Friday, July 1, 2011

Visit With Rick and Joanne in Oklahoma City

We had gone out to dinner with Rick and Joanne Stone during the week of the Fleetwood Rally and they had taken us into the Bricktown area of Oklahoma City. Bricktown is the stockyard area and it shows the old world style of what Oklahoma City used to look like. We ate at the Cattleman's Restaurant. I think everyone was eating there that night! It is THE place to eat in the Bricktown area because, as Rick and Joanne told us, "Their steaks are the best in town." Yes...They were very good!

So after our dinner and short walk around the stockyard area that night mid-week, Peg and I took the Stones' up on their offer to show us more of the city after the rally ended. 

Did you know that Oklahoma City has a canal/river walk which takes you through many shops, stores and some very interesting tourist-like areas. We walked past many of the factories and mills that are still part of the landscape, but have been replaced by modern shops and eateries. We had dinner at Zio's Italian Kitchen, which has a very Italian ambience, so much so that it reminded me of some of the places Peg and I dined at while in Italy.

After dinner we walked some more and saw the Devon Mosiac which is along the canal and incorporates a water feature into the mosaic design. There were many artistic areas of the walk along the canal, and we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and Rick and Joanne's commentary of the area. At one point of our stroll along the water, we walked by the ballpark where the minor league team, the Oklahoma City Redhawks play. Again there were wonderful bronze statues of baseball players at the neat looking entrance to the stadium.

Rick and Joanne also took us to the Oklahoma Land Run Monument, a series of giant bronze sculptures which depicts the Land Run of April 22nd, 1889 that opened "Oklahoma, Indian Territory" up to homesteading by settlers. The monument, which sits on the banks of the Bricktown Canal in Oklahoma City, depicts dozens of horses, wagons, soldiers, and cowboys in a race to settle the newly opened lands.It is big and impressive and there are boat tours on the canal that eventually end up at the sculptures.

As evening approached, Rick and Joanne had one last thing on the agenda for our city tour. It was the Memorial for the bombing of the Federal Building on April 19, 1995. We arrived at dusk and there were several other people walking around the reflecting pool which is located where the building used to stand. An eerie feeling came over me as we entered that main area of the memorial. There are 168 chairs, lighted at the base, called the "Field of Empty Chairs" which stand in nine rows signifying the nine floors of the building and depicting the lives lost in that bombing. 19 smaller chairs stand for the lives of children lost in the bombing.

The reflecting pool stands between two "Gates of Time", the east gate marked 901 (9:01am-the innocence before the attack) and the west gate 903 (9:03am-the moment we were changed forever), signifying the moment of destruction, in time, of the Federal Building and the people in and around it. There was also a survivor wall on the east side of the memorial made out of the only standing walls of the Murrah Building. More than 600 names are inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the building lobby.
Across the street on the corner at a church, a statue stands of Jesus with his back turned toward the memorial and his hand over his face entitled, "Jesus Wept" depicting the sad course of events that played out here at this site. I think seeing all these things at night held a special meaning for us and a solemn reminder that we are all vulnerable at any time during our existence here on this earth!

We said goodbye to Rick and Joanne and thanked them for the eye-opening look at some of what Oklahoma City has to offer. Peg and I really enjoyed our time with our fellow RV friends and we realized how nice it is to have met folks that live all over this country. It is sad to leave friends, but always nice to come together at rallies, events or when passing through their hometowns! Tomorrow we head back to McKinney...

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