Remembering

Everything changes and nothing remains still. You cannot step twice into the same stream.
— Heraclitus

LAST AUTUMN, my Amazing-Missus and I attended her high school class reunion. I wrote a bit about it.

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While at the reunion I was visiting with a lady who had been married to one of my schoolmates. As we visited I was struck with a spell of melancholy. For some reason I have no connections with anyone that I went to school with. It’s not that I didn’t have friends; maybe I’m just not a good cultivator, which is a little weird to me because a role I truly cherish is that of being a creative catalyst—one who brings creative people together in collaboration.

But then a pop on Facebook, the social media thing. Maybe you’ve heard of it, maybe you’ve been politically manipulated by it. A name I recognized was there on the FB, the name of a girl that I considered to be a friend in grade school, junior high and high school. Not a “girlfriend” though. Her sights were set much higher.

One thing lead to another and a few weeks ago, we met for lunch. Karla, Arlene and me. What a gift it was. She was able to tell me about many of our classmates. I felt reconnected somehow. And at the same time I realized that Heraclitus was right. You cannot step twice into the same stream. 

Karla told us there was a group of Trojan alum having a meet-up at the Methodist church if we wanted to stop by. So we did. We walked into the church and followed the signs to the Fellowship Hall. We could see through the open doors the group gathered. “This isn’t them”, I thought. “This is the church’s senior adult group.” And then it dawned on me. All these people other than me have aged, and come to find out, many are gone.

I dug out my old yearbook, from my junior year 1968, and scanned the pictures of my classmates, pausing on some to recall a memory or two. Some of these, I realized, I had sat in class with year after year and I knew very little about them. Missed opportunities no doubt.

The tradition back then, when the yearbooks were handed out at the end of the school year was to hand your book to others for them to sign. I read the entries in my book through a much older lens. For the most part, we didn’t look to far ahead: “Hope you have a great summer!” Some entries were nostalgic: “Well another year is behind us…” Some prophetic: “Stay just the way you are and you’ll go far,” words I’ve never seen on one of those motivational posters.

We didn’t know it at the time but things were simpler and yet they weren’t. 1968 is notorius for riots, protests, and culture quaking moments. But without the WWW, 24-hour news outlets, a strange innocence prevailed; or at least that’s the way I remember it.

On the 50th anniversary of my senior year, I wonder about the Senior Class of 2019. Are they having a good summer? Are they aware of the crap-storm in Washington D.C.? Do they care? Have the active-shooter drills at their school become as common place as the atomic bomb drills did for us? Is there a thread or two of innocence left? Is there someone writing words of encouragement on the flyleaf of their yearbook? 

If I could write a prelude of sorts in their yearbook, I might say something like this:

Make a new friend this year. Not one of those social media “friends”, but a real one, maybe one that is different from you: race-wise, sex-wise, faith-wise—you know, different. When you get together with your new friend, put away the phones and talk. Talk about the future, your fears, your faith.

Be creative. Make a contribution. Express gratitude. Do something that makes your palms sweaty. Pay attention—not just in class but to what is happening around you. Remember: “Everything changes and nothing remains still. You cannot step twice into the same stream.” — Heraclitus


Just a note: I attended school at Jenks Public Schools through my Junior year, but transferred and graduated from Will Rogers High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

P.S.: Thank you Karla Newman Taber for being a friend.

The Will of the People

HAVE YOU NOTICED how many TV news interviews with politicians take place in front of the statue of Will Rogers in the Capitol building?

 statue of will rogers in the national statuary hall at the capitol building

statue of will rogers in the national statuary hall at the capitol building

I’m glad this is the interview spot of choice. I wish that at the end of the interview each interviewee would look up at Will and ask themselves what Will must be thinking about what they just said.

For those that don’t know of Will Rogers, here are a few quotes from him on the topic of politics:

This country has gotten where it is in spite of politics, not by the aid of it. That we have carried as much political bunk as we have and still survived shows we are a super nation.
Congress is so strange; a man gets up to speak and says nothing, nobody listens, and then everybody disagrees.
Never blame a legislative body for not doing something. When they do nothing, they don't hurt anybody. When they do something is when they become dangerous.

