Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rockwellian Moment

SO there I was driving along the old Highway 75 between Okmulgee and Tulsa. I say the old Highway, because they built a brand new one in the 1960s that is about a mile to the east. It has four lanes and almost no stops. It has bumper to bumper cars running 75 mph or faster, and they would cut off their own grandmothers if it meant they could get home from the jobs they hate a half minute earlier.

I was driving the old highway. It's a narrow two lane road. You have several small, backwater towns you drive through. From time to time you get stuck behind a farm truck driving 30 mph and you have to slow down and watch the country side. I prefer this road. It links me to where and how I grew up. That back highway is safer, more stable, more dependable, and you know what? Even though I drive slower, I kind of think I get where I want to go just as fast and with a hell of a lot more enjoyment than the ball of acid stress I get every time I drive on that freakin four lane road!

So today I am rounding a curve outside of Beggs Oklahoma. I drive by a collection of country homes and double-wides. Then, just like that, all of a sudden I am seeing a live-action Norman Rockwell Painting right there on the side of the road! It was so freakin cool I couldn't believe it!

If you don't know, Norman Rockwell was a famous painter of early to mid 20th century Americana. When you saw one of his paintings it was like a special look into a slice of Anywhere USA. The typical American experience with the typical American family. Assuming all typical Americans were middle class white people who owned their own homes and could afford Boy Scouts, Health Care, and Holiday feasts.

So today I am on the classic back road trip in rural ass Oklahoma when I look to the left, and there is a family gathered in the middle of a gravel driveway. Mom is prancing around with her arms windmilling about as she loses her cool. The older sister is standing in the middle of the drive with her arms crossed and glaring angrily at little sister, who is sitting next to her spilled bicycle and gently crying as she holds her scuffed knees. Dad, of course, is looking sheepish and ashamed he had not been able to catch his little girl and protect her from all the dangers that come from falling and getting hurt.

It was perfect. I saw the whole thing in a flash at 70 mph and then I was around the curve and they were gone forever. Picturesque America?... no... Picturesque Oklahoma.

No comments: