On The Bricks

March 10, 2014

The runners who braved the cold last Saturday for the Livin’ Green Race had my total admiration. They were there with lots of layers of clothes, smiles, and healthy attitudes. I wasn’t aware of a snarky one in the bunch. Makes me wonder if healthy people are also nicer.

The volunteers who come out to work the race are also unbelievable. They give a Saturday morning away to volunteer and even have to get up and brave the weather, too. Many of the same have been helping for the past three years and when that happens it just runs like clockwork.

But nobody works as hard are Myrene Johnson. She is there before the sun is up helping Rick Roberts put up street barricades, set up cones, do this and do that … much of really physical labor. And she’s cracking jokes the entire time. She came through the office where Terry Brand and I were that morning, Myrene makes a joke and they run on. Terry and I look at one another and Terry says, “Myrene is just wooooonderful.” I had to agree.

So, thanks! If you were there volunteering, you were so appreciated. If you were there running, you are thanked. If you paid a registration fee and didn’t come, you are being thanked. If you were someone that gave to the goodie bags or sponsored in some other way, good on you. If you didn’t do any of these things, I hope you were having a good Saturday, too!

Recently a friend was talking about a funeral she attended. The young lady who died had a father and mother and a step – father. Her mother and step – father were divorced by the time she was married and contacted cancer. The step – father is the one who raised her. The step – father is the one who was there for her when she was sick. Her mother and her husband were her rocks, it seems, as it should be. The father didn’t arrive before his daughter had died. The step – father was there in plenty of time to be with her and her family during the terrible time.

God bless each and every one of you step parents that treats your children well. Children do not have a say in marriages and divorces, but it is their lives that we affect. Thank you for not making life traumatic for the children you chose to make and have.

Recently read this quote on Karri Behne’s facebook page: “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

Be strong.

Saturday is a Color Run, sponsored by the Guymon High School Student Council. I don’t have any of the specifics, but you can call Jennifer Reynolds there at the school if you have questions.

Scrapbooking and Card Making are at The Studio at 3rd and Roosevelt. Be sure to call Denise Gebara at 806-339-4851 to learn more. You can go anytime between 9 am and 5 pm. They have a wonderful time!

The Gaggle of Geeks meets Saturday from 1 – 3 pm. Not sure what is on the geekly agenda, but it will be enjoyable, I’m sure.

The Dementia Support Group meets from 4 – 5 pm at the Main Street Guymon office, 116 NE 5th Street. Anyone who is having to deal with dementia in their family and would like to learn more, please attend. The group is led by Dorothy Countryman, who can be reached at 338-4547.

The Healthy Cooking Class taught by Mary Snead is from 5:30 – 6:30 at the Main Street Guymon office. It is $5 to attend and everyone is welcome.

Saturday ends with a Country and Western Dance at the No Man’s Land Center starting at 8 pm. The band is Cottonwood. For more information on this, call Leita Andvik at 338-7216.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

March 6, 2014

Martin Hernandez came in the office today. I think he probably makes several people feel better about the world every day of his life. He just has that wonderful attitude. He made mine, I know. And if his daughter, Haven, knew the kind and sweet things he was saying about her, he would make her day too.

There isn’t much better than parents who really care for and love their children, is there?

I’ve heard Shawn Hanson, CEO of PTCI, give several programs recently. The person who really cares for and wants the best for the company they work for or own is another excellent thing to treasure. Shawn wanted no introduction before the programs because he seemed to consider the information in the program of importance, not who he is, what he’s done, and all that fluff. The program was interesting and Shawn was humble and smart the whole time. I don’t know diddley squat about cell phones (can’t even figure out how to unlock an old text), but I enjoyed the program. And I’ve heard how his employees speak so highly of him.

There isn’t much better than a boss who really cares and loves their business and employees, is there?

Recently there has been a little drama in my life. I hate drama. I dislike being around people who have or cause drama. I’ve been that person a bit lately and I have to say I still have friends who will come and see me, listen and cheer me up.

