I can hear John Crudele’s voice in my head like it was yesterday, but it was almost 20 years ago. Cancer took away JMC, his wisdom and his perfect answers over 3 years ago. But I’m pretty sure that if could ask him the very same question today, that there would only be a slight tweak to the answer.
My friend and mentor was my boss at the Lake Oswego, Orygun niche consulting firm where I worked from ’96 to ’00. Most of our work time together took place on the phone, since he lived in Nashville at the time.
In spring of 1998 I was getting ready to head to the project team site for a 2 day visit. The consultants were doing their magic at Hill crest Medical Center in Tulsa.
My background statement and my 4 word question: “I can’t remember the last time I was in Tulsa….if it ever was….if so, it was a long time ago. So what’s Tulsa like?”
John then: “It looks like it was hit by a neutron bomb.”
John’s 2017 answer: “It still looks like it was hit by a neutron bomb! There are lots of nice looking buildings and some beautiful churches…but all the people have been vaporized.”
I landed at the Tulsa airport on the last flight into town that evening in ’98. There were very few cars on the highway as the cab took me to my downtown hotel. The cabby said it as normal traffic.
Two days later I asked the project manager what time I should have a cab pick me, and before I could finish my question he said “20 minutes.”
“But I didn’t tell you the time of my flight…”
“It doesn’t matter what time of day or what day of the week…it will take 20 minutes!”
On any list you get via a Google search Tulsa is in the top 50 US cities based on population. Wikipedia has the city as #47. Ahead of New Orleans, Wichita, Tampa and St. Louis to name just a few. (There is traffic in all those towns….)
I just spent three days and 2 nights in Tulsa. I enjoyed 2 great shows at Cain’s Ballroom and chatted with lots of nice folks.
But the town has the deadest streets I have ever seen in my life. Heck, the picture hanging in my hotel room even shows empty streets!
As usual, JMC described it perfectly and succinctly: Tulsa looks like it was hit by a neutron bomb.
NOTE: these pictures were taken between 2 and 3 pm on a Wednesday.