Saturday, September 17, 2011

F. L. Millwee, my grandfather

I just happened to catch this picture of my grandfather, F. L. Millwee, years ago when he was cleaning beets from his garden.  I took the picture with a borrowed 35 mm camera while I was auditing a photography class from the Univ. of Okla. during the time I worked at Griffen Memorial Hospital, one of Oklahoma's state mental hospitals. When I first developed the picture, my teacher said it was unusable, because the back yard was so shady and I was such a novice, I hadn't used the right camera settings. However, he said there were some ways we could try to salvage the picture. We used dodging on his face with a little tool we made from a coat hanger and a piece of panty hose, while we tried to bring out his shirt better. Actually, the photo I have framed in my house has more delineation on his shirt, which blends into the sky on this picture. But, I was trying to show his face with this, so I had to loose the shirt. I also used a high contrast paper, which helped bring out the contrasting highlights between the beet leaves, the handle on the knife, and the dirt on his hands. This has become a favorite picture for years in our family and my sister Patricia had my mother paint it for her. I always think, "not bad for a picture that almost got left in a trash can in 1974".  Not only was he a very inspirational man, but he also was the hardest working person I've ever known. In about 1963 at the age of 73, he got kicked in the head by a cow that was coming up a ramp behind him. An incompetent dairy hand had opened up the ramp when he wasn't supposed to. Granddaddy got a brain tumor. The doctor that operated drilled several holes around his skull to relieve pressure. He wasn't sure if it would work, and said he might not ever be the same, but it worked. He lived to the age of 102 and was active until just a few years before he died. He retired within a couple of years of the brain tumor, but went on to farm a garden of several acres that included a huge blackberry patch and every vegetable known to western civilization. One of my most vivid strong willed memories of my life was of being at the kitchen table with him when I was about 5 years old. I was telling him, "but, Granddaddy, I don't feel like yogurt today." My grandparents made their own yogurt, dug up pine trees with a root ball for Christmas trees to replant later, and gave away garden vegetables to anyone that showed up and asked.  If you will note, there is a tree at the back of the picture with a couple of diagonal lines leaning against it, those were his hoes. Just beyond this tree was a back garden gate that led to some back barns, a chicken coop, and his goats, plus a fantastic view of the Wichita Mts., which the geologists believe are some of the oldest mountains in the United States. 
The F. L. Millwee Family, 1940's (L to R: Glenn, Mamie, F. L. Claude, and Lena May)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Highway 9 Fantastic Friday Trip In Southwest Oklahoma

Highway 9 is the highway of my childhood. It was the road we took to go to Carnegie and Anadarko and the world beyond. I grew up about 5 miles northwest of Highway 9 on the first electrical dairy in Western Oklahoma.  I'm old enough I remember when we had to drive red dirt roads most of the way to Highway 9. Of course, today, most of the red dirt roads have been blacktopped. But, there is one left between our old farm and Highway 9.  Back then, we also had peanuts, wheat, cotton, and beef cows. At various other times, we had chickens and turkeys, although the turkeys were only there for 1 season. As I recall, my mother and grandmother each ordered about 100 baby chicks to raise for fryers every spring. So I figure we must have had chicken of some type about every 3 days. The chickens had to go away when agricultural rules changed for chickens in Oklahoma and they decided it was unsafe to have them on a dairy farm due to the risk of salmonella. I was thrilled when that rule was put into place because I absolutely hated picking chicken feathers off a chicken. The only thing is, the doctor didn't decide I was allergic to chicken feathers until shortly before the rule changed, so I didn't miss out on much chicken feather pickin'. However, I disliked chickens so much, I made my husband promise when we got married that I would NEVER have to have chickens. We've celebrated our 33rd Wedding Anniversary and he hasn't ordered any chickens for me yet. Of course, I really don't have too much to worry about, as chicken is my husband's least favorite food in the universe. He claims his mother burned him out on chicken when he was growing up. He has such an aversion to chicken that the school cooks have been known to cook him something special when chicken is on the school menu.

My favorite second hand furniture store in the whole world is KENNY'S USED FURNITURE AND APPLIANCES run by my good friends, Kenny and Sondra Weaver in Anadarko, OK.  You can find them at 216 W. Main, just around the corner from the Caddo County Court House. I have to go there just about every time I go to Anadarko, this is partly to see what's new, but also to check up on Sondra and Kenny. Sondra and I worked together for so many years, in fact, she was the one that kept me in line, that it still seems a part of my routine to see her every chance I get so we can stay caught up on all our gossip. She was my secretary for a long time. Sondra and Kenny really have "the touch" when it comes to recognizing a bargain  and what people want when they're looking for used furniture to sell. Go expecting a good quality of used furniture. This is not your "furniture on it's last legs kind of a place". Plus, they have a pretty steady business, so it's like Wal-mart and little boys clothes -  if you see something you like you better buy it that day. I say that because I learned when my boys were growing up that Wal-mart never seemed to carry as much in the boys' department as they did in the girls.  Sondra and Kenny can be located by phone at 405-247-4848. Because they are technically retired and are very busy with other things too, they are only open Tues, Wed., Thurs., and Fri.  from 10a.m.ish to 5p.m.ish.  Kenny and Sondra specialize in everything you might need to furnish a house inexpensively. Generally everything I have bought was ready to set in place in my house. However, I have bought things that I went ahead and refinished, just because I like refinishing furniture. They also have a $1/$2 shelf.