There isn’t much better than a friend who really cares and loves their friend even when the friend is being a bit of trouble, is there?

In the past week I visited two new Main Street Guymon members. Maria Vega at Nuestra Trienna, north of the 4th Street and Hwy 54 intersection. I call it the old Saratoga building. Dates me, doesn’t it? That is a wonderful market! Everything is so nice and clean. Great meat market and fresh veggies and fruits. The best part are the murals being painted inside. Loved them. So if you’re needing groceries, you can try there.

The other business is La Victoria’s, which is on the south side of the same intersection. Victoria’s is a small market and they also have meat for sale and all sorts of things. They are really friendly.

Take a drive down and visit these stores. Tell them how glad we are that we have new businesses in Guymon!

If you have ever met Arlene Winfrey, you’ll remember her. The lady has a sense of humor that just makes you grin. She is a little outrageous. Well, on her emails she has this quote, “Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

See you on the bricks … asking “why not?”

On The Bricks

March 3, 2014

Let me tell you a little story.

Last week my grandson Croz and I attended the OPSU basketball game in Goodwell. After the game the OPSU Center Tavien Rosemond, who is 6’7”, met the short first grader Croz. Tavien hollered for a basketball and proceeded to hold the little guy up so he could “dunk.”

This brought such wonderful memories back of Croz’s mother, Missy, being held up to “dunk” the ball when she was about the same age. Memories like that just give a good feeling in your heart, you know?

OPSU basketball guard, Krys Randolph, made the comment, “That little guy will remember that forever.” I know he will. His mama did.

In fact, Croz brought his best friend Ethan to the next game on Saturday so Ethan could meet “his new best buddy.” Croz waited on the floor for Tavien, but neither of us saw that he was waiting, so by the time Croz came to the other end of the court Tavien was gone.

Croz was so disappointed.

So OPSU forward Bill Lee called Tavien up and told him that his little dunking friend was there to see him. Tavien had already changed clothes and was home. But he came back to the gym so his new little friend could see him.

Those basketball players had an exciting, hard playing game on Saturday afternoon. And they came away short on the points. But I would never call them anything but winners. When your last game, and your loss, are set aside so you can make a little person happy, you’re nothing but a winner.

Didn’t get to go to all the games, but I thoroughly enjoyed each one that was able to go to. They’re fun and they’re exciting.

All of the interaction started because Main Street Guymon and the Chamber of Commerce worked together to have a “Lunch with an Aggie” during the Christmas break for the basketball teams. We invited the public and had a lunch with the players. That’s when I met them. And that little bit of community helping from everyone works to build relationships. And relationships are the basis of getting things done and doing good things.

I love the OPSU athletes and their coaches. They bring fun things to attend. They bring visitors whenever their parents or others come to town. They bring future people who have a tie to the Panhandle, many who choose to stay here. And they can bring happiness to little guys like Croz and Ethan.

Each time I attended a game, the coaches greeted me and made me feel special. They were so polite. You and I know that I did little, but I gained much.

For one thing, I am a member of the Rotary and were it not for those OPSU basketball players, golfers, and football players we could not pull off the Pioneer Day Rotary BBQ without painkillers. They come and pitch in to get ready, to serve, and to clean up.

So, my hat is off to those coaches that are helping these players the importance of community and to each and every one of the players that helps, and especially to those who do it with a smile.

I’m proud of you. I’m lucky to know you.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

February 21, 2014

There are times that a person is just overwhelmed by the kindness and care others show them. This week is one of those weeks.

The Main Street Guymon Awards Evening took place on Tuesday and as I sat there and looked at the people sitting at the tables, I was humbled. There are folks who are continually doing good things for others, who are taking care of their business without complaining, and stepping up over and over to make Guymon a better place to be. Most of them are involved in Main Street projects, but many of them are working outside of our projects. But they’re working. And we’re all benefitting.

