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Saturday, November 28, 2020
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Round Ryan April 30, 2020

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 Another week of nice weather here in southern Oklahoma.  Flowers are in bloom and the birds are all singing.  Admiring nature is a good way to take a break from everything that is going on in the world.  Eventually though you have to go back and pick up your responsibilities.  I’m not talking about myself because without children or grandchildren to worry about, I don’t have to concern myself with all the details and tasks that are a constant for other folks.  I can only admire young parents raising children and working jobs that must be important sine they are still going to work during this lock down.

  It’s easy to tale a dim view of humanity if all you read and see are news reports about crime and mayhem.  If you go looking you can find the stories about people helping their neighbors and in some cases strangers.  This week I watched a story about a woman handing out food to truck drivers that at times have had trouble finding food while they were on the road because of all of the restaurant closings, a restaurant owner keeping many of his employees working, cooking meals for anyone that needs them, another man that owns rental property, several of them house restaurants.  He waved the lease payment if the business owners agreed to use the money to pay their employees.

 Some of the feel good stories are about people that take time out of their day to be kind to someone that needs a pick me up.  A teenage girl after having finished her last cancer treatment, is welcomed home by the neighbors lining the street.  All of them keeping their distances but they are applauding and cheering and waving their homemade signs, a t.v. actor getting some of his friends to help and using something called Zoom (I’m told that is some more of this social media that old folks like me don’t understand) was able to host a high school prom for a bunch of kids scattered across the country, all in their homes.

 One story that caught my attention, more for it’s quirkiness than anything else, was about all the people that had not gotten dressed up and gone out since this all started, did just that and got dressed in their fine formal wear and took the trash receptacle to the curb for pick up day.

  That story makes me think about a job that most people don’t want, trash collector.  How bad would this lock down be if they were not on the job.

  All the time I have on my hands has enabled me to discover that I enjoy watching You Tube videos of people using a band saw mill to make lumber out of trees.  I also enjoy watching people make wooden bowls using axes, adzes and chisels.  Just in case you think that I am wasting my time, I have also been watching videos about gardening, pruning and grafting trees, starting plants from cuttings and making flower pots and planters out of cement.  Just yesterday I watched a video about the ten ways you can tell that your spouse is cheating, on second thought I probably don’t have much use for that information.

  All things considered, I guess social media is good for something.  Education and staying in touch with far flung family.  Now if you don’t mind I am going to listen to Mads Tolling play The Ashokan Farewell on the violin.

  Be kind to one another, you never known what they are going through.

Round Ryan January 30, 2020

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 I have written several times about going to the local hangout and drinking coffee.  Some of the more narrow minded people call this gossiping but I see it as being almost tribal, a throw back to the days of being around a camp fire or the hearth in a cave.  In the old days when communications were word of mouth, we sat around the fire and told stories.  Stories about the best place to find game for hunting.  Stories that told of lessons learned the hard way, how we know not  to do something because it will in fact leave a scar.  Stories that passed the wisdom from generation to generation.  Just this morning we had a discussion about Gregor Mendels law of dominance, of how parent organisms passed dominant traits on to their offspring.  All things considered Marsha is lucky that we don’t sing and dance around something that we have set on fire.  I’m sure her insurance premiums would go up.

 It would be hard to find anything wrong with the weather that we have been having lately.  We have had the rain that we need and also a lot of sunshine.  The other night it was cold enough to make you use your electric blankets and like an idiot I was standing out in the yard listening to owls hooting.  It seemed like they were all over town, talking about whatever it is that owls talk about.  In Greek mythology the owl sat on the shoulder of Athena giving her the ability to see on her blind side, enabling her to see the whole truth.  In the Bible the owl was seen as being a sign of wisdom.  It was viewed in many cultures as being good luck but in others it was bad, even to the point of being a harbinger of death.  All  I know was that standing there on that cold clear night hearing all those birds hooting back and forth, it was a beautiful sound.

 My eldest brother, Scott who could accurately be described as being old school, was telling me Sunday that in his toolbox at the shop, there is a laptop computer.  This machine is not even part of the diagnostic equipment that is part of being a modern auto mechanic.  This particular computer is for ordering parts that he needs.  The companies don’t send out the old fashioned books made of paper the way they used to do.

 In the last twenty years, every job that I have had, involved using a computer.  From the warehouse to selling hunting and fishing permits.  Even paying my sales tax on  the plant business includes those infernal machines, as my good friend Jon Harris calls them.

