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Please tell me that you read that title with the song running through your head!

This was my first time back in Oklahoma in many years. Since most of my family lives in Texas, I make it there more often than its neighbor to the north. One of my cousins still lives here, about an hour from Duncan, Oklahoma, where we were both born. This stop was to visit with her.

Susie, her daughter, Isabella and I had some adventures yesterday. My cousin is a garden/landscape architect so we drove by one of her client’s house so I could see her work. (Gorgeous!)

Then we headed to the Oklahoma City bombing memorial. That was sobering. The memorial has a portion of the blasted wall at one end and a reflecting pool with the times etched on stone at both ends. The primary focus of the memorial is an open space with a chair for each of the victims. Their names are etched on a glass block under the chair. It is hard holding back tears when you realize there are several smaller chairs for the children who perished.  We also said a prayer at the smaller park across from the memorial. A parsonage had stood on that corner. That memorial has a statute of Jesus turning away from the blast surrounded by short black posts. A park ranger told us that the 21 posts stand for the 18 children and 3 unborn children killed in the bombing.  Tears flowed at that one.  The one uplifting part of the memorial is the Survivor Tree. It was the only tree that survived in the blast radius. It stands as a living, growing memorial to those gone and the strength of the human spirit.  If you ever find yourself in Oklahoma, go to the memorial – pay your respects and strengthen your resolve to fight intolerance and evil in our world.

Our rambling for the day wasn’t done though! Susie and I were both reminiscing about family visits to Bill’s Catfish in Waurika. I’ve eaten a lot of places, but no where has better fried catfish and hush puppies. So we made the 4 hour round trip to Bill’s and stuffed ourselves silly on catfish and hush puppies. Yes, you read that right – 2 hours down and 2 hours back. It is that good!!

On our way down to Bill’s, we had to drive through our hometown – Duncan, Oklahoma. Since we were there, we made a quick side trip to her old house (miss you Aunt Mary!), the elementary school Susie attended and where I went to 1st grade and just meandered through the town. We got to share our memories of being kids in a small town. It was pretty great.

It was a long day, but worth every minute and every memory.  Today, I was supposed to drive to my Dad and step-Mom’s house in Louisville, KY, but Tropical Storm Cindy’s after effects are covering almost all of my travel route. I’m letting Cindy move on her way and will be back in the car tomorrow headed to Kentucky.

Oklahoma is my birth state and where my mother’s family is from. I am part Choctaw Indian, along with a mix of other things. I’m proud to say that my name and birth date are recorded on the official rolls of the Choctaw Tribe. Being here is special. As much as being in Texas does, it  connects me with my roots, my heritage, the core of who I am. So I memorialized it with a gift to myself – a new pair of boots. 😊

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