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Friday, November 22, 2019
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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. 

Round Ryan September 26 2019

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The First Annual Christmas On the Trail Chili Cook-off is in the books and J.K.Townsend has been declared he winner.  I feel behooved to try and name all of the folks that made it a success.  First has to be the cooks.  J.K. Townsend was sponsored by the United Methodist Women, Linda Harrison cooked for the Peoples Bank, John Snider was at the helm of the Ryan city employees team, although Deb Reynolds made cornbread because they were of the opinion that crackers just would not do.  Cody Rodriquez led the Ryan Volunteer Fire Fighters, Justin Dewbre, Raquel Welchel cooked for the Ryan FFA and the list of competitors was rounded out by Jared Dyer that cooked what he called green chili.  I personally had never seen anything quite like it but I can tell you it was good.  We had three fine judges, although there have been charges of cahootinizing among the judges and one member of the group that hosted the event.  Ricky Martin, Kristi Hamm Whitford and Mike Retos all did a good job and worked for very little pay.  I can’t say enough good things about the band, The Upper Road Band.  They kept everyone entertained and did it with two of the three members feeling under the weather.  Alana Miranda, Seth Miranda and J.D. Martin comprise the band and covered everything from classic country to soft rock to Tom Petty and along the way made us laugh.  I think I will see if they can do some Molly Hatchet (that is what I am listening to).  Every time they are asked to help they step up and do a wonderful job.  All three deserve a lot of praise.  Thank you to everyone that came out and supported the cause, the cause of coarse being the Christmas On the Trail tree lighting festival that with take place in early December.  All of the fund raising goes toward paying for the day of fun that is planned for children and grownups alike.

On the subject of music that I am listening to, you would think on that long ride across that desert that they could have found a name for that horse.

Bill Roberson

Bill Roberson passed away this week messing with his old cows.  I first came into contact with Bill when I was a small boy playing baseball, he coached a couple of the teams that I played on.  Even to a kid it was obvious that he loved sports.  Another love was music.  He loved playing music, listening to music and taking about music.  This was a side of Bill that I saw when I reconnected with him as a grownup.  The one thing that Bill talked about the most was his family.  We sometimes spent hours on this very subject, he even got to where he would say “stop me if you have heard this”.  I am glad that I never did.  Bill Roberson will be sorely missed.

Maris Blanchard: Restoring Historical Mural

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The next time you are driving into Ryan, Oklahoma, take a look to the right before you come to downtown. The 22-year old Chisholm Trail scenery that has always been an eye-catching welcome suddenly appears a little different. Its subtle change might have you turn around and crawl back by. The Chisholm Trail mural!! Something’s different. The sage-covered hillside scenery has a focused depth to it. And the cattle, the cowboys and horse-drawn wagon come alive on the forefront of the dimensional landscape. To passersby, it’s beautiful and a nice addition to the town. To the people of Ryan, it means so much more. 

What started out as a pipe dream for the Ryan Regeneration Group became reality during the month of July. The talk began in early 2018 to develop a plan to refurbish the 40-foot long mural depicting a scene from the glory days of the historic Chisholm Trail. A path laid by drovers, cowboys and the cattle they ran from deep in Texas through Ryan and into Kansas throughout the last half of the 19th century. The mural is the work of M.H. Henry, an artist, a passionate advocate of preserving the Trail’s history and a resident of Bowie, Texas. With the structural assistance of Hershel Shofner, the sign was erected in 1997. This mural stamped Ryan’s presence in southern Oklahoma and was a proud addition for the citizens of the town. The timing was perfect, with hundreds of former students pouring into town for the Ryan High School reunion in September. Everyone was in awe of the work and happy to know that our history would now be shared with everyone that passed through the town.

Maris Blanchard in front of the Mural she recently restored.

Over the next two decades, the mural stood strong, but began to take on the effects of the intense weather of southern Oklahoma. With the birth of the Regeneration group, thoughts began to come into words about assisting with its refurbishment and longevity. The suggestion came up to find an artist to bring the mural back to life. But not only that, find someone that shares the passion of beautifying the town. Maris Blanchard, granddaughter to Theresa Blanchard, was approached by the group to see if she would consider taking on this timely task. As recalled, the group did not even have to fully ask her help, as Maris excitedly interrupted and said, “I would LOVE to help you with the mural.” It was a joyous occasion not only for the Regeneration group, but just as much for Maris. Her father, Bobby Blanchard, was a 1975 graduate of Ryan. Back in her childhood, Maris came back to Ryan frequently with her Dad. She and her Dad shared the love of going out on land northeast of Ryan to hunt for cow skulls or any skulls she could find. Along with spiders, bugs and critters that she could talk her Dad into taking home. Maris found this would be one of her many outdoor passions that still carries on to today. Bobby passed away in 2007 and with this, Maris’ memories of Ryan started to fade over the years.

