Tulsa: July 2006 Archives

The big kids are with the grandparents tonight, so it's just me, my wife, and the baby. After dinner out, we enjoyed a romantic evening of...

...shopping the going-out-of-business sale at the 31st and Garnett Albertson's.

They close on July 31. The back half of the store is cleaned out and blocked with yellow tape. All the fresh stuff is gone, as are most of the cosmetics, toiletries, and over-the-counter meds. They have grocery items at 50% off, spices at 70% off, and general merchandise at 80% off.

Most of what was left was non-perishable. They had a lot of spices, condiments, ethnic food (e.g., curry mixes, flavored soy sauce), coffee and tea, exotic canned veggies like artichoke hearts and hearts of palm, some canned fruits and vegetables. There were some frozen goods -- ice cream, vegetables, seafood.

We filled a cart, and because we were buying unusual items, the "cost density" was higher than normal. It was a bit frightening to watch the "amount due" number on the screen climb and climb and climb, stopping at $493.51. When the cashier hit the subtotal button, the total started to drop as each item was individually discounted. It took a couple of minutes for all the discounts to be credited. The final total for the 124 items we bought was $199.20, including tax.

I'm just amazed we could get nearly $500 worth of merchandise in one standard-sized shopping cart.

The 21st and Memorial location is also going out of business, and I think there is one more, but I can't remember which one. If memory serves, these stores opened as Skaggs Alpha Beta some time around 1974.

The Flying Roll

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We had dinner tonight at The Flying Roll restaurant near 51st and Memorial. We were driving past it on our way to a restaurant further south when I thought of it and remembered that the almost-10-year-old had been wanting to eat there.

Everyone enjoyed the food, the kids especially. You get all you care to eat of the side items -- green salad, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, green beans, creamed corn. It's all served family style. The main dish is the only thing that isn't served family style -- everyone picks their own from a list of eight or nine. We had catfish, smoked chicken, pot roast, and chicken tenders. During the meal they also brought by some fried okra and blackeyed peas.

As parents, we always appreciate it when our kids don't have to wait too long for their food. It reduces the chance that they'll fill up on crackers or milk and won't have any appetite left when their meal arrives. At The Flying Roll, they brought out a bowl of salad within a couple of minutes of our being seated; we started eating before we placed our orders.

The gimmick of the place is that they bring hot rolls fresh from the oven and toss them to the diners. The almost-10-year-old loved this concept; he was our designated roll fielder.

We brought some baby food with us, but it wasn't enough to keep the little one happy, so I gave him some of the mashed potatoes. He didn't love them, but he did eat them, and they stayed eaten. So he has now eaten his first non-baby-food.

Joe Momma's Pizza, that is, at 61st and US 169. The blog is a mixture of oddities around the web (funny videos, games) plus what's happening at the restaurant, like this strange little game the employees play. The earlier Blogger incarnation of Joe Momma's blog tells the story of Blake Ewing's pursuit of his dream to own a one-of-a-kind pizzeria downtown. Taking over and redoing an existing Simple Simon's pizza place is a step toward that dream.

A blog entry from a few months ago has some funny lines from the late comedian Mitch Hedberg:

Iím against picketing, but I donít know how to show it.

I was walking down the street with my friend and he said "I hear music." As if thereís any other way to take it in.

I think foosball is a combination of soccer and shish kabobs.

(Found more Hedberg material on Wikiquote -- funny stuff, reminds me of Steven Wright, but Hedberg was rather free with gratuitous vulgarities. "A Lot of Death Metal bands have intense names like Rigor Mortis or Mortuary or Obituary. We weren't that intense. We just went with 'Injured.' And later we changed it to 'A Cappella'... as we were walkin' out of the pawn shop." "I had a stick of Carefree gum, but it didn't work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality.")

Anyway, best wishes for future success to Joe Momma's Pizza. (Here's a link to Katherine Kelly's review from Urban Tulsa Weekly. She gave it high marks.)

Father's Day notes

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This draft was started a couple of days after Father's Day, but I never got around to finishing it. In lieu of something more substantive tonight, here it is:

We celebrated Father's Day by taking my dad and mom to lunch at Mexicali Border Café at Main and Brady downtown. It's one of our favorite Mexican places; Mom and Dad had never been there. Great salsa (sort of halfway in texture and heat between Chimi's salsa fresca and salsa picante) and some delicious non-traditional Mexican dishes.

