On The Bricks

May 8, 2020

It’s baseball season and those who love watching the game are missing it with the COVID19 quarantine. So, here’s my way to help you get through this if you’re missing baseball. Oklahoma baseball.

Johnny Lee Bench, born Dec. 7, 1947 is a former professional baseball catcher who played in the Major Leagues for the Cincinnati Reds from 1967 to 1983 and is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bench is a 14 – time All – Star selection and a two – time National League Most Valuable Player. He was a key member of the Big Red Machine that won six division titles, four National League pennants, and two consecutive World Series championships. Known for his prowess on both offense and defense, ESPN has called him the greatest catcher in baseball history.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Bench is one – eighth Choctaw; he played baseball and basketball and was class valedictorian at Binger – Oney High School in Binger. His father told him that the fastest route to becoming a major leaguer was as a catcher.

As a 17 – year – old, Bench was selected 36th overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round of the 1965 amateur draft, playing for the minor – league Buffalo Bisons in the 1966 and 1967 seasons before being called up to the Reds in August 1967. He hit only .163, but impressed many people with his defense and strong throwing arm.

During a 1968 spring training game, Bench was catching right – hander Jim Maloney, an eight – year veteran. Maloney was once a hard thrower, but injuries had dramatically reduced the speed of his fastball. Maloney nevertheless insisted on repeatedly “shaking off” his younger catcher by throwing fastballs instead of the breaking balls that Bench called. When an exasperated Bench bluntly told Maloney, “Your fastball’s not popping,” Maloney replied with an epithet. To prove to Maloney that his fastball was no longer effective, Bench called for a fastball, and after Maloney released the ball, Bench dropped his catcher’s mitt and caught the fastball barehanded. Bench was the Reds’ catcher on Apr. 30, 1969, when Maloney pitched a no hitter against the Houston Astros.

In 1968, in the 20 – year – old Bench’s first full season he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, batting .275 with 15 home runs and 82 RBIs. This marked the first time that the award had been won by a catcher. He also won the 1968 National League Gold Glove Award for catchers, which was the first time that the award had been won by a rookie. He made 102 assists in 1968, which marked the first time in 23 years that a catcher had more than 100 assists in a season.

During the 1960s, Bench served in the Army Reserve as a member of the 478th Engineer Battalion, based across the Ohio River from Cincinnati at Fort Thomas, Ken. This unit included several of his teammates, among them Pete Rose. In the winter of 1970 – 1971 he was part of Bob Hope‘s USO Tour of Vietnam.

For the last three seasons of his career, Bench moved out from behind the plate, catching only 13 games, while primarily becoming a corner infielder (first or third base). The Cincinnati Reds proclaimed Sept. 17, 1983, “Johnny Bench Night” at Riverfront Stadium, in which he hit his 389th and final home run, a line drive to left in the third inning before a record crowd. He retired at the end of the season at age 35.

Bench was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969. He was elected in his first year of eligibility, and appeared on 96% of the ballots, the third – highest percentage at that time. Three years earlier, Bench had been inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1986 and his uniform No. 5 was retired by the team. In 1989, he became the first individual baseball player to appear on a Wheaties box.

His post – baseball career has included television, radio, baseball commentating, and much more.

And for those who are missing the ballfields and watching the game, some great baseball movies you might want to watch are A League of their Own (Tom Hanks), Field of Dreams (Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones), Bull Durham (Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon), Sandlot (James Earl Jones), The Natural (Robert Redford, Kim Basinger), and Moneyball (Brad Pitt).

Trivia: An umpire at the first professional baseball game was given a six – cent fine for using profanity.

See you on the bricks and at the ball field soon!

On The Bricks

May 4, 2020

Nobody is more famous for being busy than the bee and the beaver. The Book of Bizarre Truth works out which is busiest.

In the course of its lifetime, a single worker bee will make 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey. This does not seem like much, but each bee is contributing to a hive that has teens of thousands of bees. Their combined effort adds up fast.

