Oklahoma

P71119Standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, specifically on the corner of West Second Street and North Kinsley Avenue, there was this bronze statue of someone famous. I am still not certain who he was. A statue of Glenn Frey was added nearby later, and might have replaced this one, but I could not find much news about it. The new statue does not look anything like this statue, which was the only one there when we stopped to get our picture taken there five years ago on our way to Oklahoma.

We did not plan the trip very well. We did not plan it much at all. We were in a less than ideal situation at home, so loaded up a tired old Blazer and went on our way. I sort of planned on staying for a few days or maybe two weeks, and then returning alone to Felton, and then tending to some work near Hilo in Hawaii by early December. Steven and Gayle who are with me and the bronze guy in the picture were to stay in Oklahoma. Of course, even these meager plans did not go as planned. I stayed much later, and all three of us, Bill the terrier and Darla the kitty all returned to Felton on the last day of 2012.

What a trip! It was the farthest I had ever gone from the West Coast, and the longest time I had ever been out of California. It was my first time in another time zone, and then another! I actually ‘lived’, albeit temporarily, in Oklahoma; and I got to drive through Arizona, New Mexico and a small part of Texas to get there!

I had always wanted to go to Oklahoma because I had heard so much about it growing up. My maternal grandmother was an Okie, so much of what I learned about horticulture was from that background. To me, it was one of those magical places where great grandparents lived and grew tons of fruits and vegetables in the rich red soil on their farm. It was where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, and the fragrant wheat sure smells sweet . . . okay, so maybe not that part.

Oklahoma certainly did not disappoint. It was exactly as I knew it would be, but was completely fascinating anyway. Pecan, black walnut and various hickory trees grew wild, as well as American persimmon, Eastern red cedar, redbud, honeylocust and blackjack oak. Vacant parcels were overrun with native red mulberry, campsis, honeysuckle, Arkansas yucca and sumac. I collected seed from more specie than I can remember.

The funny thing about all this is that the Okies did not understand my interest in all their flora. Much of it was the sort of stuff that they cut down and burn. The Eastern red cedar, honeylocust, red mulberry, campsis and sumac were quite unpopular for their habit of growing into rangeland. Even less invasive plants did not impress those who had always been around them. To them, redwood, big oaks, avocado, citrus and all the cool exotic specie that we grow in California are much more interesting. It was a matter of perspective.

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