Perhaps the “memorable” encounters we have with people in each Oklahoma town are recalled by jokes, jarring narrative, or discovering something unique about our participants.
However, encounters we have with people like postal employee Mary Luman are not as cognitively memorable as they are emotionally comfortable. Mary, who mentioned the degree of kindness in the citizens of Camargo, was herself SO. NICE.
Care was taken with the words she chose when responding to our questions. Small gestures like a candy dish for those who visited the post office, or herbs growing in the sunlit reception area spoke to Mary’s character. And although her husband had recently retired from the Air Force and taken a clergy job in the area, she exuded almost childlike wonder and appreciation for how “amazing” the U.S. Postal Service was for Americans.
If you’re ever traveling through Camargo and need a soft peppermint, you know where to go. And, if you lost a batch a greeting cards, Mary may still be holding them for you.
Note from the Editor
As the editor of the Red Dirt Chronicles and Director of our project, Every Point on the Map, I intentionally remove my personal presence from a good deal of our work. For example, I try to let our videos focus on the person we are highlighting, and not the person asking questions (me).
Other times, I do my best to write “about” places we go, or the people we meet, as opposed to use a first person narrative.
But today, I’m choosing to speak to you with my own voice. I’ve been out of town for a few days taking care of some research obligations. Soon, I’ll be leaving my position as an assistant professor at the University of North Texas and begin working as the “Family Initiatives Advisor” for the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma.
I know transitions take energy. I know that one way or another, I’ll have to postpone an Every Point article because we’re moving. However, if there are delays in content being delivered, please know that the silence is temporary. The voice of those with whom we are documenting our meaningful conversations will return very soon. And, my own voice, that I try to temper or pull into the background, will move forward once again.
Peace to you all. I hope your summer provided memory-making moments, love, safety, and gratitude for the goodness we observe every day. Love, Kelly Roberts, aka “Red Dirt Kelly”