“Guts and grace and mercy, we have shown them in our turn. When the fields had turned to dust and the skies began to burn. When the storm shook our souls and the mighty buildings fell. Through fires and desperation, our faith has served us well.”
These words are taken from the song “Oklahoma Rising,” written in honor of the Oklahoma State Centennial. As a lifelong Dallasite, just over an hour from the Red River and the Texas-Oklahoma border, I can tell you I know firsthand how my friends from Oklahoma always seem to rise. Always have and always will. They rise to the occasion, rise after a fall.
To see a great performance of “Oklahoma Rising” by the award-winning OK City Chorus* (and many of my dear friends), click here.
You may or may not know that we also have a longstanding rivalry with our friends just to the north. There are countless jokes† that I just don’t feel like telling today. There’s the storied Texas-OU football game . . . or as my Okie friends call it, the “O-U-U-T game.” And yet, in my 42 years of this banter between our states, I have realized something: some of my nearest and dearest, some of my favorite people in the world, are from Oklahoma.
They’re a different breed there: strongly rooted in Native American culture, grit, and determination, with a resilience born of the Dust Bowl era. And I know they will rise again.
“I’m an Okie and I’m proud. And when you call me ‘Okie,’ you better say it loud.”
Here’s a loud, proud shout-out to all the Okies, today and in the coming weeks. Want to know what you can do to help? If you’re the praying type, pray. Leave words of hope and encouragement here in my comments section and on my Facebook page. You can be sure that I’ll share them with whoever needs to hear them. Have $10 to spare? (I know you do.) Text “RedCross” to 90999.
Borrowing from “Oklahoma Rising,” I must admit that, right now, I need my faith to serve me well. So I’ll do what I do when I am not finding the words.
“Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
*In case you didn’t know, Sweet Adelines International is headquartered in Tulsa, OK. I have many singing sisters from across the state, including friends in the Sooner Sensations Chorus from Moore, OK. (HUGE thanks to my friend Ben over at BarbershopHistory.com for sharing this song with us yesterday.)
†I didn’t feel like leading with this, but I’ll include one of my favorites here in case you need a chuckle: Do you know why Texas doesn’t float off into the Gulf of Mexico? Because Oklahoma sucks. (Rim shot, please.)
Tornado and trailer park jokes are quite the norm down here too, part of the fodder for the country and western tracks of our lives. But tornadoes definitely aren’t funny today. They’re just evil, ruthless bitches. (Sorry for the language.)