At the beginning of the project, Maris began the preparation and studied the work of Mr. Henry so that her efforts would accent his vision. All the way down to the brands on the cattle that depicted the symbol of ranches in the local area. Maris unexpectedly and pleasantly found help as the citizens of Ryan became her eyes, ears and cold-water providers during the intensely hot days of late July. Work on the project started early in the morning and went on till sundown. What could have been an arduous task became a celebration as she moved slowly and carefully through bringing the wonderful scene back to life. The town was vibrant with talk at Stick’s and the Parlor about the young lady working on our mural. It did not take anyone long to find out that Maris invited everyone in to the scene going on at the junction of Highways 32 and 81. Among the topics of interest were Maris’ other hobbies and line of work such as taxidermy and making organic home décor themed around animal cadavers and skeletal remains. Many were intrigued and Maris was endless with conversation as she learned hunting in this part of Oklahoma is right up there with football as a favorite sport.  

Now with the task complete and the mural looking like new again, the Ryan Regeneration group share the joy of their pipe dream becoming a reality. And as the folks of Ryan cherish anew this testament to our heritage, the warmth and joy of knowing that the spirit of the town stretches far past the limits of the ranches and fields surrounding the city. 

A very special thanks go to so many of the hard-working, fun loving members of the Ryan Generation group. A special thanks to Sherry and Eddie Pewitt, Heather and Crosby Casebolt, Dennis Underwood and many others for showing up and sharing time with Maris. A very, very special Thank You goes out to Walker and Linda Ryan. Not only for providing the scaffolding, which without it, the project could not at all have been completed. But for your warm-hearted, incredible hospitality each day this project was going on. Maris said that she has found her second home in Ryan and a new extended family that would make her Dad proud.


Round Ryan August 1, 2019

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 If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a young lady perched atop the scaffolding by the mural on Highway 81.  Her name is Maris Blanchard, she is the daughter of the late Bobbie Blanchard and the granddaughter of Teresa Blanchard.  We have all become accustomed to its faded appearance but I believe that if you look at it now or wait until she is finished, I think you will agree that it looks much better.  Ms. Blanchard is doing a wonderful job and she told me that it means a lot to her to be able to do this for her fathers home town and also that she has fond memories of coming to Ryan to visit when she was younger.  Thank you Maris.

 Ryan Fire Chief Randal Garcia tells me that they had a good turn out for the first annual Stop, Drop and Run 5K fun run and walk.  It is great to see so many people participating.  They had hamburgers for lunch after the run but I was unable to attend as I had a family reunion to attend at the same time but I bet the food was good.

 The reunion mentioned in the above paragraph was a lot of fun.  Mostly we sat around talking and eating.  Some of our relations from the east side of the county as well as some nice folks from Texas came to visit.  Bob Cates started off life in Ryan but his family left after a fire destroyed the family business.  Bob told me his brother, Utah Cates (is that a cool name or what), worked for the railroad.  I am hoping that some of my elders around town can enlighten me in regard to the Cates family.

 Wednesday was the last day for the children’s reading group here in Ryan because school will be starting in a couple of weeks.  T J Dewbre tells me that there are already plans in the works for a possibly expanded reading group next year.  As you can imagine this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  I believe that the earlier that you expose children to reading and books the better.  I am taking this opportunity to thank a few folks, Michelle for getting the ball rolling, TJ, Heidi Townsend, Emily Smith, Amanda Reagan, Cheryl Carter and the town council (I know that I am missing a bunch of people but you know who you are), thank you for picking the ball up and running with it.

 It is easy to let personal feelings color our thinking, but all of these stories, the mural, the fire department and the children’s reading group are examples of people working together for the common good.  Call me Pollyanna if you like but I think things are looking up in Ryan.

 The book I am reading is called “Dancing At the Harvest Moon” by K.C. McKinnon.  The harvest moon of the title is a dance hall and eating establishment open seasonally on a lake in Canada.  This is a tale of love and loss, re-birth and starting over when life kicks you in the teeth as happens from time to time.  I am not sure from whom I acquired this book but so far it has been good reading.  The art work alone makes it worth looking through.  I frequently get books given to me.  Sometimes it is a case of someone cleaning out a cupboard and sometimes it is hey I just read this and you need to read it as well.  In ether case the gifts are greatly appreciated, I can’t think of a better gift than a book.

