Sunday, April 30, 2017

Woody Guthrie

We learned a lot about the Dust Bowl and the Depression during our visit to the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa.  Many of his early songs concerned the problems faced by everyday folks during those difficult times.  Here are two well-dressed men seeing jobs.

Woody had been caught in the severe dust storm that moved across Oklahoma on April 14, 1935--Black Sunday--and one of his songs talks about that experience.  The storm was so massive it has even been included in a documentary on the Dust Bowl by Ken Burns.

I was dwarfed by this mural in the center's lobby.

This is one of the photos of that dust storm that is included in the Burns film.

In addition to writing music, Woody was quite an artist.  This is just a small section of one wall in the museum showing some of his drawings.  You can click on the photo to enlarge it and get a better view.

Guthrie wrote protest songs and supported working people against the establishment.  This is one of his banjos.

During World War II, Guthrie served in the Merchant Marine.  Twice his ships were torpedoed.  The words on the top right side of the strings of this guitar say  "Once Drowned, Twice Sunk," referring to his wartime service.

I have never really been into popular music or much folk music.  I had heard of Woody Guthrie and recognized his voice in the songs we heard in the museum.  I am really familiar with this song he wrote.  It was popular during the time I was in college.

The museum has a temporary special exhibit about Pete Seeger, another protest singer who was inspired by Guthrie.  He was writing songs about disarmament and the environment and protested the Viet Nam War. For a while he was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era.  I remember more of this music, including "If I Had a Hammer," "Turn, Turn, Turn," and "Where are All the Flowers Gone?"

We find museums like this one very informative.  They also show us how out of touch we have always been with popular culture--except for the anti-war protests during the 1960s and early 1970s when John was a Boulder policeman.

Saturday, April 29, 2017


I have heard of Tulsa, Oklahoma, probably my whole live. But I must admit I never gave it much attention and never really thought of visiting. However, it is a good one-day trip east of Oklahoma City as we make our way to Missouri. Actually, we only planning to spend two or three days here before heading to Branson. We had reservations for a show and planned two nights in the Indian Point Campground on Table Rock Lake. However, there is a massive storm system moving from west to east. It is snowing in Colorado and raining hard off and on in Oklahoma and Missouri. It would mean we would have to travel in heavy rain. They had rain before we arrived and the ground is saturated so there are flash flood warnings through the whole area. We decided to stay put until it clears up on Monday, cancelling our two Branson reservations.

As it turns out, we have found a lot to do here.  The first two mornings we walked at the Oxley Nature Center next to the Tulsa Zoo. The environment here is very different from either Colorado or Arizona.  Look at all the green.

We checked out downtown Tulsa.  The city was growing in the 1920s and 30s and there are many Art Deco buildings like this Tulsa Union Depot.

When we first arrived, doing laundry was on the agenda.  We were delighted to find two cats hanging out in the office and laundry.  We really miss our two cats who used to travel with us so we got our kitty fix while washing clothes.  You can't really see it in this photo, but this first cat has a hair cut (fur cut?) so he looks like a lion.

This cat looks like our cat Partner.

We found a number of murals in one alley.  They all seem to relate to the Day of the Dead.

I had packed a couple of sandwiches for lunch during our trip into town.  Maybe we were still hungry because before returning to the RV we stopped in the Antoinette Bakery.  The sign in the window says "Eat Cake."  We didn't take that advice but I chose the mega Oreo cooking and John had the apple pie bar.  Both were very good.

There was more to see in Tulsa so stay tuned.

Friday, April 28, 2017

More OKC Surprises

We certainly didn't expect a canal and river walk in Oklahoma City, but that is what we found. After we visited the Botanical Gardens we took a walk and discovered this peaceful scene.

There also were boats to take people on tours of the canal and downtown area.

Walking along the path we found a magnolia tree beginning to bloom. We had only seen this once before, when we volunteered at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.

We passed water falls.

This is the Chickisaw monument.  Oklahoma was once called Indian Territory because that is where the US government sent a number of tribes of Native Americans when white settlers wanted to move onto reservation land.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was the largest bronze monument we have ever seen--the Oklahoma Land Run monument.  This team or horses doesn't seem to want to cross the water.

Obviously many other horses and wagons have already crossed.

We learned some details about the 1889 Oklahoma Land Run while viewing the monument.  That year the congress and president opened up the unassigned lands within Indian Territory to white settlement.  On April 22 a cannon was fired and would-be settlers who had been stopped at the border of those lands rushed in to choose their own 160 acre plot.  It was bedlam.  To learn more about this piece of history, click here.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

OKC Surprises

We had spent time in Oklahoma City before and visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial which marks the site of the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building.  It was very moving.  This time we found several surprises that are not nearly as heavy but very interesting.  There was so much to see it will take at least two blog posts to cover it all.

We visited the Myriad Botanical Gardens in the downtown area.  The Crystal Bridge is an indoor tropical garden with many really beautiful plants.

Outside the building we saw a pond with attractive landscaping, including beautiful ornamental grasses.

You can see the Cristal Bridge in the background here.

Inside we saw amazing flowers and plants.  This is a clam claw flower.

I didn't get the names for all the attractive plants we saw.

The variety of orchids was really amazing.

This is some sort of cactus. I had never seen a white one before.  We also saw plants we think are typical in southern Arizona, including a golden barrel cactus.  I guess they are technically tropical too.

As we walked outside again, we saw a lot of amazing fish in the ponds around the Crystal Bridge.

We really enjoyed the gardens, but there was a lot more to see in the area.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

We're On Our Way

Tuesday morning after Easter we finished loading our trailer and closing up our winter home and it was time to hit the road!  We pulled out of our place in Gold Canyon about 8:30 and were on our way to Holbrook, Arizona.  This is a comfortable drive for us, about 180 miles.

After a one night stay, we moved on to Albuquerque for a couple of nights, then to Tucumcari, New Mexico.  Downtown Tucumcari has a number of murals.  This one focuses on the old Route 66, America's Mother Road, now generally following I-40.

From Tucumcari we have traveled another 116 miles to Amarillo, Texas. (Yes, I know.  That is a really short drive.  We prefer to travel this way.)  In the Texas panhandle we see lots of grain elevators and wind turbines.

Our eventual destination for this trip is New Hampshire for a visit with our son Doug and granddaughters Rachal and Samantha. Since the trip there is more than 2600 miles from Arizona, it will take a while. We have lots of fun things to see and do along the way.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Holy Week and Easter

This spring, per our usual schedule, we stayed in Gold Canyon through Easter so we could worship at our winter church home, Epiphany Episcopal Church in Tempe.

John assisted at all of the services during this most holy week of the church year, beginning on Palm Sunday.  The service began in the Parish Hall then we processed with palms to the church where John censed the altar.

Thursday we marked the Last Supper when Jesus washed his disciples' feet and instituted the celebration of Holy Eucharist.  Our Good Friday worship was marked with an empty altar and an empty cross.

Saturday night we began our Easter Vigil in the dark as we remembered the disciples waiting together in fear after Jesus' crucifixion before the first light of Easter is kindled.

The church is no longer bare but full of gold drapery and white flowers.

Easter Sunday the church was packed with worshiping Christians and three young children were baptized.

Even the Arizona desert flowers celebrate Easter. Each spring this beautiful flowers bloom--for only one day. I call them Easter lily cactus.

Then we were off on our summer travels.