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Wednesday, November 05, 2003 ISSUE #295
 

Oklahoma celebrates Will's birthday

# 295, November 5, 2003

CLAREMORE, Okla: Yesterday the celebrations lasted all day, from the birthday party at the Dog Iron Ranch, where entertainment was provided by the Oologah 4th grade Western Choir and a dozen students from Russia singing "Happy Birthday" in Russian and English, to the Tulsa Rotary Club gala banquet which honored Mr. Henry Zarrow for a long and generous lifetime of service to the town. In between, the Cherokee ladies of Pocahontas Club led a dignified and delightful ceremony at the Museum, and students from the Cherokee School sang and danced carrying on the Cherokee tradition.

Now, mind you, this wrapped up four days in Oklahoma that started with the Bedlam battle on Saturday as the Cowboys of OSU invaded the OU Sooners at Norman. After winning the last two years, the Cowboys came up a little short, 52-9. Kinda like a hundred years ago when real cowboys got fenced off their old range turf by "sooners". Bob Stoops' defensive line played like an 8-strand barbed wire fence stretched across the field. Nothing got through.

I watched it on television like most of the state and much of the country. My "offer" to accept an extra ticket got only one reply, from a friend at Ok State who apologized he only had a ticket for himself, and even his wife would have to watch the game from home. By the third quarter he may have been willing to loan me his seat.

Sunday afternoon was the big Parade down Will Rogers Blvd. As he does every year, Gene Pyeatt drove his 1921 Model T Huckster to sorta escort me along. I walked the entire route, but that understates my distance considerably. You see, Claremore, to accommodate the growing population of automobiles a couple of years ago, widened the street, officially, to five lanes. But in a pinch this blvd. could squeeze in at least eleven car widths. So when I shake hands and greet folks on both sides, there's a lot of zigzagging that burns off layers of shoe leather.

For next year I propose they make the parade a round trip, so we go down along one side, make a u-turn in the middle of the street at the Claremore Daily Progress office tower, and return along the other side. That way the queens and dignitaries and politicians riding on the back of their convertibles only have to look and wave in one direction.

You can meet interesting folks in a parade. Right behind me was Cara Cowan, an elected representative of the Cherokee Nation from here in Claremore. She's a young professional engineer with some great ideas.

Farther back in the parade was another wonderful woman, a Choctaw, running for the U.S. Congress named Free. That's her name, Kayln Free. She ought to be elected based on her name alone. Here, we've been electing Congressmen for over two hundred years, and there's not a one of them that didn't cost us. Electing a Free one would be such a novelty its hard to imagine what she might accomplish in Washington.

On Monday, Oologah schools invited me to address the elementary grades. I'll save that story for next week's commentary.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Oologah, Okla., my real old home, had a fine celebration Saturday." DT #1328, Oct. 26, 1930

"I am pretty sore today. Am looking for the ones that reminded me that 55 years ago today at Oologah, Indian Territory, on Nov. 4, 1879, a boy baby was born. Well anyhow, played a game of polo and roped calves all day, so there is life in the old nag yet." DT #2573, Nov. 4, 1934

"Going to have beans for supper tonight. I said supper, six o'clock, navy beans, cooked in Oklahoma ham, raised on the Dog Iron Ranch at Oologah. Cooked plenty soupy like. Got to eat 'em with a spoon, raw onions and corn bread, nothing else. Anybody that would want anything else ought to be shot." WA #583, Feb. 25, 1934

"Personally, I have toured and looked over every city in the United States in the past year, and I think Tulsa is the livest, most progressive one, with the exception of Claremore, in the United States. It's the hub of the Oil Industry, so every Realtor should study Tulsa. If your state or city ever strikes oil you will know how an oil city should be conducted." How To Be Funny, date??


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