EPOTM: Boley, OK

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

They have held 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 to heavy conversations, just like the decades-gone-by portraits hung on the wall in the back dining room at Pookie’s.  Conversations about their town. Their history. Their people.  And their hopes.

Yet all that weight has not yet bowed the steel of the bar stool posts.


And all the concerns, regardless of whether or not they can be solved, have not bowed the steeled resolve of those who remain as residents in Boley.

Pookie, Willie, and Tyrone are still there.  And they shared with us their hopes of one day seeing life poured back into their community.  The life that comes with new businesses, with new families, and with new ideas.  The life that lifts the weight off the shoulders of concerned citizens.

Pookie and shoes

They want their young ones to come back home.

And now, so do we.

Kelly Roberts (Red Dirt Kelly) and Rachel J. Apple

“Holding on to the Soul of Boley,” an article published in National Geographic Magazine.

Soul Food and Southern Comfort – articles about food including “Pookie’s” (McCormick’s Grill).



13 thoughts on “EPOTM: Boley, OK”

  1. Pardon the typo in my most, currently read aricle and should read article. My Boley High School English teacher would not be pleased.

  2. Sending prayers for you, Pookie – get well cousin – keep up the good fight. As I recently said to you, I think of you often and know the strength you have. The family tradition that you carry on will never be forgotten! When in Boley, I always make it a point to stop by, to see family and because it still makes me smile to remember so many wonderful memories at all of Cousin Theodore’s businesses there, including on the bar stool’s at McCormick’s Grill (Pookie’s) sharing with family and friends, eating, playing, experiencing the many changes and also celebrating my surprise 16th birthday. Pookie, thank you!

  3. Thanks for a very well written aricle about a place that is near and dear to my heart, Boley, Ok. My mother worked at McCormick’s and I had the opportunity to fix a few burgers myself. I had my Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party in the back lounge. Great times and good people from Boley. Pookie has managed to maintain the legacy of her family, acutually my family. Thanks for featuring my cousins, Jr. and Tyron in the video and article. However, I don’t know about those coveralls Jr. is wearing. I have not had the pleasure of enjoying a “Pookie Burger”, but I am looking forward to have one served by Pookie on my next visit to my hometown. Get Well Pookie and you are in my prayers. The black and white photography is so classic. Thanks Maurice for the initial post of this article. This is a great idea and fantastic read.

    1. Hi, there – I love that you shared your Sixteenth birthday memories, and that you had family members featured in our post. Take care, and thanks so much for the kind words ~ RDK

  4. I am also from the BIG TOWN of BOLEY….Born and Raised…& I have sat on those bar stools many many times chatting with Mr. Thedo as most of us called him,,that’s before Pookie became the owner,,And still to this day everytime i go to Boley i have to stop in and order one of Pookies Famous Burgers and just sit an chat with her,,the burgers are good either hot or cold,,,,And i am so sorry to hear that Pookie is in the hospital,,she is my Classmate,,,and i will definitely keep her in my prayer.Thanks,,Maurice for the info… & Hoping she gets to feeling better soon……….This is the first time i have ever had the pleasure of finding out about the Red Dirt Chronicle,,And i’m glad i did,,,i will be a follower,,,,Thanks !!!!!

  5. While I live in Moore, I currently work just West of McCormick’s Grill, (Pookie’s). My address was shown in the video, 62 Bar-B-Q Ave. I’ve sat on those stools many times, spoken with Pookie’s uncle Theodore, and partied in the back when it doubled as a club on the weekends.
    For those who don’t know, Pookie is currently in the hospital in Tulsa, so keep her in your positive thoughts.
    I enjoy the Red Dirt Chronicles posts on Facebook. Please keep up your work toward a better Oklahoma.

    1. Hello, Maurice:

      Thanks so much for writing. I enjoyed seeing the company where you work, and we loved that street sign! I appreciated seeing Pookie’s uncle in that National Geographic article, and am so sorry to hear she’s in the hospital right now. Thank you for letting us know. I’ll spend time praying for her healing tonight.

      I can definitely see how that back room would have doubled for a club! Take care – and thanks for your encouragement! ~RDK

  6. I have had the opportunity to sit in those same seats many many years. Even say I am fortunate enough to know the recipe to Pookies famous burgers..That would be a dream come true, to have the town back to we’re it once was.. I still to this day and will always love my Boley. As I represent and a proud member of the famous Boley Connection..

    1. Johnny, I’m grateful that you wrote and live that you are privy to the secret Pookie burger recipe! Thank you for writing…it’s great to hear from The Boley Connection!

    2. So sorry to hear that Pookie is in the hospital. I had the pleasure of meeting her on one of my many visits back home. My prayers for you. I also had the pleasure of eating one of her burgers with my nieces, Connie, & Beverly Joyce (B.J) , my sister Bandit(LaWanda) and Curtis my nephew, and I would like to have that recipe also.
      Those were some memories, but I go all the way back to Truelove’s burger days, Ben Kee’s Malts, and ice cream, & Moore’s grocery when Boley was HOT. What some memories. Just good clean teenage fun. I really wish it could get back to a complete functional town again.
      Like your comment nephew Johnny. You have no idea what Boley really was like. My prayers are with you all. Much love for Boley.

      1. Hello, Janet – What great historical memories you’ve shared! (and now…I’m hungry for a Malt 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your memories on just a tiny piece of what Boley “was really like!” Take care, RDK

  7. Oh my gosh – hadn’t thought of Boley in YEARS!! Thanks for visiting this historic town and reminding us of its significance. Hate to hear that the school closed down, that’s never good for any town.

    Haven’t said or written much lately – but your EPOTM project has me excited! Can’t wait to read the next chapter on this 10-year road trip.

    1. Hi, Sara – I love that you’re still checking in on the RDC! Your posts, especially on Navajo, still get reviewed frequently!

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