 I remember when I was in high school, my counselor suggested that I go to college and get into computers, that was the coming thing.  I told him that  was the silliest thing that I had ever heard.  According to the seventeen year old Dennis, no one is going to want to sit at a computer all day. 

Round Ryan December 19 2019

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Sitting here looking out the window on a cool, overcast and dreary Sunday after- noon. Johnny Cash singing about the ring fire and I’m thinking that I need to stop looking out the win- dow and get down to business. The poor woman is telling the world that she is falling to pieces and now she is crazy. Take a drink of scalding hot coffee and yelp like the proverbial scalded dog and now I start writing.

This morning at JW’s Travel Stop and Christian Science reading room here in Ryan, we were sitting around drinking coffee and talking about this and that when cheese became the center of conversation. Someone mentioned commod- ity cheese and then we talked about all the other stuff that they gave out each month. If you ever got commodities, then you know what I am talk- ing about, there was peanut butter, a canned meat product that to me was unidentifiable, powdered eggs and powdered milk, various beans and peas. the cheese, peanut butter, beans and peas were all good but I never developed a love for the milk and eggs of the powdered variety. The former County Com- missioner in the group told of having a refrig- erated trailer to send to pickup a load of gro- ceries and one time the cheese was so rank that they called in the health official and it was promptly condemned and was taken out to the old Ryan dump to be buried because it was so high smelling that no one could stand to be around the stuff.

Here is a good one, Jim Reeves singing “He’ll have to go”, had to stop and listen. That son of a gun could re- ally sing.

Congratulations go out to the Ryan High School Cowgirls bas- ketball team for their runner up finish in the Wilson Eagle Classic tournament and also to Samantha Good for being named to the all- tournament team. Well done ladies.

The Ryan Ag Boosters had their first annual jack pot show this last weekend. By all accounts it was a huge success. Young people from all over Oklahoma and north Texas came to Jefferson County with their pigs, lambs, goats and cattle. David Sorrell judged the goats and sheep Friday night and Blaine Red took over with the pigs and cattle on Saturday. The Ryan Ag Booster Jack Pot Show may well be- come a new tradition.

Ran into an old friend at lunch Sunday. He informed me that he reads the paper every week and he enjoys seeing me in the paper because #1, it’s not in the sheriffs report and #2, he said that he likes a little BS as much as the next man. Shout out to Kenneth Blevins. On the subject of people reading my column, last Saturday

I had to answer ques- tions about something that I had written with regards to her grand- daughter. I explained to her that what was said was a joke, turns out she doesn’t think that I am funny.

Round Ryan November 7 2019

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 I was introduced to Ernest Hemingway while still a school boy by my brother Phil.  “A Farewell to Arms”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Sun Also Rises” were what lead me on to further exploration of Mr. Hemingway’s writing.  Although A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls deals with different wars, WWI and the Spanish Civil war, for me they both had much the same feel.  The protagonist in the first was an American driving an ambulance for the Italian army and in the second a demolition expert for a Republican guerilla unit that was fighting the fascists that were backed by the Nazis and the Italians lead by Mussollini.  In The Sun Also Rises, Hemingway writes about American and British ex-patriots living in Paris and Spain in the 1920’s.In all probability, had I read The sun Also rises first, I might never have read the others.  After these three I bought a copy of “The Old Man and the Sea”.  In my opinion this is one of Ernest Hemingway’s better works.  It is every bit as good on the tenth reading as it was on the first.  The story of Santiago the fisherman and his struggle with old age and meaning is the last major work published by Ernest Hemingway and I can’t help but see some parallels with the writer’s own life.  This is one of the few Hemingway stories that were successfully turned into a quality movie and it was done twice.  Once with Spenser Tracey and the second time with Anthony Quinn.  Ernest Hemingway novels do not seem to translate well onto the screen, in part I believe it’s his style and in part it’s not being able to find a screen writer able to make the transition.  Later on I discovered Ernest Hemingway’s novellas and magazine stories.  Short fiction is in itself a difficult art form.  You are telling the same story in a much shorter period of time.  I had a conversation with Bill Roberson once and we were discussing song writing and the ability of some people to tell a story in a few verses, to me that talent and writing short fiction are very similar.  The genre of music where this seems most prevalent is country music.  For the sake of clarity, when I say country music, I mean classic country, mountain music, bluegrass and some forms of folk music.  If you listen to some of the traditional music out of Ireland and the British Isles and then listen to some sure enough old time mountain music from the Appalachians, you can see where country and bluegrass get their start.  Bill always said if you didn’t like country music then you didn’t like life, because that is what it is about.  Maybe in my next life I will learn to play the banjo and the bagpipes, just not at the same time.

