A Visitor’s Guide To Ada

May 1, 2012 § 6 Comments

I was recently at a conference with my sister-in-law Hannah. We met a woman who, upon hearing we came from Ada, Oklahoma, asked us about the “sights.” She had been “eager” to see Ada. Here’s how that conversation went:

“So, what should I do if I’m ever in Ada?”

Two blank stares.

“Well, there’s Wintersmith Lake…which is actually a pond where I come from- but it’s pretty,” Hannah says. She’s a New Hampshirite originally.

I still stare into space.

“There’s a petrified tree!” Hannah’s still trying to salvage the conversation. Surely two people who’ve lived in this town can give her something to see in the dang thing.

“Oh, really? What petrified it?” The woman laughs at that. (Probably the fact that it was in Ada, I thought quietly.)

So now I’ve had more time. I’ve given it some thought. Here’s what I would say should the situation ever come up again (which I doubt):

You should totally come to Ada! It’s the drive-thru capital of the WORLD. We take our drive-thrus very seriously in Ada. If you’re a gas station without a drive-thru, you may as well stick a fork in yourself. My friend and I even filmed a documentary over this phenomenon in high school. (You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t want to answer why they don’t have a drive-thru.) There’s even a small convenience store drive-thru now. Because getting out of a car is for suckers.

Did I mention Wintersmith Lake? Yes, it may look more like a pond. Yes, the ducks may look like something you drew in first grade with multiple disturbing appendages. (They’ve been doing some in-breeding I think.) But there’s a sidewalk circling it, and it is exactly a mile. Don’t you appreciate the accuracy of this pond? It’s like the pond planned it. The perfectionist in me admires that. Please ignore the odd monkey cages that briefly housed two chimpanzees in the early 1980s (which every Ada High Schooler has peed on at some point).There’s also a petting zoo that may or may not have a peacock and a couple of donkeys.

And the petrified tree.

Now wasn’t that better? You’re intrigued, I bet. You want to see if there are really ducks in that pond with multiple bills and wings coming out of  unusual places. You’ve been thinking how nice it would be to pull up to a gas station window and order a soda from the convenience of your car window.

However.

Here are some things to look out for on your trip. Every place has an element of danger so I’m going to prepare you for Ada’s darker side.

CRAZY CORNER- I don’t know who designed this heinous disaster of modern traffickery (definitely a word). I don’t know and I don’t care. It is asinine. It is, in fact, a five-way stop smack-dab in the middle of town. You tell me how that makes sense. Oh, did I not mention railroad tracks run directly through it? Did I leave that out?

Also, you should just be aware that if you’re a business that is not Polo’s or a national chain, you will not stay in business. Also, if you’re Starbucks you should just RUN. Ada doesn’t like things that are too “alternative.” It’s like a friend of mine said “Ada folks don’t trust the unfamiliar.” That’s why Targets don’t exist in Ada.

Which brings me to the next point: make close friends with Wal-mart because the two of you are about to get very intimate. Wal-mart is about to be the big spoon, if you will. Unless you want to starve, or have something terrible happen like run out of ANYTHING, then you will be visiting the lovely Supercenter. So get used to it.

Now, in all fairness to Ada, I love it. I really do. I am a frequent sojourner to this small Anywhere, Oklahoma town.

My reasons do not involve one-mile ponds or strange animals. They revolve around people. First off, there’s my Meme, who uses words like ‘yonder’ and calls people ‘shoog’ (short for sugar). Do you think they have Memes in Kansas City? No. I bet you could search this whole place and not find a soul that refers to a day of the week as ‘Chewsday.’ And where else would I go to have my 83 year-old grandpa teach me guitar chords? Or my best friend from high school pull out that embarrassing picture of me FOR THE MILLIONTH TIME? (I swear she gets it out as soon as she senses I’m within a 10 mile radius) In Ada I can jog a block over and have coffee with my sister-in-law then stop in to my brother’s computer shop and hear the story about how he got his black eye in boarding school. Maybe the mailman will pop in who also happens to be the funny senior guy I asked to the Morp in 10th grade and I’ll remember how he picked me up in his old Buick that smelled like a dead taco. Do you think this happens in Kansas City? Trust me, it doesn’t.

Oh, and my two parasites (I mean children) get dumped at (I mean spend time with) their grandparents (aka the people who cater to their every whim). That has a little something to do with why I visit so often.

That’s what I’d really say about why I’d want to visit Ada. But if you’ve never been, you should totally stop in for a drive-thru candy-bar and a look at the petrified tree.

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