Monday, July 19, 2010

A Word About Oklahoma

In spite of the excellent Mexican food, the last time I visited Oklahoma, I left with a bad taste in my mouth. It was last Thanksgiving and I was letting go of family. I felt disconnected and uncomfortable there and I couldn't wait to get home, here to Milwaukee, because this is my home now.

Or so I thought.

Spending this past weekend in Oklahoma City was like being in recovery. I submitted myself to the city and to my friends and family to let them heal me. I will be writing detailed posts about the friends and family part; but for now, let me tell you a little something about my home town.  For we have mended our fences.

It is amazing what a little oil money can do for a town. Do you know of any other downtown in the United States that is currently building a 50 floor skyscraper? I saw the cranes in action with my very own eyes. New retail developments are popping up like daisies. The Oklahoma City Thunder is the most beloved team in all of the NBA and a homeless man waved at me while crossing the street because even the homeless people are friendly in Oklahoma. Here's what the tower will look like when completed.


Or how about a $140 million dollar redesign of the downtown streets, plazas, sidewalks and parks?  They are even moving a part of I-40 to create a gateway to downtown via a large boulevard. If a major east to west thoroughfare is in your way, no problem, let's move it.  Is a river walk in a restored warehouse area enough for you?


The girls and I floated by Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, saw old Doc Blues singing on a patio, snapped a photo of Sonic's corporate headquarters, skipped right past Coyote Ugly, because well, you know we wouldn't have been able to keep Tina off the counters, and saw the most beautiful mosaic and waterfalls along the banks of the river walk.




Or perhaps sailing, rowing or kayaking is more your speed. Imagine a river so dry it had to be mowed twice a year. Dam it up, develop the hell out of it and viola, you have this.


 


Or you can drift away on Lake Hefner, found in the middle of the city with fully developed harbor frontage, restaurants, office buildings, walking trails and sail boats galore.


Did I mention housing is incredibly cheap, taxes are ridiculously low and the people are darn friendly? Oh and they have recently completed construction on not one but two state of the art Proton Therapy cancer treatment centers. Too bad they don't have a state of the art heartburn treatment center because here's an Oklahoma classic, chicken fried steak with fried okra, courtesy of Mr. Toby Keith. Pay no attention to the boob in the picture. It was there for proportion but it wasn't big enough so she had to use her hand as well.


My girlfriend Dolores escorted me on this whirlwind tour of all that Oklahoma City has to offer.  We drove around in her Saab convertible so I could pop up and snap photos. We stopped at this place and had a quick beer, which was free because, did I mention, people in Oklahoma are friendly.


We ended our morning at Big Truck Tacos where their motto is, "saving the world, one taco at time." It was so packed, they had to hang signs to remind people to be friendly. It can get a little pushy when a hungry mob is jonesing for one of those things. It was like Taco Crack or the best thing I've had in my mouth since, well since the last time I was in Oklahoma. Thank you Dolores for a wonderful morning; one that might very well change the course and direction of my life.



I guess it's safe to say I'm leaving this time around with only good tastes in my mouth. And good feelings for my hometown. My home. Where friends and family are plentiful and even the politicians aren't afraid to let it all hang out. Literally.

This did not leave a good taste in my mouth.  Sorry, had to go there, you knew I would.


Here's a little tease for my upcoming posts.  The Leaders of the Free World were in rare form during our "Night of the Iguana".


Bye for now ya'll.

6 comments:

  1. Awesome post! Love the photos!

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  2. Wow. It is a beautiful city. I love seeing it through your eyes. I jones you.

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  3. I'm so glad you experienced a healing of the soul - if only until you had to go back to the real world.

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  4. It was wonderful seeing you! We are keeping our fingers crossed that you and your adorable family will move back soon.

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  5. Thanks Missy. I loved taking them, couldn't wait to share them here!

    Robin - So happy to hear this. I was concerned when you sounded like you didn't have the same vision as I. I jones you too. Two days = not nearly enough.

    Leiah - yes, the cold harsh reality of the real world did beckon me back but ahhhhh, feeling good.

    Daft Scots - Thank you very much!

    Megan - You never know, miracles can occur. Either way, I want you to be a bigger part of my life beautiful girl.

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