Oklahoma City 15 Years Later.

I was a junior in high school when out of nowhere a lunatic (Timothy McVeigh, an Army veteran) bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown OKC.  Remember David Koresh the Branch Davidian cult leader from Waco, Texas, that held his followers captive for 51 days?  You know how that ended…well, McVeigh bombed the OKC federal building as revenge on the federal government for that raid. The OKC bombing remains the largest domestic terrorist attack on US soil.

Today, fifteen years later, my thoughts trail back to that day when my fellow Okies lost their lives and my heart goes out to the loved ones.

Humble Beginnings for an Angry Psycho

It’s so easy to forget the people that inspired, directed, or that you admired that lead you into something (hopefully good).  Someone extraordinary that took an interest in you, perhaps, when you were looking for a place to fit in within the world.

There were really two escapes for me in life – music and writing. They work in tandem for the most part to keep me alive in a world that so often dampens every emotion.

Once I got out of high school and into the freedom of college life I really discovered the live show. Live shows can be so powerful it feels like an exorcism or sex, and when the object of your musical affection initiates any contact it changes you.

The first artist to take an interest in me as a person – not a fan – was POE.  Her genuine effort to connect with her fans was not lost on me.  I became somewhat of an honorary member of her crew, and when she packed up for tour I would be right with her entourage in the Texas, Oklahoma, sector.  I was eighteen the first time I sat on a tour bus; POE’s tour bus.  I philosophized with her merch girl and tech guy on music, and I helped her cellist (Cameron) maneuver between groupies.  I was the female William in  Almost  Famous, except I never ended up Cameron Crowe.

Back then little Ben Kweller was in a much-hyped band called Radish – a wonder boy he was tagged in the industry.  Too bad they didn’t live up to the expectations of the machine, but Ben did really well on his own much later – as a man.  I’ll never forget the chubby-cheeked blond singer begging me on my 18th birthday (The EDGE X-mas show) to introduce him to POE.  About ten years later at an ATO X-mas party, we ran into each other again and he remembered this as clearly as I did.

POE was the real deal, and it left an imprint on me.

Ps. The Angry Psychos = her fans.

Oklahoma, I still believe in ya!

Some people believe you choose your family prior to birth, and if that’s true then I chose the most loving, open hearted, and understanding, family one could have picked. Unfortunately, they settled in Oklahoma, by way of California. Yeah, I don’t get it either but so it goes that my grandmother, the eldest of the Montano clan, made the pilgrimage to Oklahoma for a man and her little sister followed suit. Had they met after the second wave of the Women’s Lib., I’m sure the story would be that the men made the pilgrimage to California for the gold!

Oklahoma might be landlocked and not feature ocean-front property, nor does it have a tranquil desert spread through its land but the Native American history is still very well and alive in small towns named after the legacy; Checotah, Geronimo, Hoot Owl, Indiahoma, Kiowa, Muskogee, Oolagah, Pawhuska, Quapaw, Sapulpa, Tahlequah, Talihina (where I was born), Tishomingo, Wapanucka, Yukon, and so on. If you’ve never been to Oklahoma then you couldn’t possibly know the beauty of the Kiamichi Mountains in Fall especially since my brother’s spirit is perched at the very top of those mountains.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of red dirt that doesn’t come off your shoes easily, or at all if you have an old pair. Hell, the red dirt even has it’s own genre of music, and it’s not just “Texas Red Dirt.” Fact, red dirt only got from Oklahoma to Texas because Texas sucks. See, I’m a loyal Okie that pokes fun at Texans (even though in reality Oklahoma is more culturally devoid than Texas), lets everyone know which celebrities were from Oklahoma, and roots on Oklahoma’s college teams since we have no professional ones.

