Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Urbansplaining the election

I've been hearing a lot of urbansplaining about rural since the election. 

Even though the sharp urban/rural voting divide has been evident on election maps for decades, it's only now that it has captured much attention because the rural vote certainly seemed to affect the outcome this time. Stories and essays about rural voters are popping up.

I've been seeing a lot of rural childhood reminiscences of now-urban commentators that try to explain what rural people are really like. My overall reaction is skeptical. Just because you grew up in a rural area before moving to a big city doesn't mean you're qualified to speak for that specific rural place today or for all rural areas across the US. 

Neither do the 30 second sound bites from "typical rural voters" that got interviewed on television add much to a richer understanding. The 3-minute news packages have given all the usual stereotypes of dying small towns a good airing. If all small towns were half as dead as media pieces depict them, there wouldn't have been enough rural vote to influence anything. 

I'm regularly in touch with thousands of diverse rural people from across the USA, so I understand that we're not all alike, and we're not one-dimensional people. I wouldn't dream of speaking for all of rural America, and I wouldn't recommend that you let the results of this election speak for us all either. 

It seems necessary that I add a disclaimer. You may think my purpose is supporting the outcome of the election, or that I'm condoning racism, hate or violence. I'm not. 


Trying to use these election results to illustrate the entire rural population is by definition going to draw a poorly nuanced picture. If you're interested in a deeper understanding of rural, I invite you to the conversation. 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

What I learned from a Yemini living in New York

Yahya gave me a Lyft to the airport in New York City.


  1. We live in a "golden, golden, golden country." 
  2. My brother is a strong man. 
  3. When you're learning a foreign language, listen to the older people. They speak properly and with respect. 
  4. Islamic or Christian, we pray to the same God. 
  5. Be grateful for each day. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Why I write

Mema - 91st birthday

I write because my grandmother, Ola Mae Hendricks, taught reading. She taught me, or helped me teach myself, long before I headed to pre-school. She helped me become a voracious reader. If writing comes naturally to me now, it's because of the groundwork my grandmother laid decades ago.

I write to accomplish my mission:

I help small town business people prosper so they can help their towns prosper. 

I write. As far as I know, I always have.




Thanks, Des Walsh, for tagging me in this old-fashioned blog meme or blog hop. Here are other people who are sharing their own "Why I write."

Susan Foster, who more or less start this meme on Why I Write
Des Walsh, who tagged me in his piece, Why I Write - Then and Now
Sheila Scarborough, my friend and a ridiculously good writer, with What am I doing here? Why I write

And I invite you to answer this question on your own site. Why do you write?

I'm officially tagging and therefore personally inviting these friends:

Saturday, July 05, 2014

The modern lighting system at Alabaster Caverns is a big improvement

Several years ago, the Alabaster Caverns State Park near Freedom, Oklahoma, got a new modern lighting system. It's a big upgrade over the very old system I remember from when I was a kid. Colton and I finally made the short trip to snap some photos.

The main cavern entrance. It's a long walk with a lot of steps. 

















Almost finished! 

The ride back to the main office. 

Get up close with a caged rattlesnake in the back office. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Little Sahara State Park has a new viewing platform

Colton and I made a trip to the Little Sahara State Park to see the sand dunes, just south of Waynoka, Oklahoma. There's a new viewing platform with history and interpretive panels, binoculars, and a great view of the dunes. It's handicapped accessible, and looks great. 


















Don't try driving your street vehicle, even a pickup truck, out on the dunes. Leave that to the specially-equipped.