My wife and I had the Stuffed Carne Asada. At $13.95, it's one of the most expensive things on the menu, and we always consider getting something else (the Shrimp Acapulco is very tasty too), but we can't stand not to have this: "Fajita Steak stuffed with Melted Jack Cheese, Mushrooms, and Onions. Topped with Sautéed Pico de Gallo, Bacon and Mushrooms. Served with Rice, Borracho Beans and SautÔŅĹed Vegetables." It's big enough and rich enough we always have enough to bring home for another meal. The sautéed vegetables (carrots, yellow squash, and zucchini) were nicely spicy and just crisp enough.

The waitress, Heather, deserves special praise. She managed to be both attentive and inobtrusive. Instead of interrupting conversation every five minutes to ask, "Everything OK?" she passed by regularly, noticed if anything needed refilling, and just took care of it. When she noticed one of us dabbing at a bit of salsa that had landed on a shirt, she brought out some club soda and some extra napkins.

I gave my dad a new sports shirt and a Johnny Cash CD. My Mother's Hymnbook is a collection of traditional hymns and gospel songs, sung with only a guitar for accompaniment. Cash recorded it in the few months between his wife's death and his own. I had come across it in the CD return shelf in the library, checked it out, and loved it. These are songs that we sang in the little Southern Baptist church I grew up in, but don't hear much in our PCA congregation: I'm Bound For The Promised Land, Softly and Tenderly, Just As I Am, When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder.

(I've found all sorts of gems on the library's CD return shelf, things I probably wouldn't have sought out on purpose: Spike Jones' Greatest Hits; Sam Cooke: The Man Who Invented Soul, a four-disc set; a two-disc set of everything Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters recorded together.)

The kids gave me a Louis Armstrong CD, a Patsy Cline CD, and the original version of Asleep at the Wheel's first Bob Wills tribute CD, along with a new clock radio that synchronizes itself to the atomic clock via shortwave.

I already had a version of this disc -- the "dance remix", which has a black cover. I bought it as motivation/reward when I refinished the kids' wood floors last summer, and I liked it, but some of the tracks (five of them, to be precise) seemed unnecessarily tarted up -- as if some producer didn't think classic Western Swing was good enough to get people out on the dance floor. On "Big Ball's in Cowtown," the dance version is almost double the length of the original, padded out with backup singers singing "Cowtown, Cowtown, we're all goin' to Cowtown" over and over and over again. Then there's the bizarre addition of the same two measures of "Yearning," digitally transposed into three different keys for the intro to the song -- somehow that made it a dance version. Similar weirdness is inflicted upon "Hubbin' It," "Corrine, Corrina," and "Old Fashioned Love." At least they left 13 of the songs alone.

I had heard the unadulterated versions of a couple of the tracks from the white-covered original edition, and put it on my wish list, a wish my wife and kids were kind enough to fulfill.

The album features famous modern country artists (e.g., George Strait, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks -- Huey Lewis, too) singing or playing Bob Wills tunes alongside Asleep at the Wheel and some of the original Texas Playboys -- Eldon Shamblin, Johnny Gimble, and Herb Remington.

"Yearning," sung on this album by Vince Gill, has become a favorite of mine. It was a Tin Pan Alley tune, published in 1925 by Benny Davis and Joe Burke. (Davis and Burke also wrote "Carolina Moon." Burke also wrote "Tiptoe through the Tulips" and "Rambling Rose." Davis also wrote "Baby Face.") Somehow this sweet little tune found its way into both the standards and Western Swing repertoires -- Nat King Cole, Tommy Dorsey, and Frank Sinatra, Spade Cooley and Bob Wills all recorded it. Merle Haggard sang it on the final album with Bob Wills (For the Last Time), but I like Gill's version a little better, if only because it includes both verses.

The songbird yearns to sing a love song.
The roses yearn just for the dew.
The whole world's yearning for the sunshine.
I have a yearning too.

Yearning just for you,
That's all I do, my dear.
Learning why I'm blue,
I wish that you were here.
Smiles have turned to tears,
Days have turned to years.
Yearning just for you,
I hope that you yearn, too.

When shadows fall and stars are beaming,
'Tis then I miss you most of all.
I fall asleep and start a-dreaming.
It seems I hear you call:

Yearning just for you,
That's all I do, my dear.
Learning why I'm blue,
I wish that you were here.
Smiles have turned to tears,
Days have turned to years.
Yearning just for you,
I hope that you yearn, too.

I've enjoyed the gifts from my children, but the greatest Father's Day gifts of all are the children themselves.

About 250 veterans, veterans' widows, and friends and supporters attended today's Memorial Veterans Association barbecue in honor of those who have served our country in the military. It was a good day for it -- sunny, but not too hot. The tall oak trees of Memorial High School's picnic area kept the guests cool as they enjoyed heaping plates of smoked meat and listened to a band playing '60s favorites.