That same bee will leave the hive ten times a day; will travel up to a mile and a half from the hive on any one of these trips; and will carry about 113% of its own body weight in pollen and nectar every time it returns to the hive. At the end of the day, a worker bee will have transported 1,130% of it’s body weight. That’s a busy bee.

Beavers live in colonies of six to eight and build dams and the lodges where they live. A beaver’s productivity is dependent on its environment. The size of a dam depends on the number of beavers it houses. At night, the beavers leave the lodge and commence work on the dam, repairing damage incurred during the daylight hours and increasing the height of the dam if the water level appears to have risen.

A single beaver can fell a six – inch – diameter aspen tree in about 20 minutes. It then gnaws the tree into logs of a more manageable size and drags these logs back to the river. A beaver can transport a log weighing about 100% of its own body weight, but it often uses the river to aid in the wood gathering process by floating logs downstream toward the dam.

While beavers live longer (up to 15 years in the wild) and have a great effect on their environment (second only to humans), the winner in this productivity showdown seems to be the bee. A bee’s every action has a profound place in nature’s big picture.

Its true beavers work smart. They have the capacity to size up a river and design a dam according to depth, width, and the speed of the current. When they’re not working on the dam or the lodge, they are gathering food to store for the winter. But in terms of sheer productivity, based on their brief time on the earth, bees take the prize.

Over the course of 45 days, the summer life – span of a garden variety honeybee, a worker will move about 50,000% of its own weight in nectar and pollen. The worker bee spends its every waking moment dedicated to its job, all so other animals can steal the honey it produces.

          Famous Okie information: The official Oklahoma state insect is the honeybee.

          Just FYI: Honey was used to pay taxes in ancient Rome.

          More FYI: Bees have five eyes. There are three small eyes on the top of a bee’s head and two larger eyes in front.

          Loving these FYIs:  Honeybees can lay as many as 1,500 eggs in a single day.

          And yet more bee FYI: Newly hatched queen bees fight to the death to kill all other newly hatched, and unhatched, queens, until only one is left standing. There can only be one queen in a hive.

Keep going on your New Year’s resolutions: Cook more this year. It’s therapeutic and cost effective.

Made me laugh: You’re not completely useless. You can always serve as a bad example.

          See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

May 1, 2020

Some more information from The Book of Bizarre Truth says girls today have some freedom to be what they want to be when they grow up. It hasn’t always been that way, but some women didn’t let that stop them.

          Times were rough for women in the Wild West, so cracker – jack stagecoach driver Charley Parkhurst decided to live most of her life as a man. Born in 1812, Parkhurst lived well into her 60s. She is remembered to have been a hard – drinking, tobacco – chewing, one – eyed brute with a taste for adventure. She gave birth at one point, but the child died. She lived out the rest of her life pursuing her stagecoach career until she died in December 1879. It was then that her identity was revealed, much to the surprise of her friends.

          The life of James Berry, M.D., is proof positive that truth is often stranger than fiction. A vegetarian, teetotaler, and gifted doctor with skills ahead of his time (he performed one of the first successful cesarean sections while serving as a military surgeon), Dr. Barry was also quite possibly a female. If you lived in 19th – century Britain and happened to be a girl, you could kiss your dreams of being a surgeon goodbye. Barry, who real name may have been Miranda, allegedly assumed a male identity to become an army physician. Barry’s voice was high and he reportedly challenged those who made fun of it to a duel on the spot. When Barry died in 1865, the woman who was preparing the body for burial was said to be the first to discover his secret.

          Born in Missouri in the midst of slavery, Cathay Williams served as a house slave until Union soldiers freed her. The soldiers employed her after that, and she worked for them for a while before wanting to see more action firsthand. Since women weren’t allowed in the army, Williams dressed as a man to enlist. Of the approximately 5,000 black infantrymen and cavalry who served in the frontier army, William Cathay was the only woman to serve as a Buffalo Soldier (the name first given to members of the U.S. 10th Cavalry Regiment of the U.S. Army, and is now often used to refer to soldiers in any of the six black regiments that served). In 1868, Williams was examined by an army surgeon, who discovered her identity. She was discharged and retired to New Mexico, where she passed away at age 82.

