Living on Tulsa Time

Yesterday’s lunch with friends in Fort Smith was delightful, but too brief. The margaritas and the meals were outstanding, but would have been just very good without the conversation. Our short time in Fort Smith was a perfect way to break the trip to Tulsa into bite-sized chunks. We plan to come back when our friends’ floor project is complete. And, of course, we’re anxious to have them back for another visit in the Village.

Once in Tulsa, and after several attempts to get a satisfactory room (with everything working), we settled for a slightly smelly room with two queen beds versus one king. We watched a movie until one of us fell asleep. I woke briefly as the credits rolled, then went back to tequila-fueled sleep. I woke around 4 a.m., then again at 4:30, but opted to stay in bed. Finally, around 7, I got up and showered. I spent far too many hours asleep in bed, resulting in my aching from excessive laziness. I should learn my lesson.

This morning, as we were getting ready to get our breakfasts, my IC noted that a man she had seen last night, banging on the outside glass door of the hotel while being refused admission, was milling about the front desk. We went to the desk to check in for the remainder of our stay (the first night was free, courtesy of hotel points, so we had to check in for the paying days), where my IC whispered to the desk clerk, informing her of the previous evening’s experience. The clerk said she already knew and had called the police. (The guy asked the clerk to check to see if his relatives were in some room on the sixth floor of the hotel, which has only four or five floors.) The police showed up moments later. We are not privy to how they handled the guy, but we noted he was not at the front desk when we went back to the room after breakfast.

Our first planned museum visit was to be the Gilgrease Museum, but we learned last night while structuring our day that it had closed for rebuilding on July 4. Crud! So, instead, our first visit was to the Greenwood Cultural Center, where we viewed photographs and watched a lengthy film describing the lead-up to the Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921, as well as the actual riots/mayhem and the aftermath. The film and the photographic displays made me embarrassed of my history and today’s participation in white America. The information and historical data were so clear that the incident was spurred purely by racial hatred and white greed. The reason it was not taught in U.S. history until very recently is that it had been covered up and hidden; what little was circulated about it suggested it was a “black” riot put down by patriotic white Americans, leaving a death toll of 30. The reality is that the entire process was triggered by a false charge of rape against a black man and white plans to lynch him. Horrid, horrible, embarrassing, nasty history. Reparations should have been made one hundred years ago.

After visiting Greenwood, we sought out the site of the planned new church building for Tulsa’s All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church. The building has not been started, nor has the site been prepared. If it is ever built, it will be a very long time coming. From All Souls‘ vacant lot, we sought out the current location of the church. We found it, went inside to see it, and said hello to a few nice church people. During our visit, we came across an article on a bulletin board, describing plans for a co-housing community in Tulsa. We took down relevant details to explore later. As we were preparing to leave, we came across a woman who was rearranging a visitor information table (from which we had picked up a few items a short while earlier), who introduced herself as Neffertiti. Nice lady. She invited us back for Sunday service anytime (they have cut back from three to one service on Sundays, by the way).

We then wandered by car just a bit and came across a nice area that had plenty of restaurants, shops, and other intriguing places of interest. My IC sparked a conversation with two women who recommended several location eateries for lunch; they were going to Mi Cocina, they said.  After a brief stroll, we went there, too. Two margaritas each and two orders of brisket tacos, a visit to a bracelet shop and, perhaps, an hour and a half later, we went out again, this time seeking the location of the new co-housing development. We found it, still very much under construction. A phone number from the article on the church bulletin board yielded a conversation with one of the founders. She said they have only a few of the original 18 units available, both very small (1,000 and 1,200 square feet) and both priced at upward of $200K. Hmm.

Thanks to a bit more wandering, we know about some beautiful areas along the river that contain flat, concrete trails. Along the trails, occasional bursts of outdoor sculptural art (e.g., huge moose, wolves, etc., etc.) add delightful attractions. Finally, before we headed back to the hotel later in the afternoon, we stopped at a liquor store and bought a bottle of wine and a cheap corkscrew; just in case we decide we’re feeling thirsty for cabernet sauvignon later this evening.

Tomorrow, we’ll do more museum-hopping, followed by lunch with an old friend from my days as executive director of the association now called the International Association of Venue Managers (then the International Association of Auditorium Managers). My friend was president of the association during  one of my almost eight years as ED and we got along extremely well. I spoke to him this afternoon (first time in years!). He suggested a place for lunch, where we will go tomorrow. Nice trip so far, this!


Tomorrow promises to be another wonderful adventure. I miss travel. It’s nice to get back into it, if only on a short trip like this one.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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