Working with the airmen on base has been really fun. Very quickly I’ve learned to humor the guys into appreciating Southwest Oklahoma. I quite often have to explain things like the proper pronunciation is “Al-tus” not “All-tus.” I usually have to explain the pronunciation of Mangum, Hobart and Eldorado as well. Apparently if you aren’t from around here you might think that we Okies have a slight draw.
One of the funniest things I’ve heard the airmen point out is that no one around here says “Coors Light,” instead drawing it out as if to say “Kerrs Liite.” In fact, I have a few customers who come in and pronounce it that way just for laughs. I appreciate the humor, but nothing tops the story of a customer who dined with me a few weeks ago.
This particular airman was from California and had been in Altus for about three months. I actually met him on his first night in town and had the joy of answering his question, “Do you guys really get tornados around here?” The poor kid had no idea. Fast forward to present day and he explains to me a new revelation he’s had regarding Okie culture.
For three months he had heard lots of people tell him to go check out “Coors Mountain.” He knew it was a great hiking spot north of town and he knew he had heard lots of great things about it. So finally, near the end of his training in Altus, he invited a few of his friends to go with him to explore Coors Mountain. When the group of guys arrived at the destination, he soon realized it was actually “Quartz Mountain” and not “Coors Mountain.” He laughed hysterically at his mistake and couldn’t wait to share the story with me. I hadn’t realized it, but maybe we do draw out our words a little in these parts.
Reach Haley Hoover at email@example.com or view photos with her blog at www.thesparklinghippie.com.