Will Rogers celebrates 130th birthday
#576 Nov. 8, 2009
CLAREMORE, Okla.: In the election Tuesday the results in New Jersey and Virginia shook up Democrats. In Ohio the voters passed two Issues that shook up Nevada and HSUS.
Voters who have opposed gambling for fifty years changed their minds and Ohio will now have Casinos in four cities. This means massive changes. The big airlines are adding non-stop flights to Toledo. Cincinnati will become known for something besides the pork packing capital of the country. And why would Californians and New Yorkers go to Vegas when they can choose to lose their dough in Cleveland.
On the animal care Issue, Ohio decided that farmers and other ag professionals know more about caring for farm animals than HSUS lawyers in Washington, DC. The majority of voters like meat, and when it comes to ensuring a bountiful, healthy local supply they trust veterinarians more than vegetarians.
On November 4, Oklahoma celebrated “my” 130th birthday. The Indian Women’s Pocahontas Club was in charge and did a marvelous job. Of course they’re 110 years old themselves. At this age, when they ask you to make comments, there’s hardly anything that you haven’t said before. So I just thank my young friends and relatives. To me they’re all young.
The Rotary organized the parade in Claremore. When it’s 75 degrees on a Saturday afternoon in November, it’s not hard to draw a crowd. After a month of rain, it was sunny and warm all week and folks just wanted to be outside. The high school band was behind me and they played Oklahoma! Probably played it 20 times, each time sounding sweeter than the previous. Antique cars are always popular; Model T and Model A Fords, Chevys, Packards. My personal escort was a 1921 Model T Ford Huckster pickup. Among the two dozen cars and trucks was a 1909 Hupmobile. That’s no joke. Of course there were horses, plenty of old farm tractors, and who could forget the Shriners in their entertaining little cars.
Friday night I had what you might call a return engagement at the Poncan Theatre in Ponca City. A top professional speaker will tell you there’s nothing better than to be invited back a year or two after a talk. For a mediocre speaker, it might be 10 years. For me, it was 78. Yes, Feb. 5, 1931 was the first one. I think 78 years is a new record for a speaker returning to the same place. At least without Botox. Or embalming fluid. This beautiful auditorium was built in 1926, and my first talk was during a fund-raising tour for those suffering from the drought and Depression. The Poncan was fully restored around 1990 and seats 800.
Ponca City is full of history. E. W. Marland made a fortune in oil and invested it all right at home. (His company became Conoco.) The Marland Mansion, with 55 rooms, is the biggest and most magnificent in the whole Southwest. He funded the famous Pioneer Woman statue. I was there for the unveiling April 22, 1930. President Hoover opened the ceremony (from the White House) over a national radio broadcast. I got to pull the cover off, and said, “This is the first time I ever undressed a woman. In public.”
Flags are flying at half-staff to honor those killed at Fort Hood. Thirty were injured and thirteen killed. They were preparing to face enemy gunfire in Iraq or Afghanistan but were gunned down by a hate-filled psychiatrist who likes Muslim terrorists more than American soldiers.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
(Unveiling of The Pioneer Woman statue) “Well, Oklahoma had a great day here today. Mr. Hoover opened our ceremonies from Washington, in repayment for the State going Republican the last election. Then Pat Hurley, our unanimously most popular Oklahoman and Secretary of War, from a sick bed in Washington, made a radio talk to us that would have done credit to a Democrat. It was a wonderful gathering, a tremendous crowd. Ah, folks, you can act and talk, and do stunts all over the world, but the applause of a home audience is sweeter to your ears than anything in the world.” DT #1167, April 22, 1930
“Five thousand feet in the air, and [pilot Frank] Hawks is starting a dive for the field to land at Ponca City.” DT#1416, Feb. 5, 1931