The Shutterbugs sat together and visiting, fiddling with their cameras and they made me smile. Cripes, Arlene Winfrey always makes me smile. She’s a hoot.

Brown and Associates people had dressed up in the jungle theme and just added great to the evening.

A bunch of the mobsters were there. Love seeing them. Love shopping with them. Love how they put into action “shop local.” They’re fun.

Very deserving people received awards. Other deserving ones didn’t, but I bet they will sometime or in some other way. Or maybe just being a doer is award enough for them.

One of the groups that didn’t receive an award, but who are so deserving of accolades is the Alma Folklorica Dancers. The day before they came in and decorated. They did it in less than two hours. How is it that high school kids give their time and energy to help like that? Then they tore down. Yes, I sat in my chair and talked with out – of – town guests while the Alma and some other volunteers tore down the decorations. They even made sure they went to the right places. It took them about 30 minutes. No kidding.

A former Alma dancer also bought a ticket and came … and stayed and tore down. Yes, the Alma buy tickets to the banquet. And they work and work and work. They are a smooth working machine.

Teri Mora, you are doing a wonderful job in teaching the Alma how to be better people and better citizens in addition to being better dancers. I love you for it and I am blessed every time I get to work with you guys. And every time I see a grown Alma and get a hug from them. You guys enrich my life and I believe you do many others, too.

I loved our Jungle Party on Tuesday night. And I love and appreciate all of you who took the time to come out and support Main Street and it’s projects. Thank you for loving your town and caring.

By the way, Virgil Gibson cooked mango / almond slaw, sweet chili cucumber seaweed salad, fried plaintains, teriyaki chicken on a bed of monkey brains and wrapped in a banana leaf, crab stuffed zucchini, Jamaican pigeon peas and rice, potato rolls, coconut cupcakes with banana ginger filling. It was a jungle paradise!

To each and every one of you, may the rains sweep gentle across your fields. May the sun warm the land. May every good seed you have planted bear fruit. And late summer find you standing in fields of plenty.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

February 14, 2014

The first Eggs and Issues was held at the Ambassador Restaurant. These are a great opportunity to learn more of what is happening downstate at the Capitol. Usually our senator and representative come and give an update. It is also a time you can ask questions and air concerns. How much more effective is that than the complaining at the coffee shop or beauty shop or wherever else we all go to whine?

Not only do you have a chance to do all those great things at this Chamber activity, but a full breakfast is also provided. The first meeting Apollo MedFlight sponsored the food. They are an air ambulance provider that is based in Guymon. They have the fastest medical flight care available in the area with a medical crew, pilot and plan located here in our own town.

“Apollo has invested in the community programs that are important to the area such as Eggs and Issues,” says Program Director Brandon Leasure. You can learn more about them at

Something fun that is coming up in the community is a gathering of oral histories from regional cowboys. We need some to help do the interviews. You don’t have to be a professional, just someone interested and willing. There is a training for interviewers on Fri., Mar. 7, from 4 to 5 pm at the Main Street Guymon office, 116 NE 5th Street. Call 338-6246 if you have questions.

Recently at a training it was taught that for children they need six positive interactions (ie. “Good job”) for one negative. While the trainer said this, I thought to myself that it is the same for an adult. Realizing that what we say is a negative or a positive and paying attention to how many you say has been rather enlightening for me. Judge your words. See how you come out on that. And telling someone what they should do is not a positive. I promise. Might be our intention, but it does not go on the positive side. So, me telling you to go to Eggs and Issues does not count. Darn.

They also said kids need you to be safe, be kind, be honest, be respectful, and be responsible. Once again, I think these are great goals and not just for the kids around us, but also for the adults. We fail over and over. But we need to pick ourselves up and improve. Let’s all improve this week!

You also have a chance to improve your photography skills with a Digital Photography class being offered through the OPSU Guymon Classroom. My printout doesn’t show all the dates, but the first day is Feb. 25. You can call OPSU Guymon Classroom at 338-1380 for more information.

