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September 2, 2014

Snake Ball

by Bayard Godsave

Joey Rigoletto is a spazz. We know this. What a dickhead, we said as he went…
 
Horse Thief performs “Down by the River” for This Land Live, sponsored in part by…
 

August 27, 2014

I Wanted to Hold Him

by Abby Wendle

C arol Johnson came from a family where the word “sex” was never uttered. When…
 
ShopGood OKC brings the best of This Land’s issue covers to life with this milk…
 

08/28/2014 | Okiecentric

Running Amok

By Jessica Puckett

Thirty-one men crowded the starting line, the late-August sun beating their backs, sweat pouring down their faces. Some wore track shoes with no socks, some were in everyday dress shoes, and others were completely barefoot. Stretched out before them was one of the most daunting athletic challenges of the era: the 1904 Olympic Marathon. A 24.85-mile dir…

08/26/2014 | Okiecentric

Among the Tribe of the Wannabes

By Russell Cobb

Let’s take a voyage to a not-so-distant land and visit a strange tribe. Or maybe not so strange. In fact, you may even belong to it. Before we begin our expedition, a trivia question: What do Bill Clinton, Miley Cyrus, Johnny Cash, and Elizabeth Warren all have in common? Answer: All of them have claimed to be part Cherokee, but none have been able to prove it. N…

08/25/2014 | Poetry

Bookmobile

By Angelia Herrin

I always thought I would grow up to work in a Bookmobile. It’d be my job to drive the lumbering green bus through the hot wide streets of summer Park on dusty schoolyard lots, or at empty, half-finished construction sites And then crank open the doors for the children, Who’d stumble, blinking, up the steps and into the dark, cool cavern that smel…

08/22/2014 | Original Okie

Steve Adams

By Brooks Nickell

There’s hardly anything about McAlester, Oklahoma, that Steve Adams doesn’t know. For 35 years, he’s been the local historian, amassing a vast collection of hometown history through newspaper clippings, research, books, and photos, which he displays at the McAlester library. A lifelong resident, Adams worked as a security guard for 25 year…

08/20/2014 | Okiecentric

Near McAlester

By Rilla Askew

When folks ask me where in Oklahoma I live, I say “near McAlester,” because this is where I go to shop, use the library, eat out, get my oil changed. It has the post office I visit most often, the courthouse I’ve been inside more than any other. I’ve set portions of two novels and a short story here. The town is seated deep in my consciousness, its history…

08/18/2014 | Okiecentric

Thirty Minutes of Terror

By Aaron Toney

The afternoon opens with a birthday party. Your neighborhood friends are ramping BMX bicycles in the driveway. You’re playing jacks with the girl who will take you to Sadie Hawkins when you’re 15. Dad pulls up in his work truck with a birthday card from Grandpa with a $10 bill in it. Life at 10 is all cake. It’s a beautiful day. It goes on for hours. The tow…

08/13/2014 | Okiecentric

The Society Gang Killing

By Kent F. Frates

One of Tulsa’s most notorious crimes occurred on Thanksgiving night, 1934. Twenty-one-year-old John Gorrell’s body was found around midnight slumped over the steering wheel of his car, which was jammed over the curb at the intersection of Victor Street and Forest Boulevard in the exclusive Forest Hills section of Tulsa. Two days later, 19-year-old…

08/12/2014 | Original Okie

Cornel Williams and Keith Reed

By Brooks Nickell

These men know how to roll with the punches. A decade ago, Cornel Williams (right) created Tulsa Crime Monthly — the satirical tabloid famous for its copy-and-pasted illustrations and bold, all-capped analyses of crime and politics in T-Town — to heighten awareness of violent crimes after a close friend was murdered. Next to him is his good friend Keit…

08/10/2014 | Okiecentric

Bandit in Boley

By Jamie Birdwell-Branson

The air was cold and bitter the day George Birdwell robbed the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Boley, Oklahoma. Normally bustling, the town was quiet the morning of November 23, 1932, the day before Thanksgiving. Birdwell and his accomplices, Charles Glass and C.C. Patterson, ate breakfast at a farmer’s house before heading toward Boley on Highway 62 in th…

08/07/2014 | Okiecentric

Lawyer with a Gun

By Glenn Shirley

Tension and a sweltering summer heat hung over the courtroom at Enid, Oklahoma Territory. All doors and windows were open to admit the breeze that never came. Outside, locusts hummed lazily. Nature seemed at a standstill as men wiped perspiration and waited. Everyone in the room knew that he was witnessing a drama that would be long remembered in state his…

08/06/2014 | Okiecentric

Murder by Samaritan

By David A. Farris

Allen Ross was a free spirit. He wore thrift-store clothes and Converse tennis shoes to complement his tall, gangling frame. His glasses contributed to his meek, yet intellectual, appearance.  A filmmaker who worked full time as editor on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Ross helped found the artists’ cooperative and film society Chicago Filmmaker…

08/05/2014 | Okiecentric

Strung Out, Locked Up

By James A. Pearson

In 2010, Tamra Schmidkunz sat in a dark car outside the Rib Crib on 51st Street and Sheridan Avenue in Tulsa. She was in the car with three of her boyfriend’s friends. One of them had a gun. They had already circled the restaurant a couple of times. Tamra had worked there for a while so she knew where the money would be and that there weren’t any cameras. A police…

08/04/2014 | Okiecentric

On the Road: 23 of Oklahoma’s Best Roadside Attractions

By This Land

By Molly Evans and Tony Beaulieu Oklahoma is home to a surprising number of “World’s Largest” attractions, as well as other odd, quirky, and interesting things to see. If you’re planning an end-of-summer road trip, here’s your list of sights worth pulling over to see. 1. Ames Astrobleme Museum, Ames Astrobleme is a fancy word for crater. The rura…

08/04/2014 | Poetry

Work: A Ghazal for Oklahoma

By Julia McConnell

(State Motto: Labor Conquers All Things) I learned about the battle over the lethal drugs on the radio while driving home from work. There are thick reference books on pharmaceuticals and slim volumes on death at the library where I work. I know women in Oklahoma who wear a uniform and make prisoners stand behind a line for their work. There are lawyers who defe…

07/31/2014 | Okiecentric

The Man, the Myth

By Jeff Martin

I waited too long. I’d known for weeks, if not months, that Bob Dylan was coming to play the historic Cain’s Ballroom. I kept reminding myself to get a ticket but always found an excuse not to. I assumed a sellout was unlikely, and I had good reason. Less than a year earlier, my then-girlfriend (now wife) and I drove to Little Rock to see Dylan in some sort of spo…