Posts Tagged With: Agra

Fish fry and fireworks!

One of my goals with this (unofficial) officially quirky blog is to show you a variety of views in regards to culture, traditions and everyday differences around this beautiful planet. In the next few posts, you’ll see several options in which Americans celebrate their Independence Day, better known as “The 4th of July”.

I’ll start with a quick flashback from years prior. In the 2012 post, 4th of July in the USA I was in Folsom California for a cattle drive followed by a house boat trip with some long time friends. 2013 found me returning to that familiar floating home-of-fun with the same amazing group seen in Jumbled July Shenanigans in California.
Last year I decided to celebrate on the other side of the nation with my mom, seen in 4th of July Santa Rosa Beach Style.

This round brings me to Oklahoma with 3 different ways that “folks around these parts” (to be said with a southern accent) celebrate North America’s anniversary of freedom.

Option 1: The backyard barbeque -AKA- block party, neighborhood social, shindig, friendly feast, cookout, potluck, USA’s birthday party, fish fry, weinie roast, BBQ, grass gather, barefoot dinner, Okie banquet or picnic.

This specific event is an annual barbeque held on the property of the local sherif (yes, this cute little town of Agra knows the name of both cops). With food, drinks, waterslides, a trampoline and fireworks… it’s surely a local favorite! 
 

Lets take a quick walk.  The following photos speak for themselves.  I’ll start with my personal favorite, a country kid with an innocent glare piercing the camera.  I couldn’t of set it up any better. 

     Considering the amount of entertainment provided, this family affair leaves the adults time for enjoying some catch up conversations while encouraging the kids to completely exhaust themselves. 

     With temperatures creeping near 100 degrees (about  37 celsius), a monster waterslide measuring in at 30 x 60 feet (9 x 18 meters) was the main attraction.  Sign me up!

   

A close runner up would be the kiddy pools, or “the bathtub” according to the little girl covered in mud. 

    

Hungry? You’re welcome to the fried fish, pork shoulder, beans, rice, potato salad, fried bread, macaroni salad and more of what most consider southern food. I’ll admit that I did not partake in the “grub” shared by the hospitable hosts, however the line shows that many were eager to fill their bellies!  

       Once the buffet was set and ready, they called attention to the crowd for a blessing of the food and a come and get it holler. The kind eyes pictured below belong to Patty, the woman behind the preparations.

 Here’s a sample plate from my cousin Eric (aka “Dude”). 

 Talk about country style cookin, welcome to the crawfish boil! Yep, they drop corn and potatoes with pounds of crawdads into boiling water and viola! Supper is served. Everyone dip up a plate?  Hardly. Gather around the table and dig in!

   
 

As night crept up, the chairs began to form a horseshoe shape around the soon-to-be firework show. A quick hello to friends Tyler and Austin before the flames begin. Sparklers and Picalo Petes? No way, this colorful display is going sky high!  

    

 

That wraps up the first event of this holiday weekend.  Next up, a baseball game and camping lakeside…
 
  

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1,000 pieces of penny cent candies

The Dollar General: “A convenient-sized store that delivers everyday low prices on products that customers use every day”. 

Upon arrival to Oklahoma, I was informed that they were having a huge grand opening. The first 50 customers would receive a tote bag and a $10 gift card. Challenge accepted! 


Just ten little dollars you say? Here’s a small list of things you can get for around $10:

A new wardrobe from a thrift store in Thailand, coloring books and crayons, 1,000 piecieceses of individual penny cent candies, a couple of fancy coffee’s, gallons of gas, frozen yogurt for the whole family, a beach chair, pet toys, art supplies and enough trail mix to weigh down a backpack.  You know the list is never-ending, so for the sake of getting this post up… lets move on.

I left the house around 7:30am for my usual run with the intentions of heading towards the Dollar General by 8:00. Here’s a few sights along the way. 
     Just to give you an idea of how “new” and exciting this place is, check out the panoramic below. Nothing but haystack fields and dirt surrounding the freshly poured cement parking lot.

  
I was expecting to be one of the first in line, but as you can see, others had the same idea.

