Tulsa: January 2007 Archives

Route 66 News is reporting that the Country Store, on the southside of 11th Street just west of Memorial (a site that was once on the very edge of town), may close soon:

Four decades of urban sprawl later, the Country Store’s location on historic Route 66 is considered part of midtown Tulsa. Farmers are an endangered species, and most of the city’s gardeners are out in the suburbs: Jenks, Bixby, Broken Arrow.

A perfect storm of big-box stores, urban sprawl, heavy debt, and crop-scorching drought is bearing down on the longtime Tulsa institution and its third-generation owner, Bill Sivadon, and barring any last-minute miracles, it looks as if the business may close for good.

If you aren't looking for the store, you may not notice it, as it sits up a rise and back a bit from the road, but it's been there for 40 years, selling plants, seeds, and animal feed.

There's a chance the business could be saved, but only if folks act now:

Sivadon and his wife, Kathey... reported Tuesday that the store is set to close any day. If they can sell off their remaining stock at retail prices, they may be able to raise enough to pay off their debt and save the business — but time is of the essence. Their creditors have been poised to pull the plug for the past week or so. Wait a day — or even a few hours — and it may be too late to buy one last souvenir and make one last effort to help keep a Route 66 institution alive.

TulsaNow, Monday night

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My column in this week's Urban Tulsa Weekly is about TulsaNow -- how it came into being and what it aims to accomplish. I describe the group as a kind of "See You at the Pole" -- a gathering point for people who might have wondered if anyone else cared about Tulsa's direction and future:

Perhaps you've felt lonely in your concerns about Tulsa. Doesn't anyone else care that we're turning downtown into a big parking lot? Isn't anyone worried about the impact of more ugly sprawling development on our city's livability? Shouldn't we be encouraging development of a more diverse assortment of businesses, instead of putting all our economic hopes in oil or aerospace or telecommunications?

There must be other Tulsans who share your concerns, but how do you find them? What's the equivalent of the flagpole for Tulsans concerned about our city's future growth and development?

It's an organization called TulsaNow, and instead of meeting around a pole, we'll be meeting around a pint next Monday, Jan. 29, at McNellie's Public House, 409 E. 1st St., from 6 to 8pm.

That's the annual meeting for TulsaNow. Here's the official announcement:

If you’d like to learn more about TulsaNow, or find out what you can do to get involved, don’t miss our annual meeting on Monday, January 29.

This year, we hope to engage our membership like never before, and we’ll be asking YOU to help us set our strategic priorities for ‘07. What’s important to you? What should TulsaNow focus on in the coming year? We know you’ve got opinions, and we want to hear your thoughts and ideas. See you there!

Read the linked article above, and if you share those concerns, come and join us tomorrow night.

... who believes the garbage truck is coming tomorrow morning. No one else has put out their trash cans.

School will be out again in and around Tulsa for the fourth day in a row, not counting the early dismissal Friday. Although the arterial streets in Tulsa have at least one clear lane, turn lanes and outside lines still have refrozen slush atop solid ice. I dared to take the Broken Arrow expressway this morning and found that what had been a clear lane for almost a mile suddenly wasn't, right on the bend just west of the I-44 interchange.

Side streets and parking lots are still nasty. There is no plowing through an inch of ice. Someone tried to use a front end loader to clear part of our lot on Tuesday, and the best they could do was scrape a bit off the top. They put some sand down, so it's not as much of an ice rink, but I still need my ice cleats to walk on it. (I thought they were silly when my wife bought them, but they sure have come in handy this week.) The traction control system and anti-lock braking system in our minivan has worked like a champ.

The kids have enjoyed their unexpected vacation and have spent some time sledding on the ice. They even tried to get on our goldfish pond, which is only partially frozen over, but Mom caught them before the ice began to crack. (And yes, I told them about the little girl that the fire department had to rescue because she walked out on the ice over a creek. Evidently the lesson didn't sink in.)

We had a short burst of flurries today, and more snow is expected over the weekend.

UPDATE in response to questions: My cleats are Weissenfels Snow Spikes, but it appears that Weissenfels no longer makes traction products for anything as small as a foot.

Congratulations to Cain's Ballroom, which is once again is one of the top ticket-selling concert venues in the world. According to Pollstar, Cain's was 38th in ticket sales among venues with a capacity under 3,000, selling 84,746 tickets in 2006.

The numbers tell me that Tulsans will get out and support live entertainment, and the people at Cain's are doing a great job of booking the wide variety of acts that Tulsans want to see. (Me, I'm looking forward to the Bob Wills Birthday Bash on March 2nd and 3rd, featuring Leon Rausch, Tommy Allsup and the Texas Playboys.)

To give you an idea of what kinds of places are included in this category, nine of the top 25 small venues are House of Blues outlets, including the flagship in Chicago. The Chicago House of Blues sold 219,083 tickets in '06. Cain's ranks just below The Avalon in Hollywood and just ahead of Metropolis in Montreal, Hard Rock Live in Orlando, and House of Blues in San Diego.

Cain's capacity is only about 1400, which means they must fill the place pretty often to generate those kinds of ticket sales.

An ecumenical pianist

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Today I attended the funeral of Doris Oler, in the Rose Chapel at Boston Avenue Methodist Church. Doris passed away on Tuesday at the age of 76. Doris was an alto and a charter member of Coventry Chorale, and my wife and I sang with her in that group for many years. She always had a smile and a friendly word for us. Doris also sang in Boston Avenue's choir, taught vocal music in the Tulsa Public Schools, and was very active in Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity. (Here's a link to the obituary that appeared in the Tulsa World yesterday.)

The presiding minister, Bill Tankersley, shared a funny anecdote. Doris grew up in Inola in the '30s and '40s. She learned to play piano at an early age and was good enough that she wound up playing at a few of the churches in town. The churches staggered their service times so that she could play the opening hymns at one church, slip out the door, walk to the next church, play their opening hymns, and so on, until it was time to play the closing hymn at the first church and start over with the rotation.

As part of the service, we read the 23rd Psalm responsively, but sitting there with nine other members of Coventry Chorale, there to honor a departed member of the Chorale, it seemed wrong not to be singing Thomas Matthews' setting of the psalm. (To hear a lo-fi version of it, scroll down to the bottom of that page and click the link with the text "The Lord Is My Shepherd.") I'm sure the others felt the pull, too.

This is beside the point, but... the first hymn we sang was "Praise My Soul the King of Heaven." We sang out of the current edition of the Methodist Hymnal, and it was hard not to laugh out loud at the lengths to which the editors went to avoid any use of the masculine pronoun in this version of the hymn. Most of the time it was a simple substitution of "God" for "him" and "God's" for "his." But "to his feet thy tribute bring" becomes "to the throne thy tribute bring." "In his hand he gently bears us," becomes "Motherlike, God gently bears us," to balance out the word "Fatherlike" at the beginning of the third verse. (Here are Henry Lyte's original lyrics, and here is the inclusified version.) There was nothing on the page to indicate an alteration. I don't like it any better when the Trinity Hymnal editors monkey with the lyrics to eliminate a suspected Arminian overtone, and I will stubbornly sing the original lyrics anyway*, but at least they note when a verse was altered by the editors.

I tried to stick to the lyrics as printed, but I found myself singing the familiar original lyrics instead. Knowing Doris, I think she would have understood, and probably even approved.

* I don't do this when I'm leading singing, however.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from January 2007.

Tulsa: November 2006 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: February 2007 is the next archive.

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