I am a people person. That’s a little strange for me to say, because I’ve always considered myself to be pretty shy (though people who know me often disagree). At big events where I don’t know anyone, I’m a bit of a wallflower. And if you ask me to speak in public, I will most likely be out of town. Forever.
Even so, I love people. I am the first to offer, “Let’s all get together at my house!” when there’s a family birthday to celebrate or a distant relative coming into town. When I meet someone and come out of my shell and get to talking, it’s like truth serum has been administered; plan to find out a lot more about me than you’d ever wanted to know. I’ve heard some people have a filter between their brain and their mouth – evidently mine has been installed incorrectly. Through the exchange of confidences, you quickly become my friend … and once you’re in, you’re in for good.
In the aftermath of the horrific storms that have recently rocked our community, I keep coming back to the same thought: I love people. These people. Our people. Friends, acquaintances and strangers have suffered through appalling tragedies and desperate circumstances, right here at home. I know firsthand that even those who were not directly affected by these events have also deeply felt the pain and sorrow of our neighbors. The care and compassion that has moved our state and our nation in recent weeks is so beautiful that it almost hurts to think about it. What can I say? They’re all in, and in for good.
As we pass the initial surge of support and attention, I try to keep in mind that this situation isn’t something that will be fixed in a day, a week or a month. This is going to take a whole lot, for a long time. But Oklahomans are up for the challenge. Please help keep the momentum going: donate, volunteer and write your legislators.
For some, in the midst of the unspeakable, the show must go on. To be completely honest, tearing myself away from the wall-to-wall coverage to try to get back a small piece of normalcy by going to work was almost welcome after a certain point of grief saturation. We plan our content for Slice several months in advance, and therefore this edition doesn’t delve deeply into relief efforts or survivor stories. Our local 24/7 news cycle outlets have covered these topics thoroughly and extensively, and I know they share the heartbreak of the community even as they report the events they are charged with dispassionately observing.
In our pages, I hope you’ll find a moment of respite. We’ve forged ahead with our editorial plan for this issue and tackled Oklahoma’s Great Outdoors. A bevy of talented contributors give tips on where to stay (if “roughing it” isn’t in your DNA) and what to do (whether on dry land or on the water) during these long summer months, starting on page 29. If an in-state vacation home is on your mind, be sure to read about Elaine Warner’s trip to a burgeoning neighborhood located on Lake Eufaula. Sara Gae Waters offers suggestions to brighten up your personal environs when the living space moves outdoors. M.J. Alexander puts more miles on her odometer in the latest installment of her “77 Counties” series, traveling to America, Oklahoma, and Mark Beutler wanders down memory lane for the best of open-air cinema with a retrospective on OKC’s drive-ins: gone, but not forgotten.
Wishing you a restful, happy and safe July!