I have spent the past five years with a parent support group.
I rarely miss a meeting. There is this special feeling of connectivity that only parents of an addicted child can relate to.
I have cried there. Yes, it’s true, a grown man in tears. It is hard to explain the emotion and pain a parent feels but that is what is so priceless about the group, I don’t have to explain because my fellow travelers already know.
There is something else very special about the group. There are many other men in attendance and, over the years, I have seen many break down when sharing their pain. I have found that I am not seen as less than a man but a human being who needs, at times, understanding.
It’s interesting that the tears are not near as common as the laughter. I would have never dreamed that there would be laughter in such a setting but it is true.
I remember a time when I was under siege by the enemy of addiction. I was on my way to the meeting and almost turned around and headed home several times. I resisted the urge until I arrived at my destination.
I was walking down the hall to the meeting room and finally gave up the fight and decided to go back home. But as I turned toward the exit, I heard the room down the hallway explode in laughter. I felt God instructing me to turn around and enter the room.
That night was one of the best evenings of my life.
We have a mall in Midwest City.
You can’t shop there.
You can’t go inside and walk anymore.
Why is it still there? There is a church where Dillards used to be. Sears still anchors the other end. Why is it still there?
Why doesn’t someone have some vision and do something! Lots of traffic all around it, surely something can be done!
The mall used to be the place to be for teenagers here, but now nothing goes on at the mall. No shopping. No walking. Nothing.
I’ve got it! This is where the movie theater could go! Perfect place for one! Large parking lot, lots of space. Hello, Warren Theaters, are you listening? What a great addition to this community, and what a perfect location!
Maybe someday, but for now, the sad old mall sits abandoned, waiting for new life. Waiting for someone with vision to make something out of nothing. Cold and lonely. But not forgotten.
If I could have, I would have passed out “good driving” certificates to every driver I encountered during about a 45-minute period Monday night on Interstate 35, southbound between the Stillwater exit and Waterloo Road. Make that Covell Road. Aw heck, let’s say Second Street in Edmond.
You all are to be commended and thanked, from the guys driving the big rigs to those in the compact cars. You made the trip much safer, simply by being smart and considerate of others who negotiated their way through a strong thunderstorm.
My wife and I were returning from a holiday visit to our families, like countless others I bet, when conditions turned treacherous. What began as an incredible electrical display off in the distance rapidly became an Oklahoma thunderboomer like we’ve all come to know and … respect.
By the time we reached the Fir Street exit at Perry, it had become very clear that we weren’t going to slip by without at least a little dance in the rain. By the State Highway 51 (Stillwater/Hennessey) exit, we were feeling the wind, hearing the thunder and starting to see some rain.
I told my wife that the long line of vehicles headed north (nearly bumper to bumper, actually), as compared to the much thinner line heading south, was an indication that there most likely was some heavy rain and more ahead. It was minutes later when we found ourselves smack down in the middle of the worst of it.
With visibility less than a hundred feet or so, slowing down to a near crawl was the only option. But everyone seemed to be of the same mind. And, they were using their flashers as they eased on down the highway, making it much easier to make out what and how far away the vehicle ahead was.
The truckers were doing the same and their huge sizes helped smaller vehicles by becoming somewhat of a windbreak. In addition, they were making a path on what was now a water-covered roadway.
We saw no instances of road rage, no indication that anyone was taking any unnecessary chances, and no attempts at what I call the “me first” mentality, where the driver pushes himself to the head of the pack. It was just plain common sense prevailing.
I’m sure there were several out-of-state drivers in that mix. I couldn’t read tags through the rain, and wouldn’t have anyway. All attention was focused on the road and those on it.
It was great to see everyone doing the right thing and keeping themselves and others safe in the process. Great job by all.
See KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/SEVERE-WEATHER-OKLAHOMA for more on last night’s storms and check out the resources on weather safety. It just might come in handy.
