What’s Showing at the Ritz?

Read these reminiscences on when the folks who labored out in the fields and on the prairies looked forward to going into town.

| September 2020

movie-showing
What draws movie goers like a title of Devil on Wheels? The movie short was part of a safety presentation put on by the Oklahoma Safety Council and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

The divide between rural and urban did not used to be this wide. There has never been a time when farmers and city folks did not depend on each other, but there used to be a time when the relationship was a bit closer. There was a time when the folks who labored out in the fields and on the prairies looked forward to going into town, and the business owners in town anticipated the arrival of their rural customers.

Back down the line

In this visit, we are going to stay here in my home town of Alva, Oklahoma. I was not born or raised here (I moved to Alva during my college years), but I have lived here longer than anywhere else, so this is home now.

A bit about me: I rather enjoying being alone – not all the time, but I do not have a problem being left to my own devices. One of my favorite times to let my mind drift is when I am traveling. When I am out on the open road, I would say about 90 percent of the trip is in silence. No phone, no radio and no passenger.

In the remaining 10 percent, when I do turn my radio on, it’s a short list: baseball, classic country music, old-time radio programs, and, once in a while, politics. Ninety-nine percent of the time, my dial never leaves the AM side.



Like a history class on an end gate

As I drive through America’s heartland, I look at the small communities and start to wonder: Why did they begin? What lead to their downfall? What do the remaining inhabitants do for a living? I wonder what main street looked like back in its prime. What did the town look like back when everything was right with the world, before technology and improved transportation took people and business to the next town over?

These are the times I wish I could find a time machine. But then I see a closed-up hotel or shop and I reach back into my memory and reflect on a time when I got to experience something now long gone and I am thankful that I took the time to do that.



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