Tag Archives: friendship

How Do You Say That?

In honor of tonight’s NCAA Men’s basketball final between Louisville and Michigan, don’t you think it’s about time to revisit Southwestern Oklahoma – home to some of the best small school basketball teams – and make sure we know how to pronounce those town names?  Just in case you’re wondering how to pronounce the capital of Kentucky, it is pronounced, “FRANK-fort”.

Red Dirt Kelly gave birth to the Red Dirt Chronicles just a few short years ago. Since that time she has posted Red Dirt trivia questions on Facebook about all things related to Oklahoma. My favorite trivia questions are the ones that focus on Oklahoma places. When it comes to Oklahoma place names, the trivia can include more than just location, it might even pull out the old “how do you pronounce . . .” routine. As Jeff Foxworthy might say: “You might be from Oklahoma if you know how to say ‘Gotebo’, ‘Hobart’, ‘Eufaula’, Oologah, or Skiatook.”

Southwestern Oklahoma has its fair share of names that make you either grin or raise an eyebrow before attempting to say them. Go pack a snack now, and a tall glass of sweet iced tea, and we’ll take us a little road trip around Southwestern Oklahoma and discover some of these places. Leave your GPS devices at home for this trip – just pick up a copy of the free map of Oklahoma that the tourism department provides. It’ll save you a hundred bucks or so, and give you a better idea of where you are going.

Driving along US 62, halfway between Altus and Lawton, there is that sign that says “Gotebo –>”. Gotebo is one of those place names that exposes the non-Oklahoma roots of weather reporters. Very few know that it sounds just the way it is spelled, “go-tee-bo” with all long vowels. Gotebo is located in Kiowa County, at the junction of State Highways 9 and 54. It was founded around 1901 and has a current population of 226.

Northwest of Gotebo is Retrop. Some may wonder where this strange name came from, but it is quite simple, really. Spell it backwards and you have the surname of the first family to settle in Retrop. When the town applied for a post office, they discovered there was a town in Indian Territory named “Porter”. When word came back to Retrop about Porter, the forefathers said, “Let’s just spell it backwards.” Retrop is located on the Washita/Beckham county line, along State Highway 6, not too far down the road from Sentinel.

Up the road a ways from Retrop are two towns located a few miles apart on either side of State Highway 54, and nearly always paired together on the highway signs. Corn and Colony are their names. I’m not sure if they grow corn in Corn, or if any colonists remain in Colony, but I do know that one has family ties to John Denver. Continue reading How Do You Say That?

Is There Hope For The Friendship Flunky?

My fingers, usually clickity-click fast on my iPhone, hovered above the screen. I knew I was making this harder than it needed to be. Yes, I had chosen to text, because the thought of having this conversation in real time was just too scary. This way, if she said no, I wouldn’t have to quickly come up with an easy breezy comeback that belied my disappointment. If she said yes, well, I hadn’t exactly thought through the next step because I could hardly make myself begin the first. I typed…and then deleted what I typed because it sounded ridiculous. Sigh. How hard can this possibly be?

The above is a play-by-play of something I did just this last week. Was I asking my boss for a gigantic raise or delivering bad news to some unsuspecting soul? Nope. I was inviting some new acquaintances over to our house for a cookout.

Many of you will not understand why I got worked up over such a simple transaction. You don’t understand because friendships are easy for you. From that day in elementary school when you locked eyes with a girl wearing the same “My Little Ponies” t-shirt to the adult days of hosting neighborhood parties and going out for “girls’ nights”, you’ve never really thought about friendships as difficult or complicated. I am not you. I envy you. I do many things well, but making friends and maintaining friendships has never felt particularly effortless or natural. I am an accomplished woman – in fact, I’ve been called “Super Woman” twice this week – but friendship is a chink in my armor.

Growing up, I usually had one friend at a time as groups were intimidating. I often felt ill-equipped to navigate the dynamics of friend groups and far preferred to focus my attention in a single direction. I attended lots of group activities (dances, ballgames, etc.), but put far too much energy into making sure I had a plan for exactly what was going to happen once I arrived, who I was going to sit with, and what we were going to talk about. I was insecure about the friendships I had and often felt like I was constantly auditioning for my role, and only made new friends if they made the first move. And, I was quite passive if and when friendships shifted off course. A few very special people floated out of my life because I didn’t know what to do in response to a rift, so I did nothing at all. While this sounds incredibly depressing, I have somehow managed to enjoy some great friendships throughout my life, and for this I’m incredibly grateful. Thank goodness for people who make the first move!

Age has provided some perspective, but I’ll admit I still struggle with insecurity. About 5 years ago, I learned I am an introvert. I’ve spent my whole life performing, speaking in public, and leading in various capacities, none of which aligned with my perceptions of an introvert. Previously, I defined an introvert as someone who is anti-social or doesn’t like to talk. Well, I get along with people really well and I talk all the time (sometimes I talk so much I have to kick MYSELF under the table). In reality, I’m a fairly typical introvert. I do most everything with some degree of anxiety and fear and require ample down time to recover from my social activities. Further, when stressed, I withdraw as opposed to engage. This insight definitely helped the world make sense, particularly where my friendship history is concerned. Knowing how my personality impacts my actions definitely helps me strike the right balance and compensate for some of my natural tendencies that are counterproductive to maintaining relationships. Continue reading Is There Hope For The Friendship Flunky?