By Chuck Mai, AAA
With transportation options ranging from rooftop helipads to rare vintage cars and bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantoms, the AAA Five Diamond-rated Peninsula hotels have long been the exclusive enclave of tycoons, movie stars, royalty and glamorous multi-hyphenates of all kinds. Innovative and luxurious transportation has long been part of the Peninsula signature experience.
But lately, even the ultra-rich have been struggling. Now they may have to choose between a private submarine and a space hotel. Yes, they still light their cigars with twenty dollars bills, only now they’re using Canadian money.
And even if you’re still living large, it may no longer be socially responsible to look quite so flush. So what is your average out-of-town oligarch supposed to do when they require more austere transportation?
The Peninsula New York and the Peninsula Chicago hotels recently unveiled two customized Mini Cooper S Clubman vehicles. Offered as a complimentary amenity to suite guests, the chauffeur-driven Minis are a rare opportunity for well-heeled guests to feel almost like the rest of us.
Of course these are not your run-of-the-mill Minis. The Peninsula collaborated with BMW to create a custom-made bespoke Mini Cooper S Clubman, with the personalization process taking more than two years to perfect. Bespoke, for those of you without your own personal shopper, is a fancy British term for hand-tailored men’s wear, somewhat analogous to women’s haute couture. A made-to-measure suit from London’s Savile Row for example, requires multiple fittings, up to 50 hours of labor, and can set you back as much as $18,000.
Lately, the meaning has been expanded to include hand-crafted timepieces, furniture and even fragrances. Who wouldn’t gladly fork over $80,000 for a custom-made scent that “recalls the smells of your childhood”?
Devotees of the $150,000 Brough Superior motorcycle have included such luminaries as Lawrence of Arabia. Each one is custom-built to suit the weight, size and riding style of the buyer.
You can even order a bespoke automobile, the Bristol Type 603, a vehicle so exclusive you can only buy one by invitation. It should be pointed out that the Bristol’s Chrysler engine and transmission are decidedly not “bespoken.”
The Mini’s dedicated features include a custom-illuminated Peninsula logo on door entry sills, leather finishing to match the existing Rolls-Royce interiors, and the signature Peninsula Green color that adorns every vehicle in the hotel’s transportation fleet. Each car is also specially fitted with a tailor-made rooftop box providing extra cargo space with a mini-fridge offering complimentary refreshments.
The Peninsula hotels have a long history of providing stylish rides for their guests, including the Hong Kong property’s legendary fleet of 14 Rolls-Royce Phantoms and four 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II’s belonging to the Peninsula hotels in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Shanghai and Paris, all finished in signature Peninsula green.
In case you’re interested, AAA’s Diamond ratings are the only ratings system that covers all of North America and one of only two that conducts physical, on-site evaluations. Full-time, professionally-trained evaluators inspect each property on an annual basis using a set of guidelines that are made available to all establishments. Five Diamond Award winners are a very select group. This year, just 124 lodgings and 55 restaurants (0.3 percent of the total 59,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated lodgings and restaurants across the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean) received this prestigious designation.
Oklahoma has no AAA rated Five Diamond hotels but the state has five Four Diamond rated hotels and two Four Diamond rated restaurants. You may access detailed listings of all of AAA’s Diamond rated hotels and restaurants by visiting AAA.com. This information is available to AAA members and nonmembers alike.
I never really understood what Memorial Day was all about as a kid, other than spending the long weekend at the lake with my parents or in someone’s swimming pool.
I just kind of figured it was a fun weekend and my dad didn’t have to work on Monday, which meant that I was out in the yard with him doing things I really didn’t want to do: mowing the grass, edging the lawn, pulling weeds, you know, the things that he didn’t want to do.
My dad passed away last year, and for the first time, I didn’t have him around for Memorial Day weekend. I caught myself out in my yard, doing the things that he made me do as a child, hands in the soil, thinking about some of the funny things he used to say to me.
