Oklahoma, a state which, it’s been claimed, once revered common sense and had both feet planted firmly on Mother Earth, seems in the last 25 years to have completely lost its collective mind. For example, it has foisted such outstanding examples of political and intellectual looneyism on an unsuspecting nation as Sens Jim “Global Warming Is a Liberal Scam!” Inhofe and Tom “There Are Lesbians in the Lavatories!” Coburn. Whatever common sense existed in OK has clearly fled, looking for less arid pastures.
But the CW may be wrong yet again, for it seems Oklahoma has always nursed a strain of loopyism comparable to that found in the lesser films of the Ritz Bros. Case in point:
In 1957, Oklahomans buried a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere wrapped in a sheet. Why? Ah, to celebrate their 50th anniversary as a state, of course.
If the connection between a 1957 Belvedere and Oklahoman statehood doesn’t immediately leap to mind, join the crowd. There isn’t one. If they’d buried a John Deere, that would at least have reference to their farming history. But no. They buried a car that was built in Michigan and named after an English butler in Connecticut. They thought it would be “fun”.
On Friday, in a paroxysm of long-suppressed glee and amidst a carnival of news photographers and media attention the likes of which we haven’t seen since Paris Hilton got into a car last week, they dug it up again. It’s the 100th anniversary of statehood, you see, and when they celebrate great moments in their history, that’s what Oklahomans apparently do. They bury things and then dig them up.
Thousands watched Friday as a crane lifted a muddy package from a hole in the courthouse lawn: a 1957 Plymouth Belvedere buried a half-century ago to celebrate Oklahoma’s 50 years of statehood.
The wrapped car was covered in red mud as it came out of the hole. Its trademark fins were exposed, caked with either rust or mud, and a bit of shiny chrome was visible on the bumper.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Miss Belvedere,” said event organizer Sharon King Davis, a fourth-generation Tulsan whose grandfather helped bury the Plymouth.
The gold and white two-door hardtop spent the last half-century covered in three layers of protective material and encased in a 12-by-20-foot concrete vault, supposedly tough enough to withstand a nuclear attack.
But event officials already had to pump out several feet of water from its crypt.
This is the biggest thing to happen in OK since The Flood – Noah’s, that is – and the whole state turned out to see it. With bells on.
Some in the crowd had arrived downtown at dawn and endured torrential rain just to glimpse the car. By the time of the midday ceremony, people were standing on rooftops and looking out office buildings as news helicopters buzzed overhead.
The car was placed on a flatbed truck so it could be unwrapped, spruced up and officially unveiled Friday evening at the Tulsa Convention Center. Spectators lined the streets to watch its journey.
Whether the car will start was unknown. The suspense drew Pittsburgh car enthusiast Dave Stragand.
“It’s our King Tut’s tomb,” Stragand said. “It’s like a fairy tale.”
Yessir, you sure can see the resemblance – if you live in OK. I mean, gold and jewels from 6000 yrs ago v a 50-yr-old Plymouth in a hole? Practically identical events in the overall scheme of history. I’m sure scholars in Paris and Rome will still be studying the cultural significance of this find 100 years from now when Oklahomans dig up the 2057 Fiat Fiasco they bury for their 150th anniversary.
If you haven’t had enough, there’s a website – http://www.buriedcar.com/ – devoted to the event. That’s where the pictures come from. There are lots more, including one where the only black man allowed to be photographed publicly in 1957 rests his hand lovingly on a case of Schlitz.
Personally, I’m done.