Family: August 2006 Archives

Root, root, root


Another random childhood memory inspired by a recent family event:

My son had a root canal on one of his upper incisors on Friday. (Back in the spring, a baseball glanced off the tip of his glove and hit the tooth.)

I was amazed: I expected him to have a swollen mouth, packed with cotton swabs, and to hear him moaning in pain when I came home. Instead he talked with excitement about the procedure, and how weird it was to have a numb nose and lips for a while, and how he was so nauseous on the ride home that he.... ("That's enough! Please don't talk about that at the dinner table!")

The worst oral surgery I've ever had was a surgical removal of a wisdom tooth, but when I was about my son's age, or younger, I had to get an "appliance" to correct a crossbite. (Didn't work -- I still had to have braces a few years later.) There was some metal thing that sat in the roof of my mouth and it was supposed to shift several crowded teeth around. They used novacaine on me and maybe laughing gas, too.

The office of Dr. Smith, the dentist, was in the Warren Building, along with several other doctors we saw. Often after a doctor's visit in that part of town, we'd stop by the little dairy stand / burger place on 61st just west of Sheridan. (The building is a Goldie's now; it had another name when I was a kid.) After my appliance was installed, Mom bought me a root beer float there as a treat. I tried to drink it, but with my mouth so numb it was just too strange.

After other doctor visits we would go to the playground at LaFortune Park. I remember my sister and me playing there wearing our post-eye-dilation paper sunglasses, following a visit to Dr. Carroll the ophthalmologist.

One other piece of mouth-related family news: The baby is now making motorboat noises. Not just a raspberry, this is a sustained and vocalized lip-flapping noise, with pitch rising and falling. When he pauses, big brother can start the motorboat up again by blowing in his face. He still doesn't have any teeth yet, but as much as he's drooling, it shouldn't be long now. Meanwhile, big sister is reporting that her two front teeth are very loose; she may not be able to withth uth Merry Chrithmath thith year.

Slain in the bedspread

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Toddlers have these games and routines that they want to do over and over again -- "fly me like Superman," "hold me upside down," piggy back rides -- and the more you repeat them the more they giggle. Don Danz and his little son Drew have a game that is distinctly Tulsan. It's called "Heal me," and there's a very cute video of it on Don's site.

It reminds me of when my oldest was about two years old. We were looking at a shoe, and he was asking me the names of the parts of it. When I told him which part was the heel, he said, "Daddy heals it at church."

(On a completely different topic, Don also has some thoughts about former Judge Donald Thompson's conviction, along with a nice picture of the judge in an orange jumpsuit.)

New frontier (part 2)

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As I said in the previous entry, this was our first ever visit to Oklahoma City's Frontier City theme park. It was just us guys, so we were going to ride as many rides as we wanted to, as often as we wanted to, without slowing down for anyone else. We ate before we went to the park, and it was hot enough (104, I think) that we weren't interested in eating during the day. We bought the big refillable drink cups and went through three fills each.

Because of the heat, the crowds were pretty thin, and we never had to wait in line for long. We rode the Wildcat (the wooden coaster) at least five times, the Silver Bullet (a steel coaster with a loop) three times, and the Prairie Schooner (like Pharoah's Fury at Bell's) at least six times. (My son rode it six times; I think I stopped at four.)

Neither of us are daredevils, but we both pushed our limits. Neither of us had been on a looped roller coaster before. The tallest and most noticeable ride in the park is Eruption, the slingshot ride that launches the six-person capsule 240 feet in the air. It's easy to spot from I-35. About mid-afternoon we had worked up the courage to try it, and we liked it so much that we did it again. It was a bit creepy to see ourselves rise above the tops of the supporting towers.

The park seemed shorthanded. A few rides were closed the entire day -- the train, the Terrible Twister, the Tomahawk. I overheard one ride operator say that they had closed several shops and food stands to try to keep as many rides open as possible. At another ride, I heard a couple of employees talking about the number of hours they'd worked the previous week: One was over 70, and the other was over 60. Despite that, everyone seemed to be polite and efficient.

We saw three shows. The gunfighters show had some impressive stunts and lots of silly humor. The World of Magic was excellent -- a real magic show with illusions involving swords, boxes, locked trunks, and attractive scantily-clad young women. There was a psychic segment, where the fakery was exaggerated to the point of being obvious. Good showmanship all around.

