Monday, July 06, 2015

set out for oklahoma city on friday to celebrate the fourth with my daughter and granddaughter, who were coming down from kansas; oklahoma city was halfway, and everyone i talked to thought that was reasonable, to take two families with kids, and split the driving so that we would each do about five. people tend to put oklahoma down around here, but i've made up my mind to go into these things with an open mind. it's been almost forty years since i came through oklahoma city on foot, and back then, it was sprawling, sunny, not that great-looking, and i didn't even stop in the downtown. so i didn't know much about the place.

going both ways, it was midsummer in the high plains. the texas panhandle was most remarkable, since it took us an hour and a half to get up into the middle of it, then almost that long to turn right and go straight into oklahoma. it was flat and wide, and the sky was huge, and full of wild-looking clouds in every direction, with the sun beating down. you would look off into the horizon, and see maybe a herd of cattle on some flat ranchland off in the distance. but the ground was so flat that the cows would be in a single line out there, a small tight line of black, with a thin line of green and a huge sky above them. it was impressive.

up there in oke city, our hotel was right above a baseball stadium, and the game was scheduled for seven on the fourth of july. it rained a bit before the game, so it was slightly delayed, but they played the whole thing right down there below our window. oke city lost, unfortunately, to the omaha storm chasers, but it was fun to see all those people enjoying the game as the sun went down on the bricktown (downtown - fashionable) area of oke city. on our side of the stadium, the police had some activity, as they seemed to be running back behind the ihop to round up some guys who were misbehaving in some way. and this seemed to drag on for an hour or two, all during the end of the game, as we were kind of waiting around for the fireworks to start after the game.

and boy did they start. though the first hotel room faced south, toward the game, the other room faced east, toward some construction and an empty lot, and that's where they shot them off, going toward the hotel. a few specks seemed to hit the hotel window as they were going off, but the windows could handle it, and we were very impressed by the magnificent big-city-ness of the display in general. it was probably the best in the state, although somebody told me the casinos kind of go out of their way as well. the hard thing for us was that they started at about ten. there was a little past-their-bedtime behavior on the part of the kids.

back in texas, a ferocious storm is passing through, and we're laying low, with a store-boughten lasagna in the oven and everything getting dark. rain and hail were pounding us for a while, and the dogs watched us nervously for hints on how they should behave. fortunately, they don't panic in the storm, as long as we don't, and everything is ok for the moment. lubbock floods easily in this kind of weather, and it's best to just stay off the streets, no matter what happens. the place isn't really made for trees, so the trees tend to fall over, and the water just sits there, as they don't have such things as sewer or drainage; it's too rare. the floods are at some very major intersections which you learn after a while, but to tell the truth, i've been here a couple of years and i still don't know them all. so i leave the cars in the driveway and stay home, and give the rain a chance to drain away by itself.

these days, i'm always feeling like i have to recover from such things as a vacation. that's because i've been a single parent much of the time, and it's stressful even if we do nothing but stay at home. but i'm doing ok with the single-parent thing, and fortunately, it was ok to drive in 95-degree summer, flying across the plain, kids plugged into movies for the most part, and me just reveling in the sunny wide green plains. it's quite a wide place, impressive. nobody else holds it in such high regard, as it tends to grind on you in the long haul, but it really is a huge and open kind of place. and the culture is quite unique too, i might add. more about that later.


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