Thank Goodness! Thanksgiving!

Dustin bailed me out again. Thanksgiving meal in the works and I haven’t made gravy in such a long time that I’m trying to remember the steps, and then – Dustin walks in.

Thank Goodness!

Except, I really shouldn’t be thanking “Goodness.” It’s better said as “Thanks, Dustin!” Easy to take the expertise and help of others for granted, and – if for no other reason – Thanksgiving is a time for reflecting on such things.


The newspaper reporter popped in and asked what I was thankful for this year. I didn’t want to create an entire laundry list, but truthfully, there are enough things that I could write a week’s worth of these articles.

As retailers, our family can’t travel over the holiday because the shops must be opened on Friday and Saturday. We never have a long weekend at Thanksgiving like others. But, like I told the reporter – I’m thankful that we can get together and share a meal and some conversation even if it’s our small gathering.

Instead of going out to eat this year, we turned the lights on in the Bistro kitchen this morning and cooked up what amounted to a feast – complete with stuffing and sweet potatoes and pie. Dustin bailed me out on the gravy for my mashed potatoes.

All is well in the world. At least, our small corner of it.

And I’m thankful for that.

Sometimes the small gatherings can be better appreciated than the crowded and boisterous reunions. Our family has had all kinds, but I’m especially thankful this year for the intimate meal and get-together. We decided that – separately – we don’t do much cooking just for ourselves and things like green beans and cornbread stuffing don’t wind up on the dinner table regularly.

Even though we were informal, I mentally reflected on the Thanksgiving idea.

I’m happy to say publicly how thankful I am for the many guests who allow us to serve them at lunchtime, and those who come in to find a book. I know there are other options out there and it means a lot to have people choose us. There are a number of guests who are known by name by now, and I wish we could have offered them a place at our table.

But people have their own traditions and holiday expressions. So, I’ll just pass along that – during our own little Thanksgiving get-together – so many of you are in our thoughts and our hopes for your own Happy Thanksgiving!

Come visit!


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

Blues Burger. The Moody kind.

Before I even recognized the song carrying through the book shop, I instantly flashed to my high school days, and lunch hour in particular. Funny how memories can be triggered by our senses. It was a Moody Blues song.

The technology was a bit different back then. Eight-track tapes were on their way out and cassettes were the latest thing. The latest from the Moody Blues was called Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and several members of our lunchtime group were fans.


Maybe it’s different now, but McAlester High School had an open campus and students had the option of eating in the cafeteria or finding a nearby restaurant. The catch was – the lunch hour was only thirty minutes or so. Fast food is faster these days. Back then, a hamburger patty didn’t hit the grill until it was ordered, which had us spending more time waiting than eating.

It’s been enough years that I can probably mention our first destination (since I’m sure no one remembers it…) was called the Copper Kettle. Probably was spelled Kopper Kettle because that’s how things were done back then. It was on the north side of Choctaw Avenue and they made such a fine diner burger that we actually had to towel-dry the grease-spattered top of the bun before we could pick it up. Big fries.

Hard to find those kind of burgers these days. (Hard to upload pictures of them too. Had to settle for a pic of Grandpa Ray at his lunch counter…)

We hatched up a plan that would allow us more time for eating instead of time waiting for those burger buns to get grease-ified. If the cook could just start frying ahead of our arrival, we could cruise in and chow down, pay up, and head out.

The Kopper Kettle chef didn’t go for that plan.

When we decided to try the drive-in on Carl Albert Parkway, the time element was more apparent. It took even longer to get from the school’s parking lot to theirs. As I remember it, we were settling the lunch bill and one of us asked if we could go ahead and order for the next day. The woman at the register wondered what they would do with all that food if we didn’t show up.

If one of us couldn’t make it, we promised, we would find a replacement eater. And if we couldn’t find someone to come eat the pre-ordered lunch, the rest of us would chip in and pay for it.

We Promised.

She bought the idea and we bought the lunches. To my knowledge, we honored our commitment and never left the proprietor hanging for a tab. And every day on the way from McAlester High School to that little drive-in restaurant we listened to loud music on the car stereo.