          Famous Okie information: Born in Oklahoma in 1914, Dorothy Lucille Tipton was a gifted musician from the start. Her love of saxophone and the piano was bittersweet, as the school she was attending wouldn’t let girls play in the band. After escaping high school, Tipton decided to do whatever it took to pursue her passion. She started going by Billy, wore suits, and bound her chest with tape to create the illusion that she was one of the guys. It worked, and Tipton’s musical career was on its way. Tipton performed with some of the era’s jazz greats and even recorded an album with The Billy Tipton Trio. Tipton married a woman, adopted three sons, and was reportedly a good father. Tipton died in 1989, and it was then that her sons learned of their father’s hidden identity.

Keep going on your New Year’s resolutions: Reading is good for your brain. It can reduce stress and can improve your memory and concentration. You might add to your years resolutions to read a book a month.

Sage advice: In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present. ~Lao Tzu

Made me laugh: It takes real skills to choke on air, fall up the stairs, and trip over nothing. I have those skills.

          Stay safe. See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

April 28, 2020

          Rodeo and Oklahoma just go together. Some of the best cowboys in the world are Okies, including the Etbauers (in the Rodeo Hall of Fame) and Lathams who came to Oklahoma after high school and made Oklahoma their home. We are proud that Texas County is known as the Saddle Bronc Capitol of the World. And we’re all sure that Oklahoma Panhandle State University is the best rodeo college in the world.

          Now let’s talk about professional rodeo’s first million – dollar cowboy, Tom Ferguson. Also known as Old Bionic, Ferguson was born in Tahlequah, Okla., on Dec. 20, 1950. He moved to California at the age of three and later rode for the California Polytechnic State University rodeo team. The team took home multiple National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association championships, before Ferguson turned professional and returned to Miami, Oklahoma, in 1973. He joined the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA), which later renamed itself to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

          Darci Miller wrote an article about Ferguson two years ago that is worth repeating.

“Tom Ferguson’s reputation is unmatched. He won nine World Championships, which is the most all – time alongside Ty Murray and Casey Tibbs. Ferguson was the first cowboy to win more than $100,000 in a single season and $1 million in career earnings. He was the first to win six consecutive all – around titles (1974-79) and finished in the Top 15 in the world in two disciplines for eight years.

“Though he was known mostly for his prowess as a tie-down roper and steer wrestler, Ferguson was called rodeo’s best two – event man, Ferguson also competed in all of the timed events. He was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 1999.

“Ferguson won the honored with the Ty Murray Top Hand Award at the PBR’s annual Heroes and Legends Celebration in Las Vegas in 2018. 

Ferguson initially tried the more traditional high school sports until those dreams were swiftly – and bluntly – dashed.

“I liked playing baseball,” Ferguson told Ride TV’s Rob Smets. “One year I went out for high school sports, and the director out there said, ‘Son, you don’t have no size, speed or agility. You’re no athlete. You need to go do something else.’

“I should send him a Christmas card every year, but I lost his address.”

“Ferguson dove headfirst into his rodeo pursuits, competing locally in junior rodeos – there were no high school rodeos at the time,” wrote Miller. (He) “attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he competed in collegiate rodeo, winning the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association tie-down roping title in 1970 and the all-around title in 1971-72. Ferguson got his rookie PRCA card in 1972. His $100,000 season came in 1978. In 1982, he won more than $17,000 at the Houston Rodeo, which at the time was the most money ever won by any cowboy at a single rodeo.

“In 1986, he became the first cowboy to hit the career $1 million mark.

         “’It’s just a number,’ Ferguson said. ‘It’s a lot of money at that time. A pickup cost $5,000.’

“Ferguson may not be caught up in the dollars he won, but he was certainly determined to win every time he saddled up. He conditioned himself to think like a basketball player – they don’t make every shot, but don’t get caught up in their misses and modify their decisions to make the next one – and was always looking ahead to the next rodeo.

“In addition to his self-proclaimed hardheaded mindset, Ferguson was known for his work ethic. His practices were legendary and changed the game for the cowboys that came after him. They were organized and purposeful, with a goal of being perfect and not merely breaking a sweat and getting tired. He says people referred to him as Old Bionic because he didn’t make mistakes and he didn’t get tired.

