- ABOUT US
Nathan Gunter, Managing Editor
Photo by LORI DUCKWORTH
By Nathan Gunter
October 15, 2015
Oklahoma Today is, above all, a magazine of place. The publication falls under the larger category of a “Regional Magazine,” and it is fundamentally a magazine about this place we all, in one way or another, call home: Oklahoma. And for sixty years, this magazine has endeavored to bring to its readers, among other things, the best of Oklahoma’s places.
I wrote a story a few years ago titled “The Oklahoma Bucket List,” which attempted to distill some of these places down to a definitive list of spots every Okie must see before he or she kicks the proverbial bucket. I got to discover a lot of new places while writing this story, and I also got to write about some of my favorite Sooner State spots: the Price Tower in Bartlesville; the Blue Door in Oklahoma City; the Selman Bat Watch near Freedom.
I was telling someone about that article recently and about how much fun it was to work on. Later, reflecting on that conversation, I got to thinking about all the places—Oklahoma and otherwise—that are essential to my soul. I think our spirits need geography; ephemeral though they are, they need to be grounded in physical space. This is why our houses, our bodies, our hometowns often are sacrosanct to us—we are creatures of place and time.
So what, I began to think, are the places that orient my soul, the Prime Meridians of Nate? Most of them aren’t going to appear in any travel guides, Oklahoma or otherwise, but knowing they are there helps me get a sense of where I am.
My house. I have lived in it for ten years this month, and every time I step through the front door, my aching muscles relax. I swap my work clothes for better, more elastic-oriented clothes, I scratch the dog’s belly, I gather back into myself and rest. On Sunday mornings, I go out to the driveway, pick up the New York Times, make a cup of coffee, and do the crossword puzzle. Sometimes, I do it in the den while listening to records. We talk, sometimes, my sweet other half and I, about the dream house we would like to build one day, but if I reached the end of my life and had spent it in our little historic northwest Oklahoma City house, that would be fine too.
Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium, Section 9, Row 31. My family and I have had the same season tickets for University of Oklahoma football games for decades. Mom, my brother, and I split the cost of our tickets, which gives each of us access to the seats for two of every season’s six home games. There is a man who sits in front of us named Vince—he uses an electronic voice box to speak and high-fives everyone whenever OU scores. Sometimes, when the Pride of Oklahoma plays the state song and the students unfurl the flag on the field, I get a little teary-eyed. The seats are right on the five-yard-line at the north end of the field. Best seats in the house.
The Three-State Marker at Black Mesa. Someone recently asked me the best place in Oklahoma to watch a sunset. Here it is. Bring a camp chair, a bottle of good bourbon, a telescope, a designated driver, and a little bug spray.
The Watonga Fried Cheese Stand at the Oklahoma State Fair. They have fried cheese there. What else do you need to know? We took my nephew, Knox, to his first State Fair this year. As you can see, he really enjoyed himself: