Okie Grown – Welcome to Tulsa
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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