“Though he was once told he wasn’t an athlete, he certainly trained like one.

“Retired since the late ‘80s, Ferguson … credits his father with instilling in him the desire to give back, harkening back to his Cherokee heritage and the kindhearted, giving ways of Native Americans.”

If you’re watching movies these days, the 1994 movie “8 Seconds,” is the story of Lane Frost, another Oklahoma cowboy. Frost was born Oct. 12, 1963. At the time of Lane’s birth, his parents lived in  Utah. His father was a saddle bronc and bareback rider. His mother, Elsie, went to stay with her parents in Kim, Colo., and he was born in the hospital in La Junta. The family later moved to Oklahoma and he attended Atoka High School. In Oklahoma, he was the National High School Bull Riding Champion in 1981. He was the Bull Riding Champion of the first Youth National Finals in 1982.

He was the 1987 PRCA World Champion and a 1990 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee. He was the only rider to score qualified rides from the 1987 World Champion and 1990 ProRodeo Hall of Fame bull Red Rock. He died in the arena at the 1989 Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo as a result of injuries sustained when the bull Takin’ Care of Business struck him after the ride.

Netflix had a limited series in 2016 that you can watch about bull riding called “Fearless.”

Rodeo is an important part of Oklahoma and Texas County. Goodwell is the home of OPSU that draws in the finest college rodeo contestants in the world and Guymon is the home of the Pioneer Day Rodeo (which is also in the Rodeo Hall of Fame), one of North America’s best outdoor PRCA rodeos. Normally the Pioneer Day Rodeo happens the first weekend in May, but with the virus it has been moved to mid – August for 2020.

See you in the arena soon!

On The Bricks

April 23, 2020

          Before the advent of modern medicine, there were some pretty wild treatments used on patients according to The Book of Bizarre Truths. The leech, a wormlike parasite, was thought to alleviate a vast number of ailments as it grew fat on a sick person’s blood.

          Thankfully, contemporary doctors don’t use leeches as a cure all blood drainer like the ancient Greeks and Egyptians and the medieval Europeans did. Today they’re used primarily to help patients recover from major reconstructive surgery. As tissue reforms following a skin graft, blood often drains abnormally, which can lead to swelling. The blood vessels in the ears and other delicate body parts are especially prone to clots that can kill the recovering tissue.

          Leeches are a viable solution to these problems because they can drain blood, and their saliva contains more than 30 different proteins that keep blood flowing, numb pain, and reduce swelling. The amazing truth is, they are more effective at these treatments than any alternative that has been tried by modern medical practitioners.

          Meanwhile, the maggot, the larval form of the blowfly, is still used to treat serious wounds that are infected or gangrenous. Maggots feed on the dead tissue which effectively cleans the wound and arrests infection, allowing the damaged tissue beneath to heal. The maggots’ secret weapon, a secretion of enzymes that turn dead tissue into a digestible mush, is known to help wounds that have resisted all other treatments.

          The maggot procedure is an ordeal. Hundreds of the wriggling insects are applied to the wound and covered with a bandage. After a couple of days, the well-fed maggots are removed and replaced with a hungry group and the process is repeated until the wound is healed.

Famous Okie information: William Bernhardt of Tulsa, Okla., was born in 1960 and is an American suspense fiction author best known for his “Ben Kincaid” series of books. He has sold more than 10 million books throughout the world. He has been nominated for the Oklahoma Book Award 17 times in three categories (Fiction, Poetry, and Young Adult) and has twice won, in 1995 and 1999. In 1998 he received the Southern Writers Guild’s Gold Medal Award. In 2000, he was honored with the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award, which is given “in recognition of an outstanding body of work that has profoundly influenced the way in which we understand ourselves and American society at large.” That same year, he was presented with a Career Achievement Award at the 2000 Booklovers Convention in Houston. He has also been inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. In 2009, he received the Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award, making him the only author to receive both the Davis and the Cobb Distinguished Author awards. His poetry has received two Pushcart Prize nominations and an Oklahoma Book Award nomination.

