We are back in the green part of the U.S. I like the state of Oklahoma. At least in this part, there are a lot of trees and green pastures. The weather is warm, but pleasant. Oklahoma City, however, I could do without. It is an ordinary looking Midwestern city, but it doesn’t seem to have the parks and infrastructure like Minneapolis or Milwaukee.
We visited the Cowboy Museum. It is a very nice. There is a lot of western art – sculptures and paintings. The building is evidently used for community events. It is one of the most tasteful venues I have ever seen. I liked the beautiful gardens. There were exhibits of western clothes, weapons and gear. The “West” is in many ways a creation of the movies and this was evident at the museum where at least a quarter of the exhibits were of artifacts from western movies and television shows. Many of the distinctive hats, guns and boots were created for actors like John Wayne, Charlton Heston or Tom Mix in the movies: cowboys probably never saw many of the styles. One of the characteristic cowboy hats, for example, is specifically called the Tom Mix hat after the early movie actor. It would have been awkward on the plains. Among the displays was a giant bowie knife, made by Gucci for John Wayne. It looked very impressive, but would have been far too big to be carried by a man in the wilderness. I have done enough hiking to understand how good looking gear gets abandoned along the trial. I don’t suppose it was any different in the old west, especially when we were talking about life and death. The real west was more like a blue-collar outdoor adventure punctuated by fits of deadly violence. Cowboys were hard working guys just trying to make a living – heroic in the sense that a working man is heroic. In many ways more noble than the fancy pants “code of the west” drifters portrayed on film.