The Night Before Christmas, Oklahoma Style

‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN OKLAHOMA*

by Courtney Cantrell

with thanks (and possibly apologies) to Clement C. Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through my home
Dishes rattled and shook like when buffalo roam!
The stockings, they fell from the chimney and stair,
But it wasn’t St. Nicholas — he wasn’t yet there.

christmasdeco2013Mamma in her kerchief and I in my cap
Came gasping awake from our long winter’s nap.
The children plopped, startled, right out of their beds.
They bumped every elbow and all their wee heads.

Out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
The moon set off sparkles on inch-thick ice
And then I saw something that just wasn’t nice.

It made my eyes wonder, it made my brow frown:
Inflatable Santa had toppled right down.
I guessed that tonight there would be no St. Nick,
But my wife hurried over and hugged me right quick.

“Oh honey,” she said, “don’t make no mistake.
We’re gonna have Christmas in spite of that ‘quake!
Now dash and now dance, and now get to fixin’.
We’ll clean up the mess with some fast cleaning blitzin’!”

So that’s what we did — you’d think we could fly.
Our Christmas was back ‘fore the sun gained the sky.

Our children’s eyes twinkled! Their dimples were merry!
Our Christmas was saved! That ‘quake? Not so hairy!
For bestest of all, we still had each other,
Momma and Daddy and sisters and brothers.

I’d panicked when thinking we’d have no jolly elf,
And now I just laughed in spite of myself.
Sure, snowman Frosty had just lost his head,
But an earthquake should give me nothing to dread.

I spoke not a word as the kids went work
Emptying their stockings, no present to shirk.
I first wiped my eyes and then blew my nose.
Tearful prayers of thanksgiving to heaven arose.

With my wife in my arms — kids played on the floor —
I knew that no harm could come through my door.
Forget that dumb ‘quake! Family’s a beautiful sight.
So, “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

___________________

I took complete poetic license with the extent of the damage we suffered, which amounted to none. ; )

MERRY CHRISTMAS, DEAR INKLINGS! Hope it’s been a great one.

christmastree2013edited

10 Things I’ve Done That You Probably Haven’t

One of my favorite bloggers, John Scalzi, posted a list of his 10 this morning and invited readers to follow suit. I enjoy cards, so here ya go:

  1. Moved to Germany twice and to Oklahoma twice.
  2. Crossed the Atlantic in an airplane 58 times.
  3. Sang a capella on the streets of Zurich, Switzerland, and on the Charles Bridge in Prague, Czech Republic..
  4. Petted a tarantula in spite of severe arachnophobia.
  5. Fractured my tailbone twice.
  6. Completed more than 80 oil paintings.
  7. Learned English and German fluently and achieved proficiency in French and Koine Greek.
  8. Stood atop a scaffolding to paint a church building.
  9. Viewed Dead Sea Scrolls: Psalms 31 and 33 from Cave 4, A.D. 50.
  10. Accidentally went mountain-climbing in the Alps without any gear.

________________

How ’bout y’all? What snippets of your life make your unique top ten list?

The Vulgarians Evoke Something in My Breast

This is a rant.  You’ve been warned.

Never mind the goo. That's just my skin melting.

 So, here in Oklahoma, we just had the hottest July on record. As of today — on which the official high was 108º, although, as you can see, my iPhone insists it was 111 — there’s a statewide burn ban. I’m not too broken up about that, since I’m not currently in campfire mode and never in the habit of burning my trash.

But what does burn me up — har de har har — are the pristine, emerald green lawns I viewed when I made a trip to Vulgaria this afternoon.

What, you might be asking yourself, is Vulgaria?

Well, I’ll tell you, darling reader. Vulgaria is my term for human dwellings so ridiculously, wastefully ostentatious that they’re just vulgar.

I mean, come on — you gotta have turrets on your mansion? Really?

Actually, I’m a total hypocrite here. I love the turrets. If I had money for a mansion, you better believe I’d want it to have turrets. Two, as a matter of fact. Maybe even three. And a bastion here and there. If you don’t know what that is, I’m just gonna to let you keep thinking it’s something obscene, because I feel snarky and you have Wikipedia.

😉

Anyway, I toured a little slice of Vulgaria in North OKC this evening. The husband, who works for a hardwood flooring wholesaler, had made a delivery there and knew I’d appreciate the architecture. Because he knows I’m a sucker for a good turret. We drove in through the exit because the entrance gate was closed. What can I say — we’re rebels.

The husband was right: I loved the architecture. It evoked all the classic beauty of Italy, the slight mystery of the English countryside, and the hominess of colonial American hearths. The masonry was perfect with its intentional haphazard look, and the turrets rose quite majestically, indeed. Each house evoked in my breast* a deeper, more fond sentiment than the last.

But I wasn’t so fond of their lawns.

