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November 17, 2012

Oklahoma – Wednesday, November 14

I was still in the Oklahoma City area – so many good places to walk! This morning I went to Bricktown – a renovated warehouse district with a mile-long canal flowing through it and paths along each side. There were canal boats for people who didn’t want to walk, and bridges and trees and shops and restaurants – a wonderful area to walk through! I went all the way to the end of the canal and unexpectedly found the coolest monument I have ever seen! The monument was multi-piece tribute to Oklahoma’s Land Run days. So many of the towns around here were literally formed in a day – an area of land would be opened to homesteaders, and everyone would line up and wait for a gunshot signifying the start of a race for the land – whether for a plot in the new town, or a bigger parcel to farm in the country. Some people jumped the gun and left too soon to try to get a parcel – they became known as the “sooners”. This monument consists of slightly-greater-than-lifesize men, women, horses, wagons etc all in a mad dash to claim their land. I could almost smell the dust and hear the shouting and I almost felt like I was going to be trampled by the horses! It’s quite a piece of art, and it also took a great deal of effort for the monument to be completed. I had no idea it was there and I’m so glad I saw it.

After finishing the morning walking, I saw that I had parked right by the Spaghetti Warehouse and it was after noon on “Warehouse Wednedsay” where they have spaghetti, salad, garlic bread lunch specials for $5. And it hit the spot!

Before leaving Oklahoma City, I wanted to actually walk in the city and around the grounds of the Capitol building. We walked all around town, and I assumed I would come to the Capitol area, but I couldn’t find it! Turns out the Capitol Complex was a little outside of town. Oklahoma’s Capitol building is the only one in the U.S. to sit on top of oil reserves – and there’s working oil wells too. There’s also a pretty area where all the different Oklahoma Native American tribes are represented by their flags. We walked all around the grounds and into the historic Franklin neighborhood too, covering over 3 miles.

For my donation-of-the-day, I had planned to drive back to Tulsa to participate in Oklahoma’s biggest fundraiser for The Make-A-Wish Foundation for seriously ill children. They were having a 3 day radio-thon in a big park, and I was going to make a donation and do some more walking. But, I changed my mind. As I was driving on the turnpike between Oklahoma City and Tulsa, it just suddenly didn’t seem to be the right thing to do today. I was backtracking along a similar route that I’d already been on, and returning to a city where I’d already been, and I knew if something else didn’t come up, I could always phone in a contribution. (And I will make a donation to them at some point in the journey.) So I got off at the next exit, paid my toll, and had to figure out exactly where I was. There was a town called Shawnee about 15 miles down the road, so that became my new destination. I did some quick research and saw there was a food pantry called Mission Shawnee that appeared to be open til late afternoon, and was located in a church. So I drove there, but the doors were locked, no lights were on, and the sign on the door said the food pantry was open every day but Wednesday. I was a little disappointed and started walking back to the car, but there were 1 or 2 other cars in the lot, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to go back and ring the bell, just in case someone was there. And I’m glad I did. There were indeed a couple ladies there, who were just beginning preparations for a free community dinner offered by The Good Shepherd Church. So I talked with them, and since the food pantry operated out of different space in the same building, they told me they would be happy to take a donation for them. Since this food pantry had a fridge and freezer space, they said some meat and frozen foods would be nice for them to get. So I found the local grocery store and got hamburger, chicken, hot dogs, some frozen dinners, and chicken nuggets and that sort of thing. And I added in some spaghetti and sauce, some beans, and mac and cheese, and went back to the church. By this time, they were busier with getting a dinner ready, and some local college students had come to help out. They took my food donation for Mission Shawnee and got back to work with their dinner, while Tula and I went out and finished our walking near a park in town before it got too dark. I began to feel bad that I had made a donation to the food pantry that was located there, but hadn’t done anything for the actual church, who not only sponsors dinners twice a week, but sends a van out to pick up some of the local kids who could use a hot meal! The meals are primarily for local children, and after they eat, they go into different classrooms with the college volunteers for some class time. So I went back when I figured the kids would be done eating, and made a donation to the Good Shepherd Church too – that donation was just a check so they can use it for either food or gas for the vans to pick the kids up. I talked with the pastor and some of the volunteers from dinner, and they told me more about the programs and we went into the classrooms for pictures with the kids. The college volunteers were all working hard with some energetic kids! The church and the people are trying to make a difference in their community, and I was really happy I went back. So I’m glad I got off the turnpike when I did!

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One Comment
  1. Pics made my heart melt, Nancy!

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