I wondered today if all states in the Union have such a distinctive mark on their citizens like Oklahoma and Texas do? I was raised in the heart of Texas and taught from a very young age to love Texas, to be fiercely proud. I mean, it was almost its own country after all!
I remember having a 45″ (ahem, a record/lp for you young’uns) of Deep in the Heart of Texas on it. I remember being so proud that Bluebonnets grew in our front yard and convincing my younger sister, Heather, that she was going to get arrested for picking them since they were the state flower.
I think I was more Texan than American. Seriously!
I moved to Oklahoma after the 9th grade. My dad is a born and bred Okie and my mom a Texan. My dad hails from the excruciatingly small town of Ryan, Oklahoma. We moved to Podunk to be closer to family and all, and at the time, I thought in order to destroy my entire life. Teenage drama! So I wondered today, when was it that I became an Okie? Don’t get me wrong, I still love my Texas and will never, yes you heard me right neverbecome a fan of OU or OSU. I just can’t go that far. Still, I know that I am just as Okie as anyone else no matter how far I go.
Here is a list of my reflections on what makes someone an Okie – feel free to chime in!
- Eye-witnessed, heard, or have been victimized by a tornado. I wasn’t even an Okie when this first happened to me; I was a Texan visiting Okies! I was seven and had to huddle in the cellar (and if you’ve been in a cellar you know that they are dark, damp, scary places with daddy-long-legs lurking everywhere!) When it was over it had blown my Nanny’s screen door off, and we went inside and watched The Muppet Show.
- In conjunction with #1 – during the spring and summer months, you plan on not watching any actual television on the prime-time stations because you know it will be nothing but tornado coverage. Even if the danged tornado is 150 miles away, the weather guys feel the need to cover it minute by minute, including size of hailstones, wind sheer and velocity. No need to watch a discovery channel special on tornadoes – just turn on the news on any given early evening or 3am.
- Bad Hair – this is also related to #s 1 and 2. With all this wind, there’s just not much point. I see a lot of bad hair, mine included. It will look cute inside, and that’s about it. And if the wind doesn’t get it, the heat will.
- Going to a fish fry. This is an Okie summer tradition and one that I love. All you need is catfish, okra, french fries, lemon, and possibly tartar sauce and ketchup. Yum!
- Waving. Everyone here waves. Do you know em? Probably not. Should you wave? Definitely. It’s something I have grown to love about this state. People are generally just really friendly. In fact, I went walking in the neighborhood this morning and in the process was waved at and/or I waved to about 15 people. No idea who any of them were, but it sure made my morning better!
- The dreaded 4-Way stop. This is where Okie friendliness takes a turn for the worse. If you’re not careful, you may be locked into a wave-war at a 4-way-stop. “No you go on!” “No – it’s your turn!” “No, go ahead..” Will someone please just go? Jason says I need to be a more aggressive driver.
- Sonic. Now Sonics are in many parts of the country, but they are an Okie in origin and permeate the Oklahoma countryside. Even the smallest towns have a Sonic. They make the best Cherry Cokes on earth, their ice is perfect, and I love, LOVE a chili-cheese-coney.
- Noodling. I am not sure on this, but I am pretty sure this if not uniquely Okie it must be an Okie original. No fishing pole? No net? Who needs it?! Just stick your arm in a huge, grotesque catfish mouth and let it clamp down! There you go – noodling. I am sad to say that my own father has partaken of this craziness.
Well, that’s all for now folks!
You’re Doing Fine Oklahoma. Oklahoma, Okay!