I’m not blindly loyal though, to anyone, ever. If my brother murdered someone, I would urge him to confess or I would have to do it for him (cough, cough, unlike some sisters in Oklahoma I know). When Oklahoma voted McCain over Obama due to racism (I took a survey of which I won’t go into but yeah the “N” word is commonplace), I’m the first to stand up and let people know that the majority does not speak for the minority. Thankfully, the rest of the world picked up the slack on that one and Obama is in office. When the bigot Oklahoma State Representative, Sally Kern, made headlines for her hateful anti-gay remarks and continues to do such, I call her office non-stop to try and educate her on Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual, and Transgendered people. Even now her ignorance shows:

Sally Kern is an Oklahoma state representative with her own, unique take on the economic crisis: gays are to blame.

So let’s apply some simple Math for Ms. Kern (not sure they had that when she was in school). If a low population of people can be the reason for a state’s entire economic crisis then that must mean that the revenue these people make are insanely higher than the majority. Now, let’s get fancy and put in some statistics..that would mean that the minority factor here, LGBT’s (same-sex couples accounted for less than 1% of overall Oklahoma population in the 2000 census–I’m assuming that is because most were afraid of being openly gay in Oklahoma and by afraid I mean fearful for their life, as well as the fact the census under served the gay community in 2000 and single LGBT’ers) make so much more money than 99% of Oklahoma’s population that we alone can make or break a state. Wow, no wonder Pepsi, MTV, and other big corporations have embraced us. That also must mean, granted you assume the more money you make equals to more intelligence and academic merit you have, that LGBT folks are pretty damn smart! In the next census (2010) the LGBT community will be better served by collecting data on same-sex couples (still yet under serving the community by not including gender identification and single LGBT’ers but it’s a start), and I’m going to go out on a limb and just tell you that us gay couples contribute a buttload of money into the economy so imagine if our taxes were taken away from the entire country. Wow! If we can single handedly break an entire state, I’d hate to see what we can do to a country.

Oh Ms. Kern, you’re an idiot.

Oklahoma, listen up, ok? hehehe. This is just plain archaic what I’m reading about abortion. I know my small hometown would easily be able to spot that girl that ‘moved closer to her orthodontist’ or got half a dozen abortions to save her overly strict parents from embarrassment. We suspected in high school, but now stuff like that would be confirmed. C’mon, isn’t discrimination tiresome?

Get on the phones, call the leaders in your state and let them know how you feel about this stuff or write a letter. I can speak from experience that your words and you matter in change, but you need to be heard. Let Ms. Kern know if only 1% of the population is accounting for your state being broke then for heaven’s sake why wouldn’t you want the minority to be fully integrated into the population..imagine what the poor state would get back from the active minorities?! Women, get on the phone and let your state government know that YOU have the say over your body and deserve the privacy of your choices.

I don’t live in Oklahoma, and I’m happy to work for a company (MTV) that holds equality in the highest regard so that I can achieve greatness within it. I also live in a state that includes me fully into the population (lucky them that they get 45% of my paycheck for simply giving me something that should be free, freedom). I still remain loyal to Oklahoma, which is why I posted this blog because there is 1% of the Oklahoma population that are bullied by Ms. Kern and company and their spirit is heavy.

Oklahoma is beautiful, and even though I’m disappointed in the politics of the poor state over and over again, I still have hope that those amazing spirits that reside there (like my family and friends that are truly great people) will join together to make Oklahoma great like it’s people. Then you can send Ms. Kern to Texas!

These people vote for my rights.

75 Percent of Oklahoma High School Students Can’t Name the First President of the U.S.

Only one in four Oklahoma public high school students can name the first President of the United States, according to a survey released today.

The survey was commissioned by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in observance of Constitution Day on Thursday. (READ FULL ARTICLE)

Dignity

As I pack, yet again, to move to another place to put my stuff, I pack my brother’s urn into his green-velvet box with the words ‘Dignity’ written inside.  I suppose it’s the name of the boxmaker, or the company in which the funeral home orders from.  The words I only see as my little brother travels from place-to-place with me.

