The state’s reputation stays in the people, those who say “win” instead of when and “git” instead of retrieve. This is where “down yonder” applies to both down the street and in the next county. Growing up in Oklahoma means wondering whether “waitin on” and “fixin to” are really all that grammatically incorrect. One must be a special breed of Oklahoman to pronounce Catoosa, Checotah, Coweta, Miami, Okmulgee, Sapulpa, Tahlequah and Wewoka all correctly without a bat of an eyelash or a few overworked nerves. Even when I’m trying to be northern and proper, I still catch myself with a sunflower-seed bellyache, holding my torso and calling out at the top of my lungs, “Ow, my ABDOMAAAN!”
Where Christmas tree lights are shaped like shotgun shells, you’ll find me, wearing boots on Thanksgiving. Country songs can seem so much more romantic than Michael Bolton, if played over the soft sound of wind hissing over brown leaves on a Sunday.
Sometimes the best part of life is turning on the radio in order to listen to a woman just east of me tell a story about graduating in a senior class composed of 23. Oklahoma life is being the first in an extended American family to chase a rolling bit of tumbleweed. Quite often, I wonder if my cousins in Illinois and Pennsylvania really know what they’re missing.