I think maybe as you get older, these holidays mean more to you, because the older I get, the more people I know have passed away. Sad at first thinking about them, then chuckles when the sadness turns to good memories of days gone by, funny things they used to say and do.
I miss my dad, he was a little crazy, but a good crazy. He could always make me laugh when I didn’t want to.
The fear and the desperate acts that parents will resort to in order to rescue their addicted child would make an incredible reality TV show. A father shared this story with me several years ago.
His son was in his early 20s and was working at a used car lot in south Oklahoma City. The father knew his son was addicted to drugs. There had been a long history of serious consequences directly related to his addiction, including several arrests that led to lengthy times in jail.
At this time, the father lost contact with his son. When he called the car lot to speak to his boy, he was given vague reasons his son was not available. The father’s suspicions grew.
He drove to the car lot and, upon his arrival, was told by a salesman that his son had not been seen in more than two weeks.
It was very unusual that the son had not called in that length of time. The father was terrified and knew he had to find out if his son was alive.
The father was once in law enforcement and called his contacts. However, another week went by and there was no new information.
The father, in desperation, hired a private investigator, who was was experienced in law enforcement and who knew the area drug culture.
Within four days, the PI learned that the son was living in a drug house. They developed a plan that the father and the PI would meet with a contact and give this person $300. The contact said that the son owed that amount of money to the drug dealer. Once this transaction was completed, the father would be given a location and a time to meet his son.
The father decided to trap his son and force him into a treatment program. The father’s van was rigged so that when he entered through the rear doors, they could not be opened from the inside.
The father and the PI waited patiently at a gas station. The father was standing outside the van, looking in every direction in anticipation of the arrival of his son. Off in the distance, he saw his son walking in his direction and he went to greet him. They hugged each other and walked back toward the van.
The son entered the van through the rear doors and the trap was set. The father explained to his son that he was taking him to a treatment program out of state.
As the van began to move toward the interstate, the son went into a rage and began kicking the van doors, screaming that he wanted out. The situation was escalating toward a violent ending, so the father pulled to the side of the road.
He went to the rear of the van and opened the doors. His son jumped out and stood there, looking at his father. Neither one spoke, but rather just stared at one another.
Finally, the son said: “I love you, Dad. I have to go now.”
The father responded: “I love you, too, Son, and I will always be here for you.”
They hugged one another and the father watched helplessly as his son walked out of sight.
Parents will go to any length to save their child from the disease of addiction. This is understandable, but at some point in the journey, parents will need to understand Step One of the 12 Steps: “We admitted we were powerless over drugs and other people’s lives — that our lives had become unmanageable.”
Midwest City does not have a movie theater. That’s right, we do not have a theater of our own.
At one time, we had three, count them, three theaters.
There was the Apollo Twin at the corner of SE 15 and Air Depot. It’s now a furniture store.
There was the Heritage Park 3 in the now-defunct Heritage Park Mall. That’s a whole other story.
There was the Heritage Plaza Cinemas 5 behind the mall, which is a church now.
Why can’t Midwest City support a theater? Tinker people go to movies. I know this because I run into them all of the time at Crossroads movies, Tinseltown, Bricktown and Warren theaters.
I know for a fact that Midwest City teenagers go to movies. I frequently hear and see them — especially hear them — at all of the theaters mentioned.
So why doesn’t someone invest in the community and put in a nice theater here?
I, for one, would frequent the establishment, and I know my three teenage daughters would as well, and I would feel much safer knowing that they would be staying in Midwest City limits instead of driving to the other theaters out of town.
So, my request is simple.
Someone with a lot of money and a sound business mind, please build us a nice, safe movie theater here in Midwest City and keep it running for years to come.
I will even volunteer to pop some popcorn for you free of charge. Well, maybe free other than a bag or two for private consumption.
Thanks in advance for investing in your community and filling a large gap in our local entertainment.
Memorial Day always has been one of my favorite holidays.
