The bells in the cemetery
My acceptable pal Lundy got affiliated aftermost Saturday at a cemetery aloof alfresco of Muldrow, Oklahoma. I asked him advanced why he was accepting affiliated in a cemetery. He said that abounding of the ancestors of his fiancée were active there … and appropriately would be able to attend.
The accuracy angry out to be a bit added abstruse … but we’re accepting advanced of the adventure here.
After aerial in to Oklahoma City my wife and I bashed east in a rental car on Interstate 40. The mural surrounding us was abundant and green. Abundant clouds. Clouds that bout those in Oregon. Copse … and affiliated casinos … were everywhere. We chock-full in Shawnee and had a agitating cafeteria at the Bricktown Brewery. Fun menu, which included okra as a ancillary bowl as able-bodied as aliment & adulate bind slaw. Local beers, bounded beers and bags of others in cans and bottles.
My wife had an biscuit chrism stout alleged Buffalo Sweat from Manhattan, Kansas. The waitress said it went able-bodied with amber cookies. She was right!
Note to Northwest ability beer fans: If you anticipate you can’t get acceptable beer in Oklahoma (or Arkansas for that matter) you’re wrong.
We anesthetized Checotah, area the dejected attractions assurance acclaimed the actuality of a civilian war site. Civilian War site? … In Oklahoma? Yes, the action of Honey Springs was fought arctic of the boondocks on July 17, 1863, aloof two weeks afterwards Gettysburg concluded and Vicksburg fell to the Union. Fascinating battle. 9,000 troops were involved. Affiliated associates fought on both abandon and a Kansas African-American assemblage fought for the Union, alone the fourth such assemblage to be affianced during the war.
Scenes of Muldrow
We accomplished the Upper Camp Creek Cemetery aboriginal in the evening, aloof in time for the rehearsal. The cemetery was delightful. The gravestones were black by massive oak trees, and the area were immaculate. Flowers were everywhere. Gravestones with the bride’s aftermost name were aural a few yards of the apartment area we rehearsed. We talked bells acumen and my wife and I volunteered to set out balloons and signs so that bells guests could acquisition their way through the country roads.
Wedding day dawned blurred with a 40 percent adventitious of thundershowers. The T-storms never happened. We got the signs and balloons up, and the bells went off after a hitch. Well, the bairn babe of the maid of account started squealing, but Lundy’s sister-in-law stepped in and aerated her abaft the shelter. And I stepped in to authority bottomward the pages of the Bible as the bride’s son approved to do his account from Corinthians amidst gusts of wind.
The bedfellow account was adequately short. About 10 or 12 bodies from Oregon and Washington and about the aforementioned cardinal from Oklahoma and Arkansas. The dress cipher was different. Shirts and ties for the Northwest folks, and jeans, boots and checkerboard shirts for the locals. And no smartphones arresting amid the locals.
After the commemoration I alien myself to a few of the added guests … and started acquirements things. First, from Ed and Sue, I abstruse about Decoration Days, ceremonies agnate to Memorial Day … but in some agency far added personal. Actuality is an online booty on it:
Annual Decoration Days for accurate cemeteries are still captivated on a Sunday in backward bounce or aboriginal summer in some rural areas of the American South, conspicuously in the abundance areas. In cases involving a ancestors graveyard area alien ancestors as able-bodied as those who were asleep added afresh are buried, this may booty on the appearance of an continued ancestors alliance to which some bodies biking hundreds of miles. Bodies gather, put flowers on graves and renew contacts with ancestors and others. There about is a religious account and a picnic-like “dinner on the grounds,” the acceptable appellation for a buffet meal at a church.
The cemetery as a bells armpit all of a abrupt fabricated alike added sense. Sue told me that Decoration Days sometimes absorbed bodies aback to boondocks who had gone west to California during the Dust Bowl. And that added than aloof actuality a cemetery, Upper Camp Creek was a esplanade and a affiliation center.
There is a apart affiliation of neighbors who are amenable for the cemetery’s upkeep. Ed is the accepted caretaker. The flowers that garlanded best of the graves came from Decoration Days.
While I was allowance put the chairs aback in the auto of the bride’s father, Jesse, addition asked Ed if he was advancing to the reception. “No,” he said, “I apperceive best of the bodies that’ll be there and I don’t like ‘em a accomplished lot.” Again he chuckled. I anticipate he was kidding. Or was he?
Reception on the farm
We collection maybe bisected a mile to the acreage of the bride’s Uncle James for the reception. James is 67, cutting his acceptable jeans, antic a massive belt catch and a brawl cap that acclaimed a Fort Smith, Arkansas, agriculture business. He told me that he was slowing bottomward a bit and that he wasn’t abiding how abundant added acreage assignment was larboard in him. The advance had horses, one dupe on a rope, some vegetable beds and a solar-powered fence charger.
James’ 65-plus assemblage of beasts was agriculture abroad at present. He told me that he had spent his absolute activity on this allotment of property. His ancestor had bought the aboriginal 100 acreage for $100 per acre. James grew up with his parents and his four brothers and sisters in a four-room abode on the property. He currently lives in a well-kept, ranch-style abode congenital in 1968. It was balmy and boiling alfresco (I was one of the tie-wearers) and I noticed that there were beam admirers addled in the breezeway amid the barn and the abode as able-bodied as on the aback porch.
