Friday, September 9, 2011

a surprising Tulsa to Orange connection

(ABOVE: a normal ride to South Lakes Golf Course in Jenks proved unforgettable!)

I had a, "Wow, it's a small world!" moment on my Thursday morning bike ride.

Yesterday I rode with the Tulsa Bicycle Club for a regular 30 mile ride. I enjoy the rides for fun exercise and the recent cool down helps too. The temperature on my little bicycle thermometer showed 63 degrees. Perfect!

This normal ride; however, produced a lifetime memory.

I left from KJRH, and our group biked from West Tulsa to Sapulpa to Jenks. We chose South Lakes Golf Course in Jenks as our rest stop. It was my first time there. I learned you can ride your bicycle right up to the club house. "Can you get a bicycle valet parked here?!", one of the riders (Jay Mowery) jokingly asked.

Inside the club house a gentleman was sitting alone at a table having breakfast. He just looked like someone I should know. He looked about my Dad's age.

His shirt caught my eye. From a distance the logo on his shirt resembled a logo on Dad's old golf hat.

"Hi George", I heard when I walked in.

I smiled and formally introduced myself. I met Mr. Bill Cooper. I joined him while he finished breakfast. "I was just in Orange", he told me.

I easily assumed he knew that the small coastal town of Orange, Texas was my hometown. Most Oklahomans have never heard of it.

On closer inspection I was nearly speechless when I saw the logo on Mr. Cooper's shirt-- an embroidered Sunset Grove Golf Club logo-- that's where Dad played years ago! In fact I still have his old Sunset Grove golf hat!!

Mr. Cooper told me more. Not only does his brother, Jeff, live in Orange, but it turns out that he knew details about my family that only someone from Orange would know.

More, "oh wow" conversation followed.

Mr. Cooper said that Jeff is the Golf Pro at Sunset Grove! He knew my Father well, and probably played golf with him. These days, he sees and chats with Mom during the Sunday lunch after church. Years ago, Jeff may have seen me as a kid swimming at Sunset Grove.

More "oh wow"-- Mr. Cooper told me that as part of his tour of Orange last week, his brother drove him by the Flickinger family home. I later told Mom, and we chuckled as we hardly thought of our home as a tourist attraction!

So... For a rundown:

-I stopped at a golf course on my bike which is sort of random anyway.

-Never had been there before, and the only person inside just happened to visit Orange.

-Who has family in Orange.

-Who played golf with Dad and talked to Mom earlier in the week.

-Who drove by the Flickinger house just to see it.

-And happened to be wearing a shirt from Orange which is what led me toward him in the first place.

-All just because he visited Orange last week. Wow, just a major wow moment!

I completed my ride with the rest of the bike group after I said goodbye to Mr. Cooper.

Just a normal bicycle ride, eh?! Glad I woke up early that morning instead of sleeping in. :)

Thanks for reading, George

(BELOW: Dad's old Sunset Grove golf hat lives on. )