We took a quick, whirlwind trip to Oklahoma where Jay’s family lives to visit one last time with them before the baby arrives. It’s a really different culture than what I am used to being a born and bred NW gal. So here’s a quick recap from the eyes of a Portlander.

Upon arrival into Oklahoma City, we headed to the stockyards – an old part of town where ranchers used to literally drive cattle in for sale or rest before continuing on north. This might be my favorite part of Oklahoma City because it has a rich, unique history. The old signs on the drug store, next to the saddle shop, next to the steak diner hint at that history.

After many trips to Oklahoma, I finally got to visit the memorial made for the Oklahoma City bombing victims. The quiet winter landscape of Oklahoma had a stark quality like the memorial. The large black tree in the background survived the bombing.

The chairs in this picture are for each of the people who died in the attacks, including smaller chairs for the children. I’m not a fan of the wreaths, personally. It takes away from the somber tone of what should be a somber installation.

On a less somber note, the ladies of the family took a late morning trip one day for some high tea in Oklahoma City. We talked about overseas traveling while we stuffed ourselves with tea sandwiches, creamy desserts and lemon curd. Lots of food and love around that table.

We had a rough flight back that required us to be up at 3am – yikes! So here is me and my pal Will Rodgers in the early morning hours at the airport. He used to say he never met a man he didn’t like. When someone asked him what he thought then about Hitler, he said “Well, I never met the man!”

My fondest memories of the trip don’t have pictures attached to them: spending time with family, sipping tea and smelling freshly baked cookies coming from the kitchen. Every year more of Jay’s family moves away to other parts of the country, but we were so grateful to have everyone gather from the four corners of the country to be together.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson