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Earthquakes, tornadoes and turnpikes, oh my!


I was able to knock something off my bucket list over the weekend.

I, like many of you, experienced the earthquake that shook Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas Saturday night.

I really should clarify that being in an earthquake wasn’t actually on my bucket list prior to experiencing it. But oftentimes I experience something so cool, I add it to my bucket list just so I can check it off.

The very act of adding something just to check it off is probably considered a rare, previously-unrecognized form of obsessive-compulsive behavior, and something I probably should not consider adding to my bucket list.

I had travelled to Oklahoma City last weekend to meet a group of friends from Tulsa and Arkansas for a girls weekend, and we were staying at a Marriott on the river in Bricktown.

When we woke up Saturday morning, it was all over the news at the breakfast bar that an earthquake measuring 4.6 on the big, fat richter scale had shaken up the greater Oklahoma City region at 2:30 that morning.

And I had slept right through it. One of the girls, Shannon, said she woke up about that time thinking somebody was trying to crawl in bed with her, but that was the extent of our recognition.

I thought I had missed an opportunity to add, and immediately check off, something huge to my bucket list.

That night after dinner, the girls and I went to a piano bar on the river for our last night out.

Due to a lack of interest, me and one of the girls from Tulsa, Lydia, decided to walk the five or so blocks back to the hotel and leave the other two girls there to enjoy the raging piano bar money-making tradition of “which college do you support?”
Lydia walks fast – kinda like the ground underneath her is on fire – so five minutes and an oxygen tank later, we were putting the key in the door.

Just after the door shut behind us, it started rattling. The pendulum lights were swinging, flower arrangements were shaking and yes, the hotel was really swaying. And swaying and swaying.

After considering briefly that the OU fans staying at the hotel could be line dancing together in the lobby to celebrate a victory ever Texas A&M, we decided it was ,in fact, Mr. Earthquake.

I should have been scared. Really I should have, but I wasn’t. Me and Lydia giggled like 13 year olds about how we had just experienced our first earthquake, and immediately began texting.

I texted my daughter . . . not to reassure her that if, by chance, she heard about an earthquake of epic proportions hitting Oklahoma City that her mama was just fine; but to proudly announce I had just been in an earthquake.

She texted back, “we felt it here, too.” That’s when we turned on the TV for the first time that weekend.

We found out that it wasn’t an aftershock of the one we had missed feeling that morning, but had carried a respectable 5.8 measure on the richter scale. Then we saw a man on the street being interviewed right in front of a building we had powerwalked past less than a half-hour before.

That could have been us if Lydia had been a little more tired.

Finally, and this was my favorite part, photos of damage starting streaming in from viewers.
I saw two: one was of a charcoal grill tipped over, and the other was of an OU dorm room with a messy floor, very similar to what my son’s dorm room looked like at Texas Tech after he had cleaned it up knowing I was coming for a visit.

I looked at Lydia and said, “I hope they can recover from this.”

I can only laugh about this now because damage really was minimal, and no one was injured, which is remarkable.

On my way back home Sunday, driving back down I-44, the car started to shake violently and I thought, “here we go again.”

However, I can happily report I had just gotten back on the road that is maintained by the Oklahoma Toll Authority, and those folks apparently pay for road maintenance in five or six quarter increments.

I made it safely out of Oklahoma just in time. Monday, a rash of tornadoes hit the state, and another earthquake followed Tuesday night. This time, though, it wasn’t felt all the way south to Iowa Park.

But I read something Wednesday that strengthened my belief that laughter gets us through . . . “Welcome to Oklahoma, home of the Quakenado.”