Take Me Back to Tulsa

When was I last here? I vaguely remember dancing at a friend’s wedding over 20 years ago, a whirlwind trip to Tulsa. There was another trip also, to help plan a bioregional gathering with friends. But these trips were all B.C. (before children) when my biggest travel concerns were bringing enough sleeping bags to crash on someone’s floor rather than how to balance my son’s no-wheat, no-dairy diet with finding the hotel, and working with a bookseller to figure out how much 60% of $12 is x 17 with two returns.

Yet I also find that somehow, it all feels much lighter than those B.C. visits. I’ve learned –from being a mom and simply getting older and realizing how little control any of us really have — not to worry about what X really thinks of Y and how it affects me, whether I will find the perfect lunch for the perfect price, and what plans I’ll launch in the next hour. Instead, it’s an easy visit, following what happens with more curiosity and less angst.

Tonight, Ken and I walked without much of a sense of where we were through a neighborhood of bungalows, some gentrified arts-and-craft touches, some sporting overgrown front yards of buddhas and clay monkeys and falling down porches. We took whatever streets seems most interesting to us, turned here and there, followed our whims, and joked about what house we’d live in if we lived here (too big, too small). Turning a corner, I found a pond full of swans, geese and ducks. Climbing a hill and following 15th Street, we ended up at Mary’s Place, a little Italian restaurant with antique doll dresses and places covering all the walls.

Back at the hotel with Forest, our youngest who is now 14, we watch the lights of the city, copper and silver, through the window. Good to be back in Tulsa A.C. now that some of my sharper edges have been sanded off so I can better see where I’m landing.

Pictures (from top): an amazing window we found on our walk; banjo scarecrow in a community garden; Ken in front of the Blue Jackalope, a general store with kind of a living room in the middle for visiting; and Swan Lake