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Editor’s Letter – 7/18/18

I grew up in rural southern Oklahoma, about three hours southwest of Tulsa—about three hours from anything, really. My grandpa raised cattle in Love County and my dad worked nights at the Michelin tire factory in Ardmore, so my winding up in a newsroom wasn’t exactly inevitable. But here I am, writing my first letter from the editor’s chair at The Tulsa Voice, my heart somersaulting with gratitude for the opportunity to be here.

I’ve lived in Tulsa for one week and four days, but it already feels like home. I’m coming from Oklahoma City, where I wrote web content for the Oklahoma Department of Tourism & Recreation. By day, I edited fishing reports and covered every peach festival and rattlesnake round-up from Beavers Bend to Black Mesa. By night, I wrote stories like the one I contributed to the May 2 issue of The Tulsa Voice (“Teaching moment”) in which I shadowed a Tulsa Public Schools teacher on her first day back in the classroom after the walkout.

The last newspaper I edited was The Madill High School Paw Print—hi, Mrs. Peercy!—so you could basically fill the offices of Langdon Publishing with things I don’t know about this job. But I do know something about The Tulsa Voice. I know this weird and wonderful paper is the gold standard of local alternative journalism in Oklahoma, thanks in large part to the direction of outgoing editor Liz Blood. I couldn’t be more thrilled to continue her great work of speaking truth to power and bringing you stories and voices you won’t find anywhere else.

Lastly—this issue is dedicated in memory of my mom, Kimila Bond Behrens, who passed away last year. She loved food and showed love through it. She baked the cake for my wedding. It was lemon poppy seed, my favorite, slathered in thick cream cheese frosting and garnished with rustic crowns of lavender. I can still taste it.

My mom had a serious sweet tooth, and she would have loved the big honkin’ pastry on the cover of this special food issue. She would have insisted that we try all the “snails” featured in TTV assistant editor Blayklee Buchanan’s Tulsa cinnamon roll tour; that we explore the booths at the Mother Road Market; and that we grab a bite at one of the concepts scheduled to open at Gathering Place. I wish we could.

My mom would have been so proud to see my picture at the bottom of this letter. She would have told everyone back home all about it. He’s got some fancy newspaper job in Tulsa, she’d say—and yes, thank you, he’s really happy.