POSTED ON SEPTEMBER 15, 2010:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Since the recycling schedule/company changed in June, I have only had one pick up occur on time. From the day our schedule changed, our pick up has been at least one day late, or hasn't happened at all.
I have called the city and reconfirmed our dates every time. We even had a week where our bins were partially emptied- half of the plastic bottles and aluminum cans had just been left behind (they were rinsed out, so who knows why). My most recent pick up date was Tuesday, Sept. 7. I put my bin and my next-door neighbor's bin out the night before. Other bins on my street were emptied but mine were ignored. I have since complained to the water/refuse number twice, the recycling complaint line twice, and the mayor's action line once. Our two bins still sit on the curb, full as ever. For Mr. Patton to imply that this is somehow an issue of service education, not incompetence and city dollars wasted is insulting to my intelligence. It is time to go back to the company that was able to provide the services our city paid them for. If this is not resolved I am joining my neighbors (too many of them as I ask around about this issue) in simply quitting this program.
Perhaps our city isn't ready for recycling. In over 3 years I had one late pick up. Since the new change I have had only one pick up on time.
I am fed up.
Need More Money
The politicians and special interest groups who oppose State Question 744 are holding our children back from a successful future and are preventing our state from achieving its full potential.
Over the past two years the legislature has cut education by over $200 million. These devastating cuts have deprived our students of the new and up-to-date textbooks, productive learning environments and the quality teachers they need and deserve.
As a special education teacher who sees the ramifications of these cuts on a daily basis, I can tell you that we are truly doing our children a disservice by neglecting their education. I believe nothing sets a child up for a successful future more than a good, high quality education. Unfortunately, Oklahoma invests less on our children's education than the 48 other states and less than any other state in our region.
How can we expect our kids to compete if we continue to deprive them of the resources they need to build their future?
The answer is: we cannot.
Passing State Question will allow Oklahoma to rise up from the bottom of our region and our nation in what we invest in our kids. It will guarantee that our students have the resources necessary to get the most out of their time in school -- setting them up for a successful future beyond the classroom. SQ 744 will ensure that our children will be ready to compete with their peers not only from the region, but also from across the nation and all over the world.
I urge you to vote yes on State Question 744 and to ask your friends and family to do the same.
Elegy Along an Access Road
The Admiral Twin burned to the ground (last week). Although it was more than ten miles out I was drawn towards it on the way home (that night). I just could not go home without seeing the corpse with my own eyes.
As I drove under the 244 bridge and came to the stop sign at Easton it was too dark to see where the nine story wooden beast should be. But I felt the emptiness of the dark. It was a void that seemed to pull the entire world just slightly off balance. I looked toward the area where I should have seen the sky darkened by her giant shadow, the same shadow that could seem so haunting in the darkest night, and now I saw the tiny light of a star I had never seen from that location before and had the sense of being lost. Somewhere, I think, something inside was lost. Something I had forgotten existed. Something that had always drawn me home.
I am not sure how old I was the first time I went to the Twin. I know big sister was still small enough to climb into the rear dashboard of my Dad's old Cutlass with me and lay down to watch the movie. More than once we both fell asleep on that dashboard together before the movie was over.
In 1976 I was a wealthy five year old boy who had saved every nickel dime and penny I could find in an empty one gallon bottle of whisky a neighbor had given me. I had saved change in that bottle until it was almost full and I dreamed of filling another if I could get the neighbor to empty one more bottle for me. Then after hearing my Dad explain to me and my big sister that we could not afford to go see the new King Kong movie playing at the Admiral Twin I had my first calling to purpose in life. We emptied the stinky coins from that old bottle and took the Buick to The Twin. Later that night I had to wipe away some "big man tears" as King Kong lay dying in the street and my baby sister lay fast asleep in the rear dashboard.
In 1983 my family went to see The Outsiders and some Tom Selleck flick at a drive-in. It was the first time I remember going to any other Tulsa area drive-in besides the Admiral Twin (it's been gone so long I don't even remember where it was). I was amazed to see the Admiral Twin shinning off of this foreign movie screen and wondered why we would not have gone there to see the movie it starred in. All of the kids in the neighborhood were proud of the Twin after that. Our drive-in had been included in a film and, although we were a few decades behind the movie characters, we related to those kids who were just a little on the rougher side of the tracks.
As I turned the corner onto Easton I could see the news vans piled up around the entrance gate. Driving by slowly I could make out pale figures sitting along the drive looking like ghosts mourning in the headlights. Inside I felt my own ghosts turn their head to look at the empty sky as we past. Ghosts who, now, seemed to have been orbiting The Twin for decades, drawn through the years back to this spot by her towering pull and vacant lot. These ghosts remembered sneaking in to movies between features to sit on had metal chairs at the snack shack and listen to the movie echo through the parking lot out of bulky metal speakers. Ghosts who sneaked in on a hot summer day to climbed half way up the nine stories of the screen, on a rotten wooden ladder that ran straight up the middle of the structure, before deciding at that point to go on and live at least another 20 years instead of trying to finish that climb. Ghosts who were sure they were not alone in losing their virginity under the silver glow of those giant screens. Ghosts who brought their own child back to this magical playground to play Frisbee where they themselves had been pushed on swing sets and teetered and tottered on the peeling paint of wooden planks. These ghosts were my memories, my friends, my family, my childhood, and my parenthood.
The evening air blew through my car windows cooler than they have been in months. Beautiful crisp air that quickly soured with the smell of stale cigars damp and smoldering in the night. I continued my drive up the Easton hill and back to 244 and on toward home. I thought about the dead twins lying in their vacant lot with the mourners holding vigil and I wondered if they would ever be resurrected. I wondered if the kids in that old neighborhood today would get a chance to be proud enough of a towering old movie theatre that they would return as adults to share the memory with their children.
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