Stormin’ into the Weekend.

It was an interesting lunch hour Friday – needless to say – what with the tornado sirens going off and the lights flickering. We were fortunate.

There was a brief outage, maybe twenty to thirty seconds. It always seems longer when it is completely dark. I was about to locate a flashlight so our guests could find their lunches when the power came back on.

Around the corner on Kenosha, my sister wasn’t quite so fortunate. The power went out at Martha’s Health Foods before noon and stayed off most of the afternoon. They were obliged to move their activities closer to the light through the front windows after the skies cleared.

SpokeHouse

It was a deluge here in the Rose District and brought unfortunate news for The Spoke House, on our side of the street, but at the end of the next block south. Those 80+ mile-an-hour winds caught the brickwork at the top back corner of the building and sent bricks tumbling to the sidewalk. A car parked nearby looked to have caught a little damage as a result, but no one was injured. (Image is courtesy of the Broken Arrow Ledger, subcribe today!)

We’ve had some bad experiences here at the bookstore with driving rainstorms. The typical rain shower caused no problem, but with a strong wind added in, water seemed to find a way to slip through the roof. A crew was on the roof a couple of weeks ago, and today was the first true test.

Success!

Not a single drop of water from the ceiling – no mopping, no mess, no trash can or mop bucket drip collectors.

Books and water don’t mix, and it was a pleasure to report to our leasing agent that the work on the roof did the trick perfectly.

Sometimes I think that folks tend to speak complaints quickly and are slow to give up words of praise. (I’m not excluding myself… frustration often loosens the tongue…) I don’t know the name of the company that did the work, but they were quick and efficient and effective. If you need work on a roof – I’m sure I can get the name of the company to pass along.

While I’m at it (digging into that bag o’ compliments), I should mention the fantastic work done on the Firebird by Ray the Ace Mechanic at Affordable Automotive. It has been years since it has had air conditioning, and I had forgotten what a great thing AC is. It’s really satisfying to get so cold in the car that the AC has to be turned down.

I’ve been driving around like a teenager with a brand-new license.

Unsure of the forecast, but Friday is calling for Croissant Club sandwiches on the chalkboard menu. Delly-delly-delicious on a buttery croissant roll.

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers and Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!

All keyed up.

Shortly after we bought our house, the realtor called me at work and told me she had driven by and noticed the front door was wide open. She thought I might want to swing by and close it. She was going to, she said, but she was running late for work.

“You’ll want to close it though,” she repeated, “or else a dog or a squirrel might go in and leave a mess.”

That’s the small-town difference. No worries about burglars carrying things out of the house. Just head off the squirrels.

I can’t speak for the rest of the community, but in McAlester there wasn’t much need for locks on our doors back then. Probably naïve, but it turned out just fine – until we moved to the Big City.

MVC-039F

The Monte Carlo was locked, but they got in and got out the AC/Delco radio anyway, and welcome to Tulsa! (Seriously, stealing a stock AM/FM?) There was the toolbox that was stolen from the garage, and later the boat propeller. There were others, too. Even an oversized houseplant set outside the front door during the comfortable springtime.

Needless to say, keys – which had not been so important early in my life – became a mainstay. Each time my trust took a hit, my key-count seemed to rise.

The picture is my current key ring. More of a key-monster than a ring. Caused a major hoo-doo when I tried to enter the County Courthouse and tossed that mess into the metal detector basket. Security was quizzing me on what this was for and what that was for, and how come you’re carrying all these, anyway?

The short answer is – I’ve misplaced keys often enough that I worry about losing them for good. If a stray set breaks off from the herd, it might never be recovered.

So I just keep them all together in one big jumble. Different key fobs let me know right away which is which. And I keep them in the same drawer location all day, every day at work.

Someone told me it was bad for the car’s ignition switch to have a heavy set of keys dangling, so I always remove the single car key from the jumble when driving. One to start the car, the rest in the passenger seat.

In my hand or in my line of sight. Can’t get lost that way.

I pulled the old van back into the parking spot after filling the gas tank yesterday and reached over for the key collection. Not there.

WHAT? WHERE?

Floorboard, stabbing, grabbing.

Realization: the van has a locking gas cap, and I’d taken the jumble out at QuikTrip, opened the filler spout and set the keys on top of the gas pump.

