Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Basics

I was born in Claremore Oklahoma. I attended all my schooling in Catoosa which was the next town over. Maybe the next next town over if you wanna be really correct. Watch the play/movie/musical Oklahoma and you will know exactly where I am talking about. Pay attention to the details. To be more exact I grew up it a tee intersection of Hiway 20 between Claremore and Owasso known only as Keetonville. I don’t think I ever met any Keetons there. The whole enchilada is in NE Oklahoma and not too distant from the thriving metropolis of Tulsa.

My birthplace and rearing center is the land of Will Rogers and Rogers n Hamerstein and JM Davis and rolling green pastures and wooded forests and rocky hills and red clay dirt. Land of manmade lakes and natural farm ponds and mudfilled streams and clear water rivers. Land of cows and horses and giant owls and buzzards and whipperwhils and toads and fish and tarantulas. Land of thunderstorms and ice and infinite humidity and of school closed due to mud. Land of native Americans and Indian reservations and separated black towns and white towns and cross burnings and racial hatred. Land of snow forts and treehouses and rope swings and porches. Land of garbage dumped along the highway and strip pit coal mining and bobbing oil wells and refinery rotten egg smells. Land of god and believers and preachers who prey on the weak and pulpits built of gold born on the backs of simple folks wanting to hear about a better life waiting beyond. Land of pickup trucks and boondocking and highschool drag races and cruising in your dads stationwagon up and down main street and around and around the local Sonic with a hundred other cars. Land of deer season and bass fishing and duck blinds and fried rabbit for dinner. Land of two lane highways and and one lane dirt roads and roadside burgers and rootbeer floats and tiny motels with kitchenettes and four way flashing red lights and roadsigns with bullet holes. Land of giant family farms and one room houses and lonely old people and middleschool dropouts and gatherings on the porch and teens watching the traffic go by on the highway while drinking beer and having sex in the back of your buddy’s El Camino. Land of Get n Go and Otasco and Humpty Dumpty and Taco Bueno and Ken’s Pizza and Casa Bonita and Daylite Donuts and Quiktrip and The Dairyette and Sonic and Coney Islander and the doctor office above the hardware store. Land of Johnson grass and chiggers on your ass and ticks on your balls and mosquitos on your neck and gnats in your eyes. Land of poverty and low IQ and common sense and toughness and getting by with what you got and chain smoking and alcoholics and family feuds and instant judgement and infinite love. Land of nighttime crickets and hooty hoot owls and chirpy frogs and cicadas when they decide to join the party. Land of giant red earthworms and night crawlers and grasshoppers and catalpa worms and giant swarms of moths around every light in the summer. Land of tomatoes and cucumbers and squash and wild onions and poke salad and wilted lettuce and fried everything. Land of weekend camping and bottle rockets and waterskiing and canoe trips on the Illinois river and diving from railroad bridges and making out with your girlfriend in the woods. Land of enormous state fairs and corn on the cob and dirt track racing and heffers raised by kids that win blue ribbons and Zingo and the Phantasmagoria and one big ass slide and the ice capades. I could go on and on.

I dont remember the actual birth event. But im sure it couldn’t have been too comfortable in 1965 which seems relatively midevil in 2010. I like to think it was warm and quiet and pleasant but the reality is that it was most likely cold and sterile and hella bright and loud and everyone was smoking Marlboros and drinking Coors. Great. I’m sure I went home propped up on the dash of the family car like a freshly gutted deer on the hood of a pickup. I’m sure there were lots of grandmas and grandpas

I had the same doctor forever when i was a kid. Doctor uhhhhhhhh. Dammit. Doctor Jennings. He had a funny first name i cant remember i just remember it was funny. At least it was funny when i was like 8 years old. Maybe it was initials. If i had to take a test i would say his name was M.R. Jennings. Cmon, M.R. is funny at that age. I think i confused him with dr uhhhh. Crap. Had the nurse Consuelo or Conswelo. Dammit. Tv show. Not Bombay. Not Shivago. No Doolittle or Love. Crap. It will come to me later. When i cant think of a name or something i go thru the alphabet till it comes to me. A. b. c. d. .....nope didnt work.

Ah, Welby

Doctor jennings seen me thru many accidents and illnesses till i was probably in my teens. I dont remember him much at all after about 12 or so. Maybe he died or retired. I dunno.

