The Sooner State’s Northern Tier

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June 14, 2022, Carthage, MO- “Hugs” helped me get up this morning, and we both got friend John out the door, a bit earlier than might otherwise have been the case. No worries, as I used all the time given me, going across Oklahoma’s northern tier and J had time to do what he needed to do for his own health and well-being.

We started as we usually do, on such visits, with a breakfast sandwich from a gas station deli and coffee at Da Vinci, Enid’s premier coffee house chain. After conversation with John and one of his friends, it was time to head east again. This time, I stayed on Route 60, eastbound, as far as the turnoff to Neosho, MO, which was a bit further south than I wanted to go today.

Passing through towns like Pond Creek, Lamont, Tonkawa, Ponca City, Pawhuska, Bartlesville, Nowato and Vinita, I was struck by the increasing greenery-even though I have been through this area dozens of times. The difference today was that there was no Turnpike involved. I was able to enjoy the back side of the northern tier.

Ponca City has preserved the properties associated with Oklahoma’s tenth governor, Ernest Whitworth Marland, who was also a philanthropist, having made a fortune in the oil industry, but seeing no point in hoarding the money. His view of wealth was to spend it “like water on my people and my town (Ponca City).” The mansion and estate he shared with his gracious and socially passionate wife, Lydie, are now managed by Ponca City.

Here are some scenes of the mansion and grounds. The Marlands’ adopted son, George, is depicted here, greeting guests as they walk in from the parking lot.

‘Abdu’l-Baha identified philanthropy as the fourth means to spiritual progress. Mr. Marland’s record of contributing, both to the welfare of his employees and to the well-being of Oklahoma’s people, is a worthy counterweight to the seeming largesse he expended on his family and himself. He seemed to have transcended the distrust for the common man that was vocalized by his mentor, Andrew Carnegie, and he actively called for “bringing the New Deal to Oklahoma. In the wake of the Dust Bowl calamity, the state needed those programs, perhaps even more than many places in the coastal regions.

Wealth is not a negative attribute, when it is shared responsibly.

Home Base Bound: Day 5

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May 26, 2021, Grants- Sleeping on a leather couch was a lot more restful than I remembered from last time. The house has a far more relaxed vibe, as well, so that had a great deal to do with the ambiance, as well. This morning, John and I headed over to a branch of da Vinci Coffee House, on the northwest side of Enid, and joined three of his local friends, in solving the issues that confront us, as well as reminiscing about the music of the 60s-80s.

The suggestion was made, that I visit Capulin Mountain, in northeastern New Mexico, as it was not too far off my route. Taking a forty-minute lunch stop at Mazio’s, in the Oklahoma Panhandle town of Guymon, I found myself getting to Clayton, NM-the gateway to Capulin, a bit too late for any meaningful visit to the extinct volcano.

Thus, after spending about ten minutes looking around Clayton, I headed towards I-25, at Springer, then down past Las Vegas (NM), Santa Fe and through Albuquerque to I-40, and Grants, an old uranium-mining town, in western New Mexico, set on the edge of a huge lava bed. Grants has been enjoying a rebirth of sorts, as a tourism hub- promoting exploration of the lava beds and its own nearby extinct volcanos.

There is much to explore yet, in northern New Mexico, so if Europe remains closed in October, it may be that my time will be spent in the area from Chaco Canyon to Capulin Mountain. At some point, my focus will be in this truly enchanting spot. For tonight, though, I am at rest in Grants’ Days Inn.

Home Base Bound: Day 4

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May 25, 2021, Enid, OK- I woke up to rain, this morning, in Wheatland, MO. After a delightful breakfast, at Hickamo Cafe, it was time to load up and head west and south. In keeping with my practice of not bothering working family and friends during the week, I stayed north of Joplin, and made a brief stop in Lamar, MO-the birthplace of Harry S, Truman, 33rd President of the United States.

Marker in Lamar, MO
Biographic of former President
First home of Harry S. Truman

Lamar is a fairly active, but unassuming, city, near Missouri’s southwest border with Kansas. The journey continued, across southern Kansas, an area that largely belies the state’s reputation for being flat and featureless. There are a number of forested areas, rolling hills and scenic ravines, in the area from Baxter Springs to Arkansas City-largely the watershed of the Arkansas River and its tributaries. I have presented some of these before, in a post on Sedan, KS.

Today, though, the intention was to get to Enid, and try to connect with old friend, John Glaze. Making my way to Enid’s da Vinci Coffee House, I was able to do just that. John’s house is most often open, so here I am, for a welcome break from motels and the road.

Tales from the 2016 Road: Da Vinci’s Coffee and A Welcoming Sun Room

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July 2, 2016, Enid-  John Glaze and I have visited one another, back and forth, for about five years now- both online and in person.  My latest stop in Enid found John going about his usual business:  Mowing lawns, working out ideas about improving the back part of his house, and visiting with the Saturday morning crowd at da Vinci’s Coffee House, not far from his house.

John tended to the yards, front and back, first thing this morning, before the heat set in.  I remained on the screened porch, for the time being.

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Life on East Meadowbrook, Enid, OK

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Back yard, East Meadowbrook, Enid

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Back yard, East Meadowbrook, Enid

John is justifiably proud of the garden spot.

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Master landscaper, Enid, OK

He also showed me a couple of ceramic tiles, sent him by a mutual friend.

We went to  Grand Avenue Cafe, Enid’s oldest restaurant, for a fine breakfast.  Then, it was off to da Vinci Coffee House, for an hour or so, enjoying rich java and home made pastries, brought by a couple of the fine ladies who help comprise the Saturday morning gathering.  The young couple who own this establishment were on hand to greet everyone, with a handshake and a hug, for regular and visitor, alike.  We were regaled by the stories of a well-traveled local resident, who had been everywhere I mentioned, except Alaska.  I

After da Vinci, John brought me over to an antique emporium, where I picked up just the right coral  serving dish to gift my cousin, whom I would visit the following day, in southwest Missouri.  We also went to a Catholic thrift store, where I was happy to visit the Chapel of St. Ann.

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Chapel of St. Ann, Enid, OK

I didn’t have as many photos of this solid town, in Oklahoma’s northwest, as I might have.  It all was part of being unobtrusive, and being a polite visitor. Being in John’s company is always a pleasure, though.

NEXT UP:  Chief Joseph’s Memorial and Ponca City