Oklahoma historians, at least, give good parties. I’m just back from the Oklahoma Historical Society annual conference (held at the Hardrock Casino in Catoosa, no less!) where I learned a lot about northeast Oklahoma history and culture, met wonderful people, heard from Bob Wills’ and Woody Guthrie’s daughters, and had a chance to get far better acquainted with favorite son Will Rogers and his amazing legacy. Besides the presentation of papers, we took a quick tour of Catoosa-focused Route 66 for the Blue Whale and Totem Pole Park, then toured Will Rogers’ boyhood home and had supper at the Will Rogers Museum — both must-sees if you want to understand the US during the 1920s and 1930s. That’s our tour guide in the black hat. The peacock on the railing behind him is named Kevin.
A special bonus was the chance to get acquainted with Rusty Williams, author of The Red River Bridge War, a wonderful and prize-winning book about a one-of-a-kind altercation between Texas and Oklahoma that involved both governors, Texas Rangers, the Oklahoma State Militia and, before it was over, the national media. Really a good read.
And since today is April 30, I have to do a shout-out to my favorite historical character, Cy Avery, and the anniversary of the meeting in Springfield MO where he chose number 66 for the Chicago to LA highway.