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August 20, 2014

Near McAlester

by Rilla Askew

When folks ask me where in Oklahoma I live, I say “near McAlester,” because this is…
Horse Thief performs “Down by the River” for This Land Live, sponsored in part by…

August 21, 2014

Bobby Wants to Get in Touch

by Abby Wendle

B obby Berryhill served with the Oklahoma National Guard for 16 months in Iraq and…
ShopGood OKC brings the best of This Land’s issue covers to life with this milk…

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…

07/30/2014 | Okiecentric

Rocking China

By Tyson Meade

In retrospect, I do wonder how I made a rock and roll record in China in such adverse conditions.  I had lived in China off and on for about seven years. Although I wasn’t exactly conversant in the language, I had learned how to navigate the country without a lot of difficulty. I had over 25 years of recording experience, and I just funded a new album throug…

07/28/2014 | Poetry

Cleaning House

By Britton Gildersleeve

I am saying goodbye to my life. Throwing away books, teapots, pens. Saying farewell to my mother’s passport my father’s books. Offering to strangers crystal plates and funerary urns. There is comfort in discarding. A kind of grace blooms in the space where leather bindings once exhaled dust, redolent of stories whispered late into the night. Pieces go…

07/28/2014 | Poetry

The Hubble Telescope and the Wild Mustang

By Britton Gildersleeve

What does it mean, that the universe is growing larger, faster? Unlike my life, which seems to be slowing, even as it thickens and grows larger, my own frail body a metaphor for dreams and hopes and what I thought I’d be when I grew up. The universe is growing up? Is that it? Or does knowledge race ahead, like a horse unreined, a mustang from the auction at Vian, bo…

07/25/2014 | Okiecentric

Kenneth Renberg

By Jeremy Charles

In 1935, at age 14, Gunther Renberg emigrated from Germany, changed his name to Kenneth, and settled in Enid, Oklahoma, with his second cousins. He volunteered for the Army when he was just 17. First Lieutenant Kenneth Renberg earned a Purple Heart after he was wounded 70 years ago during the D-Day invasion of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. That Allied victory wa…

07/24/2014 | Okiecentric

Confronting Male Aggression

By Adrian Margaret Brune

During the early 1990s in Oklahoma, Catholic prep schools didn’t exactly impress punk music, rebellion, or third-wave feminism on their charges, but Anya Jack, a senior at Cascia Hall, could feel an undercurrent of female solidarity swelling. Soon, she bore witness to it. After graduation and a move to Austin, she noticed a few homemade flyers advertis…