oklahoma -- so much more
Until we visited with Jen & Uchenna in Ponca City, Oklahoma I had no idea that I actually harbored an unexamined, negative attitude about “Okies.” I can only imagine that prejudice originated the year we lived in Avenal, California San Joaquin Valley, where everyone derisively described really rough & crude behavior and down-and-out living as “Okie” — as in the “Grapes of Wrath.”
Oklahoma State is open, clean, beautiful, and filled with overall industrious and friendly people—not only metropolitan Oklahoma City but also the much smaller city that Jen & Uche call home. During my daily 2-hour walks, perfect strangers frequently greeted me or waved hello from their cars.
And in small Ponca City when I came to the end of the sidewalk I enjoyed stepping onto grass - compared to the stickery stubble in California. There’s plenty of rainfall so grass is everywhere, not what my dad called the native “grains” of the west.
the oklahoma city
national memorial & museum
Three things to know about the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum for the Bombing of the Murrah Federal Building: 1) There’s a significant admission fee, 2) Plan to spend several hours, 3) Have Kleenex at hand. It was a terrifying look at destructive institutional forces crushing vulnerable personal lives. We had an amazing experience in just the little time we allotted ourselves. Next time we’ll give ourselves more time to read and listen to and interact with everything there. Check out the website before going: http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org/.
Clearly it was ideal weather without threat of tornadoes when we visited, but I’m thinking I could live in Oklahoma. And more important, I do believe that our kids are happy there.
tangential note: I really liked using the new web browser Google Chrome on Jen & Uche’s computer and downloaded it when we returned home.
romantic colonial williamsburg
I love being with Judy and Colonial Williamsburg is a perfect setting for being together. It was wonderful to be in a place that just feels good, that is intellectually and emotionally stimulating, and that is visitor friendly. So nice just to meander through the place with beautiful buildings, open grassy areas, broad leaf trees, flowers and gardens, and people speaking in a pleasant, soft Virginia accent.
We were in Colonial Williamsburg a couple of days before we discovered the “Revolutionary City” program. The restored city is a mile by half a mile in size, and at 3pm to 5pm each day the east end of Duke of Gloucester St (about an eighth of a mile) is cordoned off for pass holders and becomes one big wrap-around drama. There are horses with frantic messengers, rousing rhetoric, tender vignettes, and cannon firing. And good sound amplification technology makes the speaking accessible to everyone. Just great!
Two themes alternate from one day to the next: Collapse of Royal Government, 1774-1776, and Citizens at War, 1776-1781. Revolutionary City and other dramatizations during the day and into the night provide a much more nuanced view of revolutionary times than we experienced on previous visits to Williamsburg.
To get the most from your visit I recommend a thorough review of their website before hand: http://www.history.org/. Judy is also a great resource for the nuts and bolts arrangements. One day we hope to visit Williamsburg in December for the holidays.
back home with family
When we returned home Aaron and Marrisse with our grandchildren came to visit. One day we spent an hour & a half walking and exploring the surrounding hills, then pumpkin choosing along with Anderson’s and Kleinman’s, and finally playing at the beach till late. A full and especially wonderful day. I’m glad I had the previous two weeks to clear my head of work concerns so I could just live in the moment and enjoy our young family.
There’s a lot to be said for a good vacation.