Monday, May 05, 2014


Cue - Willie.

We're b-a-a-a-ck.  Tuzigoot spent the winter in storage, but we fired her up last week for a trip to Oklahoma.  My sister, Connie, and her husband, Tom, who live in Edmond, OK, have six sons.  Two big family happenings over the weekend.  Number 4 son, Chris, married Cari  (sons 1-3 are already married), and Number 6 son, Peter, who is a HS senior, gave a piano recital.  No. 5 son, Caleb, is getting married in June, so we'll go back for that.

In between events, I took in a couple of historical sites: the OK History Center and the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (formerly the Cowboy Hall of Fame).  Susie said she'd rely on me to report the highlights and bring back pictures, so she relaxed at the RV park while I did my Oklahoma heritage thing.

We left Cedar Crest on Tuesday, 4/22, spent the night in Amarillo, then got to Twin Fountains RV Park in OKC the next day - two fairly easy 250 mile days.  Very windy but something of a tailwind.

My sister, Verla, came to the RV park after work and the three of us went to downtown OKC for their annual art show.  Pretty big deal, with lots of things to see, and that was just the food tents.  We stopped to talk to a New Mexico artist, David Vega Chavez, and as we talked and looked at his work, it slowly dawned on us that we have one of his paintings - in our bedroom, we walk past it every day on the way to the bathroom or closet!  It's a painting of the California ghost town of Bode, located east of Yosemite, which we had visited on one of our early Tuzigoot I trips.  Doh!  If you go to his website you can see many of his NM scenes, and others.  Also, he describes his interesting and unique water color technique.

Thursday morning: the Oklahoma History Center

Way back in the 1970s my dad was Executive Director of the Oklahoma Historical Society and the OK State Museum in OKC was part of his responsibility.  That has been replaced with a spectacular new facility, the OK History Center.

(I'm composing this on my recently acquired iMac computer and have not learned much about editing and arranging pictures, so I have not edited these.)

Here's the view looking across to the capital.

That's a replica of Wiley Post's airplane, the one he and Will Rogers perished in.

One exhibit area featured OK on stage and screen.  

There are a lot of exhibits pertaining to Indian Territory and Oklahoma Territory which were combined to make the state of Oklahoma - you can google up all you might want to know about that. I did find out that the Tonkawa tribe, from which my OK hometown got its name, has a creation story that says they emerged from a mountain in Texas.  I don't know how soon or by what route they made the move to OK (though as a callow youth I was told that the Tonkawas were cannibals, so maybe they were asked to leave Texas).

(Here's a joke about OK, told to me by a Texas Aggie: Oklahoma license plates say, "Oklahoma is OK."  Do you know why?  Because they can't spell mediocre!  Pretty funny, huh.  You can see why the tribe left.)

One other interesting collection of exhibits came from a Century Chest, buried in one of the OKC churches in April, 1913, and opened in April, 2013.  The chest was a large metal box, eight feet long - bigger than your average cornerstone.  It had quilts, pictures, letters that church members had written to "the children of my children," recordings, dishes, and other memorabilia.  The museum had cards on which a person could write a message that would be read 100 years from now.  I couldn't think of anything to say, so I won't be passing along a card to my distant descendants, such as grandson Jason's grandchildren, not to be opened until 2114.  What would you say?  And to whom?  What would you put in today's Century Chest?

Thursday night was rehearsal dinner.  A couple of pix:

Tom and Connie:

Cari and Chris, with a Navy buddy (Chris is in the Navy, stationed now at Norfolk):

Incidentally, I started a Words With Friends game with Cari the week preceding all this.  Haven't heard from her for several days - must be busy.  The wedding was Friday night and they left Saturday for Norfolk.  I can't help mentioning, though, that I fell into the word SEQUINS for lots of points, early in the game.  Welcome to the family, Cari!

Friday morning, time for more history and the updated Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Verla said, "Be sure and see Dad in the drawer."  She was referring to a drawer in a cabinet holding laminated note cards for the many founders of the Hall - back in 1955.  Here's Dad:

I couldn't take the card out of the drawer for a full picture.  The card describes his background and even lists his children, so I'm immortalized in the drawer, too!

The Hall houses a large, dramatic, heart-rending sculpture, End of the Trail.  (Found this picture online.)

The Hall is also home to five gigantic triptychs of Western scenes by artist, Wilson Hurley.  Here are two, shot from the doorway to the meeting room where these are displayed.  I think I read that they are 15 ft. high.