   

 Favorite couple of the day goes to the matching denim overalls! 

 

And the nominees for best Okie (in a good way) vehicle...

 Yes folks, there was even a yellow ribbon cutting.  It’s official, they mean business.

 
A friendly smile greeted me with a tote bag and… the gift card!  

 
No, I didn’t pose this photo appropriately in front of the spam and Velveeta. Maybe. 

  
Funny how a small event with a bit of success can start your day on the bright side. Not to mention the giggles it brought to my family when I came bouncing through the door with my fancy new presents. 

 Success!

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Dear highway, will you ever end?!

All righty my friends, time to catch you up. I’ve left Arkansas to head west towards my dear family in good ol’ Oklahoma! The best part of this 6 hour roadtrip was the quality conversations with some of my favorite people.  The first half included my sweet cousin Lana Lane and her two sleepy kids.  

  Here are a few pics from that scenic (ha. ha. ha.) drive.   

   

  

 Recently, this area has been hit with storms creating flash floods.  Check out these examples of the water levels that have put many farmers out of business and residents looking for higher ground. 

  

In the state of Oklahoma, any beverage containing more than 3.2% alcohol by weight or 4% alcohol by volume, (most liquors, wines, and typical beer) may only be sold in licensed liquor stores at room temperature.   

 I thought I’d post these prices for comparison in years to come and also to give you non Oklahomians an idea of what they’re paying around here.

We met my dad half way so I got to continue the trip with two of my siblings Hannah Joe and Benjamin Dalton… related much? 

  

“OKLAHOMA, Discover the Excellence”

Hmmm …the excellence of? 

 

Finally arrived to my new home of Agra, Oklahoma (population 400 including pets).  I may or may not be related to at least 50% of the wonderful people in this modern village.  For more silly details of tornados, family time and Okie fun facts, see any of the posts here!

Next up… Work hard before you play harder! 

  

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Arkie to Okie….Crossing state lines

Leaving California usually provides mixed emotions. Saying goodbye to my hometown and childhood friends weighs heavy on the comfort seeking part of my spirit, yet knowing a new environment is in my near future brings a unique excitement that is irreplaceable. I’m not sure if it’s a hindering or useful quality of mine, but being in my “comfort zone” is generally short and sweet before I crave a different surrounding to stimulate my senses. I suppose there’s no need to label it “good” or “bad”… It just is.

To my memory, I haven’t posted these fun photos of the inside of the Sacramento airport. It’s so familiar to me that I forget my international friends have never experienced it. Check out the creative artwork at the baggage claim. I think it’s brilliant!

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Next stop is the land of fried okra, snappin turtles (nobody pronounces the “g” in “snapping”) and red dirt. Before we land, lets pause for a short story.

Southwest Airlines doesn’t assign seats, rather gives you a general boarding order that allows you to pick any open seat. This means, for travelers like me that don’t take concern in an early check in, get stuck loading a plane like a ten year old on a bus for the first day of school. All the cool kids with their window views, the runners up in the aisle chairs and the rest of us debating on the middle seat between the mom with toddlers or the business man who clearly uses the flight to recreate his work desk and take over the entire space with every tech gadget that they allow on board. My pick today was to squeeze front and center with an older man built like the traditional Santa Claus and a younger fit guy with legs the size of my waist.

Great news to me, Mr. Bulging-biceps was a friendly talker who was extremely intelligent and eager to trade stories. I could make this entire post about the conversation between the two of us, but instead I’ll just give you a photo with confidence that this gentleman crossed my path for a purpose. Thank you for the new workouts, encouraging words and a few well needed giggles.

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I landed in Arkansas to visit my cousin Lana for a week before heading to Oklahoma. Road trip! Her and the family loaded up as we set off for our 5 hour journey.

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*To my international friends: North Americans pay gas per gallon, not liter.

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I wonder what their fuel was before? Also, notice the sign to the right… Classic southern offer!

