I am back and recovering from my whirlwind trip to Oklahoma where I traveled to celebrate National Bologna Day with the wonderful people of Drumright and the surrounding areas. Now, before any one of you posts a comment on here that says anything close to “Eww, I hate bologna”, step away from the keyboard. I don’t want to read that comment, and I will delete it. Why? Because it’s not just about the f*%&ing bologna!
Just as the Fourth of July is not just about the fireworks and Christmas should be about more than the gifts, so is National Bologna Day about so much more than bologna, at least for me and in how it’s celebrated in the tiny town of Drumright, Oklahoma. It’s about coming together from near and far, meeting new people and visiting with old friends, it’s about networking and learning, it’s about honoring the past and building for the future.
Okay, lecture over. Now on to the recap of my amazing trip…
I loved Oklahoma, more than I expected, and to the point I had a little bit of withdrawal and got sad missing everyone on the plane ride home. Maybe it was how everyone welcomed me, from the Rotary Club who let me speak to them at their meeting, to Jamey & Lizzie Martin and the entire Joseph’s crew who went above and beyond, to the Osterhouts who opened their home for me to stay in and their winery for a book signing, everyone was amazingly kind.
I met incredible people doing incredible things, such as the women from the Human Needs Council, a 501(c)3 operating under the Drumright Ministerial Alliance out of a local Methodist Church that, among other worthwhile things, helps women escape abusive relationships. And the directors of the impressive Central Tech Center in Drumright, celebrating their 45th year and instrumental in providing training and skills to those who need them, whether they be students just starting out in life, or Veterans who need to start in a second career now that their military service has ended.
I have lots of stuff to remind me of my time there and came home with a suitcase packed full. I have pictures of me with everyone I met, a beautiful silver Oklahoma Rustic Cuff bracelet the Martins gave me, a fabulous bottle of wine from the Tidewater Winery owners Toni & C.D., the cookbook gifted to me from the ladies at the Drumright Historical Society, the newspaper and magazine articles featuring stories about the events I participated in, the Rotary Club coffee mug, two new Joseph’s Fine Foods T-shirts (one employee literally gave me the shirt off his back because I liked it), and the KUSH 1600 radio station magazines, stickers and T-shirt given me by the KUSH girls after our radio interview.
And of course, there are all the wonderful memories. I finally got to meet John Dollar in person. You might recognize his name from the dedication in some of my Oklahoma Nights and Midnight Cowboys books as one of my consultants whom I’ve known online for nearly a decade but had never met in person. I got to see rodeo announcer Kent Morris again. We’d met in Vegas at the PBR Finals a couple of years ago and he drove all the way from Arkansas just to see me and have a Fried Bologna Sandwich at Joseph’s Fine Foods.
Speaking of Joseph’s, I loved meeting the whole crew who works so hard but always with a smile. And I got to meet the Joseph himself–Joe Naifeh–Jamey Martin’s mentor and the man whose family used to own the restaurant before the Martins took over.
In Drumright, I saw my first working oil well, The Wheeler #1 still pumping more than 100 years later. And I saw my first oil workers eating at Joseph’s… these buff young men were very inspiring, I can tell you. 🙂
I got to tour the amazing wall murals located all over Drumright. They do more than decorate the buildings, they commemorate history, from the Native American population to The Wheeler #1 that started the oil boom that created the town. Even more fun is how Tidewater Winery has adopted the murals as the art for their wine labels.
And yes, I finally ate my first hot, smokey, cheesy, fried bologna sandwich at Joseph’s and had the jalapeno hush puppies, both of which I wrote about in One Night with a Cowboy (Oklahoma Nights)–the book that started the association between this NY author and a restaurant in a tiny Oklahoma town I’d never known existed. So yeah, it’s about the bologna, but it’s so much more.
Like the Tidewater Winery on Facebook
Like Joseph’s Fine Foods on Facebook
Like the Drumright Historical Society on Facebook
Visit my Eat Bologna Page for more pictures
I would like to take a moment to mention that my thoughts are with the loved ones of those lost and those injured in Stillwater during the tragedy at the OSU Homecoming Parade. For those who have contacted me concerned, no I was not there that day, but being just miles away the event was uppermost in everyone’s minds last weekend. #StillwaterStrong