Life in the Small Oklahoma Town of Chelsea

Living in Chelsea, Oklahoma is a warm, country, small town experience. Everybody knows everybody. We have 1 grocery store, 1 convenience store, and 1 stop light. Chelsea is split down the middle by Route 66 and so small that a wild silver fox roams one side of Route 66 in town and a wild red fox runs the other side and they both probably think they’re still in the country. They stay busy eating pet food and scraps off back porches as do raccoons, skunks and opossums.

I heard some serious growling and hissing one night not so long ago and opened the back door only to find a huge boar coon helping himself to supper. He stood up and looked at me and I realized that the cats had all found fraidy holes. I said to him, “Welcome friend. Just go right on and help yourself.” With that I closed the door. If my tom cats wanted no part of him neither did I. Wild life dines with us regularly. Of course our house is less than four blocks from the wide open spaces, fields, farms, haybales and all that is true country..

Our animal control officer is a good man and all spring he was herding deer out of town with his truck, hanging half out the door and hollering HEE-YAH or something to that extent. Evidently the food in town beats the taste of grass and tree bark. Even the armadillos think they own Chelsea. A big female was digging a nest at the corner of our garage and she was so dug-in that it took my 6 foot Jamaican line backer son-in-law to pull her out and send her packing. I would not advise the average person to take hold of an armadillo. They are solid muscle, extremely strong and can if a mind to, both scratch and bite. He was not hurt, but the tug of war was on and for a while my money was on that female armadillo/.

We have 6 pecan trees both paper shell and native in our yard so needless to say, we have squirrels. This fall 1 of them has realized that our dog Candy (1/2 whippett & 1/2 chihuahua) can’t get outside of her pen to get to him. He (I guess it’s a he) is harvesting pecans and has a stash in a hollow elm tree in the yard. He stops working every few minutes and climbs to the top of the garage and eats pecans and throws the empty shells at her. He has perfect aim. He flicks his tail and barks at her and she barks back. Oh how she wishes she could lay hold of that pesky squirrel.He is a highly intelligent little fellow. The kids grandpa from Pryor was over the other evening and when he went to leave that squirrel made a bee-line between his legs, almost tripping him, racing to get a big pecan before he got it. Guess who won?

We are so close to the country that the coyotes sound like close neighbors. They have never came in to my place in the 10 plus years that we have lived here, but late at night it is a spooky sound. My favorite visitors are the owls.The edges of town all around are filled with owls.They catch mice at night and they like to talk to people.As long as you will stand still and not frighten or threaten them they will talk to you. They also help themselves to dry food and fresh water and since the dogs are either inside or in the pen they pose no threst to them. The cats steer clear and again if our tom cats want no fight, neither do we. One mama owl had 2 babies a couple of years ago and it was an awesome experience.

We also have the occasional loose horse or cow. The animal control officer and sometimes the local police have a time herding them up. Up until the police department got new 800 radios they were heard by half or more of the townfolks on scanners. One evening a herd of 10-12 horses got out and led 2 policemen, 1 volunteer fire fighter and 1 city born and bred neighbor man on a chase from 1 side of town to the other several times before they got them herded up. with all ears on them.

The neighbor man was definately not a horseman, so when the horses were rounded up and at their gate the officers had him work the gate while they herded. Unknow to them one of thier walkie talkies had came on and stuck in the round-up, so Chelsea was hearing every word said from one side of town to the other. As those horses came toward the opening in the fence that city man hollered, “OH! NO! Don’t run those animals at me!” and he shut the gate.The horses scattered and it was on all over again. We heard him called “city slicker”, ” fraidy cat” and more amid full out laughter and then we heard. “Yee-Haw!” One of the officers broke out in song, “Head em up roll em out Rawhide.” To which one of them said “These aren’t little doggies Cowboy they’re horses.” Then we heard, “OH NO! My radio is on and I don’t know how long its been on!” Click and the show was over. It was the talk of the town for days. Some said it was way better than TV as it was live and the stars were local.

I guess my favorite animal excursion was when the 2 donkeys came into town on 6th street. We went and got a policeman and another observer and followed in 3 cars. They went to Highway 66 then to Highway 28 in and out of yards abd fields and wouldn’t let any of us near them. From Highway 28 they went back east in a full circle back to Hwy 66 east of town and then back up to town and put themselves back in their own field. It was about a 31/2 or 4 mile jaunt with us thinking we were keeping them from getting ran over. In actuality they were playing pin-the-tail on us.

We own a 2 story house with an upstairs deck just to the side of our driveway and directly under the branches of our largest pecan tree. Three of our bedrooms are upstairs, so we are entertained when the owls land in that tree. The fluttering of their huge wings makes quite a commotion and they are so close that we can hear every hoot they make. When the mama and her 2 young ones were in that tree it was extraordinary. The babies cooed at mama like babies should and she answered them.

The raccoons like that tree too and when one decides to leap from that tree to the deck or to the ground below the plop their weight makes when they land is frightening until you figure out what you are hearing. Of all the country noises loose horses running down the drive and under the deck at 3 am is the most invigorating. It will bring you straight up and wide awake, had rabbits and opossums eat out of our garden. We’ve planted bulbs all day only to have squirrels harvest every bulb before the sun set.. Folks have offered solutions, but we wouldn’t harm a hair on any of their heads. In fact we wouldn’t trade Chelsea for Tulsa or Los Angeles or Memphis or any big city.

Where else can you step out on your deck to water tomato plants and have 5 or 6 cars and pickup trucks stop and yell up at you from the street. And where else could you live that was so laid back that those cars and trucks could stay there uninterupted long enough to carry on a full conversation. Only in Chelsea, Oklahoma,,,,my town. Come visit there is plenty of room for you here. Bring corn and acorns, and sweet feed and a lasso. You’ll need it all.

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