The third show -- Merlin's Magicademy -- was a waste of our time. It would have been helpful if the description had said, "Very small children will be delighted...." Despite the name, no genuine illusions (oxymoron?) were performed. It was all puppetry, lipsynched music, and some animatronic effects. I didn't even notice any little children actually being delighted with the performance, but it's hard to tell. Hot weather seems to make audiences less than responsive.

Most unexpectedly interesting ride: Casino, which looks like a roulette wheel that does some tilting and turning.

Most nauseating ride: As always, the Tilt-A-Whirl (known here as the Tornado) brings me closest to losing my lunch. The Rodeo Round-Up -- a kind of centrifuge -- was a close second.

Most relaxing ride: The ferris wheel.

Most boring ride: Treasure Mountain, the oldest ride in the park, would only be fun if you brought your own entertainment in the form of a date to make out with in the dark. A close second: The Swingin' Six Guns, a spinning swing ride, didn't spin fast enough to be fun. You could hardly feel the breeze.

Most interesting exhibit: In the waiting area for the Wildcat, there are photos and descriptions about the history of roller coasters, famous designers, and famous coasters. Wildcat was rescued from Kansas City's Fairyland amusement park.

Best ways to cool off: Renegade Rapids and the Mystery River log flume.

Rides we skipped: All the kiddie rides, the carousel, the Mindbender, the Hangman (a free-fall ride), the Diamondback, and the three that were closed.

Costs: We bought our tickets online and printed them at home, $26 each including tax, plus $3 "shipping", netting us about $7 total saved. Parking was $10. The refillable soda cups were $8 each, and $1 for each refill. We managed to steer clear of the games and the add-ons, except for the photo you see above, which was just too good to pass up as a memento of our day together.

My oldest son just turned ten, and to celebrate, I took him for an overnight trip to Oklahoma City.

Saturday morning, we drove most of the way down the old highway, 66, and part of the way down some very old highway. I got off the turnpike at Kellyville. Just west of the 66-33 junction you can see what's left of the native stone tourist cabins that Max Meyer built.

About seven miles east of Bristow, on a whim, I turned back on an older 66 alignment, which rejoined the main road from the southeast. Turned out that this was the dead end segment that has an impressive native stone tourist court -- a single building with multiple units. It's less than a mile from the main road.

As we drove my son was telling me all about the Pixar movie Cars and the old Route 66 town of Radiator Springs where most of the action takes place.

We stopped at the Rock Cafe in Stroud for a cold drink. The cafe's souvenir stand next door had an impressive array of merchandise from the movie Cars. My son picked up the issue of Route 66 Magazine that featured the movie (he pored over it while drinking his root beer at the cafe's counter), and I bought a guidebook to 66 in Oklahoma, showing all the alignments and the years they were part of the highway.

That book led us to an old '20s alignment which had originally been part of the Ozark Trail, a named auto route that predated the U. S. numbered highway system. There's a tall obelisk (20 feet perhaps?) a few miles west of Stroud; apparently it had been a marker for the route.

We drove down Davenport's brick Broadway, got turned around trying to get back to the main road, and found ourselves going through an interesting arch railway viaduct southwest of town.

In Arcadia we stopped at the Round Barn. I remember visiting when renovation was barely started back in 1990. The loft, which has amazing acoustics, is used for dances and other events, as it was back in the day. Downstairs is a museum about the Round Barn and the town of Arcadia. Butch, the curator, is a local native, and has posted birds' eye view sketches of the town as he remembers it from his childhood.

One of Butch's displays is from the diary of the original barn owner, about a trip in the 'teens from Arcadia to California. It took three hours to get as far as Oklahoma City. It took from Thursday morning to Monday night to make it to Amarillo, with occasional stops to pull the car out of a mud hole or to wait for a ferry.

In Oklahoma City, we headed for the 45th Infantry Museum. The Thunderbirds have an illustrious history, fighting their way from Sicily to Munich during WW II and on Pork Chop Hill and Heartbreak
Ridge in the Korean Conflict. My son has been reading a lot of books about World War II lately, and he drank it all in. A highlight of the museum is the collection of over 200 "Willie and Joe" cartoons from the war which Bill Mauldin donated to this museum dedicated to his old outfit. It was the 45th that liberated Dachau Concentration Camp, and there is a special exhibit about the horrors they found when they entered.

Outside there are land and air vehicles from WW II and Korea on display. We spent over two hours at the museum and didn't have time to explore the place fully.