You see, all of their lawns looked to have grown in lush, green Ireland — not blistering hot Oklahoma. And several home owners had decided to run their sprinklers.

After it rained this afternoon.

Granted, it wasn’t much rain. From what I’ve researched, it was officially 0.33 inches. That’s not a lot. Especially when you’re in a drought.

But still.

The Vulgarians decided to ignore the fact that there was water falling from the sky and, instead, get water from a hose and put it on their yards. Why, you ask, is this a big deal?

Actually, I suppose some of you are asking yourselves why I’m making a big deal out of any of this at all.

Well, lemme tell ya.

This came off the intarwebz somewhere. I hope that's okay. If not, let me know. ; )

There’s this thing called Lake Hefner. It’s a body of water smack dab in the middle of OKC. The lake is where the Vulgarians are getting the water for their emerald lawns.

That lake is also the place where my drinking water comes from.

When I was at the lake two days ago, the water line was about 150 feet from shore.

So.

Maybe I don’t understand how utilities work. Maybe the City of Oklahoma City has done all that’s necessary by leaving messages on everyone’s voicemail only to water lawns on odd-numbered days if your address is odd-numbered, even days if your address is even. Maybe I’m begrudging the Vulgarians their prize-winning grass for no other reason than that I can’t afford to water the lawn of my rent house.

Maybe I’m just being snarky for no reason at all.

But I keep thinking about that distant water line at Lake Hefner. I’m remembering the Wishing Well Water Walk I participated in a couple of years ago. I’m thinking about how money for turrets and pretty lawns could be going to help people. I’m pondering the fact that, considering the national debt, every U.S. citizen carries an average debt of $46,712.00 — and people still care to spend money on what their grass looks like.

I’m shutting off the water while I soap up in the shower. It’s not much, but it makes me feel better.

*No. You may not evoke anything. So stop thinking that. ; )

I Like Photos. Let Me Show You It.

The One Where I Lost My Brain

This past weekend, I went oldskool.

I went on a photowalk Saturday night, and I used my “old” (ca. 2001) 35mm camera.

By Amy Nickerson Design. Amy makes me feel NOT old.

The idea first popped into my head when I realized that the digicam’s batteries were dead.

“Oh!” thinks I. “Instead of going to the battery store, I’ll just hop over to Walmart and pick up film for the 35mm! It’d be fun to work with that one again.”

As it turns out, the saga of getting film and then making an extra trip back to Walmart to get a deities-blasted battery for the 35mm was more epic than would’ve been the trip to the battery store. Murphy, you are SO not my fave, dude.

But, in spite of all the trips to The Evil WM Store and in spite of the 100+ºF heat of the summer afternoon, by Saturday evening I finally found myself in Guthrie, Oklahoma, with Amy, Becca, Ryan, Ann, and new acquaintance Kelsey.

We Be-ed Artsy

In case you’re new to the term, a photowalk is a walk on which you go in order to take photos.

Ba-dum ching*.

Amy organized the whole shindig. Kelsey wanted Amy to teach her some new-camera tricks, so Amy invited the rest of us to tag along and be artsy.

So we tagged along and be-ed artsy.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that I can’t yet share any of my photos with you — since they’re on 35mm film and have yet to be developed and all. But Amy gave me the go-ahead to share a few of her shots, which just goes to show what a totally cramazing person she is.

THANK YOU, AMY!

Photos are click-to-embiggen-able.

Becca had the perfect look for this shot. And yes, this is Guthrie, OK. Not Hawaii. I promise (sadly).

Amy caught me taking pictures. Don't know how that happened. ; )

Apron. Tied to a fire escape. WHY IS THE APRON THERE?!? Nobody knows.

This is both sad and fabulous to me.

Becca, Kelsey, and Anne. Chillin'.

The artsiness plus that cramazing fan make this one of my favorite photos of me ever. My photog friends are great for my ego. ; )

Sorry for all the weird frame sizes. I pretend to know what I’m doing with this thing called Com Pewt Errr, but it doesn’t always work out.

Of Skunks, Trespassing, and Dapper Defiance of Death

In-between and all around this awesome artsiness, the following took place:

We wampished** about in alleys,

avoided a weaving sort of fellow in a cowboy hat outside a place called the “Blow Out Club,”

called “here, kitty, kitty” to some animals we belatedly recognized as skunks,

trespassed on private property to take shots on the hood of a fantabulous, ancient, orange Ford truck,

composed an awkward “all-the-girls-grab-each-other” shot,

leapt into the air screaming like banshees,

and ran shrieking toward an oncoming train***.

There were also quite a few that’s-what-she-saids.

That was fun, too. ; )

_______________________

*This is actually listed in Wiktionary. Oh, the times in which we live.

**I picked this word up I don’t know where, but my notes tell me it’s Scottish dialect for “to wave about or flop to and fro.” I am open to correction on this.

***No photographers were harmed in the making of this photowalk.