A former trial attorney, Bernhardt has received several awards for his pro bono work and public service. In 1994, Barrister Magazine named him one of the top 25 young lawyers in America. He lives in Tulsa with his wife, Lara Bernhardt, the novelist (The Wantland Files) and audiobook narrator, and their children. On Oct. 10, 2013, Bernhardt became a Jeopardy! champion, fulfilling a lifelong dream of appearing on that quiz show.

Keep going on New Year’s resolutions: Be an avid sunscreen wearer. The sun can do damage even when you’re in the car. Make SPF your new best friend!

Made me laugh: I broke my finger last week. On the other hand, I’m OK.

See you on the bricks, soon! Stay safe.

On The Bricks

April 22, 2020

          Finished reading a great book today and in the conversation (it’s a fiction novel) one male character says, “All the suffering that is in the world arises from wishing ourselves to be happy. All the happiness there is in the world arises from wishing others to be happy.” It’s an interesting way to consider happiness.

          Another part of this book, Max says, “I’ve always been attracted to people’s imperfections.”

          Nora laughs and says, “Like what?”

          “Like Charlie’s eyebrows, how they don’t grow in one direction. Or the scar on Fern’s forehead.”

          “Her dad dropped her when she was a baby.”

          “Or the way the developer’s ears stick out –”

          “And they are always burning red.”

          “Yes, exactly. And your sister’s teeth. I fell in love with her the minute I saw her overbite. And the way those two little teeth on the bottom lean toward each other.”

          “Doesn’t that just mean someone couldn’t afford an orthodontist?”

          “It means they’re human.” Max shrugged. “I’m more interested in what a person thinks and feels anyway, but if we have to look like something, which we do, I’d rather look at someone whose fac shows they’ve lived a little. That they’ve struggled a little. The people who look super smooth, they look ….”


          Max laughed. “Sometimes. I always wonder what they’re trying to hide. We’re all suffering. I guess I just relate to people who are willing to share more of themselves.”

          Max was one of my favorite characters in the book. I liked things he said. I wonder what Max would have said about the Corona Quarantine. On the virus subject, there are some funny things being said on facebook these days. Here’s three of my favorites that address the closing of beauty salons:

          “We are about three weeks away from finding out what everyone’s real hair color is.”

          And the one, “In eight weeks, 88% of blondes will disappear from the earth.”

          And even better, “I had the worst pedicure today in my life. First, she was rude. She didn’t know what she was doing. She made my cuticles bleed and I have nail polish everywhere. I am never going back to myself again for a pedicure.”

          When our lives get a bit of a change, it is always best to keep a sense of humor about us.

          Trivia: It is sad to grow old, but nice to ripen. ~Brigitte Bardot

Think on it: Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Famous Okie information: Speaking of humor, comedian Dan Rowan was featured in the television show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, where he played straight man to Dick Martin and won the 1969 Emmy for Outstanding Variety or Musical Series.

Rowan was born on July 22, 1922, on a carnival train near the small town of Beggs, Okla., as Daniel Hale David. He toured with his parents, who performed a singing and dancing act with the carnival.

He was orphaned at the age of 11, spent four years at the McClelland Home in Pueblo, Colo., and then was taken in by a foster family at the age of 16. After graduating from high school in 1940, he hitchhiked to Los Angeles and found a job in the mailroom at Paramount Pictures. A year later he became Paramount’s youngest staff writer.

During World War II, Rowan served as a fighter pilot in the 8th Fighter Squadron49th Fighter Group United States Army Air Forces. His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart. After his discharge, Rowan returned to California, where he teamed up with Dick Martin and started a comedy nightclub act. The team had appeared on television before, but it was not until the critical success of a summer special in 1967 that they found fame on Laugh-In.

He died on Sept. 22, 1987.

Keep going on New Year’s resolutions: Be kind on social media.

