Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red River Route

 They say, "You can always tell a Texan...'course you cain't tell 'em much."  Well here's a news flash about BikerBuck: I'm a Texan.

It's true. Born in Dallas, worked in Dallas and Houston, plenty of kinfolks there.

But my father and all his family is from Oklahoma. So when one of my Oklahoma cousins and his wife invited me to join him at the Oklahoma-Texas football game - arguably the premiere college football rivalry game in the land - I was quick to say yes. The game took place just two days after a delightful visit with Texas kin and friends.  Well just color me CONFLICTED.....

.....but not for long.

The Red River Rivalry is always played at a geographically neutral place, The Cotton Bowl in Dallas, which is literally half way between the schools.  Moreover, unlike contests that use a home-and-away format for their BIG GAME, both Texas and Oklahoma get equal numbers of tickets, so the always sold out seats are split at the 50 yard line into two sections. All the Texas fans in orange, the Oklahoma faithful in OU red.  Guess which section I was in.

 The Cotton Bowl is located on the site of the State Fair of Texas. It's an historic place with astounding architecture, facilities, thrilling rides, and unique cuisine.

"Well I'll swan!" my mother used to say whenever something astonished her.

The big seller this year was Fried Bubble Gum. Last year it was Fried Butter. I'm not making this up. We couldn't get close enough to that booth to get a photo. The old favorites are also available: Fried Twinkies and Fried Pudding. (OK, I made one of these items up, guess which one and win valuable prizes.)

It was everything I imagined it would be. Times plenty. The game itself was a blowout as my Sooners kicked some serious donkey out there and made their fans real happy.  The Texas crowd took it well. Only about ten thousand of them lined up to take a swan dive off of Big Tex's hat brim.
This is a seriously tall hombre.

Thanks, Jeff Laird.

I left the Sooner's headquarters hotel bright and cloudy on Sunday morning and had a soggy but uneventful drive up to Yukon, OK to visit cousin Tom and his wife Ann for a couple of days. The plan is for Tom to join me on my Oklahoma 50k tomorrow.

Tom and I used to travel the route alternately spending summer vacations at one an other's homes, his in Shawnee OK and mine in Dallas. We're blessed with rich memories and a solid foundation of family values forged as much by our differences as our similarities.

The route was the one that our family used to take when we drove up to visit Grandmother and all the aunts, uncles and cousins in Ada, OK. Sometimes we took the train up and I remember the conductor use to announce our stop in Ardmore, OK by calling out, "Ahh'd MO!"  My sister and I would wait for him to pass and then mimic, "Ah'd MOW the lawn if ah wudden so tard." I said that out loud today, several times, in the car. 

The route crosses the Red River...moreover it transports you over a threshold that separates two contiguous states with two totally unique cultures. You have to live it to get it. The distinctions between a Texan and an Okie are profound. In a uniquely American way I suppose. But to go back over this route today and refresh my memories of a childhood forged from these differences has been elegant.

Take a tip from a Texan: Go to your team's next big rivalry game. Enjoy every delicious moment of it. But if your team doesn't win, stay away from Big Tex.

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