They were humorously mentioned as “the spit and whittle club” in The Imaginary Family Project story on “Gary Ireland.”
As I child I fastidiously avoided them in the Tuttle “Save-a-Stop” as they drank coffee every morning and discussed the local, state and national current events. For some reason, any grown man in farm clothes and boots who wasn’t part of my family scared me. Perhaps that’s normal?
Yet as an adult writer trekking across Oklahoma, I now depend upon them when needing information about a local community point of interest. I merely need to ensure these three factors, and can almost guarantee I’ll find them:
1) It needs to be early in the morning, preferably before 9 or 10 a.m.
2) Cruise the entire street in any small Oklahoma town and scope out the quick stop or diner with the most farm trucks parked in the lot.
3) And then simply walk in, look around, make eye contact with the group and say, “I need help!”
This process has never…I mean NEVER failed me. There they will be, a group of local men seated around a table or in a booth or perhaps occupying two or three tables and booths, discussing the morning’s business before heading out to begin the rest of their day.
I was reminded of this this small-town Oklahoma phenomenon while out on the “phase 1 section” of the Base Vines & Cattle schoolhouse deck two days ago. It was 55 degrees, the wind had finally laid, and on a perfectly still and dark evening a few farmers, a distributor and a consumer had gotten together to chat. The subject of the “Oklahoma Table” had come up by way of the delightfully caring female farmer among the group and then someone said something about “the group of men who gather in the mornings for coffee.”
“Oh, yeah…we call them The Board of Directors,” said Aaron Base with a chuckle. And immediately, everyone knew what he meant.
They are the experts in the community. They are men who know the town narrative and probably created it. They are the group who has seen people move in, and people move on. And, they take whatever activity goes on within their community to heart. Continue reading The “Board of Directors”