And let this Irish blessing follow you as you are on the bricks: May your day be touched by a bit of Irish luck, brightened by a song in your heart, and warmed by the smiles of the people you love.

On The Bricks

February 13, 2014

Appreciate. We should never be too tired, too busy, or too into ourselves to not appreciate all the good things around us. That doesn’t mean that you don’t know and see some not so good things, but we need to emphasize the good over the bad.

Recently a girl came over to the house to visit with the little girl staying with me. I heard my little girl ask her, “Want to see my new shirts?” We need to enjoy when we have something. Don’t just expect them, enjoy them. Appreciate them.

Had a visitor in my office and the conversation turned to Mark Wescoatt and his work with the Burmese folks. The visitor said, “He works his tail off …” You have to appreciate those that give and give for the betterment of others.

Another person came by and was talking about how good of a guy Jim Quimby is. He and his wife do so much for the community. Yes, some of it is probably considered part of their job, but they go waaaaay beyond that. And, as she said, “He’s just such a nice guy …..”

Oh, wow, start thinking about those we should appreciate and Gail Parsley is another that is so underappreciated. Her work (and I know she always talks about her volunteers doing so much, too) at Loaves and Fishes is amazing and wonderful.

Then there are those business owners that are jewels when you’re planning something. I can’t say enough good about partnering with Dave and Michael Davis at the Pub. And I love how they tell you just what they think, so there isn’t any pussy footing around and no complaining when you leave the room. For Michael he just complains to pick on me. It’s all in fun. Or I think it is.

I appreciate all the Cash Mobbers and Mystery Shoppers and other volunteers at Main Street Guymon. What a fabulous group of people! And they’re not doing it to get a pat on the back, they’re just helping. God bless each and every one of you guys.

Arlene Winfrey makes a meeting fun and she gathers folks around and has them all having fun before they know what’s happened! I love people who have this gift. I appreciate Arlene and I know I’m not the only one.

This week I saw Mary Blagg. Holy Toledo, what a sweet person she is. She makes me just feel all good inside because she has enough nice to share. There are not enough people like Mary.

Tom Davis walked in to my office this week. We talked about what he needed to know with an event in May and then he got to hear what I had to share. I treated him like a therapist. “We’ll put that in our prayers, Melyn.” And I believe he and Nancy have. And if I was God, I would pay attention to what they said!

We recently filmed another “On the Bricks” TV show and I think about all those that have come in and helped by being on it. So many of them were uncomfortable, but they still did it. Showed up on time and took part. Great people, every one of them. And Shawn Barbaree with PTCI is so patient with us! Sometimes he raises his eyebrows, especially when Jada Breeden and I start our bantering back and forth. More of those great folks to work with.

So who do you appreciate?

Who always has a smile? Who seems to show up when you need someone? Who is the one that is so dependable and happy that they just get forgotten sometimes? What do you have that you have been taking for granted and not given a thought to how wonderful it is that you have it?

Remember them today. Appreciate them.

And do something for someone to be appreciated. Sounds easy and can be, but if you’re not in the habit, it can be daunting. We can all do a better job of it!

I appreciate the Guymon Daily Herald for putting up with me on having this column.

I appreciate those of you who take the time to read it.

Know you’re a hero today.

And I’ll see you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 28, 2014

This morning my ear feels cauliflowered. After being on hold for over an hour with the Social Security folks, I believe that I have someone new to be disgusted with. Yes, I took it personal. Helps a lot, doesn’t it? Right.

First disgust is that they want me to drive to the nearest Social Security office to get my card. That is five hours of driving (back and forth between Texhoma and Pampa, Texas) and no telling how long you would wait at the office. So, it would entail taking a day off work. Another day. I don’t think that’s likely.

So, I can send in my application and a form of ID. That could be my driver’s license or my passport. But not a copy of them. So, I could either be driving illegal till the people that have you on hold for over an hour get your license back or I can send my passport. Which I’m sure Homeland Security loves that going on.