After everyone ate, Col. Bob Powell (USAF Ret.) led us in the pledge, the National Anthem was sung, and Col. Powell made a few remarks. He said that veterans are well-cared for on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but they ought to be acknowledged on Independence Day, as they all fought for our nation's freedom.

The Memorial Veterans Association maintains an exhibit of military memorabilia in a conference room at the high school, but they hope someday to build a free-standing museum nearby. They also have plans to erect a bronze statue in front of the school. The bronze by Talala sculptor Sandra Van Zandt shows an old soldier passing the flag to a young soldier. A limited edition of small replicas of the sculpture are being sold to raise money to build the real thing.

At the heart of the effort is the desire to make Memorial High School the memorial it was intended to be when it was dedicated in 1962. When Mason High School closed its doors, the victim of the Baby Bust, there was talk of attaching the name of the long-time Tulsa superintendent to Memorial High School, making it Mason Memorial High School. The idea was quickly shot down -- for one thing, Charles Mason was still living, making a memorial premature. More importantly, the school was already dedicated as a memorial to thousands of Tulsans:

Memorial Senior High School

Dedicated to Tulsa students and teachers who served in World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts

I am dedicated in memory of all Tulsa students and teachers who, in complete devotion, determined that those ideals which built our republic shall remain forever secure.

My high purpose is to teach an abiding love for America which shall serve her at all times -- and, should destiny so determine, a love which will courageously serve her to "the last full measure of devotion" that the dignity of man may be always held in high esteem.

I am a perpetual light to all who cherish freedom.

As long as youth shall devote themselves to serious endeavour in my classrooms and fill my corridors with laughter, I stand as a living symbol of all who seek a better life through education.

My small part in all this was as a member of the Eagleton Brothers' Barbecue team. There were five of us who gathered at Councilor John Eagleton's home at 4 a.m. this morning to load the meat, tools, and supplies on the truck. (Dave Webster, Larry Benzel, Steve Overturf, John, and myself.) By 4:30 the smoker was in place and the fire was lit.

John puts on several barbecues each year for his neighborhood, his church, the local chapter of his college fraternity, the Tulsa County Republican Party. I've been a crew member on four or five of the feeds over the last few years; I'm still a relative novice.

The process involves bursts of intense activity as each kind of meat is seasoned and loaded into the smoker, interspersed with waiting while the smoke does its work. During one of those waiting periods, Col. Powell gave several early arrivers a guided tour of the museum. (That's County Assessor Ken Yazel in the back right of this photo. Ken came early to offer his help.) Col. Powell was a glider pilot in World War II.

Photo_070406_003.jpg

We started serving at 11. The BBQ team was reinforced by several politicians. I worked one of the cutting stations, handling hot links and ribs. Mayor Kathy Taylor stood to my left, cutting racks of ribs. Clay Bird, former City Councilor and Deputy Mayor and candidate for County Commission, stood to my right, cutting up chickens and slicing bologna. There were the three of us, all armed with very sharp knives, and despite our differences, no mayhem ensued. Mayor Taylor earned a lot of respect for pitching in and staying with the task until nearly everyone was through the line, which was continuous for over an hour. DA Tim Harris, State Sen. Brian Crain, and County Assessor Ken Yazel helped carry and fill plates for veterans who were using walkers or wheelchairs.

By the time cleanup was done and all the equipment was offloaded at John's house, I was sunburned and overheated. I made it home by about 2 -- 10 hours after I started. It was a privilege to do my little bit in honor of those who endured so much more in the defense of our liberty.

BONUS LINK: The title of this entry comes from the seldom-sung final stanza of the National Anthem. In 1991, prolific sci-fi novelist Isaac Asimov wrote a tribute to "The Star-Spangled Banner," explaining why he's "crazy about it" and all four of its stanzas.

If you're a Tulsa area military veteran, you're invited to an Independence Day barbecue at Memorial High School, 5840 S. Hudson, 11:30a.m.-1:00 p.m. The event is sponsored by VFW Post 577, Memorial Veterans Association, Inc., American Legion Post 308, Military Vehicles Club, 8th Air Force Association Tulsa RSVP, Air Force Association, MHS JROTC, Air Force Sergeants Assoc., Spirit Bank, Albertsons, Walmart, Fadlers Market, Port-A-Johns, Ryanís Family Restaurant, Cimarron Tires, Ehrles Party Supply, and Publishing Resources, Inc., and by City Councilor John Eagleton, who is donating 400 lbs. of meat and his barbecuing skills.

One more thing -- my usual weekly slot on KFAQ has been postponed until Wednesday because of the holiday.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from July 2006.

Tulsa: June 2006 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: August 2006 is the next archive.

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