Who would you invite?

6 minutes
Words and sketches by Megan Rossman

Years ago, Oklahoma Today used to contain a section in the magazine in which we’d call upon an Oklahoman to plan a fictional dinner party attended by other Oklahomans—living or dead. It was always fun to see who they chose and why. In this time of social distancing, I’ve come to miss dinner parties. This longing, combined with the pressure of trying to find a blog topic, made me consider who’d join me at my own fantasy dinner party.

Setting

If I’m going to bring people back from the dead for a dinner party, it should probably be worth their time. Dinner will be an autumn starlit potluck dinner on the top of Black Mesa. Hot air balloons will carry us to and from the summit so that we do not have to hike while carrying our crockpots and dishes. Music will be provided by Prince.

Guests

Quanah Parker by Megan Rossman

Quanah Parker by Megan Rossman

Quanah Parker

I have long been fascinated by this Quahadi warrior chief (and his beautiful hair and cheekbones) who eventually became a rancher and an ambassador for the Comanche Nation. He was a sharp-witted diplomat and a capable leader. I’d ask him to bring a Crock-Pot of barbecue meatballs, because someone needs to.

Krista Tippett by Megan Rossman

Krista Tippett by Megan Rossman

Krista Tippett

This interviewer extraordinaire and Shawnee native would put her conversational skills to good use here. As the host of the radio-show-turned-podcast On Being, Tippett’s won a Peabody Award and was given the National Humanities Medal in 2013. She’s also a New York Times best-selling author. The evening will provide plenty of fodder for both the mind and the belly.

Wilma Mankiller by Megan Rossman

Wilma Mankiller by Megan Rossman

Wilma Mankiller

Of course I’m going to want the first woman who served as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation at my party. With Mankiller at the helm, the Cherokee Nation tripled its tribal enrollment, doubled its revenue, and created a health care system for its members. In 1998, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Will Rogers by Megan Rossman

Will Rogers by Megan Rossman

Will Rogers

It would be weird to invite notable Oklahomans of past and present to dinner without including Will Rogers. Between his charisma, roping skills, and witty and astute observations, there’s no doubt Rogers would be an entertaining guest at the table. Plus, I’d like to ask him about those last moments with Wiley Post in the airplane and what he thinks about Oklahoma City’s two major airports being named for men who died in the same plane crash. I’m pretty sure he’d see the humor in that. He’ll bring the wine.

Brad Pitt by Megan Rossman

Brad Pitt by Megan Rossman

Brad Pitt

I know he only lived in Shawnee for like five minutes after he was born, but let’s throw Brad Pitt into the mix. He seems like a charming man who would have a few interesting tales about life in Hollywood, and I bet he’d bring some nice steaks.

John Herrington by Megan Rossman

John Herrington by Megan Rossman

John Herrington

He’s been to outer space, so of course he’s invited to dinner. Herrington was the first enrolled tribal member (a member of the Chickasaw Nation) to fly into space. Not only that, but he also worked in NASA’s Aquarius underwater sealab for ten days in 2004. Careers don’t get much cooler than his.

Ralph Ellison by Megan Rossman

Ralph Ellison by Megan Rossman

Ralph Ellison

Now famous for his book Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison was born in Oklahoma City in 1914, and lived mostly here until the ’30s, when he went off to college in Alabama. He went on to be a professor at schools like Yale and Rutgers and became an accoladed writer and thinker, while also being a talented musician and artist. I’d like to know what his experiences were in Oklahoma in the early twentieth century, and what he thinks about everything that’s going on now.

We'd love to hear which Oklahomans (living or dead) you'd like to have at a dinner party and why. Send your submissions to greg.elwell@TravelOK.com and we might use it in a future blog post.

Written By
Megan Rossman

Megan Rossman is Oklahoma Today's photography editor.

Megan Rossman
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