Attorney Caleb Harlin says he got into law so he could help people in “tough situations.”

And when the going gets tough, Harlin finds ways to lighten things up.

“It’s a stressful situation in law practice,” he said. “Generally people don’t come in the door unless there’s a problem.”

He keeps a piano in his law office, which he likes to play during lunch.

“I use music, especially classical music, to clear my mind, to relax and refocus my mind,” he said, adding that classical music “can take you to different times and places, to depending on the mood you’re in.”

Music has been a part of Harlin’s life since he was a child. He recalled that his sister started taking the piano when he was 7 years old, and he also wanted to learn. Since then he has learned to play the violin and viola. He and his siblings began playing at concerts and weddings.

“I thought about pursuing a career in music, but I didn’t want to turn music into a job,” he said.

Instead, he chose law and studied law at Oak Brook College of Law and Government Policy in Fresno, California. For a time he practiced law in San Francisco.

“I worked in a big city and I can’t stand it,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of my life being stuck.”

When he decided to practice law in Oklahoma, he had to go through law school again, this time at Oklahoma City University, because Oak Brook was not accredited by the American Bar Association.

Harlin also has a lifelong love of running. He said it was one of the few things he was good at growing up. He picked up distance running while competing in a home-school co-op.

“I was a little smaller than other guys my age,” he said. “I could stand up to them on longer runs. It lit my fire a little bit.”

Running taking longer for escape

Caleb Harlin has racked up a lot of running miles

“I was a 5-K runner for years, then turned it into 10-Ks, half-marathons, marathons, ultra-marathons,” he said. “I’ve run everything from flat one-mile runs to 31-mile ultramarathons over trails and mountains in California. I haven’t done the century, the 100-mile run yet.”

Trail runs are a favorite, he said. “Going out into nature, run through trees, forests and meadows.”

Harlin said his fastest time was a second-place finish at the Cherokee Holiday Run: 17 minutes, 15 seconds.

He said his favorite victory was a duathlon – a bike run in Jay.

“It was bitterly cold and they had another big race at the same time, so a lot of the other cyclists who were a lot faster than me went into that one,” he said. “So I was the only one there who was more competitive.”

Harlin said he is still running, but not running.

“I ran about five or six days a week,” he said. “But work and family, it’s kind of hard to squeeze in.”

Violin on viola it means stretching

Harlin first became interested in the violin after being impressed by a violin CD. He later switched to the viola, which is larger.

“It just looked great,” he said. “The timbre of the viola is haunting and beautiful. Even though it’s harder to play—you can’t play as much technical stuff (like the violin)—it’s hard to beat the sound.

The viola is about five tones lower than the violin, he said. “But it sounds deeper.”

“The violin is 12 centimeters from the needle to the hand rest, not counting the fingerboard and the scroll,” he said. “The viola is going to be about 17 inches. Since it’s so much bigger it means the strings are going to be longer, which means it’s lower, slower, quieter.”

He said he should stretch his fingers farther on the viola.

“My hands are not very big, so it’s a little more difficult to play the viola,” he said. “I bought one that was on the smaller end, 15 inches.”

He said he tried to play his brother’s cello, a larger stringed instrument.

“But it felt very different,” he said. “Having it between your legs, and you have to keep your toes even further apart. You’re jumping too much.”

Start in the middle when you tune the piano

Harlin started piano tuning as a family necessity.

He said that, with 10 children, “early on, we beat our piano to pieces.”

It got to where the family called in a piano tuner every month or so, he recalls.

“Mom looked at us and said ‘one of you is going to have to learn to tune this thing,'” he said, adding that he and a brother ordered a tuning kit and taught themselves to tune.

Harlin began tuning the piano at church or for friends. The word spread.

At one point, he had 500 customers throughout eastern Oklahoma.

“You have to have an ear for it, but I think a lot of people can have an ear for it,” he said. “You are listening for a certain vibration inside the piano,”

Harlin uses a tuning fork as well as a digital tuner

“If the piano is too close to tuning, I can use a tuning fork, bring it into tune,” he said. “If it’s really bad – really low or really high – I need a digital tuner to see how far it is from the A440.”

A440, or 440 hertz is the tuning standard for the first A above middle C on a piano. He then tunes the other notes.

The ease of tuning a piano depends on the age, not the type of piano.

“An old grand is much harder to tune than a new spinet,” he said. “An old or straight spinet is more difficult to tune than a new grand.”

P and A


“My parents’ jobs. My dad worked as a reactor operator in South Carolina. When I was 7, he got an offer to come back to work here in Oklahoma.”


“One of the best things is the size. The worst traffic jam is the red light. There are enough restaurants, enough shopping to help with the essentials. Location – it’s close to Tulsa and Oklahoma City. It’s close to family. Close to airports .”


“I’d like to see continued investment downtown, business. I like what I’ve seen in the last two, three, four years. I’ve seen a lot of new businesses starting up, a lot of investment like Depot Green. It’s really positive . It’s investments like this, that will attract people from other communities.”


“My father, Craig Harlin – his work ethic, watching him work over the years was an inspiration to me. My mother, Cindy Harlin – managing a family of 10 children and not losing her mind, and all came out half-way good.”


“Marrying my wife, Katie, nine years ago. We had been going to church together for a few years before I noticed. Then we started dating and it didn’t take long for me to decide. That’s what I loved him, about a year later we got married.


“Right now, we’re remodeling our house. I just bought a new place, put paint on the walls, new light fixtures.”


“Great place to live, work and raise a family. It has everything you need without being too big, too hectic.”

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