Wednesday, May 30, 2007

snippets of rural life

In the absence of any decent coffee within a 50 mile radius of Blackwell, Oklahoma, I was forced to use the canned Starbucks ickiness to feed my habit and ward off headache, runny nose, irritability.

I made a number of runs to the Honk-N-Holler (not really, but it used to be that) to stock up. Tulsa's a friendly place, but nothing like Blackwell and Tonkawa. These folks rise to a level of friendliness unmatched anywhere.

Exiting the first store in Tonkawa, I was greeted by a late middle-aged man who practically shouted "Helloooo there miss, how are you this morning? Let me just help you there with that door, you doin' okay? Great. Glad to hear it. You take care, now. Have a real good day." I drove past the gas pumps and three folks filling their cars with $3.39/gallon gasoline smiled and waved at me.

My early afternoon run took me to a shop in Blackwell. As I got out of my car in front of the building, the clerk standing outside said "Hey, now, how you doin' there? I'll bet that little car is fun to drive, is it? Do you like it? Listen, Melinda's just inside, she'll help you with anything you need, I just had to sneak out here for a quick smoke, but I'll be right back in there. Nice car, ma'am."

Every car passed on the roads to and from Blackwell did the farmer wave: with hand draped over the top of the steering wheel, the hand just rises up, gives a quick back-and-forth jig, and the driver nods a greeting. By the time I'd made the 20 mile trip between Blackwell and Ponca the second time, I was waving just like the rest of the farmers, smiling, nodding, my hand wagging back and forth.

At the Oto tribal store, I met three people on my way to the Starbucks stash and was greeted with "Hey there honey, how you doin'?" and "Good afternoon, you doin' alright?" and "Howdy, missy," this last from a gentleman wearing dramatically embellished cowboy boots that rose to his knees, tight, tight jeans which nicely displayed his (ample) package, and jingly spurs.

I like friendly. I do it myself. These folks were being nice because that's what they do. It was an ethnically diverse bunch, these friendly folks, and that warmed my heart as well. Rural American isn't all bad, and I saw enough bumper stickers (example: "Your spirituality inspires me, your religion scares me") to give me hope that our innate decency and concern for others may be the thing that saves us all in the end.

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10 Comments:

Anonymous tater said...

Couldn't agree more honey! This is why I love to read you. Thank you for lifting my day a little higher.

May 30, 2007 10:58 AM  
Blogger more cowbell said...

Mmm. Nothing like a man with spurs and ample package to lift the ol' spirits.

May 30, 2007 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Kamrin said...

The "farmer wave" huh? I didn't know there was a name for it. It has been hard explaining that to my English folks, they just thought I had a hand twitch till they saw everyone else doing it. I love the South! Thanks for the inspiration that it ain't all bad in the back woods!

May 30, 2007 1:55 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

May 30, 2007 2:10 PM  
Blogger Willym said...

Blue is a media state of mind - and from the sounds of those folks they could chase the blues away. And once again you did the same to mine... damn you're good Missy...

May 30, 2007 2:27 PM  
Blogger David said...

No offense to any of this friendliness, but I think I'd lose my mind within a day of this. I need my private space, even in public. I think I'm better off in the cold, cold city.

May 30, 2007 3:37 PM  
Blogger rodger said...

Ah..you describe the rural South so well I almost miss it! I think I'll have to make a visit to the family soon.

May 30, 2007 4:27 PM  
Blogger Red7Eric said...

I'm so glad I kept reading until the end of the post. Throughout the beginning, I was thinking, "yeah, but if I were walking into what used to be the Honk-n-Holler, I'd be trying so hard to butch it up and pass for straight, I probably wouldn't even hear the nice things that people were saying to me."

And that's probably still true. Truth is, I think I'd prefer a small-town existence to life in any big city, but ironically, city streets make me feel a lot safer than country roads, mostly because of who I am. And I'm not angry about it ... just sorta sad.

I love the bumper sticker, tho'. I totally want one.

May 30, 2007 6:29 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

natural habitat, eric. i think that's part of it, my comfort level.

i keep telling myself that the vast majority of us really care about others, really want the best for our fellow citizens regardless of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, etc.

i still think it's true, for the most part, but your recent experience with the fuckheads in san antonio tells me it's not all good.

May 31, 2007 6:18 PM  
Blogger Junk Thief said...

I grew up in rural Oklahoma, and all that made me very cranky. I got a lot less cranky after moving to New York and then San Francisco.

June 01, 2007 3:21 PM  

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