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This little pit stop has a flavored sugar disposing machine. Yes, you imagine correctly. It’s a huge colorful attraction in which you pick your choice of dyed sugar to weigh in and eat up. I rarely post strong negative opinions, but really folks… Can we at least pretend to care about the nutritional needs of our children?

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The famous Route 66 guides us in to the final stretch before finally arriving to the small town (by small town, I mean a street the has some houses surrounding the gas station-grocery store-post office that sits across the hwy from the only school k-12th. All shown in detail here).

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Agra, Oklahoma will be home while I visit my family including but not limited too: The precious Grams, 2 hilarious Aunts, 2 adorable Great Aunts, my Dad and his wife, 5 siblings, and 23 cousins still counting…

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A walk through Tornado Alley

“If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma… just wait five minutes.” This is a commonly used phrase describing the extreme changes that can happen within a moments time. I’m here at the end of Spring which means the rain is finishing up and the sun brings on the heat. Combine those two things and you have a humid day that often leaves you feeling sticky and constantly thirsty. This year, another element has shown it’s face earlier than usual and that little monster is called tornado season.

It’s usually the thunder that wakes you up. Sharp cracking is the first sound that alarms your peaceful rest followed by the roll of deep thunder. With the windows rattling and your heart pounding, sleep is now something of the past. As you attempt to drift off, the continuous lightening keeps your room looking like there’s paparazzi outside with dozens of cameras constantly snapping photos. I’m actually writing this post with the sound of the storm as my music and the constant light flicker as a reminder that it’s still dark outside.

With that said, let me take you on a tour of an Oklahoma Spring day. Ours starts as a bright event, with clear skies and happy children chasing butterflies as we gather in my families yard.

My dad is currently building a studio in his backyard for my grandfather who needs assisted living. This perfect sized guest house will also be a great future hide out for my siblings as they grow up and “need space”. I’m not sure if you could pay me enough to go back to those teenage years! Either way, this project has turned into a family effort due to my talented father severely injuring his dominate arm. With cousins, kids and friends… let the construction continue!

What you can’t see here, is the intensity building as we raced against the wind to finish what was necessary. Tornado warnings had been rumoring the town all day!

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With our powers combined, the days work is wrapped up just in time to hear the first city alarm sound. It’s informing us that with the next siren, you must promptly take shelter. Here are the clouds bubbling up on the way back to my grandmas house.

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Photo opportunity! The usual handstand picture before the storm takes over (Thanks for the fun idea Aunt Cindee!) and a “creative” sign displayed by a local.

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My cousin Kaleb captured a few photos on his way home as well. He lives in the other direction and was heading towards the lightening! Notice in the first picture, he’s actually following the storm trackers from the news station.

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As Kaleb gained ground, this was his final photo before putting the camera down and thankfully making it safely to his wife and daughter.

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As the darkness followed him, the clearing left us with birds singing in the light of a rainbow. This was definitely an unexpected sight after going through such aggressive weather.

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To give you an idea of just how separated the sky can be, I took this panoramic as the circulation was beginning. It was like watching day turn to night in seconds.

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Attempting to sleep, a few more violent knocks at the window, tells me that the sky is still dancing and the threat isn’t over. A big day, a longer night and finally the sun welcomes a new start.

The morning arrives with blue sky and a few tree limbs scattered around the damp ground as the only evidence of the vicious night prior. This brings a heart of gratitude and numerous phone calls to check up on loved ones around. I’m thankful to say that my volunteer work for the Oklahoma tornados will not be done in the town of my family… others aren’t so fortunate.

To end this post on a cheerful note, I’ll return to the common phrase, “If you don’t like the weather in Oklahoma, just wait five minutes”. Here’s a recap of the 48 hours that followed the tree snapping, life threatening, heart pounding chaos.

The sun is out, the twisters are gone so now it’s time to play!

Working up a sweat!

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Water balloon games!

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Any excuse to get wet…

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What do you get with a hot day, buckets of water and 6 siblings in a backyard? A classic water fight!

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It took no convincing to finish up the fun with some good ol’ fashion country swimming!

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Kicked out by the neighbors horses, we headed back home with all smiles and more memories to add to the precious family album.

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