posted on Jul, 31 2008 @ 10:32 PM
>By Jeff Mullin, commentary
> If someone mentions California, what do you think of?
>Hollywood, L.A., crowded freeways, beaches, and Arnold Schwarzeneger?
>California, of course, is so much more than that. How about Maine? I
>think of cold weather, people with funny accents, and lobsters. What if
>someone brings up Idaho? Does it bring to mind potatoes?
> When people hear the name of our state, it seems the first thing
>that comes to mind is not Oklahoma, but "Oklahoma!" The 1943 musical,
>the first for Rogers and Hammerstein, is the first thing most people in
>America think of when they hear about the Sooner State.
> Having people associate our state with a beloved musical is
>certainly better than some alternatives, like rednecks and tornadoes,
>but it certainly isn't representative of today's Oklahoma.
> "Oklahoma!" is a delight. The story of cowboys and farmers
>finding love in Oklahoma territory features classic music and
>ground-breaking choreography, including the dream ballet illustrating
>Laurey's difficulty in choosing a suitor between Cowboy Curley and
>farmhand Jud Fry.
> It also gave us our state song, which never fails to bring
>Oklahomans to their feet, which can prove a bit unnerving for performers
>in touring versions of the show who, during stops in Oklahoma, must deal
>with a standing ovation before the curtain comes down.
> "Oklahoma!" is a classic of American musical theater and
>deserves its place in the pantheon of enduring entertainment treasures.
> It is not, however, an accurate indication of where our state
>has been, is today and is going. Oklahoma is not only the home abode of
>Ado Annie and Aunt Eller but of the aerosol can. That wonder of the age
>was invented in Bartlesville. Oklahoma City is the home of the parking
>meter, while the shopping cart was born in Ardmore.
> The electric guitar also was invented in Oklahoma, by a Beggs
>Musician named Bob Dunn. The first "Yield" sign was installed in Tulsa.
> The state has more man-made lakes than any other state, which
>gives us more than a million surface-acres of water and 2,000 more miles
>of shoreline that the Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined.
> The Sooner State has produced more astronauts than any other
>state in the union. Owen Garriott is a hometown Enid boy, of course,
>while Tom Stafford is from Weatherford, Shannon Lucid from Oklahoma
>City, William Pogue from Okemah and the late Gordon Cooper from Shawnee.
> Oklahoma is home ot Amateur Softball Association, Sonic
>restaurants, and more F4 and F5 tornadoes than any other state.
> Oklahoma is the third-largest gas-producing state in the nation
>and ranks fourth in the production of wheat, cattle and calves, fifth in
>the production of pecans, sixth in peanuts and eighth in peaches.
> The state's colors are neither the crimson and cream of the
>University of Oklahoma nor the orange and black of Oklahoma State, but
>green and white.
> Environmental Protection Agency recognizes Oklahoma as having
>the most diverse terrain of any state in the nation. The state,
>according to EPA, boasts 11 distinct ecoregions, one of only four states
>to have more than 10.
> Oklahomans practice 73 major religions. The largest is the
>Southern Baptist Convention, with nearly 1,600 churches and more than
> Oklahoma gave birth to Dick Tracy (cartoonist Chester Gould is a
>native of Pawnee) and Donald Duck (Clarence "Ducky" Nash, the original
>voice of Walt Disney's Donald, grew up in Watonga).
> Oklahomans have survived the Dust Bowl, any number of killer
>tornadoes, the 1995 bombing of Oklahoma City's Alfred P. Murrah Federal
>Building and various oil booms and busts. Oklahoma is populated by
>people who are caring, giving, hard-working, patriotic, and fiercely
>independent. Oklahoma is a good place to live, work and play.
> The challenge in this, is to make the rest
>of America aware of what Oklahoma has to offer, besides beautiful
>mornings, fringe-laden surreys and a girl who, "cain't say no."
>I'M PROUD TO BE AN OKIE!!!