It’s the first holiday of summer, even though the change of seasons doesn’t occur for nearly a month. That means it’s time to enjoy those warm-weather activities.
Of course, in Oklahoma, warm weather sometimes arrives early, which can sure play havoc with those of us who have allergies.
Memorial Day is a confirmation in many communities that school is — or nearly is — out. Like most people, when I was a student, I looked forward to those weeks when I got a break from the books and assignments.
I also enjoyed my summer job, earning a little money while spending time with people I knew well. I was lucky in having that opportunity.
Much of time in the summers was spent playing baseball. The older I got, the more fun it became. Again, it was spending time with people I knew well, traveling to ballparks and working together.
I always enjoyed watching the Indianapolis 500, from the prerace pageantry to the dueling on the track to the final lap. When I got to take a lap around the Brickyard while on vacation one year, I thought about all those drivers I had seen competing on that very same track.
That also made watching the race on TV more enjoyable because I was able to recall certain areas of the race course.
Taking a trip, even a short venture to the lake, to relax and check out the scenery or play in the water also has been something I have tried to do.
And I always remember those who no longer are with us, including those who gave their lives in service to our country so that we might have those opportunities such as I mentioned above. “Thank you” never could adequately cover that debt.
We should all remember them … always.
See more about those in our armed forces in KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/MILITARY-OKLAHOMA, as well as in The Oklahoman.
By Chuck Mai, AAA
When I was 14, my sister was dating a guy named Jim Fleming. She was 19, a freshman at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan., and he was two years older than she was. Jim had kind of a Paul McCartney haircut (this was in 1964 – the Beatles had just invaded the U.S.), he drove a ’58 red and white Corvette convertible, and I thought he was just about the coolest guy around.
One weekend, Jim and my sister were going to the movies in Lawrence, 16 miles north of Baldwin, and they invited me to go with them. Riding with them in Jim’s Corvette with the top down, sitting in what passed for the back seat, I was in heaven.
I think of Jim a lot when I’m driving, especially when I am following a pickup carrying what appears to be an unsecured or a poorly-secured load. You see, one day Jim was driving alone on I-35 just outside Kansas City when the pickup he was following hit a bump and a couple of the tires the truck was hauling bounced out and onto the roadway. Jim swerved to miss them and ran into a bridge support. He died instantly.
Debris on the roadway is nothing new. We see all kinds of things alongside Oklahoma highways every day: large black plastic bags filled with who-knows-what, 2x4s, tree limbs, sofas – and most of these things got there by falling off trucks, usually pickups.
As the load is being tied down, everything may appear to be okay. But once the vehicle starts moving, the inescapable laws of physics take over. Factor in the force of the wind and the action of the air on that load as the truck gains speed – and anything can happen. Those who use their trucks daily to haul stuff are well aware of these concerns; it’s the occasional haulers and the weekend movers we should worry about.
So I guess my message here is twofold: if you’re the guy with the pickup, make extra certain your load is well secured. And if you’re the guy in a vehicle following a loaded pickup or any kind of open-bed truck, stay alert, eliminate distractions and give that vehicle a wide berth.
You may have not kept up with our state proposed bills this year, and this next week is the last week that any must be passed. Once again our legislature has defeated or overlooked bills to do with distracted driving and in particular texting while driving.
For three years running Rep Danny Morgan has introduced legislation and worked tirelessly in education of his peers. And for three straight years legislation has been defeated.
The last cell phone and texting laws to be passed were in 2009 when those under GDL laws were restricted from using cell phones until they had their full license. This sounds pretty good and had some nice implications.
The problem is that it fell short because many or most new drivers have their full license by the time they are 16 1/2. A 15 1/2 yr old can obtain a driving permit and then can take a driving school class and ultimately qualify for their full unrestricted license in one year.
At this point they can go back to legally texting or talking on cell phone to their hearts content. Oklahoman must step up and recognize the hazards of cell phone use while driving and we must start with texting. Polls show that 85% of the population agrees. Won’t you?