Just more than a year after I quit my job as a middle school principal, we’ve made another big life choice. We bought a house in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. (No, we’re not having a mid-life crisis, thanks for asking.)
Regular readers of this blog know that we have absolutely fallen in love with Pawhuska (pop.
3,477 3,479) over the past year. In June of 2017, we made our first stop in Osage County. It was a quick visit to pay homage to The Pioneer Woman and her Mercantile on our way to Texas. We enjoyed a chicken fried steak dinner and wrote a few blog posts about our time in town, including this one that listed six reasons husbands should take their wives to the Merc.
A couple of months after writing that post, the Pawhuska Chamber of Commerce contacted us to see if we’d be willing to return as celebrity judges for the National Indian Taco Championships. We felt obliged to call and tell them that we really aren’t celebrities. They replied, “Well, you are to us! Everybody here loves your blog!” We then shared that we knew little about Indian tacos. They told us not to worry and that we should just be sure to pack stretchy pants and Tums.
How could we say no to that?
We rolled back into Pawhuska early in the first week of October. We wanted to spend a few days getting to know the town a little better before the Indian Taco Championships and like we did for our own hometown of Crete, we decided to write an article on 70+ things to do after you’ve eaten at the Merc.
We figured five days would give us all the time we needed in Pawhuska. We were so wrong.
You see, when you’re in this cowboy town that has just one flashing traffic light, you can’t just walk into a store or museum, take a quick photo and leave. Nope. The folks you’ll find there are just too friendly and welcoming for that. We learned quickly that people in Pawhuska were genuinely interested in getting to know us and many of our conversations pushed well through the noon hour or until after closing. Nobody seemed to care. Relationships mattered more than time. We loved that.
It didn’t take long before we began to feel like locals. Though we had a hotel 25 miles away in Bartlesville, townspeople insisted we should be staying in Pawhuska. By Friday, one had helped us find a room, and so we spent our first overnight inside the city limits. With no 30-minute drive to a hotel, we decided to go to the high school football game to cheer on the hometown Pawhuska Huskies. We met some nice folks as we sat down on the bleachers to watch the game and, as was normal for this town, we felt like old friends by the fourth quarter. It was homecoming that night. We couldn’t help but feel like we’d come home, too.
By the time the National Indian Taco Championships were over that weekend, we didn’t want to leave and vowed that we’d be back soon. A couple of weeks later we took our moms to Pawhuska. We went back in December for the Holiday Parade of Lights. Starting in January, we found one reason after another to return to the Osage and learn more about its unique history and residents. With each visit, we grew to love the town and the people more and more. We started to feel like maybe we belonged, like maybe we had a bigger calling there.
So, after a lot of consideration, investment planning, and prayer, we contacted a realtor, put the word out, and began looking for a house to buy. We had looked at about a dozen homes before getting a text from a friend a few weeks ago that pointed us to one that seemed just right. It was in a great location, in our price range, and newly remodeled. We knew it wouldn’t last long on the market. So, despite the fact that we’d just gotten home from a trip about an hour earlier and our suitcase was not even unpacked yet, we put our dirty clothes in the laundry, re-packed clean ones, got in the car and headed south.
We spent time looking at the house and talking with the owners and everything about it just felt right. We made an offer that evening around their kitchen table, shook hands, and were under contract the next day. If all goes as planned, we’ll close on the three-bedroom, craftsman style bungalow Monday morning. We can’t wait to show it to y’all (I think we’re allowed to use that word now that we’re south of Kansas) and be a part of the Pawhuska community.
What, exactly does the future hold for us? We honestly aren’t sure. For now, we are planning to go back and forth between Oklahoma and Nebraska, splitting time between the Huskies and Huskers. We hope you’ll stop by for a visit if you’re in the area. We may even look into becoming Airbnb hosts, someday. We can write about travel from anywhere with internet service, so we’ll do just that as we create a new home while maintaining another one, at least for now.
What we know for sure is that Pawhuska is a special place, and very soon we’ll be proud to call it home.
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Just found your blog. Headed to Pawhuska for our 3rd trip this weekend. We aren’t far from Crete (56th and Saltillo area, near Lincoln). Loving the blog posts I have read so far.
Congratulations! How fun is your new adventure! I am very excited for you both. I think I must come visit and see all of the wonderful places you have introduced me to.
Thanks, Suzanne! We just love it here and can’t wait for you to come visit.
How exciting! This is simply amazing and I’m excited to see how your next adventure unfolds!
Congratulations and welcome to Osage County! Be sure to make it out to the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, a Nature Conservancy property, sometime soon. I am a docent there and can’t recommend it enough. I won’t go into any detail here. I’ll leave that to the docent on duty the day of your visit to educate you about the property and its’ mission!
I am so dang jealous! We really need to meet here in Crete before you leave us forever. I love towns like that. I just have not found that here. That could be because I really don’t get out of the house as it is too difficult to walk far. I don’t know anyone even remotely close to my age. I’m really popular with the four and under set!
Congratulations! Welcome to Oklahoma. Hey, we are practically neighbors. I live northwest of Pawhuska at Newkirk.
I can understand how Pawhuska feels like “home”! I visited there in April and found people to be friendly and helpful! Good luck and enjoy the area!
I love that you are embracing the travel space and wow~ Look at where life is now taking you? I am so excited for you. As you know, I have grown to love the state of Oklahoma the past few months and it’s obvious that you have also embraced it. Congratulations on your new life adventure.