Catoosa’s Famous Whale

There’s a story my mother tells about our famous Blue Whale — the one set right off old Route 66 that runs through our flyover state.

And then there’s the truth.

Mom loves this gaudy spot near her favorite grocery store. “It was built by a man in the ’60s by a man who wanted his wife to look outside the window everyday and see children playing, people smiling,” she’ll say. “The woman loved the ocean, and since they ended up in landlocked Oklahoma, there was none to be seen. So he built this for her, to be a happy place.” She always ends her story with that phrase, “a happy place,” and smiles out the car window when she says it.

The facts, however, disagree. Yes, a man built the whale for his wife on their anniversary. But it was in the ’70s, and I’ve never heard any mention of her missing the ocean in the “official” histories.

But, should you ever find yourself passing through Catoosa, Oklahoma (just north of Tulsa) and happen to see a large, crumbling old whale smiling out at you from a dirty pond, stop by and sit for a spell.

All I ask is that you believe my mom’s story.

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