 Thus ends this weeks book report and music tutorial.

Round Ryan October 31 2019

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There doesn’t seem to be a great deal going on this week in Ryan, so this is going to be one of those times that I ramble until I get to where I am going.  Robert Frost wrote about the two paths that diverged and he took the one less traveled and it made all the difference.  I do that and sometimes I find that there is a good reason that the road isn’t used much, but sometimes it really is more about the journey than about the destination.  I need to keep reminding myself not to get into a rut.  Don’t be complacent and go with the comfortable.

     I am writing this on Monday evening so that it will be ready early Tuesday when they do the lay out and send it to press.  Before going home I had supper with a childhood friend. It has been years since we had a chance to talk and get caught up on the goings on of our lives.  The subject matter was much what you would expect, work was put behind us and then on to who we had lost in recent years.  Family and shared history were the subjects that we spent the most time discussing.  Having known each other so long, we knew the same stories, but we managed to share a few laughs.  He was on his way to a drag race, so of course we spent a good deal of time talking about old cars.  Besides the 1955 Chevy that he drag races, he still owns the 1968 Chevy step side pick up that his grandfather bought brand new.  It was passed down to his father and then to him, he drove the pick up when we were in high school.  I’m not as much of a car nut as he but I can appreciate the continuity of passing things down through the generations.  I still have tools that belonged to my Grandfathers.  The difference is that he still drives that old Chevy pick up, I don’t intend to use Grandpas cross cut saw any time soon.  I have done that once and let me tell you that the romance wore off of that real fast.  If any of you are on the Facebook, check out a group called “Forgotten Oklahoma”.  There is a lot of neat stuff on there.  I shared some photos of Grandpa Bell on his old tractor.  An older gentleman of my acquaintance looked at the photos and told me that there were at least three different makes of tractor put together.  Grandpa made it work but this just proves that not everything is genetic.  My Grandfather, my Father and two of my brothers were or are mechanics and for the life of me the modern internal combustion engine remains a mystery. 

     I rambled so much that I almost forgot to mention how the High School Girls Cross Country team placed at State.  The team finished sixth overall and Miss Lilybet Harmon finished in twentieth place individually.  These young ladies have done themselves, their school and their town proud.

Round Ryan October 24 2019

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Last Saturday at the Regional Cross Country meet in Waurika, the Ryan Cowgirls made history by winning their first Regional Team Championship.  The team is comprised of Katelyn Dabbs, Grace Stamper, Alicen Williams, Lily York, Juliet Spangler, Whittany Spangler and Lilybet Harmon.  These young ladies have achieved so many first time accomplishments that I could probably fill the entire page of the paper, so I will just hit the highlights.  Besides the team championship, Lilybet Harmon had the best individual finish in school history with a 5th place finish and a time of 13:13.  It is also the first time that Ryan has had two girls on the medal stand in the same regional.  The Cowgirls have won 6 meets this year.  From here the young ladies go on to State.  It is worth mentioning that Ryan had only one Cowboy running at Regional and although he did not qualify for State, he did run his best time of the year.  Mason Adsit is young and it will be interesting to see how far he and the Cowgirls go in the future.  Congratulations to you all.

     Ryan Future Farmers of America will be walking on to the stage in Indianapolis, Indiana to receive the National Three star Chapter Award.  The three things that it takes to win this award are community work, agricultural work and building leaders.

     So far I have written about students accomplishments in sports and FFA, but I have to think that the qualities they are learning will make them the leaders of the future, be it at the local level or beyond.  It is a pleasure to see young people do big things.

     The ag boosters will be selling “Boo Bags” this week, if you are interested, contact any of them.(I had to ask what a boo bag is.)

     The Baptist Church is going to be working this coming Sunday doing clean up work around town as mission work.  They will be working all day and if anyone wants to help you can contact any of the Baptists or I am sure it would be okay to just show up.

     Books have played an important roll in my life.  From Dr. Seuss as a small child to the books I started checking out of the school library here at Ryan in the 7th grade.  I read whatever was available and I must have seemed like an odd kid to Clifford Peacocks parents, he would be playing with toys and I would be reading.  The first book that I remember checking out was a book about the racehorse, Man of War.  The horse was sold as a yearling for $5000 and became one of the biggest sports figures of the time.  At home I would read World Book Encyclopedias, novels or The Readers Digest.  As an adult, I discovered bookstores.  There was one in the mall in Duncan that was owned by an older gentleman and it was there that I discovered Robert Service, Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman.  Then when Hastings came to town, I thought that I had hit the mother lode.  I made many discoveries among the shelves and if you could not find it there then they would order it for you.  Waurika has a pretty good library and has always proven to be helpful in finding what you might want.

