Improv Blogging is a new feature where you, my (tens of) loyal readers, suggest topics and I write on them, no matter how random or out there. Full details are here.
Jules has requested that I write about bison hunting. This isn't as odd as it may sound, as I have, in fact, done it. Not successfully, but... I'm getting ahead of myself. (In order for you to fully appreciate this story, photos are included, courtesy of Jules and Ash.)
The whole thing started because my friends have a habit of getting married in random midwestern towns. Forget cities that can be reached with direct flights. Noooo. Connecting flights and rental cars, all of them.
Picture it: Bartlesville, Oklahoma. July 2007. Jules, Miguel, Ash, and I had traveled from distant lands (well, Washington and...St. Louis, which wasn't really so far) to this unsuspecting town for the nuptials of two college friends. It was to be a low key trip. None of us were in the wedding party. We had no obligations, save for the wedding itself. Our plans were simple: Barbeque. Conversation. Burning up the dance floor at the reception.
But Jules...well. Jules had other plans for us. And these plans led to the Unsuccessful Bison Hunt of 2007. We had come all the way to Oklahoma, and, dammit, we weren't leaving until we'd seen a bison!
(I should perhaps clarify that we weren't actually hunting bison, like shooting them. We were just looking for them.)
So, on a hotter-than-hell July afternoon, three girls, one boy, and a small stuffed bison ventured out onto the prairie of Oklahoma. Oklahoma! As you might imagine, there was a great deal of loud singing on this trip ("OHHHHHK! lahoma, where the wind comes sweeping down the plain" ....and so forth) accompanied by the fervent hope that I might also encounter the Little House somewhere. Anyway, we ventured, in our rented cherry-red Sentra, onto the Tallgrass Prairie.
As with all of the great adventures in history---the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Ingalls family's move from the Big Woods of Wisconsin to Indian Territory, etc---our path was well marked:
...and we had a map:
(Okay, technically it was an iPhone with Google Maps, but you get the point.) It promised to be a fruitful adventure, and a quick one. After all, we had to be back for the wedding in five hours.
So we sallied forth. The road was dirty:
The prairie was wide:
The trek was harrowing:
I almost got stung by a bee.
Yet, despite the promise of bison...
...we saw none. TRAGEDY. FAILURE. Our hunt was all for naught.
OR WAS IT?
Despite our unsuccessful hunt for actual, live bison, we found Bison Bison, superstore for all things bison-related. Jules was waaay overstimulated. I encountered "prairie eggs," which I would prefer never to encounter again. We spent many, many minutes in strange, yet illuminating conversation with Mary Jo, owner of Bison Bison and member of the Osage tribe ("I loved the Beatles. I saw A Hard Day's Night 17 times the week it came out"). (The related story of our visit to the Osage Museum, prior to the Questionably Successful Bison Hunt of 2007, is WAY EXCITING, but a topic for another blog post.)
And then, we did what all self-respecting adventurers do after a long day on the trail. We went to a wedding. And we ate cake.