A Few of the Reasons I Love Steinbeck
The Gulf Oil Disaster has a Fine Cast of Characters

The Gulf Coast, BP, and Honesty

Tonight I went back to Oklahoma to a time when the raindrops would just fall into the earth and leave dry round pox in the powdery soil. The wind was hot, and blew across the fields relentlessly, drying crops, and withering the faces of the people who lived in the shacks scattered along the narrow roads. I am happy to not be in Oklahoma, yet, I am afraid its era of failure and blight are coming to our more modern America.

I don't feel any rain in the air today, just dry heat and hot wind. This is something that everyone born in Oklahoma lives with, the feeling of doom.

When I was young my family would load me into the Peterbilt and haul me to Houston to unload grain grown in my home state. I would get out of the truck and play in the clam shells, watching the public port cable-lift strain with the weight of our truck dumping our load into bins for the ships to haul away. We would go into the cool air conditioned bar and order sandwiches, short glasses of Coke, and beers for my step dad. Sweat ran down my shirt, through my shorts, and into my sandals, and I could smell the fish frying and see the prostitutes joking with the truckers. They all looked so normal.

My Mom would walk me down to the wharf and we would gaze at the ships together thinking of my dad. We could smell the Gulf air, and watch the fishing boats come into port. We would visit my brother who lived near the waterfront, and then my Mom would be ready to go back to Oklahoma and her normal life.

Now that she is long gone, and my brother too, I often wonder what they would think of our new world…

My brother would be heartbroken about the mess in the Gulf. I know I am. They all would see it for the nightmare it is…

I went back to Oklahoma to a time when men were more honest about religion. I knew a man like that. He was as honest as dirt, yet, he lied about facts. I loved him anyway. We would sit on the step together and I would ask him a question about some dramatic female event, and he would answer with simplicity, earthiness, stripping away the frilly-dilly nonsense forcing me into reality and a sensible, logical solution. I am thankful for those tough men in my life…those honest about religion. He had a voice like velvet, but a hard face and frightening temper. He looked like the devil, but he was honest about religion.

Most people are not honest about anything.

Sometimes I needed a ride to school. When I was desperate and the weather was really miserable, I would call Don. He talked in riddles and it would take me weeks to figure out what he meant. I would be completely confused and finally I would understand his message. People stood aside when his big brown car pulled to the curb; he had a reputation. He was honest about religion. He would be sick about the Gulf, but he died in prison.

Strange how none of these tough and honest people can take BP by the horns, and force them to stop this gaping wound in the floor of our earth. My guess is that the men and women at BP are not honest about religion.

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