The Gift of My Dear Friend’s Catch Phrases

If I were a tree and beneath my branches lay gifts adorned in lovely holiday fare, I would hide the small collection wrapped in gilded sheets of friendship tied with bows of years together.

They are from my friend Cathy, and I would hide them because I know the contents. They fall into the priceless category; not for sale.  Only to be distributed at the perfect times, and with Love’s careful delivery.

The contents are no secret, however, because they have been shared among her family and friends all her adult life.  They are the gifts of her prolific and perfect catchphrases.  Let’s open one, shall we?

Her Exclamations

If we were a comedy team, I would normally play the straight man and she the comic relief.  Cathy wears her emotions on the frayed ends of her sleeves and they are generally punctuated with exclamations such as…

“Coo-Coo for CoCo Puffs!”

“Cripes!,” or “Ye GADS!”

Sometimes she’ll see something, pick it up and exclaim,

“Gad zooks!”

Other times some mission has been foiled and it’s, “Arrrrg!”  Or, perhaps a mission has been accomplished and in her sing-song, deadpan tone I’ll hear, “Yippee Skippy”  or  “Oh joy, oh rapture.”  These exclamations, delivered in perfect monotone, then make said accomplished mission all the richer.

“Hali-Tosis!” makes me giggle. And,

“Groovy, Marcia”

is one of her favorites. I’ve heard it in a hundred different versions.  Go ahead try it. GROO-vy, Marcia.  Groovy, MAR-cia…see?  It works. Continue reading The Gift of My Dear Friend’s Catch Phrases

Not So Newlyweds: Friendship, Love, and Baseball

Luke & Julianna in 2006, ready for the "Cards" game.

We just celebrated our 5-year dating anniversary. I know, I know, once you get married, you’re supposed to focus more on the wedding anniversary than the dating one, but my theory is that without the dating anniversary, there wouldn’t be a wedding anniversary.

Five years ago was the fall of 2006. Luke and I were in school at OSU, and we were in the middle of a heated Major League Baseball playoff season. A truly diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan, Luke’s contagious enthusiasm for the sport had won me over to watching some of the TV coverage and even convinced me to go with him to a game in St. Louis that September. We had a blast, and it was the beginning of the end of our “just” friendship.

Backing up a little, I don’t actually remember meeting Luke. We grew up in the same church, but because of a bit of age difference, we were never more than casual acquaintances until we were both at OSU. We “met” when his mom sent a few items with me to give Luke at the end of a weekend I had been home. One thing led to another, as they say, and suddenly he was a staple in my daily plans. Along with an amazing group of friends, we had study “parties,” took road trips, and participated in Dessert Club, in which our friends gathered at restaurants for the sole purpose of ordering dessert. Those were such good times, and almost imperceptibly, moments built upon each other until we realized we wanted our time together to outweigh our time apart. So after the trip to St. Louis that September, we had some good talks, experimented with hugs and hand-holding, and decided to start a relationship. Continue reading Not So Newlyweds: Friendship, Love, and Baseball

Forest, Trees. Clouds, Crystals. A Micro-Macro Meditation.

Monday afternoon I was sitting in the window seat of a plane flying toward Minneapolis.  During take off preparations, some of the shiny chrome trim on the tarmac equipment caught a reflective beam of sunlight and sent it directly into my eye; so, I had shut the window cover.   But now I was curious.  I wanted to see the view, to look around and say hello to the sky.


Ice crystals. Some of them looked like tiny caterpillars or stands of mitochondria.


When I lifted the plastic shade I was met with a view of tiny ice crystals that had been forming on the outside of my window.  I examined them and looked for purpose or replication in their pattern.  I thought about Minnesota and wondered if the quilted jacket I had with me was enough to keep the cold air at bay.  My thoughts turned toward the conference.  It had been a long day, so I reached up to once again close the shade and try to nap.  I had been up since 4 a.m. and had a long night of preparations still in front of me.

Just as my arm started the downward motion to close the shade, something caught my eye.  I stopped and took in the “skyscape” moment,  visually tracking the long blanket of cloud cover beneath the plane all the way to the horizon.  I’ve seen the clouds before, but I almost missed them this time.


Oh, HEY clouds. Good to see you!

I had allowed what was right in front of my eyes to be all that I considered.  I then wondered, who had I done that same thing to today? Yesterday? This week?  So my hope for you today is:


Remember to also step back, take in the whole person, and enjoy or consider their sum.  After all, their whole being is always so much more than the sum of their individual parts.

Happy skyscaping,

Red Dirt Kelly