For much of my childhood, my Grandma Jean lived in Claremore, Oklahoma, about a forty-five minute drive from our home in Tulsa. Probably once a month, my parents, my brother Jeremy, and I made the trip there to see her and my Grandpa Bernard. During the car ride, my brother and I would measure how near to Claremore we were by keeping watch out for the Big Blue Whale in a Catoosa, OK pond just off of Route 66.
By the time I was a teenager my grandparents had moved out of Claremore, so whale-sightings became few and far-between. Still, even as an adult, I have had occasion to pass by the pond, and seeing the whale always makes me think of my Grandma and Grandpa, our midnight Uno games, crappie fishing, and jelly-roll baking lessons. For many years, I have wanted to take some pictures of the whale, since, for me, it symbolizes so many happy memories. The other day, I made the trip to Catoosa to do just that.
The Big Blue Whale, now an official Route 66 Roadside Attraction, has an interesting back story. A love story. And, while there’s no longer swimming allowed at the whale pond, it’s still a great destination for a Sunday drive with the kids.