Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Jan and Jerry's

You'll have met Jan and Jerry before.  Well, maybe by name only, as I see only one photo of Jan in all of the day we were in York together. 

Whatever pictures Bill took of us all together just didn't turn out.  So, we managed to do a bit better this time.

First of all, they took us out to dinner to Eischen's in Okarche, a place I'd never been before.   This was really over the top; it should have been us taking them.

The notable feature of Eischen's besides having been around a long time is that they serve the food without eating utensils, so you have to eat your fried chicken and your fried okra with your fingers! 

They provide plenty of napkins, thankfully, and I must admit it's the best fried chicken I've had in years.

We drove around a bit after dinner, past this memorial of the Chisholm Trail. 

I've always been a bit fascinated by the name Jesse Chisholm, for the simple reason that as a child I lived with his portrait in my house for a few weeks. 

Mom was commissioned to paint a large sized portrait of the man for one of the museums.  I've been hunting that painting at various museums over the past few years, but I've yet to find it.  It's probably in a storage room somewhere.

We also drove through Edmond, past my alma mater, which has for some reason changed its name from Central State University to University of Central Oklahoma. 

Old North, the original building of the 'normal' (teachers') school.

I see that was in 1991, the year I left Oklahoma.  See?  Turn my back for just a minute... Actually, it is apparently their habit to change the name a lot.   Fortunately I have a certified copy of my transcript and so won't have to worry about the name change.  Oh, wait!  I'm retired.  What a relief.

They showed us one of the Express Ranches, near Piedmont.  Bob Funk is known for Express Personnel, breeding cattle, Clydesdale horses (which apparently have a link with Royalty) and apparently for being a generous employer.  I was thinking that I forget how much money there is around Oklahoma.  I think that must be one of those best kept secrets or something. 

I know a lot of people are rather dismissive of Oklahoma:  it's not as big as Texas, it doesn't have the Rocky Mountains or a sea coast, it's one of those 'boring' midwestern places people used to drive through on their way to somewhere else, sort of like Newcastle, between London and Edinburgh; only now they call it 'flyover country'.  I won't waste my fingers trying to sell you on Oklahoma.  It is what it is and if it's not your thing, fine.   Folks here in Britain often tell me they've "been to the US":  New York, Florida, LA, Grand Canyon.  I tell them, "No, you've just been to New York; that's not the US any more than London is Great Britain."  In my opinion, if you haven't been anywhere in 'flyover country' you've just been to the tourist traps.  That's not a political statement, just a personal observation.  Wonderful as the tourist areas are, they simply aren't representative of the US as a whole; then again, where is?  It's a pretty diverse place.

Anyhow, I ran across this video about a cattle auction at the Express Ranch.  The first part is a bit schmaltzy (I like it anyhow), but then you get to the auction part which I found a bit surreal and rather fascinating.  I've obviously lived abroad for too long!  In fact, I found this collection of videos from Distinctly Oklahoma magazine.  I can see me getting really homesick watching these!  [Pat, you might particularly enjoy this one.]  Another place we drove past showed the devastation of a recent tornado, with tractors and other equipment overturned and a wide brown stripe of green fields overturned.  Maybe I won't get homesick after all. 

We only stayed the one night with Jerry and Jan, but they had obviously put a lot of thought into getting ready for us, even down to a couple of fleece robes in case we needed them and a tray with teas and coffee, like in European hotels!

I'd never been to this house and I was just knocked over at how beautiful it was.  Jan did a lot of the decorating herself, making kitchen curtains and such.  Much as I'm tempted to show you all the photos I took, I would consider it an invasion of their privacy. 

I did accidently capture this little vignette, if that is the right word for it.  It reminded me a lot of Pauline's post titled 'Love Your Space'.  I certainly loved Jan and Jerry's space and it was clear that they did, too.

In the morning Jerry cooked us a marvelous breakfast and he showed us his unique collection...of bricks. 

I've never met anyone who collected bricks, but it makes as much sense to me as anything anyone collects.

Jerry was told that the one with the boot heel imprint was made in the old days at the State Pen in McAlester where the warden was too cheap to buy a stamp for the bricks and told the inmates to just use their heels.  He's not been able to verify the story, but why shouldn't it be true?

There's a lot of history in these bricks.  OT stands for Oklahoma Territory,

That says Don't Spit on the Sidewalk.  People used to think this
transmitted TB, a misconception that remains.  

which dates it between 1890 and 1907. 

We thoroughly enjoyed our brief time with Jan and Jerry,

just as we did in York. 

It would have been nice to have been able to visit longer, but we needed to head north.


Rick Stone said...

I too graduated from Central State University and that is what my diploma says. When former Governor George Nigh took over as President of the University he did not like the name. Used the excuse that people would confuse it with what used to be called Central State Mental Hospital down in Norman. Did not matter that the hospital has been called Griffin Memorial for twenty years by that time. He became University President about the same time former Governor/US Senator David Boren became President of the University of Oklahoma. In my opinion the name change was more to do with being envious of Boren's job than anything else.

Rick Stone said...

My Uncle Dale, who passed away on 1/1/2011, collected these historic bricks. His sons had built him a very large patio using bricks from all around the country.

Anonymous said...

I so agree with your comments on flyover country. Sounds like you are telling the British right...