Round Ryan October 17 2019

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This has been a productive season for Ryan cross country.  The young runners in Jr. High School show improvement constantly and the High School boys seem to shave time off with each passing meet, but the High School girls have taken cross country to a new level here in Ryan.  This last week the Cowgirls have won their third team title in a row, Lilybet Harmon won her third individual title in a row and the Cowgirls have had five of the top ten finishers for the third time in a row.  Next weekend the cross country team will be competing at regionals.  At 12:30 this Saturday, we will all have the opportunity to watch this team in action at Waurika.  Basketball season will be starting soon.  To be honest, I have never really followed the sport.  I’m short, slow and uncoordinated, so it is easy to figure out why it’s not my sport.  In an effort to be fair I may give it a try this season, if nothing else it will give me a chance to see the new/old gym.  The football game this week will be against long time rivals Waurika Eagles.  This rivalry spans many decades and having witnessed it from both sides, I am glad to see that the modern version is much more genteel than it was in the old days.  Come out to the game and see some good football.  Game time is at 7:30 friday night at the Bob Givens Sports Complex.  If you play your cards right you might be able to get some supper as well.

 This next Sunday, October 20th from 11:00-2:00 there will be an Indian Taco dinner to raise funds for some of the community projects that are happening around Ryan.  It will be at the Sr. Citizens Center and the cost will be donations only.  I understand that they still need desserts if you would like to donate some sweets.  Take outs are available and Heather Casebolt guarantees that the food will be delicious.

 If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed that dirt work is going on out on the highway across from the football field.  They are coming along with the future home of the next dollar store for this area.

 Fall weather is finally upon us and it is wonderful.  Not to appear ungrateful but we could have done without that freeze the other night.  Ah well we have to take the bad with the good.  I am starting to see mums and pumpkins around town, decorating street corners and porches.  With the fall colors a, pumpkin flavored everything and the cool air, it seems that the main part of football season is here.  GO IRISH!!!

 Christmas On the Trail is coming up and we will be having another meeting on the 25th of this month.  If you are interested, you can attend or you can call or come see us with your ideas.  We are still looking for vendors and volunteers.  We are adding games and activities every week.

 I am sitting here listening to Adele sing about setting fire to the rain.  I’m not sure the lyrics make a lot of sense but she sure can sing.  Until next week.

Round Ryan October 10 2019

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 I will start by saying thank you to all of you that have been free with kind words of encouragement.  Sometimes when I sit down to write, I do not have a clue as to where I am going, those are usually the ones that I have to re-write several times before they are presentable to my editor.  Thank you everyone!

     The Ryan High School cross country team competed at the Sulphur cross country meet.  Lilybet Harmon came away with another individual win and the Ryan High Cowgirls brought home a team win with five young ladies finishing in the top ten and the final team member finishing in the top twenty-five.  The boys team also show improvement and shave time consistently.  When you see them, give each of them a pat on the back for all of their hard work.

  Two Cowgirl softball players, Samantha Good and Brooklyn Charmussen,  got to compete in the Southern Eight All Conference game on Monday night at Waurika.  Each made the team based on years of hard work and competition.  Congratulations to both of you.  It has been a pleasure to watch you play.

  Thursday evening at the Ryan High School cafeteria, the Future Farmers of America chapter will be having their annual labor auction.  I do not know if they sell by the pound or by the head but I am sure either way you will get a bargain.  Besides selling the youngsters, their will also be a live auction for baked goods, not sure yet who will be the auctioneer for this portion of the evening.  There will also be an auction for items made by the students, this will be a silent auction and I am given to understand that Marcel Marceau will be on duty doing his part trying to raise funds for the Ryan Future Farmers of America.

  Plans for this years “Christmas On the Trail” festival are coming along nicely.  They are still looking for street vendors, so if you or someone that you know are interested in setting up a booth this year, call us at the Beaver Creek Mercantile or at The Local.  You can also go on Facebook and like our page “Christmas On the Trail, downtown Ryan, Oklahoma” and we can give you all the information that you need to get started.

