Snow Sweeping Down the Plains

Two buildings in Oklahoma City always put light crosses up for Christmas. Because why celebrate birth when you can skip right to death?

I am back in Brooklyn after spending nearly two weeks visiting Oklahoma City. It was sometimes surreal being there, especially when I was out with my old roommate in Bricktown and felt like I should be walking back to my old apartment. My parents no longer live in Bartlesville and have moved to Edmond, so I celebrated the holidays there with my mom and brother (my dad was, and still is, in China on business). You already heard about the nightmare that was LaGuardia airport the Monday before Christmas, but I haven’t posted about the blizzard that put Oklahoma in a State of Emergency just a couple days later.

Oklahoma Avenue in Guthrie.

But before that shut down the state, my mom and I drove north to Guthrie for the afternoon. Downtown Guthrie may be my favorite place in Oklahoma, or maybe my favorite after the University of Oklahoma campus and the Price Tower in Bartlesville. It has an almost perfectly preserved Victorian downtown and the largest Masonic Temple in the country, as well as a cemetery with perhaps the craziest mummy story. Guthrie became the “Queen of the Prairie” around the time it became the capital of the new state of Oklahoma. However, in 1910, the state seal was stolen overnight and moved to Oklahoma City, which made that the capital instead. Oklahoma was pretty wild back then.

Train tracks in Guthrie.

It was cold, so we just walked around downtown and then got peppermint mochas at a little coffee shop to warm our fingers. I am happy that I got a winter coat, gloves, and other warm clothes for Christmas because I was not prepared for winter. I left behind a lot of my sweaters in France because they were worn out and wouldn’t fit in my luggage.

Blizzard from my parents' house in Edmond.

Christmas Eve, the snow came. It started in early afternoon and didn’t stop until late at night. I’ve never seen so much snow in Oklahoma City. At times, we couldn’t even see the house next door for all the snow that was falling. And the wind was going at 60 miles per hour, so not only was it freezing and snowing, but the snow was drifting up in piles as tall as five feet. We spent most of the day indoors except for a quick minute outside that night to see how bad it was. What was crazy is that people were still driving like it was a normal day. On the news, they showed the Wal-Mart and mall parking lots completely full. Unless you have a medical emergency, I can’t imagine what would be so important you would drive out in a blizzard, even on Christmas Eve. These are probably the same people who run outside when they hear the tornado sirens.

My nutcracker collection, including Herr Drosselmeyer, my favorite Nutcracker character when I was a kid.

The next day was Christmas and if the snow had melted at all, I couldn’t tell. My family was very generous and in addition to the aforementioned clothes, I got a DVD of The Seventh Seal from my brother and a new camera from my parents. This was excellent, because my old camera had began to stop working when it was cold outside. But that camera was used way more than its makers probably expected. I got it in 2004, took it overseas four times, and did Project 365 where I took a picture or more every single day of the year. It was jostled around in pockets, backpacks, purses, and messenger backs in France, England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, and Argentina. It was clumsily dropped a few times and submitted to temperature extremes and snowboarding falls. I’m going to keep it around because it still works when it wants to and I got attached to it, as I tend to do with inanimate objects that have served me well.

Elf walking in the snowy Edmond streets. Austin wishes it was as weird as Oklahoma City.

We decided to take a walk through the snow on Christmas and I wore my old snowboarding boots and coat and was careful to not slip on the many icy places. On our walk we saw this person dressed as an Elf walking down the road and holding a sign that said: “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Was this creative hitchhiking from someone who got their car stuck in the blizzard? Or was it really a holiday elf? Maybe a Crumpet wannabe?

Good luck with that snow route.

The streets were still horribly icy, even the emergency snow route as you can see. We saw several cars who must have gotten stuck and abandoned in the blizzard. I later heard stories from friends who were trapped on the highway for five hours between two exits and others or had to celebrate Christmas in the airport because they couldn’t get home. If I had gotten stuck in LaGuardia, I don’t know what I would have done. Well, I guess nothing.

Christmas tree in front of the front window, out which you can see the snow.

Thanks to everyone who showered me with Christmas gifts. I was surprised to get so many things from so many friends and family. You all are wonderful! And I was so glad I got to see many of you while staying in Oklahoma City, even if the blizzard and two holidays made it impossible for me to see everyone. You know I always love visitors and New York is an excellent place to visit. I would even turn up the heat for you.

Tim's elegant snow-woman.

The next day, my brother Tim and I built snowmen, because we are expert snowmen makers and easily entertained. Or at least, my brother is an expert. Look at this snow-woman wearing a bustle dress! This picture doesn’t even do it justice.

My rustic snowmen.

And here are my snowmen. Tim said the one on the right looks like a “frightened warlock” or “something you would see in a forest as a warning.” I tried hard to make him look happy, but without much success. I think his friend on the left makes him look even sadder by being so spritely.

Did you know the first parking meter was installed in Oklahoma City? It's a fact.

So that was the great blizzard of 2009. It looks like more snow could be coming my way. The rest of my time in Oklahoma City was spent visiting friends and spending time with my family. I also had to get four cavities filled, but that is not a very fun blogging topic. I celebrated New Year’s Eve at the Flaming Lips concert and I’ll be making a separate post about that. I just added the new Rogue Wave song to my iTunes library and was startled to see the 2010 date on it. I guess the future really has arrived!

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