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Tuesday, November 05, 2002 ISSUE #248


CLAREMORE, Okla.: When this town gets all fixed up for a birthday celebration, it never looked better. And the people around here, and up at Oologah, are the friendliest in the world, and always have been. They had a big parade Sunday afternoon, and former Governor Nigh was in it. He was governor so many years ago, folks think we're about the same age.

Yesterday morning they had a birthday cake at the Ranch at Oologah, and music from the grade school kids. In the afternoon the Cherokee ladies of the Pocahontas Club had a ceremony at the Memorial at Claremore with cookies afterward. Of course there were some speeches, but they were short compared to the music and cake and cookies. With friends and family, it was a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday, number 123.

I stopped in to vote this morning, at the polling place just down the hill from the Memorial. According to the front page of the "Tulsa World", a million people might vote in Oklahoma, and I didn't want 'em to end up with only 999,999 on account of me. Besides they got something important on the ballot – cockfighting. That's why so many are voting. Cock fighting has been a popular enterprise and a lot of folks have wanted to get rid of it for a long time, but they couldn't. Now this vote today might make it illegal, but it's kinda like the Prohibition Amendment, they won't eliminate it. We'll end up with a lot of cockfight bootleggers.

Well, back to my voting. They said, "Will, your name's not in the book, and you can't vote". Now, that was a terrible jolt. Seems it don't count that for over fifty years I've been what you might call a "permanent resident".

Well, I hope they get their million voters, but they should get two million. I met about a dozen exchange students, from Russia, way up in Siberia, who are living in Claremore for three weeks, to learn more about us. They're seeing how a democracy works, first hand. But they're liable to go home wondering why half of us don't even bother to vote.

If you're still looking for a place to see some beautiful fall colors, get over here in the next few days. The trees around Oologah Lake never looked better. I think all the clouds lately has held the colors.

Happy birthday to Laura Bush. She's another one of these folks born on Nov. 4.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"I had never seen a Cockfight, and I personally don't approve of it – this thing of having one Chicken with sharp knives on its legs, immediately and instantaneously sever the jugular vein of its opponent, who also has on similar knives and has an equal chance of doing some severing itself." Saturday Evening Post, May 12, 1928

"Well, the promising season ends next Tuesday, and at about 8 o'clock that same night the "alibi" season opens... To show you what campaign promises amount to, can you remember back a few weeks ago when the promise was made on both sides that 'the campaign was to be run on a high plane'? This campaign ends Tuesday, but it will take two generations to sweep up the dirt." DT #706, Oct. 31, 1928.

P.S. In case you're wondering, I flew back to Ohio this afternoon. And they let me vote. I guess the standards are lower than in Oklahoma.

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