My wife Abby and I spent the weekend in her hometown, Ryan, Oklahoma. We brought the dogs with us and slept in Abby’s father’s widow Ethel’s guest room.
Last night we drove to nearby Waurika, where we had dinner at The Truck Stop, where Abby worked one summer when she was home from college. The place could have been in a scene from Thelma and Louise, or it could have been the place where Wyatt, Billy and George stop to eat and can’t get served because of their counterculture status in Easy Rider. It was classic, unpretentious Americana, from the run-down but clean kitchen to the cowboy boot wearing girls (including Abby), to the waitresses all being daughters in the family who owned it. The food was genuinely good, fresh, generously-portioned, and fairly-priced. Abby had a chef’s salad that filled a dinner plate, while Ethel and I each had an omelet, mine a veggie, with hash browns and biscuits and gravy.
I got up and out at 4:30 in the morning to walk the dogs. I’m not often outside at that hour in southern Oklahoma, but the air and the smells and the sky really brought me back to 1986 with someone I was dating during those late night/early morning hours. (See Acme Road Bridge.)
It is frighteningly dry in southwestern Oklahoma right now. Ethel’s well for the cattle is dry, so the cattlemen use rural water district supplies. Grasshoppers filled the dead and dying yard, a significant sign that the ecosystem was under deep stress from a relentless drought in southwest Oklahoma.
Ryan’s municipal water system is in under a boil order due to the discovery of e-coli. Fortunately for us, Ethel is on a rural water system.
One bright spot was that we saw a covey of quail in the front yard.