where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain

Since I know y’all are dying to hear about our exploits in Oklahoma, here they are!

The husband’s father lives in a little bitty Oklahoma town.  The kind of place that you have a long drive ahead of you AFTER you fly as close as you can get.

Our flight itself was uneventful, but when we landed in Dallas, the husband and I started hearing a chorus of ‘Michael Jackson? Michael Jackson!’ murmured throughout the plane.  As we turned on our phones to consult the internetz about the king of pop, we were quite shocked to learn of his sudden death.

But, anyway, you might be wondering why we flew to Dallas if we were going to Oklahoma.  And that would be because it was the cheapest-closest flight I could find to Broken Bow, OK.

We got our rental car, and drove to Broken Bow (but not without a pit-stop at Sonic!)  On our way, I chatted with the sister-in-law on the phone, and found out she was ambushing us with a family portrait the next day.  A great idea, I had to admit, as it was rare that the 5 of us (father, daughter, granddaughter, son, daughter-in-law) would actually be in the same place at the same time, but I hadn’t even packed makeup for the trip.  Or a nice shirt!

When we rolled into town, it was late, so we found our room at the Microtel Inn and checked in.  It was very basic, but it was clean.  Definitely worth checking out, if you ever find yourself needing a room in Broken Bow.

The next morning, the rest of the family met us at our hotel, and we all crammed into the rental car for a trip to Texarkana for the pictures.  There was a slight issue with missing seat belts in the backseat, but luckily I have long, skinny arms, so I remedied that.  We stopped for breakfast at a great little place (wish I could remember the name, for future reference …), and headed on our way.

We had an appointment at the Arkansas Wal-Mart, so we headed to the Arkansas half of Texarkana to be memorialized.  We were a little early, so I headed to the makeup aisle in an attempt to purtify myself.  I bought a product from about all the major players (Maybelline, Almay, Covergirl and … Bonne Bell … shut up!  They do make makeup!  Oh wait, not for grown ups?  Drat …) and made myself up in the bathroom.

The father-in-law used up his quarters buying the girls tiny ‘hello kitties’ out of a vending machine, and the boy a tiny farm animal.  (The husband doesn’t know this, but his little pony is now tucked away in my ‘tiny trinket’ box that I use to hold my smashed pennies and collected shells and rocks.  Oops, I guess he knows now …)

Unfortunately, the photo ladies had just gotten a new camera that morning, since their old camera had broken the previous day.  And they didn’t know how to use it.  So, could we please wait until they figured it out?

The father-in-law had wandered away during the new-camera fiasco, and the husband found him at the airbrushed-t-shirt ‘store’ next to the portrait studio.  Having a t-shirt made.  With a bare-bottomed little cowboy.  For the husband, of course!  Once we caught him, he let the girls pick out their own airbrush designs (I got a ‘super girl’ logo!), and then we headed back to the portrait studio.  They had given up, and made us an appointment at the Texas Wal-mart.  So we headed to the Texas half of Texarkana for our pictures.

We made it to the other Texarkana Wal-mart, got our pictures taken, selected the photo package, and were finally ready for lunch.

Long John Silver’s!  They sure know how to do fast food in Oklahoma.  Er, Arkansas.  Er Texas.  Wherever we were at that point …

We headed back to Broken Bow and relaxed in the father-in-law’s wonderfully air conditioned house.  Because in June, it is HOT in Oklahohoma-Arkansas-Texas.  Really hot.  The kind of hot that I don’t like.  We caught some Michael Jackson on tv, because, well, that’s all that was on that weekend.  Even in Oklahoma.  🙂

We discussed going to Transformers and opted against it, and found out it was too late for Bingo.  So we headed to the Oaks Steak House, and I had the best french dip sandwich I have ever had.  Not that I’m an expert on such things, I can almost count all the french dip sandwiches I’ve eaten in my life, but it was good.  And so cheap!  I guess you don’t have to charge an arm and a leg for your food when you aren’t paying through the nose for your rent.   The rest of the family had chicken fried steak.  (Except for the niece, who had a baked potato.  Being 6 definitely has its perks!  There are no rules on what you have to eat for dinner.)

We watched Taken back at the father-in-law’s house, then the husband and I had to call it a night.

The next morning, we breakfasted in the hotel (cereal and bagels!  breakfast of champions), then met up with the rest of the family and headed down to Broken Bow Lake for some horseback riding.

First, we rode the train.  Which is meant for little people, but given that it was really HOT, it was nice to be moving fast enough to feel a breeze.  Then we caught lunch in the park; the rest of the family got grilled ham & cheese, while I had a dang good slice of dang good pie.  (Pineapple and pecans, how can you say no to that?)

The girls went on the horseback ride, and I have to say, I am way too bony to enjoy horseback riding.  It was my first horseback ride, and may very well be my last.  Unless they make padded saddles, I could get on board with that …

We then headed over to one of the aunt’s houses, who was having a pool party.  (Because it was HOT, have I mentioned that?)  I met some aunts and uncles and cousins, and had a second lunch (or perhaps a real lunch …) of good, southern potluck-style cooking.  We all opted to chill out in the air-conditioned inside – well, all except the niece; what 6-year-old can turn down a pool?

After the big family reunion, it was unfortunately time for the husband and I to head back.  We had a room near the Dallas airport that evening, since our flight left the following morning.

We caught dinner at Whataburger on our drive back (yummy stuff, I promise!), and then checked into the Holiday Inn.

Our room was HUGE.  Like as big as some apartments I’ve lived in.  And it was new, and luxuriantly appointed.  The nicest Holiday Inn I’ve ever stayed at for sure.  (DFW South Holiday Inn, FWIW.)  And for the same price as our Microtel Inn, go figure.  Cushy carpet, fluffy towels, flatscreen tv, leather sofa.  I considered moving there.  And then I remembered I missed my cats.  /sigh

We made it back to Virginia safely, and it was nice to be back in civilization.  But, I have to say, it was also nice to be reminded that you can survive just fine without being plugged in all the time.  Cell phones and the interwebz aren’t quite as vital to life as, say, oxygen.  🙂

(I know this post is long, but the husband has long-term memory problems when it comes to remembering trips he’s been on, so I wanted to capture the details for him.  So when he forgets, he can just read about it, and be all ‘Oh yeah!  That WAS a good time!’  You know, instead of having to take my word for it.  Because sometimes my word turns out a little more in my favor than his …)

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