felt to sit on my dad’s lap and learn how to play dominoes and Hearts; I don’t remember ever being told to go away while the grown-ups played cards. It was where I sat while my mother helped me practice my spelling words. At Christmas, I made marshmallow snowmen and helped my mother put stamps on Christmas cards. I must have been pretty young the first time because I remember 4 cent stamps – this was a penny less than normal postage for envelopes that weren’t sealed.
My family was not able to pass down many family mementos. In 1937, my maternal grandparents home and store were covered with flood water for 2 weeks, ruining nearly everything they had. A few photographs survived and a Bible that still has the silt from the Ohio River dried in its pages. My father’s family had to leave everything at a friend’s house when they left Oklahoma when my grandmother died in the mid-1920’s. They were never able to retrieve their possessions. Oddly enough, only my grandfather’s blacksmithing anvil remains. It weighed about 100 pounds.
So, I didn’t inherit really old family treasures, but I do have several things from my childhood and one of them is our kitchen table. Not the first one I remember – 1950’s chrome and gray formica topped. The one they bought in 1964 – brown, wood grain formica with painted scenes in two opposite corners. It’s the one you can see in the background of some of my recipe and craft posts.
It’s not valuable or even particularly lovely to anyone else. Our home isn’t big enough to have a dining room, so our old table sits in the middle of our kitchen. It’s the one that my dad sat at to feed our sons, and it’s the one we sit around with our grandsons and share meals when they come to visit.