I wish the POTUS would have been sitting under Will’s don’t-BS-me-gaze when he read that prepared statement trying to explain his crush on Vlad Putin.

Remember how Mr. Trump explained to us how easy it is to get confused when you have to choose between “would” and “wouldn’t”?

Here’s one for you to ponder Mr. POTUS, regarding your speech,
What WOULD Will say?
What WOULDN’T Will say?

Maybe this (an actual quote from Will himself): "No man is great if he thinks he is."

Or this: “America has the best politicians money can buy."


By the way, if you wondered why the shoes of Will’s statue are polished smooth, tradition says rubbing Will’s shoes brings good luck. There must be a lot of superstitious folks in the U.S. Capitol

What would Will say?


"Erected in 1939, this statue of Will Rogers represents the state of Oklahoma in the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol Building."  —The White House Historical Association

I hope that persona of Will, hands in pockets, a knowing grin, and a no BS look still represents Oklahoma. May we be the people who can see through the piles and piles of the stuff and find people of integrity, humility and character.

H2O

I'M NOT MUCH OF A STRAW GUY ANYWAY. I don’t say that to tout any virtue on my part, but simply to say that if drink businesses follow Starbucks and say “No” to plastic straws; it won’t affect my beverage consumption.

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I don’t drink soft drinks, and if I have a malt or shake I want it to be so thick a straw is useless. I always order water at a restaurant and drinking water through a straw just doesn’t feel right. Coffee? Yes, please; in a cup, black and hot. I don’t need a “coffee beverage” that is iced and laced with caramel, pumpkin spice, soy, cinammon or a drizzle of anything. So, a drink sans straw is fine with me.

That said, I love this movement toward a plastic-straw-free world. Although I do not literally hug trees, I do believe we are to be stewards of this big ball we all inhabit together. And if the trend is to the mindless mindset of sychophants like Scott Pruitt (may he find happiness in working at his wife’s Chik-fil-a), we must be evermore diligent caretakers.

We travel and camp, although someone said recently, “You guys don’t camp. You “glamp”. According to the Urban Dictionary, “GLAMP: To camp in style, comfort, and/or luxury while still experiencing the great outdoors.”

When you travel in a trailer you hook up to water whereever water is available—to fill the tanks, shower, shave, make coffee, drink, wash dishes, etc. You want your coffee to taste excellent. So, we drag along fresh ground coffee and a pour over kit. The one variable outside our control is the quality of the water.

UNTIL NOW!

We used to haul gallons of water around that we bought in plastic jugs at the grocery store. It was a hassle, expensive and we had to haul the empty jugs back home to put in our recycle bin. Because unlike Scott Pruitt, we care about the earth.

Then I found out about the Berkey Water Filter system.

GAME CHANGED!

This thing works so beautifully in our Airstream that we now bring it home with us and use it every single day. At first the Berkey seems really expensive, until you figure the cost of bottled water and the fact that the Berkey’s filters last for years.

Recently we were in Tulsa on a very-very-very hot day. We were headed to a really hip new bakery that had been recommended to us called Antionette’s. Visit soon.

As soon as we walked in I was glad we were there. The coffee smelled wonderful and I quickly noticed pecan bars in the glass display case. But first, I was thirsty. Did I mention that it was really really hot outside? So hot, that if Scotty-P had been there, and if I had heard him scoff at climate change I would have been tempted to imagine hypothetically smacking that smug smile off his face. Hot weather will do that crap to an otherwise mild and reasonable tempermant.

Then I saw it on a table with a stack of gleaming water glasses—a Berkey Water System Urn, all shiny with beads of condensation on the outside, each one announcing cool wet, fresh, clear, filtered water.

GET ONE TODAY

We have the Travel Berkey, because, well, we travel. It makes a gallon and a half of water with each filling. And, by the way, you can fill them with tap water, the hose at the RV park, or even water from a stream or lake.

Sometimes if we have company over, I wish we had the Big Berkey, but the Travel size suits us 91.7% of the time.

I’m including a link to our model available from Amazon. I like this set up because it includes a stainless steel spigot which I highly recommend. So click, buy, and add water. In a few minutes, draw you a glass of wonderful water, straw optional.

