Sunday, December 04, 2005

Oklahoma II and Final Observation

In my novel, "A Circle of Magic," I note that: "When I was a child, the Oklahoma license plate expressed to the world that 'Oklahoma is OK.' I don't know if I asked my father the obvious question ('Daddy, why is it OK?'), and I don't remember him explaining it to me, but as I left Copperthwaite's office, I was struck with how gray the city still seemed. What the hell had they--the OK folks of this OK city--been doing for all these years? Where were the trees? Where were the street performers? Where were the street cafes? Were there any OK architects who had managed to imagine anything other than those perpendicular boxes? And where were all those lovely Spandex-wearing bicyclists who roamed most great American cities every hour of the day, every day of the year?"

Our Courtyard by Marriott hotel featured a channel devoted entirely to the exciting specter of a revitalized downtown Oklahoma City. The endless loop of civic propaganda began with a message from Oklahoma City's mayor who began his little happy message with the words, "Oklahoma City is a faith-based community..." Yup, that about summed it up for me and I immediately turned the channel.

The picture you see above is a portion of the water channel that runs through what is called "Brick Town" in lower downtown Oklahoma City. In Denver, this portion of the core city is called Lodo where, decades ago, a redevelopment effort turned what was once a blighted area into an exciting, thriving community of loft dwellers, retail outlets, restaurants, bars, hotels and curio stores.

Sad to say, Oklahoma City's quite recent foray into the revitalization of their lower downtown heritage has--as I experienced--resulted only in a dirty green-watered canal and scads of bars where folks happily tip their brews and watch sports events on stategically located television sets hanging from ceilings.

I guess it's important to report that the OK City is getting ready for the state's centennial celebration that, I believe, will take place in 2007. They've even erected a dome upon their statehouse with an Indian standing atop looking off into a northeasterly direction where, I'm sure, he's awaiting more kindly attention from the politicos in Washington from where all good things--including Indian rights, benefits and an affirmation that reservation gambling joints ain't all that bad--will shortly be forthcoming. Yes, the OK City is gearing up for their centennial.

As much as I'd like to be there, I don't think I'll be able to make it for the celebration.

God bless my Uncle Murlan, who will be 91 this February. He loves Oklahoma and George W. Bush and all things that wreak blindlingly of God and Country and mother and apple pie. That's okay. I don't mind his devotion to the OK City.

But, please lord, deliver me from my Oklahoma ties. No good can come from this. Please, Lord, let Oklahoma do it's thing without me, without me nosing around in the red-dirted swamp of lost opportunities and ill-placed priorities.

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