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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Seeing Tulsa

What I feared would be a boring day for the girls as their Old Man dragged them around Tulsa saying, "I remember when....we used to....this is where..." all day was instead a day filled with some of the sights of people and they enjoyed it.  Phew!

After a bit of a late breakfast (to come clean, late for me the early riser, probably not so late for those on vacation--breakfast was 9:30 local) at a local diner with Judy Wright and her grandson--Judy being my Dad's cousin's wife, think of her as an aunt since we are talking Tulsa relations, we headed to the Philbrook Museum.  The Philbrook's original building was the home of Waite and Genevieve Phillips, as in Phillips Petroleum.  The 72 room mansion and 23 acres was donated during the Depression to the city of Tulsa as an art museum and center. When we were kids in the '60's my brother, sister and I would go to art classes held in the attic of the mansion.

Today Philbrook is a fabulous museum with Italian art from the 15th Century to modern Native American art.  The tremendous garden has several interesting sculptures and beautiful landscaping.  We arrived before the thermometer hit 90 degrees and the kids did a scavenger hunt finding rubbing-stones at different sites (they were given directions and blank pieces of paper and a crayon, at each rubbing stone they would put the paper on the stone and rub the crayon to get a relief of the picture on the stone).  They enjoyed finding the stones and we enjoyed the walk through the grounds.

Koi pond reflecting gazebo in Philbrook gardens Photo courtesy of
We then explored the galleries and the kids engaged in another scavenger hunt. The air conditioning of the museum was quite a relief after experiencing the Tulsa summer.

Following the visit to Philbrook we took a driving tour of Tulsa showing the girls where their Opa, my dad, grew up, and very importantly we went to Goldie's.  Goldie's is a mandatory stop for the Smith family on any trip to Tulsa to get what we consider the best burger in the states.  Goldie's is now a franchise operation with several locations, we however go to the original, though much expanded from the original, site at 51st and Lewis.  Also mandatory is enjoying the Goldie's pickle bar.  Like many iconic places, like Dodger Stadium, Goldie's was founded in 1962--sharing the year with a certain someone writing this blog.  Daughter Blaire loves cheeseburgers so I have been waiting quite some time to bring her to our family hamburger mecca.

Blaire becomes another generation of Smith's to
enjoy the Goldie Special with cheese
After lunch we headed north of Tulsa to the Tulsa Air and Space Museum where Glenn Wright, Judy's husband and Dad's cousin and sort of like our uncle in Tulsa relations, is the Executive Director and very much the driving force in getting the museum built and continued operation over the years.  With an F-14 and other planes in the main building, great side exhibits focused on Tulsa's aviation history, from the story of the Tulsamerican, the last B-24 bomber built at the Boeing plant in Tulsa that was shot down during World War II to the bright orange Bell helicopter Glenn once landed in a vacant lot half a block away from where we are now staying, the museum is a terrific site for local and national aviation history.

Meandering back to our digs for a quick change we then enjoyed an leisurely dinner with our hosts Ann and Mickey Wilson, her son Steve Lake and family and Glen and Judy Wright.  A perfect ending to a wonderful day showing off my hometown to my daughters.

How did it go?  Blaire told me, "Tulsa is cool...not the temperature but you know cool." And Jenna told Leslie she did not want to leave, Leslie asked if it was because she didn't want to get in the car for a long trip and she said, no she just liked it and wanted to stay.  Dad's happy the trip went well and the girls did not get tired of the history lessons and trips down memory lanes.

Tomorrow we have a long haul, 650 miles west on I-40, through OKC (home to the Thunder for you Laker fans), Amarillo, Tucumcari and into the Best Western in Albuquerque for a stop over before we head to our final stop before home.

A familiar sign for our family as Dad worked for DX when
lived in Tulsa, when they merged with Sunoco we moved  from
Oklahoma to Philadelphia

It hit 104 degrees in Tulsa today, the restaurant with
West facing doors put napkins on the door handles so you
could open the doors without burning your hands!

1 comment:

El Jefe said...

Goldie's Special with Cheese is a must - I got mine last weekend when I was there!

Don't forget these other great burger spots...

* Claude's
* Brownie's
* Webers (they claim to have invented it!)
* Ron's

And no Tulsa visit is complete without a trip to Coney-Islander and some great BBQ (Elmer's, Billy Rays, Rib Crib, Billy Sims).

So Hungry!

Way to go Dennis - way to introduce the family to T-Town. You've inspired me to do the same when my kids get a little older.