 I am thinking about a time when my younger sister came home from college to visit and when she walked through the door, I’m stretched out in the living room floor listening to “Freebird” and reading a volume of Walt Whitman that she had given me.  This comes to mind because as I sit here writing this I have music playing, it is hard to type and rock out as well. (I have my earplugs in so to anyone watching, I must appear spastic). Other than the first song, none of the music was selected by me, so I have run down the list of several great songs, from “Sweet Home Alabama” to “Can’t You See” to “With a Little Help from My Friends” and now it’s “Freebird”.  I’m not sure why books and music go together for me, maybe it’s the story telling inherit in both.  I’ll see if my sister remembers.   

Garcia Settling in as New Fire Chief

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Randal Garcia has been the Ryan Fire chief since May of this year. However, he has been a member of the fire department since around 2008. 

He says everyone has come together and the support he has received has been great. 

He is the brother of Stephanie Wesberry and the son of Josey and  Mio Garcia of Terral. (Josey is pictured on the back page at her restaurant known as Mama Josey’s in Terral.)

Randal is grateful for how things have progressed and the way Waurika and Ryan have worked together. 

We’ve had some training with Waurika he says. 

Last Saturday the Fire Department held their first 5K Run fundraiser. Many of the Ryan track teams as well as members of the community participated. 

The money will go toward the upgrading and repairing of some of the fire trucks. 

Along with the 5K Run the department sold T-shirts that said, “Stop Drop and Run 5K and Fun Run.”

Participants had the option of running or walking the 5K. 

There may still be some shirts available. The cost of each shirt is $10 for small through XXL and $15 for #XL. 

The hot dogs and hamburgers served at the fundraiser were excellent. Donations were taken for the meal. 

Round Ryan July 25 ​2019

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Saturday nights dance at the American Legion Post #183 was a success.  The music was provided by a five piece band consisting of the regulars.   Bill Roberson, Cary Gore and Gene Chesley as well as newcomers Joy and Don McCullough supplied a mix of old country, middle aged country and gospel.  The music lovers and dancers don’t equal the days of the Old Ryan Stomp but the numbers seem to be growing.  I enjoyed hearing “Go Rest High On that Mountain” and also their version of “Arkansas River” but hearing Joy McCullough sing some old gospel tunes really took me back.  If you have not been to one of these get togethers then you are missing out.  Besides the music you can visit with your neighbors or even meet some new folks if you are of a mind.

 Don’t forget this coming Saturday the Ryan Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a 5K fun run/walk.  It will be starting at 8:00 am and they will be serving lunch after the event at the Fire Department.  Come out and support the fire fighters and all the participants.

 One of the members of the Irving Baptist Church told me that this last Sunday they had their monthly meal at the church.  It consisted of fried chicken, various salads, watermelon and home made ice cream.  Telling me this on Monday seems a bit mean spirited, but I’m not one to hold a grudge, especially if you tell me in time for the next one.

 Monte Wright is refurbishing the benches on Washington.  He has the new wood on the first bench and it is back in place.  It’s my understanding that the Ryan Beautification Group is providing the material and Monte is donating his time and labor.

 The book related section of this article is not about one book alone but about reading in general. How did my fellow readers get started down the road to being bibliophiles?  I don’t really remember how it got started for me but there were always books in our home while I was growing up and I had access to the school library.  After my folks purchased a set of World Book Encyclopedias, I spent a lot of time reading those volumes that told of far away places or animals and customs that were foreign to me.  From there I graduated to books that at times were probably a bit mature for me, some of those I re-read later and then could grasp the nuances that had escaped my young self.  Some books and authors were introduced to me by teachers  and older siblings.  Mrs. Rickard lead me to Shakespeare and Chaucer.  My brother Phil gave me the gift of Hemingway.  My father fed my love of history, on his bookshelf were stories of the American Civil War by Bruce Catton.  On my own (if that is even possible) I discovered James Fenimore Cooper and Emerson.  Some of my most prized possessions are volumes of Thoreau and Walt Whitman given to me by my sister Merrianne.  Not everything that I read is a classic,  I enjoy a good adventure story as much as the next person.  Drop me a line and let me known how you got started.

 Maybe next time I’ll discuss my musical influences and how my sister Lynn scarred me for life with some her musical tastes.   

Round Ryan July 18, 2019

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 The American Legion Post here in Ryan will be having their monthly dance Saturday, July 20th.  The dance will start at 7:00 pm.  They will be serving hamburgers and hot dogs.  You can’t beat the price for dinner and entertainment.

 Sunday, July 21st is the date chosen by the Ryan Beautification Group for another Indian Taco dinner.  It will be held at the Ryan Senior Citizens Center.  It will run from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  They price is donations only.

 Sports Physicals are scheduled for Monday, July 22nd for the female athletes and Monday, July 29th for the male athletes.  They will be performed at Dr. Chad Williams office in Waurika at the cost of $10.00 and is for all athletes grades 5 through 12.

