On Nov. 16th, the state of Oklahoma will celebrate its 100th year of statehood.
Though from Missouri, I've lived in Oklahoma for nine years of my life, soon to be ten if you're keeping track. In anticipation of this event, there is an email circulating that recounts Oklahoma's accomplishments. I pass it on to you in its entirety.
1. Oklahoma is not only the home of Ado Annie and Aunt
Eller from "Oklahoma!" but of the parking meter
(invented in OKC) and the shopping cart (invented in
2. The electric guitar also was invented in Oklahoma, by
a Beggs musician named Bob Dunn. The first "Yield"
sign was installed in Tulsa.
3. **Environmental Protection Agency recognizes Oklahoma
as having the most diverse terrain of any state in the
nation. The state, according to EPA, boasts 11
4. The state has more man-made lakes than any other
state, which give us more than a million surface-acres
of water and 2,000 more miles of shoreline than the
Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined.
5. The Sooner State has produced more astronauts than any
other state in the union. Owen Garriott is an Enid
boy, of course, while Tom Stafford is from
Weatherford, Shannon Lucid from Oklahoma City, William
Pogue from Okemah and the late Gordon Cooper from
6. Oklahoma is home to the Amateur Softball Association
and Hall of Fame, a world class zoo in OKC and more F4
and F5 tornadoes than any other state.
7. Oklahoma is the third-largest gas-producing state in
the nation and ranks fourth in the production of
wheat, cattle and calves, fifth in the production of
pecans, sixth in peanuts and eighth in peaches.
8. The state's colors are neither OU's crimson and cream
nor the orange and black of OSU but green and white.
9. Oklahomans practice 73 major religions. The largest is
the Southern Baptist Convention, with nearly 1,600
church and more than 960,000 members.
10. Oklahoma gave birth to Dick Tracy (cartoonist Chester
Gould is a native of Pawnee) and Donald Duck (Clarence
"Ducky" Nash, the original voice of Walt Disney's
Donald, grew up in Watonga).
11. Oklahomans have survived the Dust Bowl, any number of
killer tornadoes, the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City's
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and various oil
booms and busts. Oklahoma is populated by people who
are caring, giving, hard-working, patriotic and
fiercely independent. Oklahoma is a good place to
live, work and play.
12. We have had a number of Miss America girls.
also a number of stars.
The challenge in this, our centennial year, is to make
the rest of America aware of what Oklahoma has to
offer, besides "beautiful mornings," "fringe-laden
surreys" and "a girl who cain't say no."
The official statehood celebration will be in
November. In the meantime, individual cities are
restaging various events associated with statehood and
the settling of Indian Territory which eventually
became our state. It's a great time to be an Oklahoman
and I wanted to share this with you!
Fourth in natural gas production? This is a claim to fame?
We have had a lot of movie stars? This seems statistically unremarkable.
For my money, about the only noteworthy thing on this list is the tornadoes bit. 100 tornadoes in 100 years seems like a big deal to me, a fact that I've blogged about before on these very pages.
I recently visited the US State Capitol. As many of you know, each state has two statues of people from their state. What are Oklahoma's? Sequoyah, the Cherokee Indian who invented the written langauge of his people in the early 1800s, and - Will Rogers. Will Rogers? He was funny, cool and quoteworthy, but... But I don't know who else you would pick from this state. I'd submit Jim Thorpe I suppose. After that... uh... well... help me out here. I know there are famous people, but to represent you in DC as your state's statue?
It seems to me like Oklahoma is a great place to live. It's low key, laid back and easy going. But that means it doesn't have a ton to be proud of. Some things. But let's not go making them up and pretending. Pride goes before the fall, especially conjured up pride.