How often do you spend thought on any common household implement ? A week in Oklahoma, everywhere you look, the image of the state bird, a scissor-tailed flycatcher stares back at you. A brief drive through the campus of Oral Roberts University reveals ghastly gold-plated tasteless buildings, as if the architect was Edward Scissorhands himself. I am confronted by The Praying Hands sculpture, an institutional landmark, probably wishing for a new pair of Wiss embroidery shears. Prayer was obviously not in play if you were on this design committee. A bunch of cut-ups, I imagine. This is, we’re told, the Bible Belt. Alert, alert, simply not true. This is the bib overall, britches, and bow-tie belt. Alliteration aside, I did meet one nice Jewish fellow on the campus, in this den of Christianity, but he, too, was a writer from Washington D.C. We laughed as we shared a bottle of Visine-AC drops in an attempt to reduce the irritating glare; surrounded by dreadful design.
The most common seafood in Oklahoma is not bluegill or perch, it is the Jesus Fish. Home to reputedly the oldest adult theater in the U.S., there are probably more sinners in T-Town than religious TV stations, but the gap is narrowing.
The native American influence is as common as the reminder on the Oklahoma license plate…..Native America. I learned five new Indian entries for the vocabulary while in Tulsa: Okmulgee, Savage, Chickasha, Catoosa, Keno, and Bingo. So I miscounted, but remember I’m from Indiana. We learned math too, but never beyond calculating 8.517 % sales tax. It’s as if Pythagoras was reincarnated to Ponca City to teach arithmetic. Where on earth did the Okies ever come up with a number like that ?
I leave Tulsa feeling enriched by the wonderful people we met. To you literary purists, yes, I did make up that stuff about Will Rogers, but it is something he might have said. It is never good to lie, but sometimes you just have to make up the truth. I will come back to Tulsa, much sooner if invited, to monitor your progress.
And have another dish of cold water at Arnie’s.
For the lovely silver hairs at the state welcome center, you really ought to reconsider on the milk-bone thing.