We are enjoying Susan's son Paul who is with us for Thanksgiving. If you were reading my blog last October you will remember the birth of his son Grant. Paul is in the navy and had to report for duty in South Korea just prior to the birth of his son. Susan flew to Maryland to be with Paul's wife Beth and help with the new baby and their three year old daughter Autumn. Then six weeks later she accompanied them on the trip to Seoul.
Paul's father and Susan's first husband was an Episcopal priest. He was the priest in charge of the church I was attending when he died unexpectedly of complications from surgery. Several years later Susan and I became friends and decided to marry.
Prior to this, Paul attended the US Naval Academy and while a student there introduced a fellow midshipman to the Episcopal church. After his time in the service was completed the friend attended seminary. He is to be ordained an Episcopal priest next week and has asked Paul to be his presenter. Paul was not able to bring Beth and the children with him at this time but came a week early to spend Thanksgiving with us. He did present us with a recent photo of the family. I think you will agree that they are a very handsome family indeed.
Saint Susan started cooking early this morning and started filling the house with wonderful smells. At about 3 o'clock this afternoon she pulled this beautiful bird out of the oven. To go with it were sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, turkey dressing, ambrosia salad, hot buttered bread, and assorted goodies. It was delicious.
Sitting around the table was grandaughter Molly, son Paul, daughter Jennifer, grandson Will, son-in-law Jeff, mother Marjorie, and Saint Susan herself. I am just behind the camera. After dinner we called Paul's wife Beth and kids in Korea and talked with them via Skype.
Now that most of the leaves have fallen the structure of trees becomes visible; we can see their bones. These are both the same kind of oak tree, I think maybe red oak. One thing for sure, these have been here for awhile and they are big fellows. The other thing that is interesting about them is the way the limbs branch from the main trunk. The tree on the left was allowed to grow in a usual way with limbs developing up from the center. The tree on the right was lopped off about shoulder high and allowed to grow back from a series of side shoots. The difference in structure might not be apparent when the trees are in full leaf.
The size of the trees is emphasized by the height of the man standing beside them. The little boy in me sees the open space within the great cluster of side limbs as a wonderful place for a tree house.
I was driving around in an older part of Tulsa a few days ago and happened upon a small tree that I have not seen in many years. When I was a boy I often hunted for rabbits with a .22 rifle and would see them growing along fence rows. We liked to throw the fruit like softballs to see them make a satisfying splatter against a tree or rock. The large knobby yellow-green fruit are very distinctive. It has a pleasant citrus smell sort of like an orange.
This is the plant with many names; Osage orange, Horse apple, Bois d'arc, Bodark, Monkey balls, etc., none resembling the proper botanical name of Maclura pomifera. The tree grows quickly into a dense thorny shrub. It was planted to create a hedge to contain livestock hefore the invention of barbed wire. Out on the treeless prairie it was planted in long rows to form a windbreak which discouraged erosion.
The wood is very hard and strong. It is hard enough to make a chain saw throw sparks. When cut for fire wood however, it burns for a long time and makes a very hot fire. The Osage prized it for making an excellent archery bow, hence the French name Bois d'arc, and the English corruption Bodark. It also is a very desirable wood for fence posts because it does not rot. In fact, if it is made into fence posts and set in the ground before the wood dries it is very liable to take root and sprout into a living hedge. I was told once that if it is planted upside down it will not sprout. I have no personal experience with that.
The fruit is made up of many individual drupes with a seed near the center. Squirrels like the seeds and will tear the fruit apart to get at the seeds. Livestock, particularly horses, will sometimes eat them but have been known to choke on the woody mass. Birds to not seem to feel they are worth the trouble and most just lie in mounds to dry up over the winter. While the seeds are edible like a sunflower seed, very few people would think it worth the trouble to extract and clean them for eating. The fruit itself is not poisonous but if eaten will cause vomiting. The pleasant odor is said to repel insects and they were once left in bowls at various places in the house as a combination deodorizer and bug repellent.
I was surprised to see the young tree in a residential setting. I expect that someone planted it as a curiosity. They are interesting but do make a mess. Seeing it reminded me of cool crisp afternoons of tramping through fields looking for Mr. Rabbit and listening to dry brush crunch under my feet accompanied by the chatter of crows and larks. It was like seeing an old friend.
I have a nice pair of maple trees in front of my house. I bought them from Southwood Nursery here in Tulsa. They show good color and hold their leaves longer than most maples. The big notch at the top is damage from a big ice storm we had a year ago January. It should fill in eventually.
The color ranges from orange to deep red. When these lose their foliage Autumn is finally over.
Most of the leaves have fallen from the trees and the traffic at my bird feeders is increasing. The squirrels are among my most faithful customers. They irritate me sometimes because they take more than their share, but squirrels get hungry too.
This afternoon at 2:00 was the third in the series of Great Music, Great Spaces, and Great Images. The first was last Sunday at Boston Avenue Methodist Church and the second was Thursday evening at the Performing Arts Center. We didn't make the second. The third was the one I really wanted to see because it was at the recently restored Mayo Hotel, at 115 West 5th Street. The Mayo was built in 1924 and for a long time was Tulsa's premier hotel. It fell into decline in the 1970s and was closed for a time. It looked like we were going to lose it but it was saved by the people of Phillips Slaughter Rose who began its restoration in 2001.