 Enrollment for the coming school year will be August 7th and 8th from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Check with the school for the schedule for enrollment for your youngster.

 Ryan Volunteer Fire Department is having their 1st Annual 5K fun run and walk, someone has a strange idea of fun.  It will be held Saturday, July 27th at 8:00 am, lunch will be served after at the Fire Department.

 I feel behooved to announce the 1st Annual “Christmas On the Trail Chili Cook Off”.  It will be held Saturday, September 21st in beautiful downtown Ryan, Oklahoma.  This is a fundraiser for the Christmas On the Trail Festival that we will have in early December.  Entry fee is $40.00 per team, with a limit of four members to a team.  You must enter by Monday, September 16th.  Identity of the judges is a closely guarded secret but I can tell you that we are fortunate to have an expert on food of the tex-mex variety, another gentleman of discerning taste and a well known chef.  I hope you will all come out for some chili and listen to the music of Upper Road.

 I was just sitting and visiting with some friends the other day about the good old days and the name Lester “Pinkie” Abell was mentioned.  Most of you will probably remember Pinkie Abell.  The thing that came to mind for me was Pinkie riding his motorcycle.  Now Mr. Abell did farm and ranch work and he dressed the part, he wore tall cowboy boots and tucked his pants into the tops.  I can still see him in his cowboy clothes  on what was the first full dressed Harley-Davidson motorcycle that I ever saw, it even had a stereo.

 You may have noticed the activity going on Highway 81 across from the Bob Givens Sports Complex.  I am starting a contest, it’s a guessing game.  What is going to be built on that site?  So far I have heard several different things.  #1 is a new bank, #2 is a dollar store, #3 is a new bank and a dollar store and #4 is a house.  If you guess correctly you get bragging rights.  I don’t know about all of you but I’m giddy with anticipation to find out what’s going to be built. 

Ryan Graduation Video

Ryan Graduation 2019…..enjoy!

Ryan Graduation 2019

Round Ryan May 23 2019

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“Roy” said Rex Armstrong.

“Huh”, was my rather intelligent response.

 “The name of the barber you worked for, his name was Roy.”

 If I had ever heard his first name, I certainly don’t remember.  Thanks Rex.

 The American Legion had their family night with food, music and dancing.  There was a pretty good crowd and the music was enjoyable.  Thanks to Bill Roberson, Cary Gore, Gene Chesley and David Sorrell.  The music for the most part was what I would call classic country.  I heard songs Saturday night that I had not heard in a long time.  All four band members taking turns singing lead and especially memorable was Mr. Chesley’s comedic turn a’ la Ben Colder.  Ricky Martin cooked the burgers and hot dogs, he did a good job.  I don’t care what Santos says’ I like my burgers thick.  There was also a fifty/fifty drawing and of all people, Dustan Bryant won.

     On my list of favorite books has to include, “One Good Turn: A Natural History of the Screwdriver and the Screw” by Witold Rybczynski.  This is a very interesting book that is exactly what the title says.  The author, an architect, professor and writer was asked by  a magazine editor in 1999 to write a short essay on the most useful tool of the last 1000 years. Mr. Rybczynski took the job and produced a really interesting and fact filled book about the screwdriver and the screw.  I know the book sounds odd but this is definitely a case of not judging the book by its cover.  Another book on the list is “The Old Man and the Sea” by Ernest Hemingway.  This was the last major work of Mr. Hemingway to be published before his death.  Almost any of his writing could easily make the list, be they novels or short stories, but this is one of my favorite books.  As I age, this story seems to grow on me even more.  There were also a couple of good movie versions of this story.  The first starring Spencer Tracy and the other a made for television movie, starring Anthony Quinn.  Both fine actors, in truth I would probably pay to watch either of them read the phone book.

     One of the questions that I get as a reader.  What do you read?  The answer is almost anything.  I had a wonderful teacher, Ms. Cleta Rickard.  I did for the most part enjoy the part of her class that covered English Lit.  No matter what else, you were going to cover Chaucer.  Don’t ask me why but he bored me to tears.  Maybe I’ll give it another try.  The late Mrs. Rickard grew up in Ryan as Cleta Huskey.  That doesn’t have anything to do with boring old Mr. Chaucer, it’s just a little FYI.  I guess I approach my reading much as I do my writing.  I start out one place and often end up someplace completely different.  That may speak to a certain lack of direction, just don’t tell Curtis.

     I am writing this on Monday evening as the storms that have been brewing all day seem to be (knock on wood) passing us by.  For those not so fortunate, I hope you escaped unscathed.

     Until next week.

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