The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Enid Features

June 5, 2012

Making the best of the Oklahoma winds

Does the Oklahoma wind bother you? Think about it.

One of our adopted Marine lieutenants had his mother visit him from Chicago recently. She liked the Enid area and the people here, but she had difficulty adjusting to all our wind. I could not believe her since, after all, she was from the “Windy City,” but she said the wind here is different, and she could not get used to it.

Many people have the same problem. Jim’s grandfather came to Oklahoma to work in the early oil fields. He had a “cush” job as a timekeeper, so that part was not difficult. He was from Maryland, and he had to return because he simply could not tolerate all the wind and wide-open spaces.

To those of us who are native Oklahomans, we thrive on this wind. We know if it blows from the south today, it will blow back the other way from the north tomorrow ... or so it seems.

To people who have been in a tornado, their lives will never be the same. Whether they were harmed or not, their lives will be affected by each storm cloud that arises. It must be just terrible, beyond description, how one feels in the eye of a storm.

Thank goodness, there are warnings on television and radio that help protect us now. Years ago, we relied solely on signs from the skies. The few times we gathered our things and went to the storm cellar, there was a strange stillness in the air before the storm really hit.

I remember how calm the folks seemed as they came to the bottom of the stairs and told us girls, “Wrap up in a blanket. We are going to the cellar.” We systematically followed Mother’s lead, with Daddy bringing up the rear and closing the cellar door. When we would come out, trees would be uprooted and small buildings gone, but always our house remained standing.

The winds that blow across the plains are usually the kind that are more an annoyance than a real threat to our person. We get so tired of having our hair blown asunder. We dislike having leaves and trash blowing around in our yards. We find the constant dust disgusting. We hate the way we can get “windburn” just as easily as sunburn at a ball game or outing.

Many people still vividly recall the dust bowl of the ’30s, when the dust clouds rolled in and, within a few minutes, everything looked as black as night. There was no way to keep the dust out of our houses, or out of our noses. Dust was everywhere. We ate dust. We breathed dust. We lived in dust. We called those days the “dirty ’30s.”

Those of us who live in Oklahoma can only pray that the dust bowl conditions never happen again ... but it could. It takes only a few dry months, and the conditions could be just right for a repeat occurrence.

For most of us, we dislike the wind just because. Because it is noisy. Because it is unhandy. Because it is irritating to our senses. However, there are those who enjoy the sound of the winds blowing. They like the feel of wind against their faces. They don’t mind it at all. In fact, they like wind. Well, to each his own!

Wind reminds me of the little poem we learned in school. I don’t know the author, origin, or the name, but it says a lot:

“One ship drives east and another west

“With the self-same winds that blow.

“’Tis the set of the sails and not the gales

“That tells us the way to go.

“Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate

“As we journey along through life.

“’Tis the set of the soul that determines the goal

“And neither the calm not the strife.”

We ourselves determine how we live, just as we determine our reaction to the wind. A wise person (probably Ben Franklin) said, “It’s an ill wind that blows no good.” Something to think about.

Back in the “olden days,” the wind was our air conditioner. Nature made us so when we worked hard or exercised a lot, we sweat. (Oh, I know, ladies don’t sweat; they glow.) When that sweat evaporates in the wind, it is cooling and refreshing.

I think we were healthier back in those days, but I wouldn’t want to go back to then. We relied on a breeze and shade to tolerate the heat back then.

Just a whiff of barbecue on a gentle breeze makes us all feel hungry. This salad goes great with any barbecue or fried chicken or anything. It is real refreshing and make-ahead easy.

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