I was up bright and early in Woodward Oklahoma and as soon as I’d checked out of the hotel, due to internet issues, I had to find the library to be able to post my blog. The lovely librarians were very helpful and gave me some extra time on the computers so that I could get everything posted.
Highway 15 South out of Woodward is a character-filled two lane highway with no shoulders! Not very forgiving for a rubber-necked writer trying to take in the scenery. I do have to comment that all along my trip I have had hawks soaring alongside the car. Sometimes dipping right down toward the windshield. So far it hasn’t caused me to stray from the road. But maybe I should check the roof of my car to make sure I don’t have something appetizing up there.
I’m in a very jovial mood today. I’ve been waiting for today’s adventure for a long time. It’s truly a highlight, so I eagerly drove, but at a slower pace than the trains running parallel to the road. Just beyond the train lay a ridge of hills on the distant horizon. This turned into quite the trek, let me tell you. There were many twists and turns onto rather odd little stretches of road. At one point I turned right instead of left and a very scenic 9 miles later, a young farmer and his grandpa were changing a flat tire and got me headed back in the right direction. Just in time to follow three trucks with oversized loads over 30 miles of two lane winding black tops. And don’t let me get started on the road construction. My CD’s and the anticipation of visiting the Cast Away Ranch just wouldn’t allow for a bad mood.
The first stop in Canadian Texas was at Meme & Mur’s Corner. I was fortunate enough to wander into the old-fashioned soda fountain/coffee bar. At least that was my first impression. I sat on a stool at the counter and ordered a Butter Pecan Ice Cream Cone. As I licked its sweet richness, I talked with owner Stefanie Campbell. It seems Stefanie just took over this shop a month ago. Her dream and passion of owning a shop began as she cared for her special needs child. She began working out of her home creating delectable dinners to go. As her new shop develops she’ll be adding her specialities, such as French Toast Casserole, Enchiladas Verdes, Drunken Baked Beans and Lemon Buttermilk Sheetcake.
It was certainly a day of unexpected discoveries. I ventured up the hill to The Citadelle. This landmark was first built in 1910 as The First Baptist Church. It remained a church until 1975 when it became vacant and eventually, facing demolition. Canadian native, Dr. Malouf Abraham and his wife purchased the space with the intent of making it their 8,000 square foot home. It has been remarkably restored and features beautiful gardens as well as a tremendous 135 piece art collection. In 2007, the decision was made to transform their home into a public art gallery as it is today.
The living room above was once the church sanctuary. These carpets were hand-woven especially for this space.
After my tour of the Citadelle buildings and gardens, I was ready for dinner. At the bottom of the hill, right on the corner, I found The Steak Exchange. Another exceptional find. I ordered the Boneless Butterfly Pork Chop. My dinner was served by the most helpful waitress. Melodie and I chatted as she’d bring me plate after plate. First a lovely fresh, lettuce and vegetable salad with a raspberry vinaigrette. And a small loaf of warm home-made bread and fresh butter came next. I had barely finished when she served the sizzling pork chop. The aroma was very succulent and even though my stomach was nearing satisfaction, I managed to eat half of that pork chop. I asked Melodie for a box, but that’s when she served the complimentary bread pudding. She put that in a bag for me too. Thank you Melodie for taking such good care of me!
It was after dinner that my anticipation was finally fulfilled. I began my drive to the Arrington Ranch just outside of Canadian Texas. This ranch was chosen and used in the filming of the Cast Away movie with Tom Hanks. As part of a working cattle ranch, the Arrington family has owned it since 1892.
That’s my car parked there in the driveway. There had been a burst of rain during my drive out to the ranch and the reddish dust had turned into reddish clay. My car looked as if I’d been nudding through fields all day long. But it was well worth the drive. Til I turned around that is…
Any of you who know me even slightly are very well aware that I”m not a huge fan of snakes. I was delighted with the two jack rabbits that scurried across the yard as I unpacked my car. But the snake, he could have chosen another time to be crossing the road. Needless to say, I’d had enough of ‘outside’ for this evening.
Once inside the lodge, I was greeted with counrty charms throughout the house. Filled with rustic ranch-themed furnishings and hand-made quilts. I put my bags into the Miss Ollie Room just off of the large diningroom with a table that seats twelve. It was then I found ‘the note.’
In a scene near the end of the Cast Away movie, Tom Hanks’ character Chuck Noland delivers that last package he had with him on he island, to the ranch. But no one was home, so he left this note with the package on the front porch.
It only got better from here. Wilson was waiting patiently in the livingroom to greet me.
It was Wilson and I throughout the evening. I felt like we’d known each other for years! And yes, like Chuck Noland, I did have many a conversation with Wilson.