The Mayo was built with 600 rooms, a grand ballroom and enough meeting rooms to be a prime site for large conferences. It had restaurants and shops in the basement to provide a convenient venue for groups of all sizes.
In 1964 I did my practice teaching at old Tulsa Central High School and made some friends who got me interested in the SPEBSQSA, that is the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. They had several quartets in the group and a large chorus. It was a lot of fun. We rehearsed in one of the meeting rooms at the Mayo and I was there every Monday night. What I remember most was that just inside the main lobby entrance was a spacious men's room made entirely of marble. It had a nice echo and the acoustics were perfect for acapello quartet singing.
A chamber sized group of musicians from the Tulsa Symphony performed a great program of music by Jacques Ibert, George Gershwin, Scott Joplin, and Darius Milhaud in the restored Crystal Ballroom.
The ballroom has been completely restored to its original 1924 beauty. It was in rough shape with part of the ceiling falling down and water damage everywhere. All of the ornamentation was created new to match the original. It is really beautiful. And the music was great too.
After the performance we went up to see the penthouse on the 16th floor, which has also been restored. It is all wood paneling and stained glass windows. Very elegant.
All the overstuffed furniture is leather and very comfortable. It is what a elegant penthouse should be.
From the windows and outdoor terrace is a grand view of Tulsa. It looks west up the Arkansas River. The view would be better if it were not raining, but this is quite a place.
On the left is my good friend Ed Minich. We are celebrating Smokey's ninth birthday back in June of this year. Ed is one of the guys who come over to my house every Monday night for a men's prayer and share group. We have been friends for about 12 years. We met when we were both on a Kairos Prison Ministry team. Since then we have spent many 4-day weekends together working with men in prison.
Back in July, Ed was diagnosed with brain cancer and on July 22 he had surgery to remove the tumor. After some time recuperating from the surgery he began an aggressive regimen of chemo and radiation therapy beginning the end of August. By the end of September he was too weak to care for himself and was hospitalized. After a few ups and downs he developed pneumonia and began a downward spiral. Ed was a strong and determined man but died this morning at about 11:30.
Ed was a realist. He knew what was going on and what his chances were. His primary concern was for his wife and family. He faced his situation with courage and resolve. He was one of the bravest men I have ever known. He was a wonderful friend.
While we were admiring the gardens at Philbrook Art Museum last Saturday I was taking photographs in all directions. Far too many to post at one time. These are Sweet Peas. Philbrook has turned some of its formal gardens into kitchen gardens and have been growing peas, carrots, lettuce, etc. to be used in their restaurant. School children have been involved in the project and it has been a nice thing.
I am ashamed to say that I do not know the name of these flowers. They grow is waves of purple velvet along the back edge of the pond, and are covered with sleepy bees who fly slowly and methodically, half drunk with nectar
. And these are Lantana in a lovely shave of violet and pink. I am more used to seeing them in shades of yellow and orange. The butterflies don't seem to care and sail around looking for just the right blossom. This monarch is a common visitor.
Yesterday's post about the musical event at Boston Avenue Church did not let you appreciate the wonderful architecture of this art deco treasure. I drove over to the church this morning to try and get a few pictures that give you the idea of the style of the building. The 15 story tower soars toward the heavens in the classic style of a cathedral but with a art deco motif. Wikipedia has a very interesting article on the church HERE.
These figures represent the Circuit Riders, the Methodist Preachers who rode from place to place all over the newly settled country to preach, baptize and marry the early settlers.
The worshiping figures with praying hands is a motif that is repeated symbolically in every aspect of the church. This is an amazing work of architectural design
Susan and I attended a nice program tonight at the Boston Avenue Methodist Church. This the first of 3 events titled Great Music, Great Spaces, Great Images. The second will be at the Performing Arts Center this Thursday evening, the Third next Sunday at the newly restored Mayo Hotel.
This church is a Art Deco treasure. The sanctuary is in the round and the exterior is quite unique. I did a post on it back in June, see HERE. In looking at my previous post I can see that I did not do justice to this beautiful church and resolve to do another better one.
Shari Goodwin presented a commentary on the unusual architecture of the church. Then a musical program by members of the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra. First an Octet for Wind Instruments by Igor Stravinsky. Next was something quite unusual that I found very interesting. It was a reading of a group of poems titled Facade by Edith Sitwell and set to music by composer William Walton. The readers were Nan Buhlinger and Dan Call.
The dome of the sanctuary is made up of the same geometric patterns which appear elsewhere in the building, both inside and out. Wikipedia has an excellent article on the architecture of the church HERE.
The skylight at the center of the dome is back lit with artificial light. The effect is quite beautiful.
Philbrook Art Museum is a beautiful place. Above is the approach to the south side. Sue and I have subscriptions so we can go as often as we like. The museum has an outstanding collection of fine art, sculpture and Native American artifacts as well as a large gallery which hosts traveling exhibits. The museum itself is a beautiful Italian style villa which is the former home of one of the founders of Phillips Petroleum. Today we took Molly and Will with us primarily to enjoy the lovely back garden which rolls down the hill behind the museum and is beautiful at any season. You can link to their website HERE.
It was a simply gorgeous day and the grandkids enjoyed being out of school and out of doors.
They made friends with the Philbrook cat. On his collar is written "A. Cat - Property of Philbrook".
They particularly enjoyed one of the sculptures. This is "Thinker on a Rock" with apologies to both Rodin and Lewis Carrol.