Dignity; an oxymoron that his few bones in that pewter urn, which were scattered over the Oklahoma mountain after decomposition from one (or two) that threw his dead body out like a sack of rotten potatoes, rests in such a capsule being that he was 6″3.

I think about that scene in Face Off where the kid, so innocent and unaware, is amidst the gunfire and chaos as Over The Rainbow” blares through his headphones.  That’s how I imagine my brother spent his last moments; innocent of the pollution around him.

Although at times I think about one of the most famous Shakespearen quotes, “Et tu, Brute?” I wonder if my brother felt the ultimate betrayal like Caesar when he realized that someone (or two) he deeply cared about was the hand that took his life, and LET ME ASSURE YOU IT WAS SOMEONE (OR TWO) THAT HE ADORED.  The moment he realized he was going to die, he also realized he was betrayed.  Can you imagine leaving the world with that knowledge?  You die alone, this much is true, but it probably feels less scary to see those you love around as you make the transition into the afterlife.  The last look of this world my innocent brother got was deception.   It makes it hard for me to not betray my opposition to capital punishment, I’ll tell you that!

It won’t be long until I unpack by brother, yet again, and read “Dignity” on his green-velvet box as I place him on my desk where he belongs; beside me as we write his story.

ONLY in my Home Sweet Home

Police: Man attacked in Okla. for bologna sandwich

OKLAHOMA CITY – A man in Oklahoma City said he was attacked for his bologna and cheese sandwich. Police say 24-year-old Roger Hamilton told them he was sitting on a bus station bench Wednesday, about to put mayonnaise on his sandwich, when another man began staring at him.

Hamilton told police that the man then punched him in the mouth and grabbed his sandwich and left.

Police said Hamilton has a swollen lip and his face was covered in blood. The police report listed the value of the sandwich at 76 cents.

Police have not found the attacker.

Tadpoles and Clovers

I could never cup my hands just right to catch tadpoles.  The slippery suckers would weasel out at the cup of my hands.  I must have tried to catch a million tadpoles when I was a kid, but every time it slipped out.  Had I known then what I know now, I could have chalked it up to simple OCD for not wanting to really touch them but pretend I did like all the other kids.  I used to do the same things with frogs, crawdads, and fish

Once my cousin made me touch a frog, and although I never got a wart I kept washing my hands just in case.  My mom used to tell me that frog’s pee gave you warts even though my cousin swore no frog ever peed on him, but he had the ugliest wart on his hand I ever had seen.  It was a flesh colored bubble on his thumb that was as hard as a rock just like his head.  I tended to think it was contagious so everytime he went to give me something I would run away from him, but for some reason he thought I liked to play tag

I once spent an entire day sitting in the middle of a clover field.  There I would sit, hours upon hours, with a large wooden salad bowl picking them one-by-one looking for four-leaf clovers.  No one ever told me to watch what I ate when I was younger, and clovers tasted a little sour.  When I got older I thought it was in the bean sprout family, so anytime we would go to Circus Circus in Reno, Nevada, I would pile the bean sprouts on my plate and eat them like a grown up.

Nowadays, my hands barely touch the organic side of life.  Instead of tadpoles slipping through my hands, it’s money.  I don’t find many four-leaf clovers anymore, but that doesn’t keep me from looking in clover patches.

clovers

I’m An Okie, What Can I Say!

Below is spam my mom sent me, and because it’s my mom I feel guilty simply deleting it unread like everyone else….below was true in all forms of the word, for me growing up!

FW: Growing up in a small town

Those who grew up in small towns will laugh when they read this. Those who didn’t will be in  disbelief and won’t understand how true it is.

1) You can name everyone you graduated with.

2) You know what 4-H means.

3)  You went to parties at a pasture, barn, gravel pit, or in the middle of a dirt road.  On Monday you could always tell who was at the party because of the scratches on their legs from running through the woods when the party was busted.  (See #5.)

4)  You used to “drag” Main .

