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Welcome to Oklahoma



Cordell, Oklahoma has a simple, nice looking courthouse set off by a sweep of bright red steps. I made the tour around the square, then stopped on Hwy 183 on the way out of town to get a beer out of the freezer. Whoops! Somewhere I must have hit a hell of a bump, 'cause one of the large paintings by the entrance has hopped off the wall, and shattered glass fills the doorway. No dumpster around. I gathered it up on the welcome mat, locked the door, and went on up the road.

I pulled into a convenience store south of Clinton and dumped the mess in their trash can. While I was putting my credit card into the pump, a short, stout, red-haired fellow came up behind me.

"You gonna change that right there?"


He pointed at the right rear of the trailer. Sure enough. Flat right down to the rim. Great.

"I guess I'll have to."

"Tell you what. I've got an air tank in my barn, over yonder." He waved vaguely at the field behind the store. "Why don't I go get it and air you up so you can move to a better place?"

"You don't need to...."

But he was already moving away. I finished pumping gas, and then started getting out my tools. Perhaps five minutes had gone by. Here comes Red, roaring up. He jumps out of the truck, leaves the door hanging open, scoops an air tank out of the bed and proceeds to air up the tire.

"Man, you're losing it almost as fast as I can get it in. You ready to roll?" Sure. I pulled up slowly to the side of the store. By the time I got out and around to the side, Red produced a floor jack from somewhere, and was raising the axle.

"You don't need to do that."

"No problem. Won't take a minute. You got your spare?"

By the time I get the bicycle off and the spare out from under it, Red has the offending tire dangling from a single lug nut.

"How much this trailer weigh? Ya know, the Goodyear place in town is probably still open..."

I looked at my watch. It was 5:15. "They're probably closed by now."

"Maybe not." He grabbed the flat off the hub and sent it spinning toward me. By the time I lift it into the back of the truck, he has the spare on, talking all the while.

"Tell you what, its only about 3 miles. Why don't you follow me in? How you like that V10? You a fireman? Where 'bouts in Texas you from?" He let down the axle and tightened the nuts. It was then 5:20, and he was already moving back to his truck, carrying the floor jack in one hand.


I followed him into Clinton, zigzagging off several blocks to the right of the highway, and sure enough there was the Goodyear place. The bay door was open, but nobody was around. Red marched into the gloom.

"Hey, Al! Al? Al! I brought you some business!" So Al comes walking reluctantly out of the back, and while I'm explaining what happened, Red is on his way again.

"Hey, thanks for your help."

"No problem. Welcome to Oklahoma." And he was gone.

Whew. I looked at Al, who was grinning.

"Who was that red-headed stepchild?"

"That's Butch Beacham. He's an auctioneer."

"He always move that fast?"

"He's right quick."

Turned out I had to buy a new tire. The flat had a puncture about 2 inches long, right through the cord. Al said he could patch it, but he couldn't guarantee it. He called it an "impact puncture", which I guess means I hit something fairly sharp, fairly hard. Or maybe some of that picture glass fell out the door and I didn't see it. Or maybe...

The ST 205/75R15 Marathon ran $101, which is probably a bit high. But hell, this is Clinton, Oklahoma.

That's the kind of luck I have. Not Good, Not Bad. Just BTID. (Better Than I Deserve.) Nothing I would want to take to Vegas. Good luck would be not having the flat at all. Bad luck might involve something like me getting killed when the trailer flips over.

BTID luck just means I run into Butch Beacham, and the make it to the Goodyear store in time.

I'll settle for that. Welcome to Oklahoma.


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