ALL THE KEYS TO MY LIFE ARE AT QT ON A GAS PUMP! YeeeeAAAAAH!

Foolishly, I reached into the passenger seat for the key ring so I could drive the Firebird back to the pumps. Get there quicker. Oh, yeah. That key is on the SAME RING!

For a big machine, that old van can still haul. As I got within a block or so, the Mantra began “let them still be there.” Let them still be There. Let them still BE THERE. LET THEM STILL BE THERE!!!

Whipped up to the pump and there they sat.

The sense of relief was unequalled in recent memory. (At least, by events not involving plumbing).

And what does all of this have to do with the Bookstore – Bistro?

(Here is where I would normally plug in all the Key-related puns and tie-ins. Advice about all-the-eggs-in-one-basket…)

Nah. Not-gonna-do-it. It’s enough to savor the fact that I got a parachute jump’s worth of adrenaline pumped through me and I didn’t even need to get on a plane.

Of course, there is that section of books about self-improvement, mental focus, and Keys to happiness.

Couldn’t resist it.

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow OK!

Driller’s Stadium. I remember when…

It was called Sutton Stadium for a short time – named for an oilman who donated money for a major renovation of the ballpark at 15th and Yale. There was a scandal about how the money had been earned, and it became Drillers Stadium.

The Tulsa Drillers don’t play there anymore, what with the fine new park downtown, but there were plenty of good times had at the old location. I didn’t realize it until now, but they plan to tear down the old park.

Kind of sad.

garthConcert

I’ll still have the memories I suppose, but I can’t help feeling something is lost when a place disappears, a spot where so many people came together to enjoy themselves.

Folks have asked me about the significance of a baseball I have in a clear cube near the checkout counter. It’s signed. A nice signature of someone no one has heard of. He played for the Arkansas Travelers and one of his foul balls went skyward near the first base dugout.

That’s where my wife and I were sitting, enjoying an afternoon Drillers game – sort of a rare thing for us, but she had tickets for great seats courtesy of her employer.

Everyone was craning back, watching as the ball finally reached the peak of its flight and started coming back down.

Hmm, I thought. That’s going to come down over here.

I kept watching it – I mean, it was a HIGH pop foul – and when I finally realized that it was going to land in our section it was too late.

Almost.

Without really thinking about it (didn’t have time to make a plan), I stabbed my hand out over my wife’s head and the baseball smacked into my palm. Immediately, I understood why ballplayers wear leather gloves.

The next evening my wife related how she overheard someone in the break room talking about the Driller’s game, and how someone had caught a foul ball an instant before it would have hit his wife’s head.

“That was me!” she told them.

And that’s the story of our personal, but fleeting, baseball fame at Drillers Stadium, and how I came to own an Officials Drillers Baseball signed by a now-forgotten Arkansas Traveler.

The kids and I used to enjoy games (although they might have enjoyed the ballpark ice-cream-in-a-tiny-plastic-helmet more than the action) – we sat near the third base dugout until I realized that those rocketing line drive fouls seemed to target that area. After that, I tried to get seats behind the screen.

My daughter was a little older when she and I went to watch Garth Brooks at one of several concerts at Drillers Stadium. I worked at a country radio station, but had never been much of a fan of the music until she widened my horizons. There was a time she would drive my car and I’d get back in to find a blasting radio at startup, blaring country music.

Once, as I was reaching to hit the station preset button, the singer hit the chorus and it punched me right between the eyes. I listened to the words and thought – He is singing about MY life. And he was. Or could have been. It turns out, a lot of country songs are that way and I became a reluctant convert.

Enough of one that I bought tickets and fought the parking and the crowd and sat with my daughter in the midst of all those Garth Brooks fans smiling and cheering and shedding tears during the sad songs. It was an experience.

There were other occasions, too. A media softball game where I discovered that I couldn’t throw a ball anymore. A Beach Boys concert. 4th of July baseball and fireworks. And I wasn’t the only one there.

A lot of us will have memories of Drillers Stadium – good memories.

But soon the stadium won’t be there anymore.

Hopefully they’ll replace it with something equally eventful that will produce a whole new set of memories for generations to come.

In the meantime – we have books about sports and books about music, so

Come visit!

McHuston

Booksellers & Irish Bistro
Rose District
122 South Main St. Broken Arrow, OK!