Note: See the introduction post to this series HERE…
(Kelly’s perspective) It’s 10:00 a.m.,Tuesday, December 28, 2010. Julie and I are headed south on I-35. Our destination? The Gray Owl Coffee house in the heart of Norman. She and I have spent less than thirty minutes together at this point, yet I’m comfortable and can already tell traveling with her would be just fine. In fact, I’m thinking it might even be better than traveling by myself for this particular journey…and I’m a highly expressed introvert; traveling by myself is one of the greatest rewards I give myself. Julie is sitting in the passenger seat with an ink pen and a half-sized legal pad, trying to write down – in chronological order – all the “Bomgardner sons” our common great-grandmother had. Stumped with some of the missing facts, we call my dad to ask for help filling in the gaps. As he provides the details, I become sobered when he recalls a story that was, until this point, only a brief shred of substance in the back of my head. He tells us that one of the boys had died during a move to a new home. They were either building or taking down a cellar and it caved in on him. For a few minutes my mind begins thinking about the safety cellars in Oklahoma provided from tornadoes and inclement weather, and could – at the same time – be dangerous as exemplified in his story.
We overshoot our exit because I am busy talking to Julie about something. We double back and began to make use of her iPhone GPS device; those things are handier than a pocket on a shirt. We park and walk into the Gray Owl at the exact time for our appointment. As I enter the “best coffee place in Norman,” I begin scanning the room for any sense of recognition. I know Kathy Moore only from her photo on the internet and have no idea when it had been taken.
I find her sitting in the middle table right across from the cash register; I know it’s her because there is enough familiarity with her website to be certain. Julie and I head over to her table, say hello, order our drinks and settle in for what would be a two-hour narrative by Kathy of her life, her farm, her hopes that still exist, and her dreams that have been told “goodbye.” A short version of what we gleaned from this meeting follows: