The air is crisp as the clock creeps toward 9 a.m. on a Sunday. Silence is broken only by a bird’s melody and an occasional passing car. Brian Davis pauses at the field of 168 empty chairs at the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The field is along the route Davis, the television play-by-play announcer of the Thunder, often walks from his downtown apartment to St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral. The capital city of the nation’s 46th state is Davis’ seventh home. But the Sunday morning walks, as well as the outpouring of kind words and thoughtful acts, have convinced the 52-year-old he’d like to keep an Oklahoma address. "It’s always very, very peaceful, but always very, very striking to me,” he said of the memorial. "Every time I walk through there, I’m reminded of the phrase, ‘Tomorrow is not promised.’ So be as good as you can today. Despite all your good intentions, you may not get a chance to live them out tomorrow.” Davis said he sees Oklahomans living in exactly that way. "I can’t remember feeling at home as quickly as I’ve come to feel at home here,” he said. Sound hokey? He can back it up.
A new homeTake Thanksgiving morning. Many of Davis’ co-workers also were transplants who couldn’t go home because the Thunder was facing Minnesota the next day at the Ford Center and then traveling to Memphis. So he offered to cook a couple of turkeys at his apartment. On Thanksgiving morning, realizing he’d forgotten some spices, he made a run to a Homeland. Another man shopping had that ‘I think I know who you are’ look. But he kept his distance until Davis headed to the front of the store. "I started to go to the checkout counter,” Davis said, "and that’s when this guy walked up to me, introduced himself and just said, ‘Hey, look, I really like what you’re doing on TV, and I’m really, really glad you’re here.’ And that was it.” A longtime-friend, Chicago television reporter Phil Rogers, told him what to expect when Davis got the job in Oklahoma City. Rogers is a native of Stillwater. "He said, ‘They will give you the shirt off their back and the closet it hangs in,’” Davis recalled. Davis said others have discovered this, too.
Embracing OklahomaDavis loves omelets at the Classen Grill, knows most of the B.C. Clark Christmas jingle and can’t wait to take his wife, Judy, to a powwow. He’s read Robert L. Dorman’s "It Happened in Oklahoma.” He is fascinated by the grit of Kate Barnard, the first woman in American history to be elected to a state office. He spent a recent morning at the Oklahoma History Center. Davis has absorbed much of Oklahoma. But nothing compares with those the Sunday morning stops at the memorial.
AT A GLANCEBRiAN DAVIS Age: 52. Family: Wife, Judy Federa, married 30 years; daughter Ilona Davis, 19; son Evan Davis, 15. Graduated: Northwestern University, degree in journalism. Background: Fifth season with the franchise (Seattle and now Oklahoma City) and his first as the team’s television play-by-play announcer.
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