We went to Bricktown. I gave my son a choice between a movie and a ballgame, and given the temperature at the time, he opted for a movie. We got a bite at the Bricktown Sonic, then saw Monster House, a Dreamworks SKG computer animation done using the same methods that were used to such impressive effect in The Polar Express. Monster House has its scary and thrilling moments, deserving of its PG rating. My son really enjoyed it, and I have to say that it kept my attention, too.

Today we went to Frontier City, after a hearty breakfast (him) / lunch (me) at Cracker Barrel. Despite driving past it for nearly four decades, I had never been to Frontier City. We had a great time. Great thrill rides, a terrific magic show, and bumper cars that I was allowed to ride. I'll save details for another entry.

We had planned to stay 'til closing, but my son wanted to eat at the Rock Cafe on the way back to Tulsa, so we left early enough to make it there by 8:20. He had nachos, I had a guacamole burger -- both quite good. He was amused by the glass bottle that his Coke came in. "Where can you get these?"

We were home at ten, about 36 hours after we left, both exhausted and hot. (My car's AC stopped working, and I hadn't had time to get it fixed.)

Desi Wok, family-style

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Wednesday night it was just my wife, the baby, and I -- big brother was at choir camp, big sister was staying with Grandma -- so we decided to try dinner at Desi Wok, the Indian/Chinese restaurant on Hudson just north of 41st.

The food was very good. We had the chicken tikka masala and the shrimp Thai pepper stir fry.

The service was friendly, too. The baby got restless after a while in his high chair, so I took him out and tried to hold him on my lap while I continued eating while not letting him within grabbing reach of my plate. One of the waitress/order-takers, who had been flirting with him earlier, asked if she could hold him for a while. We said sure, and for the next 10 minutes or so, she or one of her coworkers held him behind the cash register. It was like being at a big family dinner and a cousin offers to hold the baby while you finish eating.

We wouldn't ordinarily pass our baby off to a stranger, but we were at the nearest table to the register, so I could (and did) keep a close eye, and there were enough people around that there would have been plenty of witnesses if anything bad had happened. And I think we felt more comfortable because it seemed to be a restaurant that, like a number of Asian places around town, was owned and operated by an extended family. At this sort of restaurant, it's not unusual to see aunts and cousins, older folks and small children around the restaurant, sometimes helping, sometimes just visiting.

Friendly place, good food, reasonable prices, and, as far as I know, the only place you can get Indian food around town without going to south Tulsa.

In 1983, after my sophomore year in college, I went on a summer missions project to the Philippines with Campus Crusade for Christ. I spent two months living in Quezon City and working alongside staffers at Far Eastern University in Manila, evangelizing students with the Four Spiritual Laws and helping to train the students involved in the CCC chapter there.

The project involved about 25 American staff and students, who were split up in teams between Metro Manila, Baguio City, Iloilo, and Cebu. I spent all but a few days in Metro Manila; our team took an R&R break in Baguio City and Bauang, on the South China Sea in La Union province.

The project director was Greg Ganssle. Greg was campus director at Marshall then; he went on to get a Ph.D. in Philosophy and is now involved in something called the Rivendell Institute. I met Greg the previous summer, when he was assistant director of the 1982 Ocean City, New Jersey, summer project. I didn't see much of Greg that summer -- he spent it in Iloilo.

Instead our assigned male staffer was Jon Rittenhouse, then campus director at Michigan Tech. Years later, Jon became the inspiration for a comic strip character. (He was much tamer, although rather uptight, in 1983.) My fellow students were John Parker "Beach" Ward (Marshall), Eric Christiansen, Mary Jane Carlson, and Christina West (Miami of Ohio). There were two staff women from the states assigned to Manila: Norma Valencia from CCC headquarters and Sara (whose last name I forget). Beach Ward and I kept each other sane and laughing that summer.

Some time ago I scanned in some of the slides I took in the Philippines. Tonight I posted them on Flickr, mainly for the benefit of my friend Jenny, who was a psychology student at FEU in 1983. She found me again a couple of years ago, courtesy Google, and she keeps me up to date on Filipino political intrigue. (Helps to keep the Tulsa situation in perspective.)

As a whole, the photos aren't all that representative of the summer; the set is weighted heavily toward special events, like an R&R trip to Baguio City in the mountains, but there are some photos of staff and students at FEU and of the house where we stayed and the Crusade staff trainees that we shared it with.

Click the coconut warning sign below to see the photo set.

(And yes, I'm aware that the pictures are horribly underexposed.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Family category from August 2006.

Family: July 2006 is the previous archive.

Family: September 2006 is the next archive.

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