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Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plains…

Were you singing that with me? I was singing it as I typed. Kind of loud. Buddy Boo Bear looked at me with a scared look to his purty brown eyes. If you don’t know that song, from the Broadway musical, Oklahoma, get on-line, find it and listen to it. It’s an awesome song. It’s a wonderful show! I’ve seen several versions of it during my lifetime, including a Broadway Touring Company, and loved every single one.

Of course, I’m sure y’all know by now that an E5 tornado hit Moore, Oklahoma, last week. An E4 had hit it in 1999. Their paths were eerily close. Our hearts have hurt for all of the people who lost loved ones—were injured—or lost homes and/or virtually everything they owned. They’re strong. They’re determined. They’ll recover.

In the meantime, we, in North Central Texas, get to see a fabulous commercial every morning, as we watch our local news, for Oklahoma. Summer tourism, don’tcha know. They use this song. They have many different people singing it while they show off their beautiful State. It's catchy. Intriguing. Effective.

My Sweet Hubby and I decided, a couple of weeks after his heart “event,” (see brown-eyed boy) to go visit the Choctaw Resort and Casino (they also have some pretty great commercials that air frequently in our area) in Durant, Oklahoma.

From our casa, we’re approximately 4 ½ hours from Durant. TLC and Her Hubby had gone, with his brother and his wife, to the Choctaw a couple of years ago. They’d loved it. MSH and I've been to the Winstar Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma, a couple of times—although we’ve not ever stayed the night. We needed a quick, 3-day, 2-night getaway and agreed the Choctaw in Durant was just the ticket. This is my “companion” piece to bandits.

When you get your first glimpses of the Choctaw, you realize it’s B.I.G. The landscaping is pretty. Colorful. The hotel itself is very nice. Not luxurious—like some in Vegas. But nice. The rooms are comfy and reasonable. We arrived around 2:00 our first day. Checked in. Freshened up. Headed down to the slots—or, as I call them—the bandits. We each have our allotted gambling money. It’s pretty much a set amount. Once we lose said daily allowance, we’re supposed to be done. And that’s the way it mostly works. I lose mine fast. Sometimes within an hour. Or less. MSH has been known to hang on to his for hours and hours. Or he breaks even. I almost hate that. Or he wins enough to bankroll me when I'm broke and have lost my farm.

We spent a couple of hours scoping out the Casino and surrounding restaurants. We decided to have dinner at the 1832 Steakhouse  At 5:07 p.m. With the other Senior Citizens. Earlybirds, I guess, is what we’re called. We were taken to a booth. Close by was a pianist, John Emery, who played classic songs. No music sheets. All from memory. He was absolutely amazing. We were relaxed. Had some great wine and delicious fish and steak. Fantastic service.

Went back out to the Casino for a couple more hours of losing/winning/losing/losing/losing. Then hit the hay. About 9:00. Yes. Yes, we’re quite wild.

Next day we had breakfast. Played the bandits for a couple of hours. (You'll be relieved to learn I did much better than the day before. I didn’t book my European vacation. But I also didn’t have to borrow from MSH. Actually, I think he was suspicious.) We thought it best to leave while we were ahead. Retrieved MSH’s truck and headed out to explore Durant. It is the quintessential small-ish town. Southeastern Oklahoma State University is located there, with a student population of about 4,000. Durant is close to Lake Texoma—a large lake that lies in both Texas and Oklahoma (hence the clever name). We drove and roamed for a few hours. Visited their Wally World. We do that in almost every town we stop in. Guess you could say it’s a hobby of ours. A sad, pathetic hobby. Had lunch at a Subway. Yes. We’re not only wild, but we’re clearly adventurous. (Or is the right word "cheap?")

Went back to the resort. Gambled some more. Ate, again, at the 1832 Steakhouse. (Hey, you know the old saying—if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.) Same booth. Different magical music! Same heavenly wine. Different scrumptious food. It was a good decision.

Fed the bandits some more pennies before turning in. Yep. 9:00ish. Wanted to share pictures of two of my three favourite machines (I forgot to capture my Wizard of Oz machine that was on fire—for about 20 minutes!) and the ticket I cashed in before going to our room.

These winnings allowed me to virtually break even. (Okay. I owed MSH at least that much. He, however, let me keep this money for the next day. He’s quite the generous bloke.)

That Thursday morn we slept a little late (for us—7:00!)…had breakfast…gave the bandits a few more bucks…headed to TLC’s. She’d been sick for several days and needed her Mama. Her Mama needed to cuddle with Little Leighton!

All in all, we recommend this resort and experience! The Choctaw and Winstar both have incredible entertainers. I mean BIGTIME, important STARS. Those are usually on the weekends and we were there during the week. (We're determined, however, to pick a concert and go back.) The price of those tickets seem very reasonable and you’d be in a smaller-type venue where I’m betting you have great seats. Wherever you are. Don’t stay too long! (And please don't tell them I said this...) Unless you’re Bill Gates. Or Oprah. Check it out if you're within a few hours’ driving distance. It's Two Thumbs Up from me and MSH. Woo Hoo!

This concludes ELC’s Travel Diary for the month. Promise...

p.s.--please continue to pray for West, Texas; Granbury, Texas; and Moore, Oklahoma. I know they'll be grateful.

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