The "Blue Whale" of Catoosa, Oklahoma
The Blue Whale is one of those most famous of the famous Route 66 stops. It's a recreation area, a place families could stop and relax after a long morning on the road.
It was about an hour's drive from the hotel we'd stayed at the night before. We got there around 10:00 a.m. or so. It was already approaching the unbearable point of heat and humidity. The sun was just burning off that tiny bit of coolness in the breeze left over from the night, and you could feel the humidity in the air beginning to smolder.
I could picture what this place must have been like at its zenith. Bustling with kids who'd just been sitting on the edge of their seats, bouncing with anticipation, cooped up in the car as long as they could take.
When Father pulled into the parking lot he scolded them, "Whoa there, little ones! Father must park his huge gas guzzler first!"
*Twinkle!* Smiles light up their faces and their teeth, freshly scrubbed with Pepsodent, shine blindingly white.
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There it was! The Blue Whale!
They could make like Jonah and go inside the whale's mouth!
Climb to the "top deck" and look out the portholes! Thar she blows!
"Mother! Take my picture take my picture take my picture!"
The slide! Into what I presume wasn't putrid, slimy water back then!
Mom could unpack her wicker picnic basket, throw the red-checkered tablecloth on the table while the kids ran around, waving their arms in the air like mental patients.
Out came the chicken dinner, cooked at home and brought along with them on the road. Good, wholesome food for a good, wholesome American family driving cross-country to Grandma's house, just because they love her that much. And want to make it into her will can't wait to see her!
"Aren't they just adorable? Let's have more!"
"I forgot to tell you. I had a vasectomy. I wasn't really on that "business trip" last month."
"Before you go into that water, little Jimmy and Susie, you need to eat! You can't go in for an hour afterward, either…"
"You heard me."
*Twinkle!* Smiles all 'round as Jimmy, Susie and Father pick a whale and sit on it.
How American! How bucolic, nostalgic and all that other stuff!
But really, when you take off those 1950s glasses, it's actually kinda CREEPY.
I AM A BIG WHALE AND I AM GOING TO EAT YOU EAT LOTS OF FOOD LITTLE JIMMY AND SUSIE 'CAUSE I'M HUNGRY TOO VERY HUNGRY…
Anyone needs me I'll be in the back of Father's Buick, hunkered down until the bloodshed's over.