Talk about extremes -- one of our married children lives in Chicago and the other lives in a small town of 1,500 in Oklahoma.
The last time we were in Chicago, it took us one hour to drive three miles.
The last time we were in Oklahoma, we had to stop for longhorn steer crossing the highway.
The husband says it might have been more like five miles in an hour when we were in the Windy City, but it makes a better story with three. The point is, we could have walked it in the time we drove it. And been a lot more sane.
We not only stopped for steer in Oklahoma, we stopped for buffalo and elk, and pulled over to watch plucky little prairie dogs jabbering away. We were just a few miles from the kids' house in the shadows of the Wichita Mountains and a wildlife refuge.
As for wildlife in the heart of Chicago, you see an occasional rabbit from time to time. They are nearly always panting and looking terrified, like a bigger and badder rabbit armed with a club is in pursuit.
When you're in any big city, people spend a lot of conversation time talking about traffic. It's all about getting there.
"Hey, good to see you. How'd you get here? We took the Dan Ryan in, but it was moving slow. Construction on a leg of 290 started April 1st, who knows when it will be finished. They've ripped up Montrose, but we found a good east-west alternate. Did you order?"
When you're in Oklahoma it's never about getting there, it's about having somewhere to get to.
You can walk the entire downtown (both blocks) of the small Oklahoma town in two minutes --- 90 seconds if you don't' stop to talk to the lady who bakes the fluffy meringue pies at the family restaurant. There's no hardware store, but there is a grocery store. They cool some of the refrigerated produce by placing it in tubs on ice and turning a fan on it. There's a shack in the parking lot where a local smokes meat with mesquite wood four days a week -- brisket, ribs and chicken. If there's barbeque in heaven, they'll order it from there.
Our grandbaby in the city has a lovely big window in her bedroom in their first floor walk-up. It looks out on thick ropes of power lines just inches on the other side of the glass and the back stairs to nearly 30 apartments. Mom and Dad took her to the park by the lake on Saturday where hundreds of kites dotted the sky.
In the Sooner state, open vistas of sky stretch in every direction. You can see a yellow moon hanging low or watch the sun wobble beneath the horizon, sinking like a giant neon ball.
Bright pink geraniums in a clay pot perch on one of the back stairwells our granddaughter can see from her window. She has just spotted a "woof" in the alley below.
Despite the many differences, at the end of the day, both little families close their doors and settle into homes furnished with love.
It's not where you live, it's how you live.
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