Sunday, June 02, 2024

Welcome To Oklahoma

So, events in Coulterville brought my sister to Tulsa, and further events led to me visiting her there. At least, I assumed at the time that it would just be a visit. Tulsa would become my home for almost 30 years.

I don't remember much about Sally's visit to Coulterville. It was May, and Sally's birthday and Mother's Day are always close (sometimes they fall on the same day.) That was the reason that I was given for Sally's visit – Mother's Day and her birthday. (She only told me recently that mom had called her.) Sally invited me to come to Tulsa with her for a visit. I remember packing a single bag of clothes, and I remember that I took a little case of music cassette tapes with me.

I remember playing the tapes in the car during the trip. One of my friends from Coulterville, Peyton, was really into music (and still is.) I inherited some of that passion at the time and some of the same tastes. Growing up, Chuck listened exclusively to country music. This was old school country, Don Williams, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, the Oakridge Boys, Willie Nelson … all that lot. If you recognize those names, you know the kind of music I mean. It's the kind of music that still puts a knot in my stomach when I hear it today. (Except for Dolly Parton and John Denver. I love Dolly and John!)

Before Peyton had introduced me to new kinds of music, I think I thought that all music would make me feel the way that country music makes me feel. I think that Sally felt the same, (with the exception of gospel music) and I like to think that I opened her eyes to new kinds of music. She really seemed to enjoy the music that I played on our 9 hour car ride to Tulsa as I "DJ'd" from the passenger seat. I played the Beatles, and Eric Clapton, and Boston, and what I think was her favorite, Fleetwood Mac. I know that I played "Rumours" at least twice and that the second time was by request.

It's the music that I remember from that trip. I think music might be one of those memory triggers, like smell. I think of that car ride when I hear "I Don't Want To Know" or "Don't Stop." I also remember the weather. It had been cooler in Illinois and I had packed a few long sleeved shirts, but the trip up had been sweltering. It was 90 degrees when we reached Tulsa in the late afternoon / early evening. That night a cold front moved in, and the next morning it was snowing. I was shocked.

In response to my great surprise at the abrupt and extreme change in weather, Sally said simply, "Welcome to Oklahoma."

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