I remember back to about three yrs old, maybe late twos. Hard to say. I was young. I know i lived in a trailer between the local high school and a country club golf course and my moms parents lived next door in an actual house. My moms parents always lived next door. We had to move because the government built a road right thru our house. Yep, right thru the middle of it. There is an inland port nearby where grain, etc. is loaded on barges and hauled miles and miles away to market. It was built in the early 70’s and president Nixon come and spoke at the grand opening. Tulsa Port of Catoosa. Look it up. They had to build a hefty concrete highway to the port from the nearest interstate freeway and the most direct route put it right thru the living room. Nice. Ha. My dog is sleeping and running on the wood floor. Clik. Clik. Scrape. Clik. Anyway. I remember a few things. Oh. I remember having a model train. The kind in a circle but my parents always denied that. So i probably seen it on a commercial or something. But ask me and i am sure i had one. I remember my grandmother painting furniture green in the summertime. I remember the neighbors on either side. One had apples and a barn. The other played canasta with my sister. I still dont know wtf canasta is.

I remember hunting for lost golf balls with my granddad just outside the fences of the golf course that was across the street. We found a buttload of golfballs and I remember that my granddad kept every single one in a big old wooden chest that probably held architectural drawings and plans. Thats about all i can muster from that age for now. Pretty lean.

The house I grew up in was small and had 7’ ceilings and is maybe 1000 sqft. It still exists. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood-Brooks live next door now. I’m sure their ceiling are more than 7’ high. My dad still lives there. It was built on the side of a river valley on the slope. So it was built on a hill but it wasn’t actually a hill because it was one sided. But it certainly was tilted significantly and i had to chase my share of wayward basketballs down the gravel driveway. Three bedrooms. One full shared bath and a small toilet/sink room on parents bedroom. Kitchen/dining room and living room. The kitchen and living room were separated by a single wall with walkthru openings at each end. One end was eventually walled up as i turned that little running track into my personal olympic training center and professional racing arena. Around and around and around. And around and around. Lol. Kids then had energy. I had energy. No ADD or ADHD. No drugs needed. Oxygen and food. Just needed room to run. I had my own room as did my sister. Hers was on the end of the house and mine was more central. We had one air conditioner in the living room and an attic fan/whole house fan and a heater (furnace) that had floor vents that went to each room in the house.

Our home was built on several acres of land and all on the side of a hill. The land around our house was populated with houses every half a mile or so but mostly it was forest forest forest. I spent so many of my early years in the woods alone with my tree friends and my rock buddies and the birds and the squirrels and deer and ticks and chiggers and poison ivy. I would roam the land freely without care for fences or boundaries. Its the way it was then, good or bad. There was a significant river about a mile from the house. I generally stayed away as water was always a weird for me but I did manage to log a few hours on the muddy banks. Never liked water much. Still dont. I climbed the tallest trees and swung on vines like tarzan. Hours and hours and hours and hours alone in the woods. I did have one friend that lived within a mile or two and we had our fun but my best times were always alone. No chaos. No sharing. The rules were clear. Everything in the forest forgave my faults and transgressions and wierdness and everything in the forest healed itself or renewed itself when I broke it. It wasn’t reliant on anyone or anything. And it was at peace with the world around it. And it allowed me to be part as an equal. To become a tree or a rock or a pile of crunch fall leaves. The forest needed me and i needed it. I still need it except my forest takes many new forms now...roaming crowded casinos where nobody knows who i am, sitting in my boat all day at a favorite fishing hole never seeing another human for 12 hours, driving cross country or around the block just, etc. I havent had a chance to ask if it still needs me for many many years. There was a creek that ran from a natural spring where the water table emerged from a fracture in the bedrock near the top of our hill. Of course when I was a kid it was just a place where water came out. Poof theres a creek. Now I know all the fancy schmancy terms and about the geology that created it and so on. It ran all the way past our house for many years but the spring gradually changed to where it no longer flowed year round. Eventually it vanished completely. Only rain filled the empty gullies and washes and holes and ledges. Rain. Just a passerby. A lonely traveler that stops off one afternoon and tells you an interesting story and then moves on. Nothing you can rely on to be there for you when you need it. Not like a tree or a rock. I didnt know why the water went away then. All i knew is that water still came out of the rocks at the top of the hill but it only went about 50 feet and then it vanished back underground again. It was like it was afraid to come all the way to my house any more. There was a lot of chaos there when I was young. I didn’t blame it for hiding.

No comments:

Post a Comment