BLOG: 6's & 7'S
For those of you who have been following my journey from Las Vegas to Oklahoma, I know you have heard the saga of 'looking for a place to live, but no-one wants my dog'. Well, not everyone in Oklahoma is a dogist. In fact, at Salt Creek Lodge, DeeDee is not only welcome, but she now thinks she owns the place. Look at that smile. My dog is happy.
And I think, instead of this being a short term place to stay while we try to find a house, we may just stay here for awhile. I know we'll be here at least until May.
What's it like staying at a lodge? A little slice of heaven...
I have a huge covered front porch with a handmade porch swing and rockers so I can watch the goings on of the ATV riders and hunters. And it is perfect for sitting in and watching the storms roll in. Or, I have a huge wraparound back porch that overlooks 1800 acres of ….acres. LOL. And Bigfoot lives out there.
The lodge itself has eight rooms, half are bedrooms with full baths, half are more bunkhouse style rooms with large sleeping quarters and kitchens. Each is themed and you can tell the room by the little decorations in the hallway. There’s a cowboy room, a Duck Dynasty room, etc. I live in the Birds Nest. The lodge sleeps about 30 total when full.
There is an amazing event barn on the property that is ideal for weddings, family reunions and any sort of gathering you can imagine. I imagine a writers’ conference with book readings (30 writers, so we can fill the lodge, too!) But there are so many different things that the barn is rented out for.
So I made a little slide show below so you could see what I'm talking about. So check it out, and then come visit! DeeDee can show you around.
Hugo, Oklahoma, population about 5,000 is the county seat of Choctaw County, Oklahoma. Nine miles from the Texas state line and about forty five minutes from where I currently live, it is just another small Oklahoma town, a drive through for many on their way to someplace else.
It’s also the setting for my next novel, tentatively titled “Showmen’s Rest”.
Like most small towns throughout the United States, there is a little more to Hugo than the basic demographics. Yes, there’s a beautiful lake to enjoy, yes, there is a Sonic (I’ve discovered that every city/town in the United States, regardless of size, has a Sonic) and yes there is an area of town dedicated to the history, in this case, railroad related history. But, there is more. So. Much. More.
Hugo, Oklahoma is also known as Circus City, USA and is known for its ‘circus culture’. What does that mean? Well, since the early part of the twentieth century, traveling circuses have made Hugo their home during the winter months, and currently, three of America’s largest active circuses call Hugo home. It isn’t uncommon to see a trapeze, or a circus wagon in a driveway.
Still more…The Endangered Ark Foundation is also nearby. There you will find the United States’ second largest Asian elephant sanctuary.
But it was not for all of this that I got up early this morning to make the drive to Hugo. It was to go to the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, particularly one section, known as “Showmen’s Rest”. You guessed it. The resting place of former circus employees and one of the most fun cemetery experiences ever.
I took so many pictures of headstones, I had to make a slideshow so you could enjoy the fun, too.
And just as I passed Big John’s massive grave marker, the one that states “He had more friends than Santa Claus”, I had something hit me right upside the head…Inspiration. My next novel. Oh, yes. Thank you, Big John....
Soooooo, grab some popcorn (not to be confused with Popcorn the clown) and enjoy the show!
In three weeks, I start over. For the past twenty years, I have been the wife and mother taking care of the house, the kids, the husband and pretty much everything else that came our way. Now the kids are raised, the house is a storage facility for collectibles and the husband is ready to sit on the porch and rock. I'm not. I recently accepted a job in Oklahoma and in three weeks, will pack a few things and journey from Nevada to Oklahoma and start over.
But I won't be alone. I have my dog. Which is proving to be a problem.
I've owned a home for the past twenty years, so the whole idea of being a 'renter' is foreign to me. The town I am moving to, Idabel, Oklahoma, is very small and as far as I've been able to deduce, doesn't have apartment complexes like those in Nevada. It's mostly private homes for rent, and the owners don't like to rent to dogs. I guess, in a way, I can understand that they may have had bad experiences, but I always think that in the case of a destructive or disruptive animal, it is the owner that is the problem, not the animal. But, I digress.
So, after twenty-two phone calls and at least as many emails, at this time, if I want to live in Southeast Oklahoma, I either buy a home, or leave my dog with someone. I can have twenty kids, an arsenal of weapons, a party every night, and a string of male suitors around the block, but not one dog.
Well let me tell you about my dog.
DeeDee, which is short for Kelly's Diamond Dog, is a purebred miniature Shar-Pei. When my sons were teenagers, I felt I needed another 'baby'. I searched breeds for temperament, compatibility, care, etc. and I chose the breed. Then I went looking for my baby. I found her in Chicago. She flew on United Airlines from O'Hare to McCarran Airport and from the moment I picked her up, she was my dog.
We made a pact. She would always be there for me, and I would do the same for her. She has lived up to her side of the bargain, always greeting me at the door, running around the block if I want to run or vegging out on the floor if I want to flop on the couch and watch a movie. When I'm in my office, she knows I'm working, and she posts herself at the door, not letting anyone in unless I give the word. I don't have to leash her, she heels without being told. She knows where she is supposed to be, and that place is next to me. She is better trained than most children I know.
DeeDee is ten years old, which for a breed with a life span of 8-12 years, makes her a little old woman. She has her problems: arthritis, thyroid issues and seizures and she takes a lot of medicine. It is very expensive, but that's okay, it's my part of the bargain, and if I have to make sacrifices to pay for her health care, I will. She is my friend and my companion. I know the dog lovers out there are nodding their heads. They know exactly what I'm talking about.
So back to Oklahoma. I spoke with a gentleman today that had the perfect home for me, in my price range, in a safe neighborhood. He suggested I find a home for my dog, then he would be happy to rent it to me. I told him I will live in my car before I will desert her. He said 'Good Luck'.
I received another call from a woman who runs a hunting lodge who periodically rents rooms for long term. It's a lovely place, one bedroom with a little kitchenette area, perfect for me---and DeeDee is welcome. The problem is, it's easily $250 a month out of my range and that is a lot of money.
But, if I don't find anything else in the next few weeks, I will move into the lodge and find another part-time job to pay for it. And I will do it as long as necessary. Because DeeDee goes with me.
And the dog is non-negotiable.
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