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Boom Town:

The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City: its Chaotic Founding… its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis

A book I wasn’t sure I wanted to read, but a review in the local paper convinced me otherwise. For me the dry words of a geographical biography can be often mind numbing, but about two chapters into this book and it was apparent that was not the way this one would read.

It’s not a love story, it’s not a hatchet job, it’s something in between, something that made me read the book almost straight through.

I still was hesitant because of the way the author Sam Anderson jumped round from chapter to chapter, he talked about the land run and then one of the next chapters would be about James Harden, Sam Presti or Wayne Coyne – then Daniel Orton popped up and claimed a fair potion of the book. How did he really fit in the scheme of things? All of these were important parts of the book that made me both proud and angry at the people who started this city. And certainly furious at the some of the more recent shenanigans that has given Oklahoma City a poor reputation, one that has been at times richly deserved. Anderson explores all the high jinks and devious maneuvering that went on in the early days, how when cities and states around us were civilized, Oklahoma had its own laws. It wasn’t pretty.

Names that are familiar to all who live here come alive as the history lesson unfolds in way that you won’t read in typical history books. Clara Luper comes alive with the sadness of the race issues that plagued and still plague this state and will haunt me for a long time. And the description of one of architects of the city, Angelo Scott, sounds like he could have been an ancestor of Sam Presti.

But the parts that surprised me the most was the emotions I felt at retelling of the bombing and preceding days of McVeigh. Next, the descriptions of the famous tornadoes that hit in the city in 1999 and 2013. It made me feel physically ill as they came alive through another’s eyes and from the point of view of Gary England. I was never a huge fan of his before, that changed and the story just reiterated my feelings for David Payne. Not good ones.

When the author starts retelling the life cycle of the NBA Thunder seasons, when they were hit with injuries, the trades and treason, I had to put the book down, even though I knew what was going to happen. As an outsider I also felt a bit vindicated for some of the feelings I’ve had over the years. Yes, finally someone else saw what I was watching from afar.

Anderson starts off with the story of the killer of the killer of Jesse James – Red Kelley and jumps almost immediately into the saga of the Beard. The books takes lots of turns and twists with flashbacks to the early days of the land run and statehood, as well as the declines, booms and folly of the government. But woven throughout is the life cycle of the Thunder, mentioning things as fans we’ve never known about and a glimpse of the thinking of the powers that be. It was a fascinating read for me, a person who has never felt like I belonged here. I’m still not sure if I do – but now I can pinpoint some of the reasons why.

The book finally ends on September 29, 2017, another boom day for Oklahoma.

A Perfectly Normal Day

Today was one of the best days ever. We were celebrating my birthday and daughter Susan planned the day for me.

She picked me up and we hit a few craft shows in area, the first one was pretty small and not very promising. But we wound up buying some goodies at a bake sale and found a great Christmas present for a friend.

One of the vendors had painted signs/sayings for sale. One sign was perfect for Susan, but it was pretty big, so reluctantly we passed on it. We continued visiting with other vendors and a few minutes later the painting lady came up to Susan with the sign and said she wanted her to have it. She insisted upon her taking the sign. We both cried.

After two more small craft shows we wound up at a nearby cajun restaurant that we don’t get to eat at very often, especially since the guys in the family are not fans. Sorry guys, but it was as delicious as always.

Next it was time to head home for a short rest and nap.

A few hours later all five of us went out for a great dinner, I got to open birthday presents from my family that knows me all too well and an early bedtime soon beckoned.

Like I said, a perfectly normal day.

When a member of your family has a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, those days are what we all long for and are so rare, but absolutely perfect when it happens.

Kevin Durant and Mother’s Day

© Laurin Rinder | Dreamstime Stock Photos

© Laurin Rinder | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Winning basketball’s coveted MVP trophy is a basketball player’s dream. Most Valuable Player trophies are given out every year and fans can name many of the past winners. But for those who are not basketball fans, you most likely aren’t aware of who wins it, why they win it and what difference does it make anyway? Even though I have stronger feelings this year since our hometeam’s player won the award, I have a feeling that this year’s winner will soon be known to those who don’t even have an idea of what team he is on.

As one headline shouted out, Kevin Durant just trumped all our mother’s day presents. He did indeed.

As an emotional acceptance speech was winding down, Durant made a point to name each of his teammates by name and say something special about each one of them, after thanking the staff of the Thunder and also the city and fans, his greatest moment was yet to come.
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Ford and American Pickers — Join the Scavenger Hunt!

American Pickers Van

American Pickers Van

When I interviewed Mike Wolfe during on the early seasons of American Pickers, I was really surprised at the number of negative comments about, of all things, the guys driving a foreign vehicle. At the time Mike said, it was the only one that worked. Well that’s apparently in the past as it’s just been announced that the the 2015 Ford Transit is joining the cast of American Pickers.

To celebrate they company is having a scavenger hunt in ten metropolitan areas — find the scale model at one of ten antique stores across the country for the use of a Ford Transit van for two weeks.
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