Tulsa: January 2011 Archives

Home from San Antone

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I can hardly believe I'm done. I can hardly believe I won't be back again soon.

I've spent most of the last three months working 60+ plus hours per week on a project in San Antonio. That's on top of another month early last fall and a few weeks last winter and summer on a related project.

On Saturday, the last remaining discrepancy was resolved. This morning, I checked out of the hotel that was my home-away-from-home. (I went from 0 nights to gold status with this particular chain in the course of the project.) It was strange to tell the desk clerk that, no, I wouldn't need to be making another reservation right now.

I don't enjoy being away from my family, but I do enjoy getting to spend enough time in a city to get to know it well. I've got plenty of observations from my own perambulations about the Alamo City and its environs and from a couple of books I picked up: Saving San Antonio, about the course of historic preservation there since the late 19th century, and HemisFair '68 and the Transformation of San Antonio, a collection of brief essays by civic leaders from the 1960s to the present, which so far seems to be more about how the '68 World's Fair failed to transform the city, and what had to happen to produce the economic growth and tourism we see today. San Antonio went through the same transition from at-large city government to a district-based city council about 20 years before Tulsa. I hope to share some of my observations here, but I make no promises. There's more hard work ahead.

Long hours working on the challenging task of getting software from the Reagan years to cooperate with a new computer didn't leave much energy for writing, particularly not for heavy research and careful word-craft.

When I was at home, it was time to play with the kids, sleep, catch up on chores and errands, and prepare for the next trip -- not to get hip-deep in local politics. (Do you have any idea how hard it is to schedule a dental checkup when you're out of town 3/4 of the time and don't know for sure when you'll next be home?)

When I did have free time, I had a "bucket list" of San Antonio events, attractions, and eateries I wanted to try when the opportunity arose. I got through a lot of them, but missed a few. I did most of the in-city things I'd hoped to do (still haven't been on a river cruise), but weekend day trips to the Gulf Coast or Houston didn't happen, and I only made it to Austin a couple of times.

While there have been periods on the past when I've been away from home frequently, my weekly spots on KFAQ with Michael Del Giorno and Gwen Freeman and my weekly column in UTW forced me to stay in touch with the latest developments back home, to sit in front of a computer screen keeping up with Tulsa news instead of exploring a new city. Without the responsibility to talk or write every week on local politics, I've been able to read for fun, work through my "bucket list," surf the web, or spend an hour on the elliptical while watching back-to-back episodes of "The Office."

There's a long post in my head about the temptation to spin a cocoon -- play Wii, watch Netflix, do yardwork, and just be a homebody -- to stop spending my time and taking risks for causes that don't directly benefit my family's welfare.

On the other hand, it seems selfish to collect all this information and all these experiences and do nothing with them.

More about that, perhaps, another time. See you soon, Tulsa. I'll be home in just a few.

The John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation has posted an online survey for Tulsa area residents on race relations and history.

By way of explaining what it covers, here's the text from the first page:

Thank you for your willingness to help improve our understanding of perceptions about race relations and knowledge of racially relevant historical events in the Tulsa area. By completing the following survey, you allow the John Hope Franklin Center for Reconciliation and other area organizations to develop relevant programming that promotes positive race relations and reconciliation. We will also be able to track changes in perceptions over time. Your ideas are important to this effort, so we thank you in advance.

It's a medium length survey, maybe about 15 minutes in length. Most questions are multiple choice, but there are a few opportunities for free-form answers and a place for your comments about the survey.

During the demographic portion, I was amused to be given five options for "gender." That tells you something about the ideological bent (pun intended) of the people who drafted the survey.

The only "racially relevant" historical event that was mentioned was the 1921 riot. It would be interesting to compare awareness of that event with awareness of Greenwood's reconstruction after the riot, Jim Crow laws, the civil rights movement in Tulsa, the second destruction of Greenwood via the Model Cities and urban renewal programs, and the redlining of north Tulsa.

I think it's important for Tulsans in all their diversity (including those of us who think a human either one sex or the other) to document their views and opinions on this issue, and I hope you'll take time to participate.

A friend sent along a fascinating sports story from Yahoo sports blog "The Dagger": 25 years after playing for Nolan Richardson at the University of Tulsa, 6'10" center Herb Johnson, who celebrated his 48th birthday last month, is still playing pro basketball. Drafted by Cleveland in 1985, but never playing an NBA regular season game, Johnson has played pro ball in Turkey, Japan, Italy, France, and now, in his 7th season in Switzerland, his second year with team Villiers Basket in the Ligue National de Basket.

He's the oldest player on the team by 19 years. So far he's averaged over 32 minutes of playing time per game over 15 games, 11.7 points and 9.6 rebounds per game at the moment.

(There's a staggering number of foreign pro basketball leagues -- check out the list on eurobasket.com. When I spent the summer of '83 in Manila, I remember noticing the basketball standings in the papers, and more than once someone hearing my name would say, "Oh, like Billy Ray Bates," who was playing his first season in the "reinforced conference" of the Phillipine Basketball Association, after four seasons in the NBA.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Tulsa category from January 2011.

Tulsa: December 2010 is the previous archive.

Tulsa: February 2011 is the next archive.

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