5)  You scheduled parties around the schedules of different police officers, because you knew which ones would bust you and which ones wouldn’t.

6)  You could never buy cigarettes because all the store clerks knew how old you were (and if you were old enough, they’d tell your parents anyhow.) Besides, where would you get the money?

7)  You knew which section of the road ditch you would find the beer your   buyer dropped off.

8)  It was cool to date somebody from the neighboring town.

9)  The whole school went to the same party after graduation.

10) You didn’t give directions by street names but rather by references.    Turn by Nelson’s house,  go two blocks to Anderson’s and its four houses
left of the track field.

11) The golf course had only 9 holes.  (Mind you there was no golf course when I was there.)

12) You couldn’t help but date a friend’s ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.

13) Your car stayed filthy because of the gravel roads and you will never    own a white vehicle for this reason.

14) The town next to you was considered “trashy” or “snooty” but was   actually just like your town.

15) You referred to anyone with a house newer than 1955 as the “rich”  people.

16) The people in the big city dressed funny, and then you picked up the
trend two years later.

17) Anyone you wanted could be found at the local gas station or on Main
Street .

18) You saw at least one  friend a week driving a tractor through town or
one of your friends driving a grain truck to school occasionally.

19) The gym teacher suggested you haul hay or pick rock for the summer to
get stronger.

20) Directions were given using THE stop light as a reference.

21) When you decided to walk  somewhere for exercise five people would    pull over and ask if you wanted a ride.

22) Your teachers called you by your older siblings’ names.

23) Your teachers remembered when they taught your parents.

24) You could charge at any local store or write checks without any ID.

25) There was no McDonald’s.

26) The closest mall was over an hour away

27) It was normal to see an old man riding through town on a riding lawn
mower.

28) You’ve peed in a corn field.

29)  Most people went by a nickname.

30)  You laughed your butt off reading this because you know it is true
and you forward it to everyone who may have lived in a small town.

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A

Dedicated to all of you that proceed to ask me to sing it when you find out my home state.

Not Just A Picture On The Fence

My Aunt Lulu is having the below published in the Clayton Today newspaper–the paper in the town in which my brother’s (alleged) murderer lives and where my brother proudly called home.  You will get to know my Aunt Lulu via my 1st book (a memoir), which is nearing completion and currently in the hands of agents.  Additionally, you will grow to love my dear Godmother as you read about her in my brother’s case biography (book #2).  I urge all of you to visit the links on the left of your screen (Missing Links) and just take a look at those missing –it takes one person to heal the heartache like in my brother’s case where loggers found his skull.

It’s also worth mentioning that I had NO CLUE my inherent writing abilities were genetic; I thought it was an anomaly.

Not Just A Picture On The Fence

by Levie Allen  (“Aunt Lulu”)

As we go past Allen’s Used Car lot, you can not help but see the picture of Jeffrey Lee Ben. As memories of my sweet and special nephew race through my mind, I can not help but look up to our heavenly Father and tell Him that Jeffrey was your son first and I am sure he is your son now in heaven, but here on earth, he is not just a picture on the fence. He was a mother and father’s son, a brother to a sister and two younger brothers, a grandson, a nephew, a friend and cousin to many and so on.

You who took his life, I am sure, have asked your self “Why?”– it was not worth it to take his life and face the judgment that you will surely face. Jeffrey had his whole life ahead of him and his life was not yours to take, only God’s. This act was a murder not an accident. The killer did not even have the decency to even bury him but instead threw him up on a side of a mountain like trash to be eaten by the varmints. You thought it would be the perfect murder didn’t you? You thought Jeffrey would never be found, but by the grace of God, he was and God is not through yet, believe me. He has your number and vengeance will be His. Until you, the person(s) responsible, confess and take responsibility for this heinous crime, I will continue to pray for justice for Jeffrey, God has already answered one of our prayers and made way for his body to be found. Jeffrey deserves justice because he is not just a picture on the fence.

jeffrey-smile

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: