My husband LOVES Oklahoma. I mean loves it!! Every time we're in town and someone says "have a good day", or smiles at us, or any other gesture that is commonly polite Brandon always says, "I just love Oklahoma!". This used to make me chuckle because I feel like most people do that no matter what state you're in. But you know what, they don't. Having lived in a few different places over the years has really made me learn to appreciate the good 'ol OKC. And here's why...
People- I do love the people here. Not just my friends, but most of the people I run into during day to day activities are super nice! It's not uncommon to start a conversation with a complete stranger, have a door held open for me, or get a "thank you" wave when I let someone turn before me at a stop sign. A shining example of this happened to me yesterday at the Mall. Eli needed a quick diaper change when we arrived and I hurried into Dillard's carrying Eli in one hand, wheeling the stroller in the other, and dragging my diaper bag over my shoulder. A Dillard's employee quickly noticed me making my way to the restroom and suggested I use a dressing room instead. She offered to push the stroller and led me to a large room, all the while smiling at Eli and asking me questions about him. This small act of kindness made my day! If you've ever carried an infant while trying to maneuver a stroller you know what I'm talking about. Good people here in OK.
Community- I feel an incredible sense of community in Oklahoma. Like everyone is here to help each other out. I love exploring the local shops in Edmond and Oklahoma City. Some of my favorite shopping and eating is at tiny local businesses around the city. ND Foods, Johnnies, Pinkitzel, A Date with Iris, Ladybugs and Lizards Children's Boutique. So fun (and delicious!). In fact, this Saturday, May 5 is "Keep it Local" day in OKC, where we are encouraged to shop and eat local. I love it and I will be participating! Last weekend, in another amazing show of community spirit and endurance, thousands of people took part in the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon to remember the Oklahoma City Bombing that occurred April 19, 1995. I have run both the half marathon and full marathon and it was truly an amazing experience. The sense of community that this race brings is best described by my friend who ran a relay in the race last weekend. You can read Grace's story of the Citizens' Race here. As she says, "Good Job Oklahoma".
Oklahoma Sports- Okay, I must mention here that I'm a Texas fan. Texas Christian University Horned Frogs (my alma mater- Go Frogs!), Texas Longhorns (hook 'em), San Antonio Spurs. Those are my teams! I married an Oklahoma, Sooner Lovin', Texas Hatin' man. While most of the time we can watch our teams play each other with lighthearted bickering and teasing, there have been those times when we've had to retreat to separate areas of the house for a short time. But, I have to admit, Oklahomans know how to be fans! They love their teams and are die hard fans through and through. On Easter, my family headed to Norman to visit Brandon's family. As usual, there was some trash talking back and forth about TCU/Texas and the OU rivalry. My Dad, never hesitating to sport his Texas gear when we venture that way, is always the odd man out in the sea of crimson in that house. But this year the talk turned to NBA basketball, which was weird because I've NEVER heard Brandon's family talk about basketball at all! Now, NBA basketball has been the one "safe zone" for me, a forever San Antonio Spurs fan, because until recently Oklahoma did not have a pro team. All of a sudden, his whole family are huge OKC Thunder fans! Huge. Like, if you're a Dallas Mavericks fan, the team who knocked the Thunder out of the playoffs last year, you are DEAD to them. (As a Spur fan, this is a sentiment I share.) But the fact that the whole family went from a total disregard of pro basketball to crazy rowdy Thunder fans is pretty impressive. Gotta respect a state that backs their teams no matter what, and does so with a fervor that can at time be scary. Oklahoma loves it's sports!
Reliable- Oklahoma has a great way of growing and changing in a way that makes me feel like nothing has really changed. I still feel like I know the city like the back of my hand even though it's changed so much since I last lived here. I think I will see several people I know when I'm eating lunch or shopping in Edmond. I'm convinced that the postal workers have not changed since I was in second grade. It takes me back. In fact, just the other day, I was mindlessly driving up I-44 and I exited the highway like I was driving to McGuinness, my high school. Really? My life could not be more different than it was when I was 18. But in that moment I morphed into a high school senior late for Anatomy. So strange. And yet, comforting. Oklahoma will always be my little hometown, no matter how big it gets.
So I know, this is the second post in a row about Oklahoma. But I think I owe to this great state, because I never truly appreciated it while I was here. And I have ever intention of changing that each time I come home.