16 February 2006
(In 2004, Senate Bill 7 designated the "Oklahoma Rose," a hybrid tea rose developed at Oklahoma State University, as the state flower; mistletoe, which had served in this capacity since 1893 before statehood, mind you was bumped to "official floral emblem." Tom Elmore, executive director of the North American Transportation Institute in Moore, is not happy about it, and here he explains why.)
A little insight on the Mistletoe, as related by my grandparents and others along the way:
Among the luxuries today's artificially insulated Americans have claimed is the "right" to sometimes scoff dismissively at those who went before us and the things they loved.
Life on the barren prairie was hard on those in the horse-drawn world. The hearty souls who came here, far from the frontiers of developing modern civilization, had to rely on themselves, their families, their faith and whatever comforts they could find, especially in times of tragedy. The loss of children to accidental injuries, cholera, appendicitis was common. The survivors had no choice but to deal with death and grief first hand.
Even in the depths of winter, Mistletoe was often used to decorate the windswept graves of the children. But it was more than just decoration; it seemed to be a message, a reminder that God, who made the Mistletoe to flourish improbably, defiantly amidst death and the inescapable winter desolation, now held their beloved children in His arms and that their lives continued in a land of eternal spring.
To recognize this is to understand the love the settlers and even native tribes before them held for the lowly Mistletoe. It's also to understand why its replacement as state flower with a hothouse rose verges on blasphemy. But, then, that's about what we'd expect from the Oklahoma state legislature.Posted at 6:30 PM to Soonerland , Special Guest Scriveners