Well, I had a little trip last weekend that proved you can have a good time without good luck. Ol’ Nevah and I went to Oklahoma City and met our Arkansas friends, Mr. and Mrs. Penn Cilpusher, for a long weekend of visiting family members, horse racing, and old-age education.
As for the family part of our 3-day vacation, the Cilpushers met a sister and niece who came up from Chickasha, Okla. We met our grand-daughter and her boyfriend on Friday and then our daughter, son-in-law, grandson and his girlfriend joined us from Riley and Manhattan, Kan., on Saturday. In addition, quite by happenstance, Nevah’s twin sister, her hubby, and a group of his cousins were at the Remington Park horse racing track and casino and we got in a short visit with them.
As for the good time without good luck, look no further than the outcome of my collective horse racing bets. In two days, I cashed two winning tickets and they didn’t come close to making me break even for the effort. And, Nevah came out on the down-side, too, but not nearly as much as I did.
However, losing at betting didn’t keep me from having a great time eating fine food, drinking high quality beverages, and, in general, enjoying the good company of family and friends.
As for the old-age education part of our trip, it all happened at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. I went through the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (as it was named then) at least 30 years ago. Therefore, I wuz astounded at both the size and quality of the exhibits at the museum now.
We went to the museum Saturday morning with the expectation that we would spend at the most two hours there. Well, we left the museum and its beautiful grounds more than four hours later and we only took a moderate look at the exhibits. I would take several days to attempt to absorb all the information contained at the museum.
Here are some of the attractions/displays: Hall of Fame display of cowboys and cowgirls and their trophies; interactive actual rodeo events; history of western railroad building; re-creation of a 1900 western village; display on the cattle trails and western cowboy life; display on the mountaineers and trappers; wide array of Native American displays and information; huge barbed-wire display; display of famous western movie actors and actresses; wide array of Hispanic western displays; huge collection of famous western paintings and sculptures; scenic outdoors trail featuring the burial sites of famous rodeo/western animals; sculpture busts of modern philanthropists who contributed mightily and generously of their time and money to the museum. I’m sure I’ve overlooked several other topics with displays.
All in all, I left the museum quite impressed. I’d recommend a visit to anyone interested in American history.
After we left the museum, we mused at the hypocrisy of the folks who so openly criticize the wealthy and their so-called “greed” and failure to give back to society.
Without wealthy philanthropists America would be bereft of such museums at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Museum. Only through their donations of both money and time do such national treasures come into being and keep maintained and improved.
Virtually every monument to the arts and history bear the names of founding philanthropists. For that matter, most of the new buildings and laboratories at U.S. colleges and universities — where much of the criticism of the wealthy capitalists comes from — bear the names of the generous wealthy. In short, the U.S. benefits greatly from the generosity of those who’ve made their wealth through the capitalist system.
Now for a few words about our trip home to Damphewmore Acres. I’m prone to traveling the backroads rather than the interstate highways. Therefore, on our way home, we quickly quit I-35 for the backroad past Langston University on our way to Stillwater, Okla., home of Oklahoma State University. Like all other universities, OSU has grown and is still growing. New buildings are springing up like kudzu. Plus, the rural areas around Stillwater have been developed into acreages and housing subdivisions to the point Nevah and I couldn’t recognize the area around where we started our married life.
After leaving Stillwater, we traveled through Pawnee, Okla., then headed north through the beautiful southern Flint Hills in Osage County, passing through Ralston, Fairfax, Burbank and Grainola. Then we entered Cowley County, Kan. were we passed through Dexter, Burden, Cambridge, Lathrop and Beaumont before getting on Hwy. 99 back to Emporia.
I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention that we stopped for lunch at the Sassy Lady Antiques & Tea Room where we enjoyed a great meal of home cooked food. The establishment is an old home built in 1876 and converted to homestyle dining and the sale of antiques and unique furniture. If you’re ever traveling through the southern Kansas Flint Hills, be sure to take in the food and ambiance of the Sassy Lady
Guess I’ll appropriately end up this column with this Old West proverb: “Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction.” Have a good ‘un.