  This last Saturday, my brother Scott, Bill Griffin and myself went to Nocona, Tx  and toured the Horton Car Museum. If you like old cars (lets face it who doesn’t?) this trip is well worth the time and the door fee to get to see all of the cars that they have on display.  They have more Corvettes than I have ever seen in one place.  There are also Camaros and Cudas, station wagons and pickups, and a couple of Packards that boggle the mind, but if they were to offer me any car in their collection, I would now be driving a cream yellow 1951 Buick Roadmaster……..  Sorry about that but I had to stop for 3 min. and 24 sec. to listen to Mr. Bob Seger sing about “A Ship of Fools”, without a doubt an under rated classic, anyway the man working at the museum that day told us that the 130 cars on display were not the total collection.  They have other cars stored in a warehouse and they sometimes swap cars out, so its possible to go there multiple times and not see the same cars every time.

Round Ryan October 3 2019

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The Ryan High School football homecoming game held a lot of excitement for anyone that braved the swarms of mosquitoes that don’t yet realize that according to the calendar it is supposed to be fall.  The Ryan Cowboys came out on top in a hard fought ballgame against the Caddo Bruins with a final score of 30-20.  With all the penalty flags that were thrown and the injury timeouts, the game took longer than normal.  At halftime the homecoming queen was coronated.  I am sure is was a difficult task to pick one out of the seven young ladies that were vying for the crown, but Lily York was chosen and crowned by her escort.  Ms. York and several other young ladies have served this football season as water persons/equipment managers for the team.  During the second half, Lily did her job of handing out water to the thirsty and fetching ice for the injured, all the while wearing a tiara.

     The Ryan Jr. High School softball team won their final game this season against Geronimo.  Well done young ladies.

     Ryan Cowgirls are the 2019 Chick-fil-A North Rock Creek High School Girls Cross Country champions.  This group of young athletes have put Ryan Cross Country in front of everyone in the state and made them set up and take notice.  Most of the time they were competing against much larger schools and the team can stand proud of the job they have done.

     Put October 10th on your calendar.  The Ryan Future Farmers of America are holding their labor auction at 6:30 pm at the high school cafeteria.  Finger food will be available and a dessert auction will follow.  Come out and support the FFA chapter and get something good to eat.

     This week Christmas On the Trail started selling sponsor spots on the commemorative t-shirts that will be sold to help pay for this years festivities.  If you are interested you can make contact through the Facebook page by the same name or contact us at either The Beaver Creek Mercantile or at The Local.

     This really isn’t a plug for the store at which I work.  The truth is that I spend more time at the Mercantile than I do at any other single place, so if anything of interest is to happen then most likely that is where it will happen.  Case in point, just the other day, two fellows came in and after we all said our howdies, one of the gents said “we aren’t from around here”.  This was obvious even to me, but it’s possible that he thought that I might not be the sharpest tool in the shed.  People usually have to get to known me before they come to that conclusion.  Turns out these visitors call Perth, Western Australia home.  Peter and Colin are taking their month long holiday to travel across the United States, roughly following Route 66.  Occasionally something will catch their attention and off they go on a side trip.  On arriving in Texas, they decided that they wanted to see Dallas.  It was on their return trip north that they found themselves in beautiful downtown Ryan, Oklahoma.  Colin was documenting the trip by taking photos with his phone and both were more than able to hold their own in the storytelling department.  Peter brought with him 12 new caps, one for each state that they would be traveling through and at some point he would trade with someone in each state.  There is now as we speak, a Beaver Creek Mercantile cap being worn in Perth, Western Australia.  We also have a cap with a kangaroo on the front on display in the store. 

New Pastor Arrives in Ryan

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Pictured left is Alex and Naomi Alejandro along with their three kids: AJ (7th grade), Ava (4th grade), and Axel (2nd grade).

Alex and his wife Naomi worked in education in Wichita Falls before moving to Ryan. 

Alex worked at Zundy Elementary as a bilingual teacher, and Naomi worked at Milam Elementary as the campus principal. 

Although the Alejandros loved their jobs and the community they served, they answered the call to full-time ministry this past summer.

Since moving to Ryan they have been overwhelmed with the welcomes and well wishes they have received from the community. 

They are now the new Pastors of the First Assembly of God Church in Ryan. 

Services at the Ryan Assembly begin each Sunday at 10:30 am and 5:00 pm. Soon, they plan to hold Sunday School classes each Sunday morning at 9:30 am. 

The Alejandros wish to thank everyone for their kindness in welcoming them to Ryan. They look forward to meeting more people and becoming more acquainted with the community. 

Members of the church have expressed their excitement for the arrival of the Alejandros into their church family.