At this point I’m thinking these folks are the monsters that we used to imagine under our bed.

So, enough of the soap box.

Speaking of monsters, if your kids are scared of monsters in their room when they go to bed (or whenever), just get a can of spray disinfectant and tape a paper that says MONSTER DESTROYER on it and go for those monsters. Nothing like being a hero. You can kill monsters and germs at the same time.

Main Street Guymon’s awards banquet (actually more of a party than a dress up banquet) is on Feb. 18at 6 pm. Would love to have you come. We honor those who have done exceptional things the past year and we love giving back to many of our volunteers. Tickets are $25 and it’s great Virgil Gibson food! And I promise you’ll be out before 7:30 pm. Come by the office and get a ticket or buy one at the door. We’d love to see you there.

In January we had the Cash Mob at Wirtz Lumber. It was a great shop and the mobsters had lots of fun. You should consider becoming a mobster. If you need a little retail therapy (you will need some sort of therapy after dealing with the social security people, I promise), join us! Support shopping local. Support Main Street Guymon members. Support having fun!

After the shop at Wirtz, my mind was all full of the fun and what I’d gotten and the laughing and …. And ….. well, at the stop sign, I just didn’t stop. But the car that had the right of way did. Good going for them! What a ditz I am. No wonder I can’t let my license go in the mail to those Social Security folks! I certainly may need it with the way I drive! I might not always be so lucky to pull out in front of a driver who is paying attention.

And for everyone, “If God sends you down a stony path, may He give you strong shoes.” And if he doesn’t, you can buy some when we cash mob!

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 27, 2014

Got a letter in the mail recently that said, “On your application for absentee ballots you identified a residence address that did not match with the voter registration address that we have on file. Please review the listed address below. If the address is incorrect, please fill out the voter application form provided and return ….” You get the drift. And they mailed this letter to the address in question. That I should correct if it was incorrect.

How would I have received the letter sent to an incorrect address?

Some things are just too funny.

Bob Burger with Opportunities Inc. has coats from the Keep ‘Em Warm program to give out, if you know of someone in need of a coat. Bob said the “quality and quantity” of donations have really impressed him this year. Way to go, folks! Stage even had a buy one, get one free and some people took the free one and donated it. That really helped. Way to go, Stage! If you need a coat, call Bob at 338-5388, and have the gender and size ready to tell him.

Wednesday is the Open House at the Heritage Community memory Care Assisted Living, 501 NE 15th in Guymon. It runs for 2-4 pm. Go show your support!

Living with a child has brought certain things back that I had forgotten. I did not remember how bowel movements are a topic of conversation. I had forgotten how a story about a seashell can take six minutes to hear and you still wonder about the reason for the story. But it certainly keeps life moving along and not at a standstill.

Last week a three day training was on the calendar. Starting at 9 am we were to finish at 7:30 pm. I dreaded the entire time. I was almost resentful thinking about the hours of sitting still and being nice. Instead the teacher was interesting, the classmates were people I really enjoyed meeting, and the information was good. We even got out early because we were a small class and skipped our breaks and lunch hour. Just goes to show you that those things we dread can often turn into something good and interesting. And learning is always excellent.

What have you learned recently?

Interested in learning about scrapbooking? There is a Creative Memories Party at the Presbyterian Church in Guymon from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday. Jacque Hyer leads that. They would love to see you there!

Another Irish blessing to you … “May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 21, 2014

“Sometimes I open my mouth and my mother comes out.” I read that on a facebook post recently and it made me laugh and laugh. My mother is a dainty, petite, very controlled woman. She was a beauty queen in her day.

I am none of those things.

Although her husband says they mixed up mothers in the hospital, there are times that the genetic tie is obvious. Like when I had my daughter Missy, who resembles Mama. Like when … well, there really aren’t many others that are genetic.

But the saying, that happens. Mama, who is no comedian by any means, used to say, “Oh, my, what are you going to wear to the fair?” when I got my clothes dirty. I had no idea what she meant at the time, but it was something her mama used to say, too. I think that’s kind of cool.

