EPOTM: Beggs, OK

_DSC0268Their red stone cottage was nestled within the Beggs town proper, not too far from a water tower that, from our angle, read: EGGS.  I noticed ivy gracing the home’s outside walls as I stood on the porch and knocked, only waiting a moment before Jill answered the door.

It was Mother’s Day, a mid-Sunday morning, and as I spoke with her about our project asking for a conversation and a photo I was struck by the inner calm her voice offered in response. The sunlight lit her face and enhanced her high cheekbones, freckles and short red, curly hair.  Many are thrown off by our requests, but not Jill.

“Well, we’re headed to my mother’s house, but I have maybe five minutes?”  I knew we couldn’t set up and close back down again in five minutes, much less speak meaningfully with someone in that time frame.  So, I politely declined.

Back at the car, I relayed the details to Rachel and she said, “Why don’t we just pose the opportunity to give us her ‘best five minutes’?  This is going to happen more than once, so we could try it.”  I agreed and ran back to knock a second time.

Call it what you will – Providence, serendipity, or chance…but Jill had a story to tell on Mother’s Day.  And, she did it in only eight minutes, on her porch, with her husband Davíd at her side, and her eleven-week old son Noah on her lap.

And, we cried.

Thank you, sweet family in Beggs, for your Mother’s Day post script contribution to Every Point on the Map.

For more Every Point on the Map posts, click here.

EPOTM: Mounds, OK

_DSC0298“Bull?  How’d you get that name?”

We were loading our equipment into the car while Bull and Bobby were sitting outside a convenience store in Mounds. Bobby needed a smoke.

“Aw…here we go…”  Bull acted put out while at the same time positioning himself to tell the short version of a story he clearly treasured.  “I used to be in the service, and while I was stationed in Germany we’d sometimes leave the base and ride in the European rodeos.  Well, I always did pretty good but one time I won the whole thing.”

“What do you mean, ‘The WHOLE thing?'”

“I earned the title of European Rodeo Champion…the WHOLE thing.  And that’s when the boys started calling me Bull.”

I glanced at Bobby who was almost halfway through this first cigarette.  We made eye contact and he slightly nodded his head as if to say, “Yup.  It’s the truth.”  I looked back at Bull.  He looked down at the ground, for a minute, then re-engaged Bobby in their lighthearted joke-talk.

“So,” I thought to myself, “Inside they’re camera shy and do everything they can to stay out out of the conversation.  But out here, the bench is their turf, and I’m looking at a bona fide rodeo champ.” Continue reading EPOTM: Mounds, OK

EPOTM: Little, OK (The Bathroom Ghost)

_DSC0061Rachel and I were standing outside in the August sun, waiting patiently on a woman to finish her cell phone conversation. She looked like an overdressed Flo, talked with a vernacular that could only be Alabaman, and made eye contact with us every thirty seconds holding up her index finger as if to say, “I’ll be right with you.”

She was sitting on a concrete picnic tabletop with her feet resting on the bench under a shade tree in an RV park. Five minutes into the conversation we had picked up these details: they were in “the oil business,” her husband was in the trailer and she was late for a meeting with him, and she wasn’t sure if they could take that job or have to refer them out.

I’m not sure how much time had lapsed when she finally ended the call. In my head, I envisioned the minutes log on her next month’s phone bill reading “length: twenty or so index fingers signals.”

“What do y’all need?” she asked, looking as if she really needed to get to her meeting. In the trailer. Right there in front of us. The one she was glancing at, then looking at us with eye signals and pleading eyebrows as if to say, “Move it along, I have an appointment.”

Explaining our project, we shared that there didn’t seem to be that many people in Little, OK and we thought this trailer park might be a great place to meet someone.

Looking directly at the both of us she replied, “I don’t think this is Little, Oklahoma. I don’t know where Little, Oklahoma is.”

I glanced at the trailer park sign clearly visible from our vantage point. The name, “LITTLE, OK” was hand painted in white letters against the faded blue background. Across the road, “THE LITTLE GROCERY & DELI, Little, OK” had at least three customers in the parking lot, one getting gas, and one pulling in.

I looked at Rachel, glanced at Flo who was physically leaning toward the trailer waiting to be released with our words, and I gave in.

“Okay,” I said. “No problem. It looks like you’re busy, we’ll check out The Little Store across the street.”

_DSC0068Her body fully relaxed as if she was a puppet just cut from her strings. “THANK you. I’m SURE you all will find someone THERE.” She entered the trailer without a goodbye.

Rachel and I looked at each other, ambled back to the car, and had the same thought we later verified with each other as we drove to the store: “Some people are just weird.” In my rear-view mirror, I noticed the license plates on her RV read: Alabama.

Our conversation that took place a few minutes later was with an 18 year-old from Tahlequah who was working for his Grandpa’s store in Little for the summer. Two weeks after he started working there, he began dating the other employee who was a year older than he.

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Miles wasn’t quite sure about his next move in life. His girlfriend had meticulous plans for her next three or four. But at some point in the conversation, the two of them and the two of us made a small connection…about ghosts.

EPTOM: Wewoka, OK (Or…How Tori is Getting Her Groove Back)

_DSC0104Dimples slay me.

Regardless of race, age, creed, color or sexual orientation, dimples have always slayed me.

They were the first thing I noticed about Tori. The second was the fact that we were sitting at a picnic table talking to this sixteen year-old girl who had a hundred year-old soul.

Her blue-green eyes were steady as she recalled the story of how she ended up in Wewoka, Oklahoma. About the happiest day of her life. And about horrific acts of violence and abuse she had experienced in her short lifetime.

Carefree adolescents swirled around us – biking, skating, and joking with each other while she talked. And when we were finished, I wanted to hit someone and make them pay for the pain and trauma they had caused her. Instead, we took a few pictures and went on our way.

But in the car to the next town, I think Rachel and I were a little more quiet than usual.

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.
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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 Would you like a warm up?

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