8/12/2014 – The Pulsa o’ Tulsa

 

Search out Tulsa’s Philbrook Mansion and discover a very posh neighborhood (oil may pollute our air, but it provides for marvelous mansions). Home large enough to support servants, but close enough to pop over and borrow a cup of sugar.

 

Tulsa/OK: Woodward Park - Anne Hathaway Herb Garden

Tulsa/OK: Woodward Park – Anne Hathaway Herb Garden

Tulsa/OK: Linneus Teaching Garden

Tulsa/OK: Linneus Teaching Garden

Nearby, wander through lovely Woodward Park: its Linneus Teaching Garden gate is locked, but am able to chat up groundskeeper and volunteer “thinning” Anne Hathaway Herb Garden. It’s early, so dogwalkers and joggers are out to elude rising heat/humidity

 

Tulsa/OK: Boston Avenue United Methodist Church

Tulsa/OK: Boston Avenue United Methodist Church

 

Drive downtown, astounded at sparse traffic, and am assaulted instantly as Sam Quasimodo starts ringing the hour at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. Must admit, if one aSPIRES toward the heavens, using this church as a model seems a good choice.

AM surprised to find so MANY large churches (Catholic; Christian Science; still another, more modest Methodist); perch upon this hilltop, but pedestrian traffic is too slight to conquer my ignorance about “Why?”.

 

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Tulsa/OK: BOK (Bank of OK) Performing Arts Center

Tulsa/OK: BOK (Bank of OK) Performing Arts Center

Gehry-like BOK Center catches my eye, so wander past Tulsa’s only (or so it seems) “populated” area… a down-and-out collection fluttering about Metro bus station: a fiftyish woman rummages through her plastic bags; a 30+ Black man in a blood-red suit and glistening leather shoes sits on a low parapet, idly smoking; a tall, slim, older Black man leans against a column chatting on his cellphone; while in front, a couple looking like Dorothea Lange subjects launch themselves and an old woman in a wheelchair across six lanes of near-deserted street.

 

Meander “down by the railroad tracks” and, in Williams Tower, ask directions in a gigantic employee cafeteria, and finally find a disappointing Union Station. (One bright spot: they’ve converted it into a jazz museum/club, and an enthusiastic manager flogs their upcoming live performances)

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Tulsa/OK: Service Before Self” Monument

 

A few food vendors await lunch hour in a plaza anchored by two high-rise office buildings. A bit early, startle an older woman who apologizes that none of her hot dogs are ready yet, “but, if you come back in about ten minutes”.

Upon return, she encourages me to sign a petition: seems local power company and politicos “arbitrarily” chose to penalize individuals foolhardy enough to try to reduce utility bills by installing solar panels. (As in CA we ENCOURAGE solar, she must go through her recitation twice before it registers fully). Close by, a large, multi-part Kiwanis effort encourages “Service Above Self”… so am left confused trying to decide which side of this political football it is supporting.

 

Notice a sidewalk plaque honoring “US-66” (1408TRV12a1b1m1) and am reminded that, in 1963, while heading for SF, stopped in Tulsa for an oil change. My book-loaded Chevy Belair was so heavy we had to jack it up to get it on a hoist (“Those were the days, my friends…”).

Tulsa/OK: "Route 66" Sidewalk Emblem

Tulsa/OK: “Route 66” Sidewalk Emblem

 

Head out to Thomas Gilcrease Art Museum/Gardens: a modest collection, much of which includes Native American art and crafts, but a delightful alternative to outdoor heat.

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