I always knew it would be quite a challenge when I sat down to write this. I’m gonna be honest here. I have lived in several different states, and Oklahoma is not one of my favorites. In fact, it is not a favorite at all. However, I was able to come up with a few things I have liked while I have lived here. It is safe to say, that the things I have liked, I have REALLY liked, and the things I have disliked, I have REALLY disliked!
I easily came up with about 8 things on my own that I like about Oklahoma, but after that I had to turn to Google for some inspiration.
TOP 10 Things I Like About Oklahoma:
10. Tumbleweeds- Something this Ohio girl had only seen in the movies until I moved here. They actually do exist. I have seen them blow by many times! I was actually on the phone with my mom one day when one went rolling by, “oh, there goes a tumbleweed!” She thought it was funny. But the really funny thing is that a tumbleweed is not just any old brush-like plant that breaks off, dies and is blown around by the wind. It’s not even native to America. In fact, it is traced back to Russia, and was probably imported accidentally by early immigrants. There are a few different plant species that fall under the ‘tumbleweed’ name. Usually found on flat, open land, their seeds become dispersed when they break lose, and are blown around.
9. Braum’s- This family owned ice-cream and dairy store chain has it’s early roots in Kansas. It was 1933 when the Braum family began processing Peter Pan ice cream. In 1968, Bill Braum and his wife brought the family company to Oklahoma, which would be called, Braum’s. The best part is that they produce almost everything they sell on their very own dairy farms! I mean really, the best part is that it’s delicious, and you can find one or two in every town around here!
8. Prairie Dogs- Well, first off, they’re cute. I find them especially cute when they are standing on their hind legs. Nothing more exciting for the kids than driving along (walking, or hiking) and seeing all the prairie dogs peeking their head’s out of their holes. In Oklahoma, you will find the black-tailed prairie dog species. These highly social creatures live in colonies, and can create tunnels up to 10 feet deep. Although a rodent, they are considered an important species that impacts many other animals, insects, and plant life. Therefore, they are protected on federal lands. Sadly, in the state of Arizona, this species of prairie dogs are already extinct.
7. One License Plate- In some states you are required to have both a front and back license plate, but not in Oklahoma. If you bought a car in a state with only one plate requirement, and move to a state with two, you have to get the front plate hardware installed on your car. The up side to this is that when you move somewhere like Oklahoma, you can now put a novelty plate of your favorite team on the front (Go Buckeyes!).
6. The Wind- Believe it or not, the wind in Spring or Summer. I have never lived in a place where the wind is always blowing. Oh, there are plenty of things I do not like about the wind, too. What I do like is imagining I am on a beach somewhere. The wind in Oklahoma reminds me of that constant ocean breeze you experience walking through the surf. The nice thing about it is when it is extremely hot (which is often), you do not feel as hot because of the wind.
5. Mild Winters- Yes! I can SO handle the winters in Oklahoma. Very mild, and not what I am used to. Rarely any snow. However, what I can’t handle is when there is a threat of snow, which never really amounts to anything, and every store is sold out of bread, milk, and other necessities! AND everything shuts down! I’m all over here like, “Wow, the roads aren’t bad at all. I can totally drive in this!” Of course, ice storms on the other hand, are unwelcome and can definitely be troublesome.
4. Native American Culture- There are over 40 Native American tribes that are recognized either federally, or by state, in Oklahoma. I have been honored to be located in an area where several Southern Plains Indian tribes are prevalent, and have learned a great deal about their culture. I have spent the most time learning about the Comanche Nation Tribe through local events and museums. The great Quanah Parker Comanche warrior is buried right here at Ft. Sill. I have also read and learned about Geronimo, the infamous Apache Chief, as well as visited the site of his burial also here at Ft. Sill, OK.
3. History of Ft. Sill- As a history buff, I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about the vast history of Fort Sill and the Field Artillery branch of the Army, which dates back to the mid 1800’s. I am particularly fond of visiting many of the original buildings and historic landmarks that are still standing today. You can often view reenactments and infantry demonstrations. There are two incredible museums filled with artifacts and exhibits.
2. Johnny Depp came to Oklahoma twice & I got to see him both times!!!- A true and unexpected highlight of my time here! How lucky am I that Johnny Depp took the role as Tonto in the film, The Lone Ranger, and chose to portray him as a Comanche Indian. He spent time in Lawton both to learn about the native American culture, as well as holding the film’s first premiere here. Also SEE my other blogs on this subject: https://superstew39.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/the-search-for-johnny-depp-saga-part-i/ and https://superstew39.wordpress.com/2013/07/05/the-search-for-johnny-depp-part-ii/
1. Place where my husband and I went on our first date & the place where he proposed to me- It has always held much irony that our first duty station would be in Oklahoma. The same place we had our first date, as well as where my husband proposed to me. Long before we were super stews and before the army, one of my brother-in-laws relocated to Tulsa, OK. One of his little brothers (my husband) joined him for a couple of years, before going off to flight attendant school in 1999. In 2000, We would meet on an airplane.
He would fly to Tulsa during one of my layovers to visit his brother, and take me out on our first date! Eventually their mother would move to Tulsa as well, and it would become the family meeting spot. At dinner one night, with all the family present- and a restaurant full of people, he proposed to me! We were married on September 15, 2001. So before we lived here, we actually spent a lot of time in Oklahoma!
To me, it is never really about the place, but the people you have encountered there. I have met a vast array of individuals during my time in Oklahoma that have definitely left an impact on my life. Both good, and bad. I always make the most of any situation. I am happy to leave every place with memories and experiences that I have learned from, cherish, and look back on with fondness.