In 1988, Ismail Zebdieh left Aleppo, Syria, where he was a landscape engineer and a photographer. Since then, he’s been an Okie, where you can find him most mornings behind the counter at a gas station and convenience store that supplies food, cigarettes, beer, and other sundries to the neighborhood and passersby between Gunboat Park and downtown Tulsa. He’s a kind man who knows his regulars well enough to joke with them, and their schedules well enough to know when to put on another pot of coffee or stash his last order of fried chicken behind the counter. He’s also known to feed stray cats and work on cars.
Originally published in This Land, Vol. 6, Issue 4, February 15, 2015.