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Livin' on Tulsa Time: Day 1
Yesterday’s flight to Tulsa was my first since Christmas 2019. At the beginning wariness about the pandemic kept me out of the air. These days it has more to do with neuroticism about flying. Not so much the actual flight part as anxiety about getting to the airport on time, nightmarish herds of my fellow Americans, unwittingly setting off alarms at security, that sort of thing.
Sleep on Tuesday night was fitful. At some point I began fretting about whether I had set the alarm on my phone properly to be ready for an early morning cab ride to the aiport. If I had scheduled a wake-up reminder on my Outlook calendar, my phone, synched in accordance with the mysterious and esoteric ways of Google or Microsoft or some three-letter agency, would have beeped, thus serving as a backup to the phone alarm. This occurred to me around midnight. Getting up then to turn on the computer and set it up would have been too much even for me. I tossed and turned instead. The phone alarm blasted away at 4:00 a.m. just as it was supposed to. I was awake anyway.
The airport at 5:30 was unexpectedly calm. Much better than Christmas when I customarily fly to Tulsa. There was one slightly embarrassing moment at security. I am among a diminishing minority who still wear a mask in public places, on the principle that it does no harm and it might help us be a little safer. There was hardly any line at security, and to my good fortune the security person was clearly good-natured. When I handed him my ID, he remarked lightly that he doesn’t have x-ray vision yet. I may have blushed behind the mask, hastily pulled it down, and apologized, explaining that I had not done this in a while. He glanced at me, then at the driver’s license, scanned it, and said I passed with flying colors.
Once past security it occurred to me that I walked away from home without my camera. Better than leaving it at the airport or on a plane, but still…drat.
I should note that I dipped my toe a bit deeper into the 21st century: I downloaded the Southwest app and used my phone to flash my boarding pass at gate.
The flight to Denver was uneventful. I passed the time during a lengthy layover with lunch, ham and cheese sandwich that sat heavily in my stomach, a cup of coffee, an article about the revolutions and counter-revolutions of 1848 in The London Review of Books, and a fair amount of pacing up and down the concourse.
The flight to Tulsa was scheduled for a 4:15 p.m. on-time departure right up to the moment we were to begin boarding. First our plane was held up getting to the gate because blocked by a plane that was experiencing a problem. Boarding was further delayed by a shortage of wheelchairs for an unexpectedly large number of people in need of them. Once on the plane we endured a wait that seemed interminable but probably was not as long as as all that while a small number of bags from a connecting flight made their way to us. Finally, after pulling away from the gate, we sat on the runway for a while. As always, it was a relief to be airborne.
Things looked up upon arrival in Tulsa where signs touting the Bob Dylan Center, newly opened to the public May 2022, were featured prominently throughout the airport. Trés cool. I wished for the camera.
Trani and Candace were waiting out front when I emerged into the heat and humidity of the heart of the country. We made straight for Rice Bowl Cafe for dinner and a much anticipated adult beverage, a tasty IPA Trani suggested we try. Conversation soon turned to social and political matters, on which we tend to be in substantial agreement, ranging from pessimistic speculation about whether Trump will ever be imprisoned for his crimes to Oklahoma’s groundbreaking approval of the first taxpayer funded religious charter school in the US, an online school grades K–12 to be run by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa. (Laura Meckler, Okla. Catholic school set to become nation’s first religious charter, Washington Post, June 5, 2023). Apparently some serious shenanigans were involved in the approval by the Oklahoma Statewide Virtual Charter School Board. Even the state attorney general criticized the decision as “contrary to Oklahoma law.” Gov. Kevin Stitt dissented, citing it as “a win for religious liberty and education freedom in our great state” (Chloe Kimm, Oklahoma approves first US taxpayer-funded religious charter school, BBC News, June 6, 2023). Now that the precedent has been set, I look forward to the establishment of taxpayer-funded charter Islamic schools. I believe they are called madrasas in Pakistan and elsewhere.
Then home to watch Nikola Jokić, Jamal Murray, and their Denver teammates take game 3 over Miami to go up 2–1 in the NBA finals. The game was close for most of the first half. Toward the end Denver established a comfortable working margin of up to 10 points give or take that Miami whittled back to 53–48 at halftime. In the second half Denver led by as much as 20 if I remember correctly. The lead fluctuated in the teens as Miami made runs and Denver responded. Final score was 109–94. Both Denver stars had triple doubles, with Murray’s line reading 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, while the wondrous Jokić went for 34 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists. Jokić was aptly described by Aaron Timms: “a center with the touch of a guard, a prodigious scorer who’s better as a passer, the embodiment of total basketball, infinitely adaptable, positionless but always in position, a crossroads in human form,” and captured even better by the article title: A pickup truck doing ballet: Nikola Jokić is making the NBA finals his masterpiece. As a youngster in Serbia he watched his favorite NBA players on youtube: “I watched Magic [Johnson] because of his passing, and Hakeem [Olajuwon] because of his post moves, and [Michael] Jordan because he is Jordan” (quoted by Timms). It shows in his play as he dazzles with a style all his own.
Today began with breakfast at Queenies at Utica Square, just Trani and me because Candace had been up early to take a friend to the aiport. I was tempted by the oatmeal pancakes he likes but went for the basic breakfast, as the menu has it, two eggs scrambled, bacon for the first time in memory, potatoes, and toast. I may have put on a few pounds already. Washed it down with about a week’s worth of coffee. My coffee consumption is not what it once was, but the friendly waitress kept freshening our cups and I kept drinking. Conversation between brothers ranged hither and yon, among other things touching on mutual yearning for a trip back to the ancestral family homeland in the South Carolina Midlands. Maybe next summer after Trani has sold the store and Candace retired from teaching. That would be nice.
Today is a home day for me with Trani at the store prepping for tonight’s Tulsa Runner 20th Anniversay Celebration (May 2003–May 2023). So I pen a fresh “Livin’ on Tulsa Time” journal entry because that is kind of what I do. I believe the Dylan Center and maybe a tour of the Greenwood neighborhood are on tap for tomorrow. I wish for the camera. Onward, ha! More anon.
Keep the faith.
Stand with Ukraine.
Yr obdt svt
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