Will Rogers celebrates an earth-shaking birthday
Nov. 6, 2011
CLAREMORE, Okla: Last week I said, "Oklahoma Occupiers are in for a Jolt." Well, this weekend, the whole state was jolted by a 5.6 earthquake. In Claremore it rumbled a few seconds, about the same intensity as if a half dozen freight trains were passing by.
Of course in Claremore, there’s nothing unusual about a bunch of trains rolling through town. Trains are so frequent, a line of cars and trucks hardly has time to clear the tracks before another train rolls through. Then in the next block you wait to cross another track. The town wants to spend millions to eliminate grade crossings, but can’t decide whether to elevate the railroads up on trestles, or to build overpasses or underpasses for the roads. It may be cheaper to leave the railroads where they are, and lower the town twenty feet.
The big doings in Claremore was Will Rogers Days. This town loves to celebrate birthdays, even for a guy who has had 132 of ‘em. Busloads of school kids came in to the museum to learn about Oklahoma history and Indian heritage. The Oologah fourth graders entertained with a show and singing. The Indian women of the Pocahontas Club (founded in 1899) dressed in authentic heritage outfits and fancy hats and led a beautiful wreath-laying ceremony. And "my" old Shriner outfit, the Akdar Shrine in Tulsa, purchased and dedicated a new plaque.
Saturday afternoon was the parade through town. Every year I pair up with Gene Pyeatt and his 1921 Model T Ford Huckster. Before the parade started the old Ford sprung an oil leak. But Gene had his tools handy, and after pulling out the floorboard he could just barely get a screwdriver in position to tighten four screws clamping an oil seal. I’m guessing those screws have worked loose and been tightened several times in the last 90 years. That old pickup made it through the parade in fine shape and so did I.
On Saturday night, college football reigned on television. If you like good defense and a game decided by field goal attempts and penalties, then the Alabama – LSU game was the one to watch. LSU won in overtime, 3 field goals to 2. Meanwhile in Stillwater, the Oklahoma State Cowboys hosted the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats scored 45 points and lost, because the Cowboys scored 52. And if that was not enough excitement, as soon as the game ended the stadium was shaken by an aftershock.
Andy Rooney died Nov. 4 of complications from "minor" surgery. You know, for anything called surgery, there’s nothing minor about it.
Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
"I asked him, "Mr. Ford, I know it is rather inquisitive, but just how cheap could you sell your car?" He said, "Well, Will, that is kind of personal but if the worst comes to the worst, I could give it away, as long as we retain the selling of the parts. One of these things will shake off enough in a year to pay for itself." Radio, June 1, 1930
"Claremore is a town in physique but a city at heart. It's the home of Radium water, where you can take those wonderful baths that cure you of practically everything; everything but being a Democrat." DT #1111, Feb. 16, 1930