November 23, 2018


Neither of us was born in Oklahoma, but we both love her dearly. All year long, we enjoy her sometimes strange beauty. In the past, we have had to content ourselves with nice country drives and the occasional small-town event because I was too unhealthy to do much physical activity. About one month ago, I began to finally obey God about my eating behavior and choices, so I am much healthier than I have been. I weigh only 10 pounds more than the smallest that Jim has seen me, and that was in 2009.

We are trying to incorporate more physical activities into our leisure time. This would include scoping out and appreciating God’s lovely world on foot sometimes. Every year, we like to plan a nice day after Thanksgiving destination located far from bargain-crazed shoppers in Oklahoma City. We didn’t have much planned for this Friday until Thursday night, when Jim announced that he wanted to go back to the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge in the southwestern part of Oklahoma. The land is set aside for buffalo, deer, long-horn cattle, and elk which roam freely within the park (there are cattle gates on the roads). It includes impressive Mount Scott. We have been there several times, but we really don’t get tired of it. The roads are very clean, the refuge is orderly, and there are many interesting hiking trails. Of course, one does run into the occasional gigantic pile of stuff.

We left the house about 8:30 am and moseyed over to Anadarko, then headed south.  We made a pleasant stop in Medicine Park (just outside of the refuge), which is probably my favorite place on earth. It is a hilly cobblestone village. One year, we got to see Santa come into town in his station wagon (there was no snow for the sleigh to glide on).  I didn’t see Santa this year, but there was a lot of trout fishing on Medicine Creek—very solemn and serious trouters.  We stopped and ate at the Riverside Café, which was as charming as usual. It sits beside the creek and has a tree growing up through it. We had an excellent catfish dinner, trying to choose low-carb vegetables. I did alright, but the corn meal coating on the catfish was unavoidable. Sad, but true.

After our meal, we left Medicine Park and went to Mount Scott. Jim loves driving to the top (unfortunately).  I don’t feel safe scaling the mountain in the car. However, the road to the summit was closed because of rain damage. Many hikers were parked on the side road and climbing up anyway. We didn’t, but I would love to one day.

We then went to Holy City of the Wichitas. They have put on a passion play there every Easter for years. I really want to go sometime. Unfortunately, Sammy, our dog, could not enter the passion play buildings and grounds. But we climbed up to the Christ of the Wichitas statue and took pictures there. We didn’t see any buffalo this time, and we never see elk. We did see several head of cattle and many, many prairie dogs. Some were so incredibly fat and cute. Too bad fat on me is not that cute.

We then traveled deeper into the Refuge to Jed Johnson Tower. I didn’t think I could make it up the little rocky, dusty trail to the tower from the car park, but I just couldn’t stand to say, like I always do, even once more, “We’ll come back some other time, maybe next year.” I’m so tired of putting off my life because of fatness. So we parked by the trail (which is one mile round trip) and heaved ourselves on up. Sammy was not happy with this decision. I think he’s older than he looks and he clearly didn’t think all this foolishness was necessary. We showed him where he could get a drink of cool stream water twice and both times he laid in it. What a nut! I made it to the top and the view was fantastic. But even more fantastic is the personal satisfaction I got from accomplishing this feat (in spite of the sure knowledge that snakes were lurking just off the trail).

We came home on H.E. Bailey Turnpike, having to use Trans-Siberian Christmas music to keep us awake. It was a lovely day: physically, mentally, and spiritually. Thank You, God!