Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I went to a concert at the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame last weekend and one thing's for sure: I'll be back. Soon. Very, very soon.
For one, the old Tulsa Union Depot is a beautiful venue. Historic, too. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's glad that, in 2007, the Depot was rehabilitated to become the home of the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. A better union, there couldn't have been.
Go ahead. Bask in the glory that is this masculine, oh-so-Egyptian, machinery-inspired art deco.
The Depot is, of course, a unique concert venue. The space is cozy enough to give even the rowdiest of concerts an intimate feel. But, it's large enough to suit a large crowd, too.
Hey, TSO? You absolutely rocked at the Tulsa Sound + British Invasion concert on Saturday night. So did Jambalaya Jass Band, Jack Brady and the Brady Orchestra, Peter Mayo, Max Wisely and, of course, the inimitable Tina Rose, daughter of Leon Russell.
Yeah, THAT Leon Russell.
I loved that I got to go to the concert with my grandmother, the one I call Meme.
She's about a third of my size, but she has more fight in her little size-four ring finger than I have in my entire body.
Part of the reason why my Meme is a pillar of strength is because of a four-day train trip she once took from southern California, where she was living at the time, back through her home town of Sand Springs to the train depot in downtown Tulsa. She was with her two small children, tow-headed from daily trips to the beach - a boy my son's age, a girl (my mom) a couple of years older. And with her luggage. And her stockings. And her heels.
I get tired just thinking about it.
My great-grandfather met them at the station. Snow, which my uncle had never seen, was blowing. The winter warmth of southern California was more than 1,500 miles away. My grandfather scooped up the little boy, who had in fear given up walking in the snow, and tucked him into his coat. He loaded the huddled brood into his car and started down the old road to Sand Springs, to my great-grandparents' house on Main.
We may not be famous for balmy winters here in Oklahoma, but we still how to do a homecoming right. Even after they made it to my great-grandparents' house that day, my Meme said she could hear the sound of the train on the tracks in her ears for days.
If I'd just traveled half-way across the country over the course of four days with two small children, I think I'd be hearing a lot more than train tracks. Voices are more likely - voices telling me to do very, very bad things. Like to eat three pounds of chocolate in one sitting and bacon at every meal.
My Meme remembered walking through the hall at Tulsa Union Depot, what is now the concert hall at OJHoF, to get to the lobby. The chill in the air on Saturday night was yet another reminder of that day she and her little ones stepped off that east-bound train from sunny Ventura and into the Oklahoma snow. It's times like when I'm in a historic Tulsa place with a member of my family who interacted with what has become a local landmark that I feel especially lucky to have such deep roots in this community. It's the same reason why I don't look to ever leave.
That, and with venues like the OKJHoF and the entertainment available there, why would I?