American Vacation: Does This Shell Make My Turtle Butt Look Big?

fat butt turtle

(Photos from my recent Okie ‘Merican vacation)

If a picture is worth 10,000 words, this blog must be worth a billion. Give or take…

This is *Jack (above photo). Don’t hate him even though his butt has gotten so HUGE that he can’t properly close his shell, which must be a major embarrassment when lady turtles walk s-l-o-w-l-y by. Never fear, my niece the Vet Tech, has Jack on a diet of what we assume must be low-cal lettuce.

James Garner street sign

There was a time about 40 years ago, when a friend of mine’s ’69 Cougar had many, many street signs in the trunk. How they got there is a mystery. Last month, while riding around Norman with my sister, I saw this sign near Andrews Park, which was the site of many, many teenage transgressions that we will not get into here.

I very much wanted the sign. I thought, perhaps, I should take it home to New Zealand for safe keeping, lest it be damaged by an Oklahoma shark-quake-nado or something. You may remember that, maybe 70 years ago, James Bumgarner briefly ran with my Mom and Dad in Norman. Now that he has passed, I really wish it had fallen into our trunk. R.I.P. James Garner, Norman’s favorite son.

Claire's Bear

There are Uncles, and then there are Uncles. It takes a special kind of Uncle, a Grand kind of Uncle, to get to the mall, find a teddy bear with “Claire’s” written on the fuzzy foot, and get back to the maternity hospital before the cutest baby in the world is born…

Claire Bear just born

… namely Claire Bear, who had an early splash-down on June 23, at 5 lbs 11 oz, and who, thanks, I assume, to a lot of baby TexMex, cracked the 9-pound barrier within a month.

katy and snake 2

This rat snake is a good snake. He is a good snake because he is a dead snake. He was de-snakified by my brother-in-law and two shovels. If you’re ever in New Zealand, I will show you the video. You’ll have to tilt your head sideways to enjoy the play-by-play. I was sort of caught up in the moment when the snake, prior to desnakification, was wildly striking at the shovel and everything else, so I held the camera the wrong way. Katy, above, who should be the Official State Dog of Oklahoma, gets credit for the kill, because she saw it and gave the Official Snake Bark. UPDATE: In the last week, Katy has barked-up five copperheads, all of whom have since met their maker. It should also be noted that Katy’s buddy…

a Little Bit

…Little Bit, not only does not like snakes, but refuses to even go outside to pee when Katy has given the Snake Bark. He just hides under the furniture.

chicken enchilada dive

Dear Lord, look at this TexMex! Better’n Mother’s milk. Which is why this photo shows me diving head-first into this vat of chicken enchiladas. They were lovingly prepared by my sisters, who might as well have injected the grease directly into my heart valves. They love me that much…

a gravy

.. Speaking of grease… Do not judge me when it comes to extra gravy. Because it is gravy, ya’ll. And Braum’s gravy, like real TexMex, is not available in New Zealand (Third-world country, or what?). So when I get the chance to consume gravy, I consume extra, extra gravy…

a oversize load - Copy

… which is why this truck followed me around every day.

a duce and a quarter - Copy

Also from the Wide Load Department… This pic was taken at an awesome car restoration yard in OKC. Although it specializes in restoring Corvettes, I was “grabbed” by this low-riding “Deuce-and-a-Quarter”. Actually, I was sucked into the gravitational pull of this beast, which has more mass than many actual planets.

a big truck in a big boat - Copy

Also in the “Large, Wide Load ‘Merican Vehicle” department were my Buddy’s new truck and boat, which came with the optional…

a back wash - Copy

… large wake at Beaver Lake in Arkansas…

a fish - Copy

… which came with optional ducks and big honking scavenger fish that swam menacingly around the marina, carrying signs that said, “Feed the Fish If You Know What’s Good For You”.

a cows in pond - Copy

Apologies, but this photo was shot while travelling at 80 mph. It’s a little blurry, so you may not appreciate that it’s the perfect example of Oklahoma flora and fauna. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “how boring”. But when you only get back to Home Sweet Oklahoma every decade or so, sights like this warm your heart and fire up your Okie D.N.A.

And speaking of “firing up”…

a fireworks 2 - Copy

… Being home for Independence Day was great. There is nothing more ‘Merican than spending a hundred bucks on a bag of Fourth of July fireworks…

a fireworks 1 - Copy

…Unless it’s watching an Okie girl wearing shorts and cowboy boots while buying a box of stuff that ‘splodes.

a firework

… Or unless it’s you and your buddy and his Missus sitting in their big ‘Merican boat, docked in the driveway in Piedmont, watching fireworks going off all around us, as we told stories, laughed really hard, and drank whisky until the wee hours. You just cannot get more ‘Merican than that.

a potawatomi cultural heritage centre

…Unless you happen to be REAL NATIVE AMERICANS, a.k.a. my “People of the Place of the Fire”(Potawatomies to you pale faces), at the annual Pow Wow (my first) in Shawnee…

A cat tent

…complete with ginormous tent…

a eagle

…and our very own fricken eagle. Note: I am on the waiting list to get my very own Bald Eagle feathers from our tribal aviary. Nanner nanner nanner, white people.

Moving on to my sojourn through…

a norman water tower

Geez, I love that water tower.

My chauffeur sister and I traveled north and south, and east and west, which flooded my mind with so many memories.

a moews steps

I’ve written about my grandmother Moew’s killer front yard steps. They broke my sister’s wrist and cracked open my 5-year-old head so badly that I thought I was drowning in my own blood. Turns out the steps were not quite as huge as I remembered…

a harve collins football field

… Neither was Harve Collins field (photo shot with crapcam from moving car). While at NHS, I must have spent 900 billion hours running wind sprints, smashing into people, and watching Dean the Dream be all kinds of awesome. The thought that the Tigers now play their home games at Harve Collins “stadium”…

a owen stadium

… instead of here, at Owens Stadium, where we played OUR games in 1973, sort of sucks. Yes, at this point I feel compelled to link to this old football blog because of Joe Washington’s gravity-defying silver shoes … which I actually reached out and touched a looooong time ago in the Sooner locker room, that we got to use my senior year.

a hogsrock 2 - Copy

No, I did not change my Indian heritage or abandon the Sooners. This photo is for my Vet Tech niece who, though she just moved back home to Oklahoma, still has a special place in her heart for “Woo Pig Sooie!”

We will end this ‘Merican travelogue with a photo of a photo.

Cat and Zeus

This is my big sister Cat, back when she looked like a fashion model. She’s with her baby, Zeus, who grew into a 210-pound Blue Dane, the biggest in Oklahoma, and the sweetest dog you ever saw who could eat you in one bite.

All up? What a bodacious vacation. We really need to do it again, ya’ll.


* The “photo that got away” would have been a show-stopper. Late one afternoon, we saw a skinny relative of Jack The Fat Butted Turtle “racing” across a parched, red dirt country road near Yukon. Sadly, by the time we stopped, he was long gone into the tall grass.


Click HERE for The Great Okie ‘Merican Vacation.

4 Responses to “American Vacation: Does This Shell Make My Turtle Butt Look Big?”

  1. Lillian L.. says:

    P.S. BTW, I’m going to notify the tribe that when your Eagle feather is available, that I’ll pick it up for your and save them postage. Nanner, nanner, nanner, little brother.

  2. Lillian L.. says:

    First off, the chicken enchiladas were not greasy, that was melted cheese, you goof.
    Secondly, let’s not wait another decade before doing this again. Already miss you and am ready for your return.

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