Hurley was born in Tulsa, then lived in New Mexico, went to and graduated from West Point, flew in the Army Air Corps, settled in Albuquerque, worked as a lawyer, and even as an engineer at Sandia Labs, before going full-time as an artist, at age 40.  He died in 2008  Here's his obituary.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -Wilson Hurley, a noted American landscape painter, died Friday. He was 84.
Hurley's wife, Rosalyn said he died before dawn. Hurley had been diagnosed last year with Lou Gehrig's disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS damages the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, eventually leading to death.
She said Hurley had painted until January when the disease began to take its toll on him.
Hurley was born in Tulsa, Okla., and graduated from West Point. He worked as an attorney, engineer, fighter pilot and bank founder. But through it all, he painted, devoting himself to his art full-time at age 40.
He received numerous awards for his landscapes and more than 800 of his paintings have gone into private and corporate collections. Most notably, his paintings hang in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma State Capitol and the Albuquerque Museum.
Hurley was inducted in to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1996 and was declared a cultural treasure in that state in 2002. That same year, he became the Albuquerque Museum Foundation's second notable New Mexican.

I dwell a bit on Hurley because of the Albuquerque connection and also because he was the speaker at son Jeff's HS graduation in 1988.  I recall that it was a thoughtful, informative, entertaining talk - not the stereotypical graduation snooze.  

There is a lot of art in the Hall - Remington and Russell and other noted Western artists down through the years.  

I wish someone would straighten those pictures!

How 'bout this cat!

Matt Dillon and Miss Kitty are there, too.

Ronald Reagan and John Wayne.

The rodeo section was interesting, featuring videos of the various events and biographies of rodeo pioneers and superstars.  

So, if you're ever passing through Oklahoma City, check out the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.  It's just off I-44, at the Martin Luther King Ave. exit.

Actually, OKC has a very positive feel to it.  They've got a new skyscraper:

They've got the OKC Thunder NBA team.  They've redeveloped a lot of downtown - the Bricktown area, with shops, restaurants, a minor league baseball stadium, and a river walk is an example.  More is planned.  'Everything's up to date in OK City, ...'

Friday night: Chris and Cari's wedding.  I didn't get many good pictures.  To see better photos go to Verla Raines's Facebook page.

Here's Susie with the newest family member, great-nephew Pascal, call me Paz, Collins.

Saturday - Free day.  Mid-morning we drove Historic Route 66 from Edmond east to Stroud, where we met friends Connie and Jim Davis from Tulsa (Connie and Susie taught together for years) for a late breakfast.  (For mood music click here.)  We picked Stroud because it is midway between Tulsa and OKC and because it is the home of the historic, Route 66 icon, Rock Cafe, featured, cartoon-style, in the movie, Cars.  Had a fine breakfast and visit.  And a pleasant drive through the Oklahoma countryside.  Here's another Historic Route 66 building:

Sunday afternoon was Peter's recital.  He was introduced by his teacher and older brother, Stephen, who said Peter was the student every teacher dreams of.  He not only plays classical and other music, he composes.  He's all over that keyboard.  It's awesome.  Brings a tear to Susie's and my eyes just to hear what he creates and expresses through music.  Here's a jazz duet that Peter and Stephen did at the recital.  If some of Peter's classical is posted later, I'll send out a link.

We left for home on Monday - another windy day, head wind going west.  Spent the night in Amarillo again and rendezvoused with our friends, Roy and Sue Sooter at Dyer's Barbecue for dinner (just north of the Georgia Ave. exit on I-40, in case you're ever in the area at mealtime).  Had a good time visiting and catching up with kids and grandkids.

Tuesday morning we angled off to the SW to visit son, Jeff Hinkle, in Clovis, NM, where he has recently become the store director  of the Albertson's grocery store there.  Strong wind and blowing dust as we crossed the Panhandle.  The store is larger than the one he left in Gallup.  Activities on the nearby Cannon AFB provide a varied clientele.  Jeff and Valerie have bought a house in Clovis and Valerie and the moving van have completed their move from Gallup, NM, as this is written.  We had lunch with Jeff, he drove us by their house, and then we headed home.  Got there in late afternoon.  Great extended weekend with family and friends.

Susie and Rob

As many of you know, we've traveled extensively the last 14 years on SW Airlines, thanks to the benefits bestowed on daughter Mandi Venable, now manager for SW at LaGuardia airport.  If you've flown SW, you know that some of the cabin crews like to entertain - comedy, music, ...   Susie and I just watched this video, from the Ellen show.  Thought it was worth sharing.  Enjoy.