Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We came, we saw, we sat on the rock...

Fall is a great time of year around here. Finally, a break from the heat! It is also a crazy busy time. Basketball practice for two, Nutcracker rehearsals for two, travel days for Mike, dance classes, drum line practices, homework, projects due,  football games, school activities, church activities...sometimes the "to do" list reads like a short story. A really boring short story. When activities ramp up, attention to the minutia of day to day life can sometimes falter. Laundry gets backed up, dinner prep can be rushed so frozen convenience foods are thawed, dust accumulates, the last milk jug empties and frustration heightens.

Mike woke up one morning and proclaimed the upcoming weekend a family weekend. Cancel all plans, apologize to all activity coordinators and get on board. With plans for activities set aside, we dressed for a fall hike. We were blessed with a beautiful day; sunny and cool with a bright blue sky. We piled in the van, pleased to all be in the same place at the same time, and headed out of the suburbs.

One of our favorite day trip getaways is Woolaroc. Woolaroc is located in the Osage Hills of Northeastern Oklahoma, about 45 miles outside of Tulsa. It was first established as ranch retreat for oilman Frank Phillips in the 1920's. The land is a wildlife preserve, home to an assortment of exotic and native animals. There is also a museum filled with Native American artifacts and western art. When the kids were younger, they called it the Cowboys and Indians Museum. As you enter the preserve, you stay in your car and drive through the acreage on a narrow road. There are some artifacts along the way, and animals grazing in the prairie grass. Sometimes when we drive through, we may see a deer or two, but on this day, we saw lots of animals. There were longhorns, deer, antelope and some other deer looking animals that I couldn't identify. We also encountered herds of buffalo. There were a few of them grazing right along the road and they are HUGE and a little intimidating up close. I wanted to take a few pictures and rolled down the window. I admit I was a little hesitant, but they lumbered along without giving us a second glance. I'll tell you who is an asshole, though. That stupid ostrich. I think it's the same one we have been looking at for years. He/she is aggressive and nasty. Lucky for us, he/she is behind a wire fence. He/she would like to peck our eyes out, I am sure of that!

We didn't stay very long in the museum this trip. We've been there so many times that the kids anticipated and talked about each display before we reached it. I did see something new this time, though. Someone donated a signature given to them by Geronimo. A handwritten note accompanied the signature saying Geronimo wrote his name starting with the "o" and went backwards from right to left. He was said to be very pleased with his ability to write. It looked like a small child's handwriting. My favorite collection at the museum is the Pioneer Women sculptures. There are twelve in all. They were commissioned and exhibited in 1927. My favorite is called "Fearless". Ever since the first time I saw them, I have been struck by the interpretation of the frontier woman's plight. Their names speak for them well. "Confidence", "Heroic", "Challenging", Affectionate", "Fearless", "Faithful" and "Trusting" are among the models.

The beautiful weather called to us, and we headed out to the trails. The hills and prairie of this part of Oklahoma are rocky. The trail isn't too difficult, but one must be sure footed and careful to not trip over the rocks.There are caves nestled into the hillsides that were notorious hideouts for outlaws. It is easy to imagine the life of a Native American when in the woods and a little creepy imagining the bad guys in their rock caves. There is a big rock at the trail's beginning point that we like to gather the kids upon for a picture. As we were wrapping up our latest "sit on the rock" photo shoot, hunger set in. We high tailed it out of there in search of the nearest cheeseburger. We opted out of the $5 each buffalo burgers and rode into town for a $1 each Sonic burger. Have you ever noticed that after a hike in the fresh, crisp air, is when cheeseburgers taste their best?

The ride home was amazing. I had a belly full of burger, we smelled like "outside", Mozart was playing on the radio, no one was bickering and I slept.
Dominic's new friend.

And now we are back to regular programming. The weekend is already planned with busy activities sending us far afield from one another. It's good to have busy kids. I love watching them do the things they enjoy. I admit I sometimes get tired of being the taxi service, but that's just what we do. With all of the schedules pulling us in different directions, I'm glad we took the time to stop, gather together and sit on top of a big rock.

Rock it


  1. What a great time! My family occasionally did things like this and those are some of the best memories I have. Add Sonic and Mozart into the bargain and you've got yourself a killer time!

    I love hearing about your family stuff. Even your day-to-day stuff is very interesting (and is NOT boring). You are raising a fine group of kids, there. This is written really well and captures the whole experience beautifully! Keep it up!

  2. Thank you, Colleen. It means a lot to me that you read, comment and enjoy!

    A great part of this trip was listening to the kids remember details from previous trips to Woolaroc. It is interesting what they remember.