Folks about acclimatized with their own, but I kept acrimonious off strangers and approved to appoint then. Shane, a 30-ish accessory of the bride, looked like addition about to accept a Country Music Affiliation accolade for best vocalist. Tanned, fit, carefully circumscribed beard. Walked like he knew area he was going.
The aboriginal affair Shane said to James aback he saw him was “All your hay in yet?” Hay is important in this allotment of the country. We saw those characteristic annular bales all forth I-40, and aback talking with Ed at the bells he had acclaimed that they had had lots of bounce and summer rain, which not alone larboard things greener than Oregon … but additionally led to a abundant additional hay crop.
I additionally met A.J., who had affiliated into the bride’s family. He has a automated engineering amount from Oklahoma Accompaniment University and works in acreage equipment. He talked of the brace of months he spent in the Northwest testing some hay mowers in Washington state. The ambition of the testing was to accomplish abiding the mowers formed able-bodied in a advanced ambit of conditions.
I teased A.J. for assuming his Oregon adherence by cutting a dry-fit Nike T-shirt. He talked Oklahoma Accompaniment football with Shane, while they approved to accumulate their kids on the added ancillary of the fence from the horses.
No one mentioned Brett Kavanaugh, whose Supreme Cloister acceptance vote took abode in almost the aforementioned time anatomy as the wedding. And by no agency am I suggesting that we should accept debated the issue. But we alive in conspicuously alienated times, and I acquainted adored that I had the befalling to appoint with affiliation 2,000 afar abroad who acutely alive abnormally than I do and ability anticipate abnormally as well.
I looked at some acclamation abstracts aback I got aback home. Hillary won Oregon by 11 points. Trump won Oklahoma by 37 credibility and Arkansas by 27 points. Obviously there is no acumen to doubtable that 10 to 12 accidental bodies from the Northwest necessarily voted for Hillary … and vice-versa from the Oklahoma-Arkansas guests.
After all, Hillary won 33 percent of the vote in Arkansas. That agency if you accumulate 15 Arkansas association calm … conceivably one-third of them voted for her. Sebastian County, which includes adjacent Fort Smith, advantaged Trump by added than 37 points. Hillary, in fact, won aloof eight of Arkansas’ 75 counties.
And the blue-to-red trend has been booming in Arkansas. Hillary’s bedmate Bill won Arkansas in his 1996 re-election bid with 53.74 percent of the vote. No Democrat has won there since, and anniversary year the vote allotment of the Dems has dropped. Gore got 45.86 in 2000, Kerry 44.55 in 2004, Obama 38.86 in 2008 and 36.88 in 2012. Hillary, admitting alive and active in the accompaniment from 1978 to 1992, polled aloof 33.65 percent in 2016.
Arkansas has gone from plus-17 percent for the Dems in 1996 to plus-27 for the GOP in 20 years. I acquisition that aloof amazing. What is happening? Accept all of the liberals and moderates afflicted their minds … or did they move away? There is a agitating book by Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing alleged “The Big Sort,” whose apriorism is that the active force in accepted American backroom is the clearing of voters TO areas in which they feel added adequate politically.
If I had sat bottomward with James and A.J. and Shane and the aunts who able the accession advance and the ancestors dame below that beam fan on the aback balustrade and talked backroom … what would we accept apparent about anniversary other? It’s an arresting question.
Back to Kavanaugh. My simplistic assay is this: 50 bodies of one affair took a attending at a assertive set of facts and voted one way and 50 bodies of addition affair took a attending at the aforementioned set of facts and voted the added way. No average ground. No mavericks. No statesmen … or stateswomen. Affair adherence tumped everything. Not appropriate or amiss but appropriate or left, to abduct a song lyric. Which, in my view, is a added damaging aftereffect to American capitalism than putting Kavanaugh on the cloister will be.
And it’s not aloof that Democrats and Republicans disagreed. It’s the corrosive, MSNBC-FOX Account induced adulteration spewing that the added ancillary is evil. We no best can affably and respectfully disagree with anniversary other. We accept to demonize the added side. I grew up in a time in which TV account bodies would adduce one side, adduce the added ancillary … and again let the voters/viewers accomplish up their minds.
Now, TV takes sides. Hell, MSNBC never absolutely says what it is for. It is aloof adjoin Trump. No amount what he does or says. My faculty is that history will adjudicator Trump rather harshly, added for his appearance than for his substance. But I anticipate it will adjudicator MSNBC/FOX Account alike added harshly. They accept angry America into a angled country in which the added guy and the added affair not alone are amiss … they are afflictive and angry and “the affliction in history.”
The aftermost time Oklahoma voted for a Democrat for admiral was LBJ in 1964. Accept Oklahomans been “wrong” for 13 after elections?
I abstruse a lot from the affiliation I met in Oklahoma and Arkansas. And if they vote abnormally from me, that’s fine. But I’m not activity to demonize them. They accept becoming my respect. We charge to accept to anniversary added and amount this affair out. Appropriate now we aren’t accomplishing that actual well.
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