On the Horizon: There’s a vineyard? Where?

One thing about my job I enjoy is bringing stories to people about places in Oklahoma that most don’t realize are there. Many don’t know that Oklahoma used to have a growing vineyard and wine industry back before statehood and prohibition. But prohibition changed that and the industry died on the vine.

Even with the repeal of prohibition, it still took nearly 40 years for the industry to reemerge into the burgeoning wine industry it is today. Unfortunately, many people are unaware that we even have vineyards in our state. But the Oklahoma Agritourism Department is changing that for the better.

In this week’s blog, we look at how Oklahoma Agritourism is putting Oklahoma’s wine industry on the map. Hopefully it will help interest you into touring an Oklahoma vineyard near you.
Alisa Hines

Oklahoma Wine Trails from Alisa Hines on Vimeo.

Would you like a warm up?

photo (2)Would you like a warm up? It’s one of the greatest questions posed by the dining service industry in this fine land of ours. If you look broadly across the blessing of the English language landscape, you may find it to be that, and so much more.

One of my fondest early memories in life is going to breakfast with my dad on Saturday mornings to a small diner in an even smaller town. Quinlan, Texas, won’t make the list of Every Point on the Map given it’s proximity south of the Red River, and its a shame in some ways, for Quinlan in the early 70′s was vintage “good people” country.

I have an old friend who likes to say “denial is more than a river in Egypt”. Amen to that, but I would add that the Red River, likewise, is more than just a boundary between Oklahoma and that neighbor to its south.
Which brings us to today’s topic. Where does any of this fit within the genre of “27 hats”, you might ask? Well, topper 12 of 27, save one, is from Red River, the resort town in New Mexico, not the tributary to our south. It has been the selected hat for this post for almost a month now, but as I told our friend RDK in an email after writing the similarly themed post on 11 of 27, I’ve been finding myself at a loss for words. And, likewise, this morning, I concur that it’s OK.

Red River, New Mexico, at least for me, for many years was a place of mythical legend. I had never been there. Continue reading

EPOTM: Boley, OK

The bar stools in Pookie’s restaurant have born much more than the weight of those who have sat and eaten “burgers made with love” years on end.

They have born the weight of conversations about Boley exchanged by their occupants.

About the school closing three years ago.

About how to help people feel safe even when there is an occasional prison escapee in the area.

About whether Willie Williams’ bucking bull will be of such quality to draw a premium price at sale, and how they need good counselors at the substance abuse treatment center down the road.

About how the history of their community is best told by some of the oldest, and how they wish those elders were present to talk about Boley instead.

About how good last year’s rodeo was, or about planning the next one.

Willie and Tyrone

About their town’s dwindling population, and “what kind of ideas can we come up with” to encourage the “young folks to move back and raise their families.”

Those bar stools have stood as silent witnesses Continue reading

EPOTM: Criner, OK

_DSC0096(click photo at left for full view) -CRINER, OK.

When we were driving into Criner the only thing my mom had been able to find out about the town from a quick LexisNexis search was that they had a Superfund site, and that there was a lady who got in an argument with her neighbors because her goats were…ahem, fornicating in her front yard and the neighbors didn’t much care to see this particular act of nature.  So heading into town we were sort of hoping to talk to goat lady because we thought that story was hilarious, but as it happens we found someone else in town to tell us her story.

Usually (I say usually, but we’ve only done ten towns. I don’t really know how often you have to do something to justify using the word “usually.”) when we enter a town we scope it out before trying to track down someone who is willing to talk to us while we’re lugging around equipment, asking a billion questions, and also being complete strangers.  We like to drive down whatever the main street seems to be, look for interesting architecture, count the churches along the main street, and then look for a place that might have someone interesting and willing to talk.

So as we drove into Criner we passed a house with a gate and some sort of signage that said something about goats so we got excited and said “Hey! We maybe found goat lady! Let’s come back to her if something else doesn’t come up.” Then we went and found the Superfund site, met a few friendly dogs that wanted to come along for the ride, and then drove by a cute fence that had an “Eggs for Sale” sign.

We then had a debate about if we wanted to go find out about egg lady or goat lady, mams (mams is what I call my mom who you probably know as Red Dirt Kelly, Kelly Marie, or Dr. Kelly M Roberts with some extra letters that I haven’t committed to memory) finally asked who I wanted to talk to since she had chosen in Dibble. Well I wanted to see the chickens and love farms eggs, so I chose “Egg Lady.” Continue reading

EPOTM: Meeker, OK

_DSC0126“You could probably just talk with anyone here.  We’re all like family…that guy just had a horse kick the valve stem off the tire on his trailer, so I helped him fix his flat.”

Rachel and I had stepped outside the car to find out what the assembly of hundreds of trailers, horses, and people was all about.  The man explaining the flat tire scenario had been looking at us with anticipation as soon as we told him about our project.

I’m not sure what it is about a split-second decision and all that goes into that moment.  For some reason, I wasn’t in the mood to talk with a guy who wanted to be the one we talked to.

I thanked him, glanced at Rachel, and understood she was in agreement to move on as well. If we were at a National Barrel Horse Association event, we wanted to find some racers.

It was a windy day. Hot, dry air swept through the camp, chapping lips and making those who had circled the wagons seek out their stores of cool water.  We pulled our small VW Jetta through the rows of trucks and trailers, looking for a better spot.  Soon, we had found our own makeshift “campsite” and parked the car.  Walking along the  fence line, we watched several riders warm up their horses for the next competition.

As we returned to our car, Rachel spotted a family who seemed approachable.  They appeared to be a mother and two daughters, and their relaxed, easy-going demeanors helped us know they might say yes to our standard question: “We’re traveling to every town in Oklahoma, and we’d like to have at least one conversation with someone in each of those towns.  Would you be willing to talk with us for a while?”

They said yes. Our equipment partially worked.  And, our video tells the rest of the story.

If you’re short on time…click here for a 30 second intro video.  Otherwise, this five minute video will give you a peek into the world of Melissa, Lauren and Brooklyn.  Precious people – living life and learning as they go.

Meeker, Oklahoma Wiki     Meeker Facebook Page   History of Meeker

Showcasing Red Dirt culture ~ authored and managed by contributors with connections to the great state of Oklahoma.