There's no question that my adopted state has it's flaws. Health care, they say, sucks (although I'm quite pleased with mine). On the other hand, I'm definitely not pleased with the "redness" of Oklahoma politics. We have tornadoes (although we don't have hurricanes, six-foot snowdrifts, or -30 degree temperatures). It's pretty hard to get lamb here. It's impossible to get good bagels.
BUT.... c'mon, we have SO much good stuff! We have just about the friendliest people around. We have great geographical beauty (hills, expansive plains, green places, not-so-green places, red dirt, a mesa or two, incredible lakes and rivers, beautiful cities). We have, if not the cheapest, close to the cheapest gasoline prices in the USA. Our cost of living is one of the lowest in the country. And, according to this morning's headlines, our unemployment is 4.5% compared to 6.5% for the USA overall. My fair city of Tulsa ("Art Deco Capital of the Country"), ranks 6th in the country for strongest housing market in the USA. (http://www.economy.com/). It's a beautiful, serene, traffic-unchallenged place. Real estate prices are low, low, low!
When I moved to Oklahoma 7 years ago, I was afraid I'd never visit a great museum or eat a decent meal again. How wrong was I! Besides having a couple of world class art museums, Tulsa's restaurant choices have been growing ever since I moved here. Yesterday I ate the first real Greek salad I've had in years at a little place called Helen of Troy. Here in Tulsa, at a place called Silver Flame, I've eaten the best filet mignon I've ever had (better than my current Best, eaten years ago at a place in Vermont, and far better than the renowned Morton's filet), and it was accompanied by all the free Lebanese hors d'oeuvres one can eat. My little drive-in Chinese place has some awesome cold rice noodles, and there are 6 sushi places within a quick drive from my house.
So, be careful and don't talk smack about my favorite place in the world.... Oklahoma!
Oh yeah, this was supposed to be about my day at Afton Station, wasn't it? Well, Ron "Tattoo Man" Jones arrived first, but I barely recognized him. He was wearing long sleeves and long pants! I never saw that before. All 70-something tattoos were covered up! He goes to for surgery on Monday, so this is his last visit to Afton for about three weeks.
Marly arrived (with his new beard!) and did a great wax job on my car, despite it being very cold in the garage. He's a trooper! After he finished and Tattoo Man had left, we chatted for a while.
But get this! We had TEN visitors today! Families from Locust Grove, Vinita, and Grove OK came for cold-weather visits. We also had a long visit from an artist and photographer from Miami named Michael Scruggs, who showed us his portfolio of some of his works. Marly and I were thrilled by what we saw. Michael's business is called Scruggs Off The Route, and some of his work can be viewed at www.tinyurl.com/7tozp9. Most of his work consists of b&w Route 66 photos colorized using ink, an update of old-fashioned postcard colorization. He gave me some samples of his work, for which I'm very thankful. He'll be back.
Upon my arrival home, I was excited to receive an email from a long-lost friend. It was SO great to hear from you, Nancy!