December 29th, 2002

abstract butterfly

driving through talala

Last night we had a wonderful time with my aunt and uncle, my cousin, his wife, and three kids (age 18 months to 6), and my other cousin. We had a huge turkey dinner (my second turkey dinner in two days, but I did not mind a bit), and had a nice talk together. I still need to get on google and figure out if my first cousin's children are my second cousins or my first cousins once removed. The 18 month old, a sporty girl named Kathleen, was such fun. I think one advantage of being childless is that one can play endlessly with child relatives, without having to take any home.

This morning, after a leisurely morning with my aunt and uncle, we drove back from Tulsa to our home in Allen. We saw many hawks nestled in the bare trees, and a good number of huge buzzards flying far aloft. We passed by Choctaw casinos, pro-life billboards in front of Pentecostal churches, and endless hills of forests dotted with tall if sparse trees. I tried to make mental notes of state parks I wish to return and explore. All told, it proved to be 480 miles from my wife's dad's house to our home. The town names were often exotic and intriguing native American names--Talala, Atoka, Caddo, and Kiowa. When we passed through Talala, a very small town south of Tulsa, the sign proclaimed it to be the home of "art sculptress Sandra Van Zandt". I love the internet, because I could look up and get the full back story. Of course, I suppose if we had stopped in Talala, anyone would have been glad to fill me in. So much of Oklahoma is so pretty--it really is an interesting place through which to drive.

When we got home, we immediately went for a walk in the neighborhood, to try to begin to shake off the caloric dust that so much rich food has caused. I carried with me a gift I'd received of a set of portable binoculars. When we passed the Boyle Farm, we saw a bird hovering in mid-air in a wind draft. When the bird landed on a bare tree after several moments, we saw through the binoculars that he was a cute sparrow hawk. His feathers were a rich almost yellow brown, and he was so tiny.
I had almost mistaken him for a large swift.

This was a good Christmas, and we only need to work for another week before we get a six day vacation. But I'm still tired, and tomorrow will still be a working Monday. This was a good holiday, though. Now I've got to figure out which of the great book recommendations I'll use my certificate to buy.