A couple of blocks east of Kenny & Sondra, there is another favorite junk store haunt of mine at Linda's Swap Shop, 301 NE 1st Street, also in Anadarko. Linda's is only open on Mondays and Fridays, so if you want to hit both Kenny's and Linda's - it looks like Friday is the day for you. Linda's has a variety from inexpensive trinkets to genuine antiques and collectibles. I've bought regularly from Linda's for years. The phone number for Linda's is 405-535-0834.

All this junking has probably made you hungry or thirsty. There are several good options not too far away. The Soda Fountain Eatery @ 108 West Broadway has homemade soups, salads, and great desserts. I often get the King Ranch Chicken Sandwich, although they have several other good choices.
If you like Mexican food, Munoz's family restaurant north of Linda's Swap Shop at 507 NE 1st and El Charro's at 126 West Broadway are both pretty good choices. Some people swear by one or the other. Maybe I've just been lucky, but I've had good meals at both.
There is also a new little deli run by Jeff Powell, about 1 block North of Linda's Swap Shop, in the same strip mall area as Munoz and a Bakery, which has some pretty good looking things in the cases.
The Bowling Alley, Indian City Lanes, 131 East Broadway has made a pretty good hamburger in the past - but I must be honest in reporting I haven't eaten there lately, so I can't guarantee it is the same.
There are also an assortment of the usual fast food places: Dairy Queen, Braums, Mazzios, Pizza Hut, McDonald's  Subway, Taco Mayo, a China City Buffet, a KFC, and my favorite fall back on choice - Sonic... Just stay on the main drags and find the one appropriate for your taste buds that day. We have eaten at them all and continue to return. The only one I can't make a report on is McDonald's...we have never been to the Anadarko one. There are also a couple of BBQ places. BBQ not being one of my fortes, I really couldn't say how they compare on the continuum of BBQ goodness.

When you have snacked and drank to your heart's content and are ready for more adventures, if you're feeling in a historical frame of mind, there are some museum options in Anadarko. The Anadarko Philomathic Museum is at 311 E. Main, 405-247-3240.  The Southern Plains Indian Museum, Highway 62 East, 405-247-6221 is on the East side of town, on the highway that comes from Chickasha. The National Hall of Fame (Indian) is an outdoor sculpture exhibit just East of the Southern Plains Indian Museum. Totally free and a must see historical site, you should drop by the U.S. Post Office at the corner of  Oklahoma and NE 1st. There are very famous, very free to look at, very old paintings on the post office walls done by the Kiowa 5. Of course, shopping rather than museums may be more your cup of tea. If that's the case, drop in at The Ideal Decorating Center or Lonnie's. They're both in the 100 block of Broadway near The Soda Fountain Eatery.

If you are free and thirsty between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., you better hit Sonic on Highway 9 west (902 Petree Road) for half price drinks.

If all this has not worn you out and you need an evening activity, I can heartily recommend heading towards Carnegie, OK for a movie. The Liberty Theater in Carnegie is the longest running operating theater in Oklahoma. The information line is 1-800-250-3225. Give them a call to see what is showing. Regular movies are only $4.00, the 3D movies are $6. What makes the Liberty unique, is that it's a triplex. Every night of the year in small town Oklahoma, there are 3 movie choices - for $4.00 each!!!!! Where else in America does this happen? The hot dogs, called "Show Dogs" by the locals, are about $1.50. A small drink is about $1.25.  This has to be the best movie buy in the country. Plus, the movies are newly issued movies. There are a few times we miss out on one we really want to see, but they get most of the really good ones. Sometimes the really good ones last for weeks. When The Blind Side came out, I think it lasted for 6 weeks. I personally went to see it twice, because I went once with my mother, decided my husband better go see it and went back with him. I talked to people who saw it 3 or 4 times. My grandsons love, love, love to go to the movies at The Liberty. If you decide you need a more substantial meal than a Show Dog, Carnegie has other options for eating out. In addition to the Pizza Hut and another Sonic, there is also another El Charro, north of the river bridge and Georgia's, which is on Highway 9 going West of Carnegie towards Mt. View. Georgia's has featured all you can eat fried fish on Friday nights.

So, I hope this has intrigued you about spending a day junking and museum hopping  in Caddo County in Southwest Oklahoma.   I will post pictures after my next trip to Anadarko, as I had forgotten my camera the last time I went. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In Katrina's Kitchen: Homemade Cheez-Its

I stumbled through a variety of links today that went back to this recipe for homemade cheese crackers. If you've ever wanted to make your own Cheez-Its, this is your opportunity. These would be easy to make and take when you're expected to show up with something simple to eat. Of course, it won't work if you're responsible for a big main dish. In Katrina's Kitchen: Homemade Cheez-Its:

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