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Eastern Oklahoma

November 13, 2012

Oklahoma – Saturday, November 10

After a quick mile and a half walk around the campground and down by the lake, I called The Caring Kitchen. Last night when I was looking for the Honey Creek State Park, I totally overshot the turnoff for the state park, and ended up going about 5 miles too far – but in doing so, I saw a big sign that said “Hungry?” on it, and then said something about the Caring Kitchen. So I took note of that, and read a bit about them before calling this morning. As luck would have it, they serve a big meal every Saturday, and it just so happened to be Saturday! So I knew I wanted to make a donation to them. I called them to see what would be more helpful – a donation check, or groceries. They said a donation check would be most helpful, because meat for the Saturday meals is the most expensive item, and they could use the money for next week’s meat. I drove to the building, and even though the meal was still a couple hours away, there were a lot of volunteers working to get the meals ready – and what a feast they were preparing! Chicken, turkey, mashed potatoes, veggies, deviled eggs, fruit salad, desserts etc. Plus there was a table in the entryway full of different kind if boxed foods, and the families would be able to pick several items from that pile to take home. There were some teen volunteers too – they had pooled their tip money from a job to donate to the kitchen, and were also there to help out. I met the founder of the program, and he showed me their storeroom, and told me more about how the program has evolved. They’ve only been doing this for a little over a year, but they have already served 25,000 meals through their Saturday lunches and some outreach programs. There are food pantries in this area, but there hasn’t been a soup kitchen sort of place since the Depression years.

After visiting the Caring Kitchen, I headed to the Natural Falls State Park, where Tula and I chalked up another 3.5 miles of walking on most of their trails. It’s still in the upper 70s, but heavy rains are coming. Then I took the scenic drive down to Tahlequah – but I had to do a u-turn after I passed a little BBQ place with a separate small building where everything was smoked. I enjoyed a delicious pulled pork sandwich on my way to Tahlequah,which is the capital of the Cherokee Indian Nation. While walking around town, I was talking to my neighbor back home (if I haven’t said it before, my wonderfully awesome neighbors deserve a shout-out because they’re dealing with lawn care, a horse and my mail so I know the homefront is in good hands) and while on the phone with her, I got 3 requests from college-age students (I was right by a college campus) to take a picture of Tula – they were on a scavenger hunt for some organization, and needed a picture of a dog…and there really weren’t many dogs out and about! So Tula helped some guys on a scavenger hunt mission!

I was heading toward Muskogee tonight and I stopped in the town of Fort Gibson on the way to finish off my last mile of walking for the day. It was a cute little town with an old west appearance but it was like a ghost town! Shops were closed, there wasn’t much traffic, and the few people I saw were in the adjoining neighborhood that I walked through. But I finished my walking and ended up with .3 miles extra, which I’ll use on my last day.

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