Good advice: “Books. They are lined up on shelves or stacked on a table. There they are wrapped up in their jackets, lines of neat print on nicely bound pages. They look like such orderly, static things. Then you, the reader come along. You open the book jacket, and it can be like opening the gates to an unknown city, or opening the lid of a treasure chest. You read the first word and you’re off on a journey of exploration and discover.” ~David Almond

Made me laugh: You can only be young once, but you can be immature forever. ~Dave Berry

See you on the bricks soon. Stay safe.

On The Bricks

April 17, 2020

          “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,” says Max Ehrmann in Desiderata: A Poem for a Way of Life, “and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

          “Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love – for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennials as the grass.

          “Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you from misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

          “Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.”

          Famous Okie information: Oklahoma has four mountain ranges including the Ouachitas, Arbuckles, Wichitas, and the Kiamichis.

Keep going on Your New Years resolutions: Drink more water. The body needs it and 75% of us are chronically dehydrated.

Made me laugh: It sucks when I read read as read and not read, so I have to re-read as read so I can read read correctly and it can make sense.

          See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

April 10, 2020

Today, “Typhoid Mary” is a colloquial term for anyone who, knowingly or not, spreads disease or some other undesirable thing.

The real Typhoid Mary was Mary Mallon, born Sept. 23, 1869 in CookstownCounty Tyrone, in what is now Northern Ireland. She migrated to the United States in 1883 or 1884. She lived with her aunt and uncle for a time and found work as a cook for affluent families. She is believed to have infected 51 people, three of whom died, with typhoid fever, and is the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the disease.

An asymptomatic carrier is a person or other organism that has become infected with a pathogen, but that displays no signs or symptoms. Although unaffected by the pathogen, carriers can transmit it to others or develop symptoms in later stages of the disease.

Because Mary persisted in working as a cook, by which she exposed others to the disease, she was twice forcibly isolated by authorities, and died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.

From 1900 to 1907, Mallon worked as a cook in the New York City area for seven families. In 1900, she worked in Mamaroneck, New York, where, within two weeks of her employment, residents developed typhoid fever. In 1901, she moved to Manhattan, where members of the family for whom she worked developed fevers and diarrhea, and the laundress died. Mallon then went to work for a lawyer and left after seven of the eight people in that household became ill.

In August 1906, Mallon took a position in Oyster Bay, Long Island, and within two weeks 10 of the 11 family members were hospitalized with typhoid.] She changed jobs again, and similar occurrences happened in three more households. She worked as a cook for the family of a wealthy New York banker, Charles Henry Warren. When the Warrens rented a house in Oyster Bay for the summer of 1906, Mallon went along. From August 27 to September 3, six of the 11 people in the family came down with typhoid fever. The disease at that time was “unusual” in Oyster Bay, according to three medical doctors who practiced there. Mallon was subsequently hired by other families, and outbreaks followed her.

In late 1906, one family hired a typhoid researcher named George Soper to investigate. Soper published the results on June 15, 1907, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. He believed Mallon might have been the source of the outbreak. 

Soper discovered that a female Irish cook, who fit the physical description he was given, was involved in all the outbreaks. He was unable to locate her because she generally left after an outbreak began, without giving a forwarding address. Soper learned of an active outbreak in a penthouse on Park Avenue and discovered Mallon was the cook. Two of the household’s servants were hospitalized, and the daughter of the family died of typhoid.

When Soper approached Mallon about her possible role in spreading typhoid, she adamantly rejected his request for urine and stool samples. Since Mallon refused to give samples, he decided to compile a five – year history of Mallon’s employment. Soper found that of the eight families that hired Mallon as a cook, members of seven claimed to have contracted typhoid fever. On his next visit, he took another doctor with him but again was turned away. During a later encounter when Mallon was herself hospitalized, he told her he would write a book and give her all the royalties. She angrily rejected his proposal and locked herself in the bathroom until he left.

The New York City Health Inspector determined Mary was a carrier and she was held in isolation for three years at a clinic located on North Brother Island.

In prison, she was forced to give stool and urine samples. Authorities suggested removing her gallbladder because they believed typhoid bacteria resided there. However, she refused as she did not believe she carried the disease. She was also unwilling to cease working as a cook.