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A Blue Jay & The Next Governor

I'M RELUCTANT TO DO THIS because my track record isn’t good, but  I’m so strongly convinced that this is the best thing.

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My late 1960s psuedo-hippyness had an element of political activism, so I campaigned for George McGovern in the 1972 presidential race. He was soundly defeated by Nixon of all people. And thus began my path to cynicism.

A couple of years later, I campaigned for David Boren for governor of Oklahoma. I had known him at OBU where I was a student and he was a professor. He won!

Standing on that success in Oklahoma gubernatorial elections (although my recent efforts to elect anyone other than Mary Fallin failed), I am making this official announcement:

I am willing and happy to meddle, collude, or whatever it takes to get out the word that MICK Cornett is the best choice for our next governor.

The Republican primary is June 26. Here is the lineup:

Christopher Barnett
Mick Cornett, mayor of Oklahoma City
Dan Fisher, former state representative
Eric Foutch
Barry Gowdy
Gary Jones, state auditor
Todd Lamb, lieutenant governor
Gary Richardson
Blake Cowboy Stephens
Kevin Stitt

I don't know any of these guys personally, but I'm sure they are fine persons of conviction. Best I can tell they all exude conservatism, espouse “family values”, exalt religion, want to expunge state government of excrement, and hold the keys to making Oklahoma great again.

You know how, from time to time, there doesn't seem to be a candidate to be excited about, how sometimes it comes down to a choice between the lesser of two evils? This time around, we Okies are so fortunate to have a proven leader to vote for. How cool would it be to have the best governor in the land rather than the... well... not best?! Check this out:

Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett is the nation’s most successful Republican Mayor.  He recently completed his one-year term as President of the United States Conference of Mayors and is the longest-serving mayor among the nation’s 50 largest cities. A thoughtful leader in American politics, Cornett was named Governing Magazine’s “Public Official of the Year,” one of Newsweek’s “five most innovative mayors,” and one of Politico’s 50 “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics”. He was recently named one of Fortune Magazine’s “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.” — www.mick2018.com

I encourage you to watch Mick’s Ted Talk to get an idea of his heart, his innovative genius, his vision as a leader.

Let me tell you what I really like about him. He’s smart, he’s humble, he’s real and unlike most politicians, he actually makes good things happen. But the thing I like most is: he is genuine. 

Years ago, I took our oldest son who was ten at the time to Arlington, Texas for an afternoon game. The Rangers were playing the Toronto Blue Jays. We got to the stadium as soon as they opened the gates because Corey was hoping to get his baseball autographed by Nolan Ryan who was pitching that day. The game had the potential to be momentous. Ryan was one no-hitter away from the record of most no-hitters. 

Corey and I were standing near the Rangers dug out with other autograph seekers, most of whom were very aggressive in seeking autographs. The Rangers players were staying away like we had the plague. An Oklahoma City TV station was on hand to record the no-hitter if it happened. The sportscaster on duty was a young Mick Cornett. Mick came over to Corey and asked him if he would be okay with a Joe Carter autograph. Corey said, “SURE!!!” 

In a few minutes here came Mick with Toronto Blue Jays’ Joe Carter (who is from Oklahoma by the way). Joe smiled at Corey and autographed his ball and made his day. I was a grateful dad to Mick and Joe.

By the way, in the top of the first inning, Ryan struck out the first two batters. The crowd was chanting “no-hitter, no-hitter” as Joe Carter stepped to the plate. Swinging on the first pitch, he hit the ball over the left-center field fence for a home run. The crowd moaned. Corey looked at his ball with Joe’s autograph and smiled. Thank you Mick Cornett.

I have a conundrum. I can’t vote for Mick in the upcoming primary. While I am a lifetime Okie and a registered voter, I have a “D” on my voter registration card, and one must have an “R” to vote. If you have an R, I would appreciate it if you’ll help me out and vote for Mick in the primary, I promise to vote for him in the general election instead of whichever “D” happens to be on the ballot.

It is so rare these days to have a candidate who has proven they can lead above the political fray and serve so well. Please vote for Mick!

 mick2018  (used without permission)

mick2018  (used without permission)