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    Thursday
    May052011

    Livin' on Tulsa Time

    We’ll be hitting the road tomorrow…”Over the river, and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go.”  Not her home, home; but her sweet, little room at the nursing home.  I can’t wait to see her and we’ll take some Happy Mother’s Day goodies!  I’m thinking they will be different and funky - a small bag of animal cookies, some gummy bears, nice lip-gloss.  Who knows what we’ll come up with? She doesn’t need much - our visit will be a good gift for her, and for us.

    These times are for introspection, and for putting our lives into perspective.  What is really important?  Family, heritage, love, remembrance.  Understanding and putting into practice those admirable traits from our forbearers.  Forgiving the failings of those we love the most.  Thanksgiving.

    GB and I left Tulsa 23 years ago, wanting to rear our sons away from the big city.  Nevertheless, Tulsa is a wonderful city.  Well-planned infrastructure, the arts, lovely parks, and the great outdoors just a short drive away.  Oklahomans get their fair share of redneck jokes, but I am proud to be an Okie.  The state history is diverse and interesting, and I love all the Native American names and regions.  Mostly, I’m proud to be part of wonderful families who worked hard, in Oklahoma, to provide for future generations.

    The drive over will be pretty and interesting.  We’ll enjoy lovely pastures of dairy farms, drive past a productive Mennonite community (maybe a stop for fresh bread or cinnamon rolls!), and roll over the bridge of the lovely Verdigris River (which is running full right now).  I like to watch for the moment when the skyline from downtown Tulsa first appears; and then think back to trips, with the family, through those downtown streets.  We watched many a parade, toured the  NBT  building (National Bank of Tulsa-the tallest structure around back then, built in 1917), and enjoyed the lights and decorations of the Christmas season.

    Which brings me to a funny story from my childhood (funny now, not so much then), involving downtown, Christmas, and the NBT building.  It was the late 1960’s, and my mother and my aunt thought it would be neat and fun to go to the top of the bank building and look out the windows, all over Tulsa.  It was a famous building, and boasted a zeppelin mooring and a beacon at the top.  The beacon light had multi-colored panels and could be seen for miles around. 

    We were downtown for the Christmas parade, a major event for Tulsa.  There were five of us children on this field trip, two cousins, my two siblings, and me.  The youngest of the bunch was a cousin, being just a baby; and I was the eldest.  We took the elevator to the topmost floor that could be accessed by the public, pretty much to the tippy top.  Elevator riding would have been a little-known treat, and I wish I could remember the excitement I must have felt.  I do remember that there was ‘construction’ on the floor where we stepped out - lumber, electrical cords, etc.  Remodeling or some such.

    I have only vague memories of being up so high and looking out the windows, because my remembrance of this trip has to do with what happened as we were leaving.  Mother tells that the elevator was full of folks going down, and we all crowded in.  When we reached street level, everyone piled off, and we started for the doors.  Only to notice that my brother, the youngest of we three siblings (four or five years old at the time), was not with us.  He had been left on the elevator, or didn’t get off, however the story goes.  We turned around; hurried back to the elevator, to find that the doors were closed and it was on its way back up.  My, oh my.  Being a mother now, I can imagine how my own must have felt.

    So, we waited.  After a few minutes, down came the elevator and the doors slid apart.  There stood my cute, little, redheaded brother, all buttoned up and becapped in a smart, matching, navy blue coat set (we were always dressed to the nines).  I can see him clearly, standing all alone (the elevator having gone up empty and right back down again), not crying, and waiting for…who knew what.  Knowing my mother and aunt, they probably just looked at him for a moment, Mother took his hand, and off we went.

    Tulsa is full of memories.