Day 18

13 Jun

We left Amarillo by morning and wound up, 600 miles later, a little past Little Rock. I’m cheating about Little Rock. We actually finished about twenty miles on the western side of Little Rock, but we were close. I was so tired, I would have pushed a firefighter aside to get on the elevator tonight.

We made only two stops today: Erick, Oklahoma and Oklahoma City.

Erick is the hometown of Roger Miller and Sheb Wooley. A town street is named for each of them, and there is a Roger Miller museum. The museum was not open when we came through at 8:00 AM. In true small town fashion, Miller was Wooley’s wife’s cousin and Wooley took an interest in Miller’s career. I know that all of you know Roger Miller, but who can identify Sheb Wooley without turning to the internet? Be sure to read about the Wilhelm scream.

Erick is also home to the Sand Hills Curio Shop and a windmill yard. We would have visited the Curio Shop, but it was overrun with bikers (the motorcycle kind.) The windmill is an environment but lacks pizzazz.

Our second stop was the Oklahoma City National Monument where the Murrah Federal Building once stood. The bronze Gates of Time at either end of the Reflecting Pool have 9:01 on one and 9:03 on the other, the seconds before and after the explosion ripped through the building.

The Reflecting Pool stands for healing calmness in contrast to what happened in that second. It is the one hundred sixty eight empty chairs that most people think of as the memorial to the people who were killed. Nineteen of the chairs are smaller than the others.

There is the American elm tree that somehow survived the blast and remnants of the walls of the building. It is an emotional place.

We reached Fort Smith at 3:00 and decided to go on to Conway, Arkansas where we spent the first night of the trip. Tomorrow we are going to Oxford, Mississippi, and then, home on Friday.

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