Fall in Southeastern Oklahoma

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Things I did this past weekend:

1. Got a surprise root canal. As in the specialist immediately said, “Yeah, I would take care of that right now if I were you.” Surprise! The biggest surprise was learning that his father and mine were both stationed at the same base in Northern Italy at the same time – over thirty years ago. His sister and I were in the same grade. There were only two 2nd grade teachers at the school. That means there’s a 50/50 chance his sister and I were in the same classroom in 1983.

2. Immediately drove 3 hours to Southeastern Oklahoma to accompany my husband on an off-roading trip. Except I never actually went off-roading. My historiography professor suddenly decided to move up a fairly important assignment by three weeks, making this weekend not one of relaxation but a weekend of trying to snag bits and pieces of internet connection while in a BFE bed & breakfast-type house in the mountains. In the meantime, my professor continued to be argumentative regarding my research topic, insisting that I was making things too hard on myself, and wasting my precious laptop battery before finally agreeing that I should’ve stuck with my first topic.  Oh, yes. I forgot to bring my laptop charger because I, ladies and gentlemen, am a freaking genius.

3. Rediscovered the joy of getting in a car and just driving until I find something interesting. I found three something-interestings.

  • Clayton Lake State Park
  • Choctaw Village and the Choctaw Nation Capitol Building & Museum (which, sadly, was closed)
  • K-Kountry Kitchen II. Not I, but II! I have no idea where K-Kountry Kitchen I is, or if it even existed at one time.

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A confession:

These photos above show that fall is happening in Southeastern Oklahoma, and the area we visited is closer to Louisiana than it is to Oklahoma City. When we returned home to Oklahoma City only two days later, I was certain the colors had changed while we were gone. I appreciated it. Unfortunately, it looks like we might be getting ourselves some snow here in the next week.

This is not the confession.

Of course, the possibility of snow bothers me. It means things are turning cold. Very, very cold (our high on Wednesday will be 36 degrees). On our way back home from tiny Clayton, Oklahoma, we were listening to A Prairie Home Companion on NPR. Garrison Keillor was in Duluth, Minnesota, hosting the show with various musical guests and the very cool mayor of the city. Locals joked about the weather and Garrison sang songs about how skinny people would most certainly die in that kind of chilly environment.

Here’s the confession…

We almost moved to Minneapolis this year. Well, I say almost but we’ll never know how close we came. A job opportunity got us very excited (the kid was, surprisingly, not very excited). There were phone calls and interviews. There were online house hunts and neighborhood research. There was a scheduled visit to the city. A few days before that visit, though, I called it off. Something told me don’t do it. We discussed it as a family and decided we’d stay put.

Just a few minutes ago I saw this on my Facebook feed. The same winter storm is heading toward my childhood hometown of Marquette, Michigan. Meanwhile, in South Florida, they’re experiencing record cold temperatures in the mid- to high-60s.

Winter. What a fickle, fickle beast.

The hot tub is broken again but I have access to Vitamin D. And there is about an hour more of sunlight left in the day. That means I can enjoy fall for a little while longer before the cold weather moves in tonight and covers everything in frost. One meteorologist referred to this arctic front as a “bomb cyclone”. What happened to a simple arctic blast? Or the polar vortex? I’m totally convinced now that Oklahoma-based weather people just make this shit up.

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6 thoughts on “Fall in Southeastern Oklahoma

  1. Sounds absolutely hectic! And what kind of professor moves stuff up by that many weeks?? Aren’t most grad students also working in addition to taking a full course load? Seriously that kind of assignment change throws everyone into disarray!

    It is pretty chilly in Vero Beach tonight. (64) We just drove home with the heat on!! I know that will sound ridiculous to any Northerners who happen upon my comment, but after 5 yrs away the damp and cold REALLY bothers us!

    Hang in there, girlfriend! (and throw an extra blankie on the bed!)

