When I lived in Oklahoma, there were a lot of people listening to Country and Western music. There was a sharp divide between people who listened to Rock and Roll and Country and Western, but as for me, I just appreciate music. I am the one who used to play a viola in an orchestra in middle school. I basically don’t mind what kind of music it is; I like music. I wanted to share with you a really funny song I learned about Oklahoma written by Mere Haggard in 1960. He said he wrote it to support the troops from Oklahoma who were being sent to Vietnam. People from Oklahoma have a tendency to be very traditional or old fashioned in their thinking. That is one of the things I like about Oklahoma. However, there are some people who don’t appreciate traditional thought, and there were people treating the soldiers from Oklahoma badly because of the way they thought. Merle Haggard wanted to applaud them for who they were, so he wrote this song. I may have to explain some of the lyrics because they are something people who speak English as a second language may have trouble with. The name of the song is “Okie From Muskogee.” An “Okie” is someone from Oklahoma, and Muskogee is a town in Oklahoma. Look at the bottom for the definitions and explanations. You are going to see some bad grammar because country people at times use bad grammar. You will also see the “g” dropped off of some of the words that end in “–ing” because that is how people from Oklahoma speak.
Okie From Muskogee
We don’t smoke marijuana* in Muskogee;
We don’t take no trips* on LSD*;
We don’t burn no draft cards* down on main street;
But, we love livin’ right and bein’ free;
We don’t make a party out of loving,*
But we like holding hands and pitching woo;*
We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy*
Like the hippies* out in San Francisco do.
And I’m proud to be an Okie from Muskogee,
A place where even squares* can have a ball,*
We still wave old glory* down at the courthouse;
White lightening’s still the biggest thrill of all!
Leather boots are still in style if a man needs footwear;
Beads and Roman sandals* won’t be seen;
Footballs still the roughest thing on campus;*
And the kids here still respect the college dean.
Definitions and Explanations:*
marijuana and LSD – drugs (In 1960, both of these were illegal. In Oklahoma, they didn’t use them, but in California, they were using them.)
take a trip – take illegal drugs
Draft Card – In America, at times, we don’t have enough soldiers. When they happens, they institute the Draft. Every young man must register for the Draft when they reach 18, and they all get a number and a card. Numbers are picked at random, and if your number is chosen, you must join the military. Right now, America has an all volunteer military. If they didn’t want to go to Vietnam, men were burning their draft card thinking it would get them out of going. that is one of the thinks many people had against President Clinton. He did whatever he could to get out of the draft as well as smoked marijuana.
a party out of loving – an orgie. The hippies were introducing the idea of multiply sex partners during this time , but Okies believed in traditional marriage, one man and one woman for life, and many still do.
pitching woo – making love
long and shaggy hair – The hippies in California were letting their hair grow, but the Okies weren’t doing it. They believed in the traditional hairdo of guys with short hair. In 2004 even, my son had a pony tail and went to visit his uncle in Oklahoma, and my brother had a really hard time until he talked my son into cutting his pony tail off. There are many thing I agree with the Okies about, but long hair has never bothered me. My grandfather was so adamant against long hair that he heard my cousin in California had long hair, and my cousin was coming for a visit. My grandfather got all the cousins together in Oklahoma and had them all convinced that when my cousin from California came, they should get him down and cut his hair off, and my cousin from California heard and didn’t go visit them.
a square – a person who doesn’t go with all the modern trends. Someone who believes in traditional values.
have a ball – to have a good time, to enjoy yourself
old glory – the flag
white lightening – homemade whiskey (Not all Okies drink. In fact, there are towns in Oklahoma that are called “dry.” If a town in “dry,” it means there is no liquor in that town.
leather boots – cowboy boots
Beads and Roman sandals – Hippies were wearing beads and sandals in the 1960’s, even the men, but Okies wouldn’t do it. My cousins in Oklahoma all thought the people in California were crazy.
hippie – a person who let their hair grow long, didn’t take baths, and didn’t wear decent clothing. Hippie women didn’t war bras. They took illegal drugs. They had sex with anyone who would. They went around saying “peace” and “love” to everyone. They endorsed the idea, “If it feels good, do it.” Everything they did was considered immoral by people in Oklahoma.
on campus – at school