Mallon attracted so much media attention that she was called “Typhoid Mary” in a 1908 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Eventually, Eugene H. Porter, the New York State Commissioner of Health, decided that disease carriers should no longer be kept in isolation and that Mallon could be freed if she agreed to stop working as a cook and take reasonable steps to prevent transmitting typhoid to others. On February 19, 1910, Mallon agreed that she was “prepared to change her occupation (that of a cook), and would give assurance by affidavit that she would upon her release take such hygienic precautions as would protect those with whom she came in contact, from infection.” She was released from quarantine and returned to the mainland.

Upon her release, Mallon was given a job as a laundress, which paid less than cooking. After several unsuccessful years of working as a laundress, she changed her name to Mary Brown and returned to her former occupation. For the next five years, she worked in a number of kitchens; wherever she worked, there were outbreaks of typhoid. However, she changed jobs frequently, and Soper was unable to find her.

In 1915, Mallon started another major outbreak, this time at Sloane Hospital for Women in New York City. Twenty-five people were infected, and two died. She again left, but the police found and arrested her. Health authorities returned her to quarantine on North Brother Island on March 27, 1915. She was still unwilling to have her gallbladder removed.

Mallon spent the rest of her life in quarantine at the Riverside Hospital. Six years before her death, she was paralyzed by a stroke. On November 11, 1938, she died of pneumonia at age 69. A post – mortem found evidence of live typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder

George Soper wrote however, “There was no autopsy”, a claim cited by other researchers to assert a conspiracy to calm public opinion after her death. Mallon’s body was cremated, and her ashes buried at Saint Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx.

Among the infections Mallon caused, at least three deaths were attributed to her; however, because of her use of aliases and refusal to cooperate, the exact number is not known. Some have estimated that she may have caused 50 fatalities.

Other healthy typhoid carriers identified in the first quarter of the 20th century include Tony Labella, an Italian immigrant, presumed to have caused over 100 cases (with five deaths); an Adirondack guide dubbed “Typhoid John”, presumed to have infected 36 people (with two deaths); and Alphonse Cotils, a restaurateur and bakery owner.

          Good advice: “’I’m bored’ is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say ‘I’m bored’.” ~ American Comedian Louis C.K.

          See you on the bricks soon.

On The Bricks

April 7, 2020

          The Corona virus has changed the days into something very different from our norm, for most people. The busy, constantly moving days have slowed down, whether that’s what we wanted or not. Those who live with their children are seeing their children much more. Those who don’t live with their children are not able to see them.

          For those who are home with their kids, try to take the time to say the things to them that you need to. You will never have another chance like you do now. These days could be the greatest gift you’ll have in your lifetime in that way.

          William Martin wrote Ancient Advice for Modern Parents that might be a good read for you.

          “Do not ask your children to strive for extraordinary lives. Such striving may seem admirable, but it is the way of foolishness. Help them instead to find the wonder and the marvel of an ordinary life. Show them the joy of tasting tomatoes, apples, and pears. Show them how to cry when pets and people die. Show them the infinite pleasure in the touch of a hand. And make the ordinary come alive for them. The extraordinary will take care of itself.”

          I love the stories of people who are taking this time of COVID19, reaching out and making the ordinary come alive.

          Yesterday my daughter dropped a delicious lunch off at my house. Knowing that she cared enough to share her lunch with me gave me joy. Then my friend, Marissa Hernandez, brought me home – made chili rellanoes for supper. She dropped it off and when I was eating it, here at my house during the quarantine, I felt the love of sharing between friends. Simple things, but so much more.

          Shanae Messer, a young mother in Gruver posted about the Front Porch Project on her facebook page. “We are living through a time that will be talked about forever. This is a part of history that you will tell your children and grandchildren, and them theirs. I’d love to be able to provide a few images for you to look back on and share while you are telling your stories.

          “This evening between 6:30 and 7:30 pm, I’m going to drive around Gruver and snap a few front porch images of families from the curb, while practicing social distancing. If you would like to participate, message me your address and telephone number. Nothing fancy – you can be in your pjs, dressed casually, or dress up if you want!