  2. You’ve had some glorious adventures “there and back again….” since last I wrote (September 2012) in reply to your “2 Girls and a Road” blog comments about K.I. Sawyer. Whoa, I just flashed back to Mark Twain and Haley’s Comet! It passed twice in his lifetime or so the rumor goes. This is the second (and probably last) contact we absolute strangers have had. Kind of makes you go, “Hmmmm.” Anyhow….Your words about “touching a nerve” about that place and time in the U.P. couldn’t have been more prophetic! Tonight, I received yet another email notice regarding one more wandering soul’s new discovery of your old blog. Their sadness at K.I.’s passing was almost palpable and I began to sense the rustling of ghosts from the past. This time, K.I. Sawyer isn’t the direct cause of this ripple in the force. As I write you, in 10 hours and 20-some minutes (Mountain Standard Time) we will arrive at “….the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month….” and observe another Veterans Day. I miss my military brothers and sisters! I hope they’ve had a good life. What I wouldn’t give to stand with them once again, arm over shoulders, gazing in each others eyes. Not a word would be necessary. They could see from the sparkle in my eyes, the smile on my face and the unabashed tears streaming down my cheeks how I’ve missed them and how ecstatic I am at seeing them again! I’m also reminded of my paternal grandfather who fought in the muddy trenches of France during WWI; of my recently passed father-in-law who served in the Army of Occupation/WWII and helped re-build Germany; of my deceased father who served in Korea; of other uncles who served in the Army, Navy, Seabees and Air Force; of the uncle who tried to enlist in WWII but was refused due to two fingers being fused together since birth, none-the-less he didn’t give up and spent the war as a Merchant Marine helping transport supplies to Europe through the German Wolfpacks (submarines); or another uncle who tried to serve but no one would take him because he’d been born with one leg smaller than the other but who went on to spend a career working for a defense company that provided badly needed supplies to our service men and women; to my brother who served in the USAF in Thailand during Vietnam; to our youngest son who grew disillusioned with the drama in his beloved academy and took “….the road less traveled….” and withdrew at the end of his sophomore year rather than have his values compromised by the lack of integrity and lack of professionalism exhibited by many at that time and yet time has a way of returning things full circle, he went on to attain a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and within the next 6 months or so he will brief a PMEL (Precision Measurement Equipment Lab) commander on a process he has helped develop involving a simpler, precise way to recalibrate certain laser measuring devices (he may not wear the uniform but he still serves); and on to my wife’s cousin’s oldest son (doesn’t this sound like something you might expect to hear in a Moari gathering lodge as a family history is recited?!) whose scout helicopter crashed during a night mission in Iraq; on to his first cousin who served as a flight medic/combat medic, she helped transport wounded warriors in Afghanistan from forward base firefights to trauma centers in the rear (her heart is still heavy with thoughts of those she could not save). I stand before you in the great meeting house of the internet and recite the accomplishments of those of my family who’ve served and bear testimony for those I’ve served with. I still serve, having just completed 18 yrs with the South Dakota Dept of Corrections, Juvenile Division (have done my best to mentor and coach these youth who “….listen to a different drummer….”). Tomorrow, later today, I shall call my brother and acknowledge his service. If this winter storm abates, I shall go visit one of two remaining Pearl Harbor survivors in western South Dakota and thank him for his service and the life it allowed me to live. Then, if wishes were fishes and beggars didn’t go hungry….I would wish that all military members, active duty, reservists, Nat. Guard, retired, former, etc could all go home to those they hold most dear. Barring that, I would desire to stand in someone’s stead, to stand someone’s watch, to stand someone’s post one more time so they could enjoy a brief return to the embrace of kith and kin. My finest moments have always involved “….service, before self….”. My greatest privilege was to serve our great Nation and you, the public. Yet, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, I still miss my “….brothers and sisters in arms….”!

    Sorry for rambling! There and back again….you’ve had some great adventures (your Oklahoma looks grand and colorful) and so have I. Perhaps one day in the Shire, we’ll meet for tea and cakes, or maybe we’ll pause at Lambeau Field (I’ve been to one of them, too) at the same time for some Wisconsin cheese and crackers. Until then, keep living, keep reading, keep thinking and most important keep on keeping on! You never know when the ripples in your pond will intersect with another’s and you’ll think, “Hmmm, haven’t I met you before?” As for me, as soon as I find “Guy Pearce” and we make a few adjustments to H.G. Wells’ “Time Machine”, I hope to go back in time and complete some advanced engineering and botanical degrees, then hop forward about 20-25 years and present myself as a prime candidate for the first manned mission to Mars! Okay, okay! I’ll go take the red pill, no wait, was it the blue pill?! Oh well, time for bed. Please take a moment today and thank a veteran for their service. If you can’t find a living one to say this to, go visit a National Cemetary and tell them. They’re listening still.

    Be well; Live, Love and Laugh! And….remember, eat dessert first once in a while! It can help you stay out of a rut!

    Larry E. Hudlemeyer

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