I think the holidays make you stop and reflect on the past as well as reflect on the future. Here then is a story from my youth….
Welcome back. My travels this past week found me in the southern part of Oklahoma City among the many businesses located on Reno Avenue. If you want furniture new or used its on Reno. There are dozens of mattress stores most of which advertise as being factory direct which means these places are huge, some are as big as Bartlesville High School. As you can guess this street is also full of restaurants. The Oklahoma State Fairgrounds is just blocks away and with the big American Quarter Horse World Champion Show going on for sixteen days you can imagine the area was especially busy when I was there.
I didn’t know much about “Lorec Ranch” as the store is called before I was invited there for a book signing but as soon as I arrived I realized that this ain’t your average western furniture outlet. No jeans or shirts, Lorec Ranch is more of a western art furniture store and they make most of their items right there in the back of the huge building they’re in. It is quite a place and then on Saturday I was at their new store next door to Ree Drummond’s Mercantile and for you locals, yes there is still a long line to get in and eat. This eventful weekend ended for me on Sunday at the Grand National Gun and Knife Show in Tulsa for another book signing.
Yesterday I was in Ponca City once again at Brace Books. Friends, if you haven’t been to Jerry Brace’s store trust me it’s a real treat and not just for the books. At the little snack bar tucked away in a distant corner with a few canvas chairs you are surrounded by new books, tapes, post cards and just about anything else for brain stimulation. I just wish I could talk him into opening a store closer to Bartlesville. I had lots of folks stop in and if you get the opportunity to go to Ponca City be sure to check it out. And don’t miss the Marland Mansion and Museum, its great!
As we’re getting closer to the end of the year, I’ll finish this week with the start of a Christmas story. This incident took place several years ago on a cold and snowy night when I was doing some investigative work in New York City. It was a long way from the small town in Oklahoma where I had been brought up. A good size fella, right out of college I landed a job doing security work at a fancy restaurant and bar. I quickly moved into management and then a few months later I was promoted to a spot at the corporate office in Dallas, Texas. The corporation had thousands of employees and my ability to spot a good dependable person proved valuable to the higher ups. When I got to Dallas I was summoned to the owner’s home which was unlike anything I’d seen before. The large, circular driveway and the giant pillars framing the entrance to the mansion made J.R. Ewing’s place look like a dump. When I drove up to the front, a man dressed in a coat and tie opened the door to my car and another led me inside what can only be described as a palace. Western bronzes, some ten feet high, were displayed everywhere along with several large animal mounts, all pointing down a long hallway. It was at the end of that well-lit hallway, surrounded by paintings of the old west, that I’d meet the man who had summoned me. As he is dead now, his name is of no consequence but the mission he gave me would take me not just to New York but also to several foreign countries searching for the last man alive in what can only be called the “dead man switch.” To be continued next week and till then I’ll see ya down the road…..