          “No session fee but I do ask that if you are able, make a donation to a local charity or cause. I’ve listed some below that I’m aware of:

          “To Bartlett’s (Hardware and Lumber Store) for filters for masks that Gyene Spivey and other ladies are making.

          “Neighbors Grocery Store account they have for monetary donations to help those in need with grocery costs and also gift cards.

          “United Way Amarillo COVID Response.

          “High Plains Food Bank.”

          My daughter Lisa Schulz and her family have the coolest front porch photo from that evening.

          And last Friday my daughter Missy Cartwright texted me to go out on my porch and watch the cars going up and down Main Street of Texhoma, honking and socializing while safely staying in their own cars. They called it the Corona Cruise and 50 cars of people from just driving age to 70 years old participated. The 70 – year – olds knew all about dragging Main. It was a time of sharing our expertise.

I think they’re going to make the Corona Cruise happen again. That’s fun.

          I sit at my dining room table, working from home, and I remember all those mornings that I wished I could stay home and not go into the office. That wish has come true. Now I need to make sure I appreciate this opportunity and use it for good things.

          My prayer is that we all find ourselves appreciating today and doing what we need to do with a humble heart.

          Famous Okie information: Maybe you would like to take the opportunity to read a book by an Oklahoma author. Suggestions to choose from include Ralph Ellison, Tony Hillerman, S.E. Hinton, Louis L’Amour, Billie Letts, Tracy Letts, or N. Scott Momaday. They have written some great books!

Keep Going on Your New Years Resolutions: Today will never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Encourage someone. Take time to care. Let your words heal, and not wound.

Made me laugh: My kids accused me of being immature. I told them to get out of my fort.

          See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

April 1, 2020

          It’s 3:41 in the afternoon and I have just received four invitations to conference calls in the last 15 minutes. Honestly, it seems as if everyone wants to make sure I am aware that they’re aware and they’re all running around in circles so you won’t think they’re not working while they’re quarantined at home.

          The first week it was constant emails that seemed to tell the same things. I get them from the politicians offices, from the Department of Commerce, from several of the regional economic development folks, the State Chamber (that was one that was forwarded from someone that wasn’t in Guymon), the state Main Street office, and the national Main Street office. There might be good information in them, but I certainly don’t read them all. It would take four hours a day to just read them.

          One was a “great way to help your small – town businesses” and I forwarded that on to my business members and then I tried to do it … and I tried again … and I tried again. Then I wished I had deleted it before I ever read it and hoped that my business members didn’t waste their time on it as well.

          This is a difficult time for many and I do not downplay the importance of sharing good information, but I feel the need to tell some people to please hush that seem to just be making more work for me and for themselves.

          After receiving a request to be on a conference call in two days from the Oklahoma Main Street office, I emailed and asked what the call was for. And there was a good reason I asked because I had a previous request for a conference call at that time. Answer to my email, was basically so we can keep in touch and one another can answer everyone’s question. My question, “When will you please leave me alone so I can get some work done?” Pretty sure they don’t want me to be asking my question.

          Had a request from the City of Guymon’s Sheila Martin for a conference call. She gives me hope that my cynical attitude and sarcasm isn’t taking over my life … she actually has a topic that we need to make decisions on and give suggestions to one another. Yes, real things! Thank you, Sheila, for giving me hope in these days of lots of bs and in this time wasting one another’s time to justify our own existence.

          What I love hearing about is how our neighbors are helping one another … not telling us how they care, but showing how they care about this community. I love the way some of the business owners are being creative in getting business. I love having a chance to get to some work that I have wanted to explore for a long time. And I love the volunteers that are saying, when the ban is lifted, they’ll help me see these programs happen.

Okie information: In Ponca City, a tornado once picked up a house with a man and his wife still in it. Though the walls and roof were blown away, the floor remained intact and eventually glided downward, setting the couple safely back on the ground.

Working to keep those New Years resolutions going: Volunteer more. Not only is volunteering good for your own mental and physical health, but you’re doing something kind and selfless for others.

Made me laugh: Someone stole my Microsoft Office and they’re going to pay. You have my Word.

          See you on the bricks soon!