Mama can be a little sarcastic at times, and certainly very demanding. I’ve heard that I have exhibited those qualities a couple of times … but, hey, I just know what people need to do better than they seem to. I did learn that from Mama.

On Fridays the Guymon Rotary Club meets. Once a month the Students of the Month come to the meeting. Last week Nehyma Martinez and Sam Ortiz were the chosen students. I sat in awe of those two. Both of them give so much to the community as individuals and in groups they’re associated with. They are good students and they were so respectful. But Ortiz, he blew me away. His appreciation of our country and the opportunities it offers brought everyone down to a more basic, thankful level.

My hat off to you two.

Sandra Castillo, the vicar of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church was recently installed. Quite a few of the community attended this impressive ceremony. Castillo stepped into the world of the Oklahoma Panhandle last August and she has gotten full – fledged involved with so many community things. Meet her. She might help you realize that you can make a difference!

Grab your tie dye shirt out of the closet … or your halter dress … and get a ticket to attend the Panhandle Services for Children benefit, a disco dance whodunit written by Mike and Christy Patterson called “Staying Alive?” You get a prime rib dinner and drinks and great entertainment for the $50 ticket, plus giving to a great cause. I have tickets here at the office. Don’t count on getting them at the door. This puppy is going to sell out. Groovy.

It’s a good day to be alive.

Take this Irish prayer with you this week: “May God give you for every storm, a rainbow; for every tear, a smile; for every care, a promise; and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share; for every sigh, a sweet song; and an answer for each prayer.”

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 15, 2014

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, Nobel Prize winner has died. He was 95. He has inspired many. History shall remember him as one of the greatest men who ever lived. If you haven’t read or heard or watched a movie about Nelson Mandela, you should consider doing so.

During his lifetime his words of wisdom are etched in history. Here are a few quotes that I found amazing. But when you read them, think not so much of Mandela as of yourself and your friends and family. Who do you know lives by these same words?

“I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”

My friend Dorothy Countryman fits these words. She has fought the battle of dementia with her beloved husband, our Doc Countryman. She lost Doc, but she has continued her work helping others cope. And she just helps all the time. She misses Doc so much sometimes, but she does not dwell on that, she gives thanks for the time she had him and then just rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. Nelson Mandela would have loved Dorothy.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

For every person who has recently stepped out of those comfortable places and done something good and right, I think Nelson Mandela would be proud of you.

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Wow, the face that comes up in my mind is Craig Latham. He and his people have accomplished such amazing feats, but none of them are more than what Craig has done as an individual. And he is so humble, simply wanting to get the next accomplishment finished with little fanfare. As the OPSU Rodeo Coach, they have reached the pinnacle. And will again because they work so hard and have such a fine leader guiding them. Craig is the first to say that he hasn’t done it alone, and I don’t suppose he usually has. But he would if he had to. His work ethic inspires us to do what is expected of us by Craig. And he’s always so polite too.

“When a man has done what he considers to be his duty to his people and his country, eh can rest in peace.”

Last week when I had lunch at the Heritage Community, there sat J.C. Lewis at the other table. Back in the 90s I did a feature story about J.C. Lewis and his time serving in the military. His story and his demeanor so impressed me that it was a step back moment when I saw him again. More than 20 years and I am still impressed. You know someone who has served their country and people well, don’t you? If you don’t, you need to get some new friends.

“Real leaders must be ready to sacrifice all for the freedom of their people.” What have you sacrificed recently for others? And I don’t mean giving your cupcake to the dog. What have we given freely, no strings attached, no judgment with it, and handed it with a smile on our face? Might need to work on that. I know I do.

As the Irish say in one blessing, “May the good earth be soft under you when you rest upon it, and may it rest easy over you when, at the last, you lay out under it, and may it rest so lightly over you that your soul may be out from under it quickly, and up, and off, and be on its way to God.”

See you on the bricks!