Our Tulsa Adventure
We skipped Chicago and headed for Tulsa. Equidistant we are approximately – Chi or Tulsa – never been to Tulsa and it might be an adventure.
Hurtling on the oblique heart-line through the center of America, the omphalos, the belly button, we traverse our state in five hours. Enter Oklahoma and the air is clean, a horse culture all around, I am wearing a large hat, hope to purchase a larger one to remember our adventure.
We pass through the Cherokee nation, originally settled by the Creek tribes.
I rent two rooms, one for my sidekick Will one for myself, in three and a half stars by Hotline downtown. Downtown is spread horizontally, some old architecture, many empty spaces no doubt from the dis-appearance of old architecture now deceased.
This city built from oil, the bidness of oil having moved to Houston and left this lonesome city once, once, once ascendant.
A port near Tulsa, the most inland river port in the United States that once fed international commerce from intra-national waters. Catoosa.
Some reclamation downtown in a modest way. We dine in the location of former glory no doubt, Blue Dome Diner, empty when we enter at 6 PM. We order: a little fried okra, lentil soup (the vegetables are crisp and lentils al dente, subtle spicing just a touch of kick), Greek salad with a home made balsamic that is one of the best I have had, everything excellent. “I love this place,” I say to the ceiling fans, to my sidekick Will, to marlene our waitress blonde haired with streaking.
Popular spot for travelers, Route 66. Home of Western Swing, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. We walk down Bob Wills Avenue, we pass a small club where there is punk music and kids standing out front. Next door very fine looking violin maker’s shop. Closed.
We see sign Cain’s Ballroom Dancing, 1924, inside a small sign over the stage: the home of Bob Wills. The ballroom spring-loaded wooden floor reclaimed, ballroom outfitted for lights and sound, the pictures of Bob Wills, Kitty Wells, Hank Williams line the walls.
I sit on the wooden bench along the wall. My back hurts so the chairs are not pleasant. I am wearing the largest hat in the place.
Richard Thompson begins precisely at 8 PM. He doesn’t speak much, non-verbal smile and nods to his co-players acknowledging the pleasure and mysticism of playing in this the home of Bob Wills, Oklahoma, “one of two states I have never played” says R.T.
He launches into a stunning set with an engine that does not abate. First set the latest album. Second set selections from over forty years of gigs.
We eat chocolates from a fine chocolatier around the corner. Very fine French chocolates. We talk to the Tulsans.
Hurtling home the next day retracing the oblique heart-line traversing our state. Stopping at Waffle House (currently my second favorite restaurant) in Joplin for the perfect waffle dual eggies and raisin toast (hash browns ‘cuz I’m wearing thin I am), we are listening to R.T. and B.D. on the car box.
I missed the Oklahoma hat having many larger hats at home.
We had a real adventure and in my traveling bag – a sack of fine fine superfine French chocolates.