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Where in the world is Pawnee, Oklahoma?  It is near Ponca City and Tulsa, OK.  I don’t know how to get there; my wife either drives and I don’t pay attention or we follow my brother-in-law.  Getting there is not as important as being there.  In Pawnee, everyone is friendly – whites are friendly toward blacks; blacks are friendly toward whites; whites and blacks are friendly toward Native Americans.  The majority of the residents are poor.  (This is probably one reason why everyone gets along relatively speaking: there is solidarity in the socio-economic arena.)  It is place where if you blink you will not necessarily miss the town, but you will miss quite a bit.  In Pawnee, I shopped for the first time at the Piggly Wiggly store.  Chester Gould, the originator/creator of the Dick Tracy comic strip put Pawnee on the map because Pawnee is his hometown.  Pawnee has a one room museum dedicated to him.  This did not impress my kids; but it impressed me.

Pawnee is laid back.  Cowboy boots, pick up traps, cowboy hats, long skirts, and plaid shirts are common.  However, I remember being there with my wife and kids for a holiday.  And right before a parade started, a pick up truck paraded alone down the parade route bouncing to hip hop! Hip hop music is ubiquitous.

I like Pawnee because no one knows me; I like Pawnee because no one is pretentious.  I like Pawnee because life is quite simple; no traffic and no one is in a rush.  I can sit on the porch in my pajamas and wave at passersby.  Everyone practically knows everyone.  This is life in a fishbowl to be sure.  I also like Pawnee because people pull over when they witness a funeral processional.  I like Pawnee because the local mortuary is willing to work with families who cannot pay all at once.  There are drug deals and drug pushers in Pawnee.  People are jailed in Pawnee too.  Pawnee is no utopia; it has fallen people as residents.

We buried my wife’s Aunt Lillie the weekend of Mother’s Day.  She was 88 years old and a long time resident of Pawnee.  Her house phone was the old fashion variety; it was mounted to a paneled wall.

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