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Okie Grown – Welcome to Tulsa

Posted on Wednesday, November 5th, 2008.


Tulsa SC Sign

Sara and I just missed the off-ramp. As we discuss how that could have happened and take an unexpected detour, I feel the excitement welling up inside. We start heading up an inclined expressway. At its precipice, we are greeted by the bright lights of our new destination. My cell phone rings. It’s Alex.


“I love it! Tell Sara I love it!”

She hangs up.

We have landed in Tulsa, Oklahoma: the home of college football, and one of the largest collections of art deco architecture in the country. It’s late October and the weather is exquisite! We are given a grand welcome by the Tulsa Public Radio team and invited to see a performance by a fellow NPR mainstay, Garrison Keillor and his “A Prairie Home Companion.” He and his talented team of colleagues are performing in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center just steps away from where our booth will be parked for the next 6 weeks.

To a packed venue Garrison delivered a two hour history on what is termed the Buckle of the Bible Belt. Additionally, Tulsa is the birthplace of the Route 66 highway or the “Mother Road,” whose length spans from Chicago through to Los Angeles, California.

The history of this town is evident in its people and buildings. Tulsa was once the Oil Capital of the world and has no shortage of amazing dwelling spaces that were built during its hey-day. The highlights include Oral Roberts University, which has a seemingly endless supply of futuristic architecture. The Philbrook Museum, once an Oil Baron’s Estate, is now home to one of Tulsa’s most beautiful landmarks: an Italian villa complete with gardens that instantaneously transport you to a quaint European country home.

The end of the road for many on the Trail of Tears, Tulsa boasts a large number of Native American reservations and sacred lands just outside of its borders. Tulsa’s rich music history reveals itself in the city’s claim to being the home of Western Swing music. Virtually every bar or restaurant has a stage to showcase the multitude of local talent which include the GAP Band, Garth Brooks, and David Cook. Local residents even join the tradition as a stage was created for a “living room concert tour,” where we enjoyed a couple traveling the country and sharing their music in private homes across the country.

Tulsa features wonderful scenery, people, food and music. And we, like so many of the home grown citizens here, are “so OK.

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4 Responses to “Okie Grown – Welcome to Tulsa”

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  • Sara and Carl were terrific as far as making people comfortable and explaining the process prior to the recording. They are very interesting people who are great at listening and coaching folks through the process. I was interviewed by good friend Todd Madland. Several weeks later a cancellation allowed me to interview Earnie Montgomery, a retired Geography professor from Tulsa Community College, who has some of the funniest anecdotal experiences around.

    Story Corps is a wonderful vehicle for listening to everyday people talk through their experiences. The experience reminded me of the late great Studs Terkel’s book “Working” which gets down on the street level to record some fascinating testimonials.

    Comment from Bruce Sands on November 18, 2008 at 5:49 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • I was privileged to interview my lovely wife with Carl serving as our host in the trailer. Carl was a gracious host and the 40-minutes flew—-proving each of us has a story to tell. What a wonderful opportunity to share the thing that makes Tulsa so special—–its salt and light—its people. Enjoy your stay in Tulsa.

    Comment from Paul on November 6, 2008 at 6:57 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Carl, thanks for your splendid writing. I met you and Alex on Sunday and am so pleased to read about your exuberance for our lovely city. It’s quirky, too, and full of interesting types. We’re glad you’re here and capturing some of our treasures! :) Cheers!

    Comment from Stephanie on November 5, 2008 at 11:17 pm - Reply to this Comment
  • Tulsa is so fantastic. Carl – you put our initial Tulsa experience in to perfect words!

    Comment from Alex on November 5, 2008 at 7:48 pm - Reply to this Comment

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