Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cow town comes of age !

Oklahoma City remains one of my favorite destinations in the U. S. Most people who haven’t been to Oklahoma visualize the state as a flat, barren, dusty place, where tornados have unearthed most of the trees and completely flattened towns. Yes, they do have tornados, and yes, they have storm shelters where you can find protection (even in the RV parks). Still, Oklahoma is a lovely, green place resplendent with trees, rolling hills, a river that makes its way through town and tons of culture, history, and museums.  To see my larger web article on Oklahoma City, go to  . 
Although I had toured Oklahoma on a press trip two years ago, Rick had never been there. So, when he routed us through Oklahoma City on our way to Ohio, the first thing I thought of was eating at Nonna’s Ristorante in Bricktown, the historic entertainment district. As you’ll see in the article I wrote about Oklahoma City, Nonna’s has the best tomato soup in the entire world! For weeks, I anticipated slurping down a bowl or two of that red liquid of the gods. According to Nonna’s web site, they opened for lunch at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays). At precisely 11 a.m. on Monday morning, Rick and I were at the door, hungry as the dickens. Then it was 11:15, and there was no sign of life inside the restaurant. A tiny sign revealed that they were now closed on Mondays.

There was no way I was leaving Ok City without eating at my all-time favorite restaurant. Would you believe we stayed a second night in town, so we could make a trip to Nonna’s on Tuesday? Well, we did! And the food was as wonderful as I remembered. YUM!!

Don't bother me ... it's bread pudding !


On a much more somber subject, I took Rick to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Hoards of school children were herded around the displays by patient parents and teachers. Apparently, it’s required for these kids to study the events that led up to the act of domestic terrorism that claimed just under 200 lives. It was my second time in the Memorial Museum, and yet, it still touched me deeply. Hopefully, the children who see the teddy bears and toys that belonged to the toddlers killed in the bomb blast that destroyed the Federal Building will understand the impact of such a horrific deed. I watched several girls as they stood before a glass display case filled with shoes (men’s, women’s and children’s) recovered from the rubble. How many of them had been on the feet of people who died that day? And the piles of car keys in another case. One child read the caption outloud to the others in her group. The devastation of this human tragedy seemed to have hit home….

I bought a small book that contains quotes from the museum’s walls. I would like to share a few with all of you:

“We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.”

“If we are to reach real peace in this world, we have to begin with children.” – Mahatma Gandhi

“May you keep on the armor of light, may you keep your light shining on this place of hope, where memories of the lost and the meaning of America will live forever.” – Pres. Clinton at the National Memorial’s dedication in 2000, five years after the bombing in April 1995.

The theme of the Memorial is that of peace, hope, and remembering the innocent lives lost that day. With all of the anger, fear, and hatred sweeping the nation in these difficult times, I wish that all Americans could visit the Oklahoma City Memorial Site and Museum. Above all, in addition to those who died, may we all remember the effect this event had on the lives of countless people who lived through this tragedy. Let’s all hope and pray that it never happens again.

View of the OK City memorial ...where the building used to be.

View of the other portion of the memorial.