Can’t take the OK out of the Okie

Aug 1, 2005 4:23 AM

Carol, once again we are driving from Las Vegas to Tulsa, down old Route 66 — "The Main Street of America" — though they now call it I-40.

We are traveling back to Tulsa to make arrangements for my 78th birthday poker party.

The Cherokee Casino and Resort on September 28 through October 2 will host my birthday poker party. And I will serve all of my poker playing friends poker cake and green money.

I remember the first time I traveled on the Main Street of America. It was when I was about 10 years old riding with the Hale family on our way to the land of milk and honey — California!

John Steinbeck wrote about a similar trip in his classic novel, "The Grapes of Wrath." The Hale family was not in the book — nor in the movie — but we lived though the tough times. Our trip, however, came by way of Las Vegas to California.

Dad owned a little store — nowadays you would call it a 7/11 — with groceries and gas. Bread was two loaves for eight cents and gas was nine cents a gallon.

In those days the store was called a "jot ”˜em down grocery," and you can see a picture of my dad’s store on page 28 of my book, "The Gentleman Gambler."

The jot ”˜em down was just that — no one had the money to pay dad — so they would just tell him to jot it down on their account.

Well, one day dad and mother gathered the Hale family around and took us into the back yard. Then dad built a fire, and took all of his account books and tossed them into the fire.

Dad explained to us that the folks that owed him money were good people, but that they would never be able to repay him for the credit that he had extended to them.

So dad forgave all of these people and told the family to load up everything because we were going west to California.

Old Route 66 was very busy as the people from Arkansas, Kansas, Texas and the surrounding states had to pull up stakes and leave the old home country and head out west.

I remember the song of the day, "Hey, Arkie Have You Seen Okie? Tell him Tex has got a job for him out in California."

Back in those days we had air conditioning that we called four forty airconditioning — four windows down at 400 miles and hour.

Now, we are riding along at 70 miles per hour. Carol, your little car is so quiet with airconditioning and music. Quite a difference.

Oklahoma Johnny’s Poker Tip of the Week

Poker and life are a lot the same.

You have to think you can do it! You have to think you can win.

You have to think your way into, "Yes, I can do it!"

Get properly focused and you’ll be surprised at the power of your mind.

Your mind is very strong and if you use it, you can do it!

Like the coach of a football team, the coach helps to motivate the athlete to victory.

You do not have a coach at the poker table. You have to be your own coach and motivate yourself.

Don’t accept any excuses for failure. You can get it done.

Until next time remember to stay lucky.