It never was my music since I was riding a motorcycle for part of the year and later driving a British two-seater (after the motorcycle wreck) – so, I got to hear songs I might not have otherwise.

Mostly, I remember David steering-wheel-guitar-playing to his Woodstock soundtrack, so maybe it was Joe, or Phil, or Paul – aw heck, I can’t remember just who it was that had the new Moody Blues tape. But we got enough of it on that relatively short drive to learn the words to the song choruses while digesting our steak-finger baskets, burger baskets, and foot-long cheese coneys.

Today, I was thinking about our four-man lunch sorties and the Moody Blues with their fuzz-guitar, dah-dah-dah-daaaaah, dah-dah-dah-daaaah, and the verse leading up to the chorus….

Listen to the tide slowly turning
Wash all our heartaches away
We’re part of the fire that is burning
And from the ashes we can build another day

And listening to that song, it suddenly didn’t seem like so very long ago.

We don’t have a greasy burger on our menu but we’ll get you in and out on your lunch hour with something tasty, so…

Come visit!


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

Baby, you can drive my car.

I know I’m not the only one that sometimes looks for reminders of the past. I’ve had folks come in looking for books they owned as children. Some memories are long-ago enough that the details are a little fuzzy…

It had a red cover, a lady told me once, trying to find a book from her childhood library. I didn’t have the heart to tell her a lot of books had red covers. Knowing the title is a lot more helpful finding old favorites.

A fellow brought some books by the shop today and I went outside to carry in the box. It was in the trunk of a beautiful Ford Mustang.


(Muscle car lovers will know about Shelby.)

After we got the book boxes inside and the Mustang-owning-customer was ready to go, I followed him out the door. Just wanted to hear the car start up, I told him. He smiled and said the sound of the engine was what had convinced him to buy it. He had a Mustang back in his high school days, he said, and he got to a point in his life where he wanted to own one again.

That’s a familiar feeling.

There is a search feature on eBay that will send a notification when an item of interest has been listed. My item of interest?

The 1964 MG that I drove in high school.


My father co-signed the bank loan, and let me do the talking with the loan officer. The asking price was more than the book value, the banker said. I know, I told him. But it’s worth it.

The man who wanted to sell it told me he changed the oil regularly, and that had to count for something.

You’re wanting that car pretty bad, aren’t you? the banker was grinning by now, and I admitted as much and signed the papers, promising to pay back the money. Dad mentioned how it didn’t seem like a very practical kind of car, but it seemed to be the kind that young people wanted.

Still loved the car when I traded it off for a Chevy van. We needed something to haul our music equipment around in, and the MG just wasn’t very practical. The trade was straight-up even, and I figure it must have been a wee bit traumatic, since I still remember the names of the young couple who drove off in my car.

They later painted it bright yellow – even though I thought the original black still looked good.

The van outlasted the band, and I eventually sold it, taking up a ten-speed bicycle while I saved up for another British sports car. But that ’64 MG was always in the back of my mind, and when I hit that first mid-life crisis I tried to track it down. My detective work turned up that the car had been sold to a collector and put in a warehouse, but when I called the fellow’s office, his secretary (who must have managed his inventory) told me her boss had parted with it years earlier.

The MG popped up on eBay yesterday and my heart jumped – just looking at the picture and remembering.

Then, I remembered it had been painted yellow and the car in the image was black. And had mirrors on the fenders. Mine didn’t. And – what about those hubcaps? I remember having a little hammer in the toolkit that was used to pound the knock-off cap loose that held on the wire wheels. Those weren’t wire wheels…

So, it wasn’t my car at all.


Just as well. I don’t have a place to store it, or work on it. (And they always require work, those British cars…)

For fun, I Googled the ’64 and after scrolling a page or two of various colored MG’s I found the car of my high school days – at least the memories, if not the actual automobile. The second picture is the spittin’ image of the one I tooled around in, down to the wire-wheel spinners.

You know, I enjoyed most of my time going to high school back then, partly because it gave me a reason to drive that little car. Meanwhile, the search is half the fun and the hunt continues…

We’ve got car books (and can find most of those red-cover books!) so,

Come visit!


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