Nestled just off the heart of OKC is a part of town called "Historic Stockyards City" or, as lots of locals call it, "Cowtown." For more than a century, ranchers and cattlemen from around our beautiful United States have been delivering their delicious cargo here for distribution to hungry, carnivorous people like me.
Oklahoma is, after all, at the crossroads of America. We are where four major interstate highways intersect. And we have a lot of cows. And we are the Horse Show Capitol of the World. And I love parades and anything we can do to reinforce the atmosphere of Christmas frivolity without spending a thousand hundred million dollars. I also really like excuses to cuddle with Handsome in the cold. All of that is the background for today's story.
I will always have a soft spot in my heart for our state's blue flag.
Learning about the symbols was my favorite part of fourth grade.
Every December the good people there in Cowtown erect a tall, festive Christmas tree (you can see it in the background in the photo below) and host a really fun, really different sort of parade to kick off the season. Handsome and I have grown attached to this little local tradition, and that is exactly how we spent this beautiful wintry Saturday morning.
The air was cold enough to keep our toes numb and our cheeks red, but the sun was so bright and the sky so clear that we felt just perfectly comfy. We cuddled together at the front of an elbow in the parade route and soaked up the Christmastime mood. And let me tell you, there was plenty to go around.
Longhorns also cuddled as they tiptoed through the bricked streets, unrestrained and unconcerned. These gentle behemoths seemed unnaturally calm in the shadow of a well known steakhouse, Cattlemen's.
A little steam-punk style for Christmas, anyone? This costumed cyclist looped around to wish me a Merry Christmas!
This sweet creature posed for a moment so we could snap a photo of her equine reindeer antlers. It took no more than twenty seconds for me to start formulating horse decorations for back at the Lazy W. The chicken coop is being entered in a Christmas decorating contest, of course, so why not let the big animals join the fun?
I almost wet my pants laughing when a baker's dozen of llamas, festooned to the hilt in Christmas finery, came strutting past. Seriously? They were all wearing hats and carrying teddy bear passengers. Because that's how llamas roll. I cannot get enough of their skinny little legs and arrogant faces. Awesome. Merry Christmas, Sirs.
The silly hearted llamas were followed by a very serious pair of saddled up longhorn steer. I have been daydreaming about saddling up our lone buffalo for a while, and after talking it over with Chunk, he is mostly okay with it.
This photo above gives me a pretty good mental image. Theoretically. In my imagination. But probably not. Not because I couldn't do it; I just choose not to.
The General Lee made a surprise appearance, garnering more whooping and hollering than even the Jolly Old Elf himself. If you happened to see my car show post from summertime, this is the same car. Gyoog-gyoog-gyoog!
Speaking of General Lee, we saw a small Union group too. During the Civil War, of course, Oklahoma was still Indian Territory. Handsome thinks we would have sided with the Confederacy. I am less convinced, given the fierce cultural conflicts with Native Americans at the time.
This gentlewoman and her horse were dressed so elegantly, so festively, in their red and silver and holly garland and feathers... that I felt ridiculously under dressed in the same clothes I wore to a hockey game last night!
These blue eyes caught our breathless attention from a far distance.
Of the many spirited and creative parade entries this year, my onlooker's heart goes out to this little girl. She was dressed in cowgirl pink from head to toe. She waved and smiled at every single person watching. She yelled "Merry Christmas" to me. And she kept tight, gentle control of her horse the entire time. Merry Christmas, sweet nameless girl.
The very last piece of the parade, of course, was Cowboy Santa. This is me waving frantically to get his attention.
Never. Even. Looked. At. Me. In fact, his wagon seemed to speed up a bit as they wheeled around the bed where we stood watching.
Chances are that wasn't the real Santa, anyway. But it did hurt my feelings a little.
As the parade wrapped up, we joined the happy crowds walking around the shops in Cowtown and Handsome bought me early Christmas gifts, because that's how he rolls. We talked excitedly about entering next year's parade ourselves, and I relished the feeling of Christmas coming to a rolling boil in my bones.
However you celebrate,
Whatever your local traditions,
Wishing everyone a mid-month dose of easy fun!