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Old 01-15-2011, 11:41 PM   #1
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Default Oklahoma small towns

Trip to Oklahoma for Gas and Oil Company,

Working for the gas and oil industry has it's advantages, one of which is travel. We frequently have to go out in the field (literally) and check on gas and oil wells, Gas booster stations, oil pipelines and Gas refineries. The company I worked for was headquartered in Denver, Colorado and we occasionally drove to adjoining states but more likely flew as it was cheaper and faster. Don't get the idea that we flew in big comfortable wide body commercial planes, what we crammed us and all our equipment into would be called shuttle service plane. Watch your head cause you had to walk to your seat bent over if you were over 5 ft. tall. The plane in this story was a little two engine rattle trap and it made a Christian out of you just getting in and looking at the cracks and holes in the sides. It was so small and insignificent that it wasn't parked on the airport apron but just outside the door in a car parking slot. We boarded and a couple of mechanics grabbed the wings and turned it around facing the runway for us. We took off and surprisingly we were in the air before we got half way down the runway. Talking inside it was not possible as the noise from the two engines on either side of us were like standing along side a busy train track and trying to converse. So we just stared out the little (soft ball size) windows and watched the ground. Which was a lot closer than I thought we should be and still be called flying. Heading south one of the guys yelled into my ear, "How long do you think it will take us to get to Oklahoma?!!" I looked down and could see I-25 below us and the cars on the highway were passing us up. "About three days I would say," I replied But I was wrong because the wind shifted from the north and we soon were moving along faster and higher. When we arrived at Alva, Oklahoma they had a field with a shack about the size of the shed in my back yard and a telephone pole with a wind flag hanging from it. The pilot evidently had a lot of experience as a bush pilot as he took one pass at the town's main street and we could see a old man come out the door of one of the buildings and hurry over to the 'air field'? In the shed he evidently had a radio because we could hear him tell the pilot that he was cleared for landing. As if the pilot couldn't figure that out himself, as there was no one in the air, on the ground or moving for probably 10 miles around. Not counting the old man. We landed with a bounce, bounce, bounce, not due to the pilot's fault but the fact that some pigs had dug holes in the runway and the last tornado that came through had filled them with water so as to make them almost invisible. We deplaned and stacked our gear off the runway under a tree. The old man was gone and no one else was around to answer our questions. The pilot told us that someone from the refinery would be around to pick us up. Four hours later a battered and muddy truck with the companies logo barely visable showed up and greeted us like we were some inlaws that they wish had stayed at home. We spent the rest of the day at the company gas refinery sketching and measuring for the upgrades the company had planned for this little part of forgotten desert and burnt plains. Then we settled into a 1950's style motel with bugs, ants, spiders and dirt our co-occupants. After a real good supper as only Mom and her two daughters can cook and serve it (small towns do not have fast food or chain resturants) just an eating place run by one family that has the whole show to themselves. And they make friends with frequent customers very quickly. (we stayed there for two weeks) I love the small towns of the midwest. I was raised on a farm and the nearest town had 99 residents. But this town actually was big enough to have it's own local TV station. Our black and white TV in the motel room was all we had for entertainment. And because there was only one station there was no remote or reason to get up and fiddle with it. The small town TV station tried their best to copy the big city network commentators. One night I was watching the news and it went something like this:
"And now for the local news: Residents in Alva, Oklahoma were shocked and frightened when the sirens went off. It seems Ed Miller was painting his house and fell off the ladder. It was observed by Portense Cooper next door and she dialled 911-342-6671. The local volunteer fire and rescue team had been wanting to try out their new equipment purchased by a grant signed by President Bill Clinton and Senator D. Porkback. They arrived on the scene in three minutes and they actually all had their uniforms on. The scene you are seeing here is Ed Miller taking on the whole Alva fire and rescue team with a bucket of paint. Almost the whole town of Alva turned out to watch this daring rescue. That is if Emma Mae had been there the crowd would have numbered 52. In this next picture the rescue squad is trying to pull Ed Miller off the ladder and get him on the new stretcher. The large crowd is cheering, some are booing and hissing at Ed. This is a daring rescue that will be remembered in the annuals of history for Alva, Oklahoma forever!"
"Next in the National News; One of the FBI's 10 most wanted men was captured today at a convienience store in Colorado. Buddy Herndon, a local boy, was sought for a string of convienence store robberies that lasted for 3 years."
"Here in this picture, Buddy is being loaded into a patrol car. Watch carefully and you will see him wave and say "Hi Mom". "That's our Buddy!" (at this point the news caster did a little victory dance around the table.) Unfortunatly the camera crew (one person) panned back to far and you could see the man was wearing old tennis shoes with his suit coat and dress pants and the weather lady had pajama bottoms sticking out of under her dress, with feet on them and Poo Bear designs.
"Now for the DOW Jones average," the commentator said. And he glanced down at a paper in front of him. "The DOW went up, and the NASGA (what ever that is) went down. So if I was you I would by more DOW stocks."
"This is Channel 3 in the Oklahoma panhandle, see you tomorrow with the news today!"
I turned the set on the next day and it really was the news of yesterday. For three days they ran the same news tape
But then there wasn't any bad news.
Sarge

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Old 01-16-2011, 03:37 PM   #2
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Ain't small country towns great! Thanks for the story Sarge.

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Old 01-17-2011, 03:33 AM   #3
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I like a small town. I remember back in my public accounting days, having to go to a small town east of Atlanta, GA for a week to audit a bank. We quickly discovered at lunch on Monday that there was ONE diner in town. On Tuesday (and the rest of the week) the waitress (only one of those, too) brought out our sweet ice teas (is there any other kind of tea?) and cokes as soon as we sat down, having remembered what each of us had ordered the day before. Yep, those were the days...

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:58 AM   #4
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Oh Sarge...how you don't know Alva, Ok......Did you realize the area where the landing strip is at Alva was once a POW camp for SS prisoners? The TV station (local) is run by students from Northwest Oklahoma State University, which is in Alva. Your stay could have been more comfortable had you stayed at the new Best Western (they have dish network), eaten at a Pizza Hut, Subway or gone to a local steak house. The point is....life here in northwest Oklahoma is a bit more laid back and relaxing. Having given up the big city life (I spent 52 years in Kansas City) I now find time to smell the roses and cow dung (smell that money!) look at the stars and enjoy some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Better not say anymore as I will make it look too good and everybody will come and spoil it.

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Old 01-17-2011, 10:10 AM   #5
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ha . good story..... i grew up in claremore oklahoma. back in the 60's....

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Old 01-17-2011, 11:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by xring3 View Post
Oh Sarge...how you don't know Alva, Ok......Did you realize the area where the landing strip is at Alva was once a POW camp for SS prisoners? The TV station (local) is run by students from Northwest Oklahoma State University, which is in Alva. Your stay could have been more comfortable had you stayed at the new Best Western (they have dish network), eaten at a Pizza Hut, Subway or gone to a local steak house. The point is....life here in northwest Oklahoma is a bit more laid back and relaxing. Having given up the big city life (I spent 52 years in Kansas City) I now find time to smell the roses and cow dung (smell that money!) look at the stars and enjoy some of the most spectacular sunrises and sunsets. Better not say anymore as I will make it look too good and everybody will come and spoil it.
To put everything in the proper perspective I was working in Oklahoma in 1977 and I sure hope the town has grown since then. I will have to take a ride down there and see if I remember any of the old town.
Sarge
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