On The Bricks

December 27, 2022

Last week my granddaughter that turned three in September asked me if a banana was a fruit or a vegetable. I don’t believe at that age I knew what a fruit or vegetable was, let alone cared whether a banana was one or the other.

Concerning this question, I did learn a few things in a similar vein.

The cucumber is a fruit, not a vegetable.

Apples are likely the most popular fruit in America.

Corn, a vegetable, has an even number of rows on each ear. The average ear has 800 kernels arranged in 16 rows.

A watermelon contains 92% water.

Don’t those facts just make you feel so much smarter?

Fruits are delicious. Did you know about 75% of what we think we taste is from our sense of smell? And that those fruits we eat typically travel from the mouth, through the esophagus, and into the stomach in seven seconds.

Human bodies are interesting. At birth our head is a quarter of our total length but only an eighth of our total length by adulthood.

The brain requires more than 25% of the oxygen used by the human body. I’m guessing that means when you run and get out of breath, huffing and puffing, then you probably aren’t as smart as normal. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Does that mean we could consider running bad for us? Hmmm, this is getting complicated. Complicated enough I might cry in frustration. Which, by the way, human beings are the only animals that cry emotional tears.

Let’s move on to something more important like what’s happening around town other than putting up the Christmas decorations.

On Dec. 28 there is a blood drive at Golden Mesa Casino from noon to 6:30 pm.

The Lions Club members are holding their annual Chili and Stew Supper on Jan. 17 at the Methodist Enrichment Center from 5:30-8 pm.

Special Game Day, an afternoon of fun for special needs kids and their siblings. It’s happening at OPSU Noble Center with the OPSU Baseball Players at 2 pm in the Noble Center, Goodwell.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

December 19, 2022

Tom and Judy Love built gas stations in Oklahoma. The Love’s businesses are 50 years old now and they recently posted the picture above and the following words on the Love’s Country Stores page, “After eight years of building business based on the cheapest gas in town, Tom and Judy Love were ready for their next challenge. In 1972, Love’s opened its very first Mini Stop ‘Country Store’ in Guymon, OK. This revolutionary store combined a convenience store with self-service gasoline, which was a new concept at the time.”

That store sat on the corner of 12th and Main and today is Dizzy B’s. It is known for being one of the top selling lottery ticket stores in Oklahoma. The owners, Jennifer and Lowell Williams, and their crew make some of the best homemade quick lunches in town.

Just a little Guymon history shared today.

Here’s a little life lesson to share today: The best time to make friends is before you need them.

Here’s a quote by E.A. Bucchianeri that shares some wisdom for today: “An acquaintance merely enjoys your company, a fair – weather companion flatters when all is well, a true friend has your best interests at heart and the pluck to tell you what you need to hear.”

Here’s an important reminder from Brandon Mull shared today: “Want a reliable road to emotional and spiritual suicide? Spend your life trying to fit in.”

And here’s the most important thing to remember today: Merry Christmas. Remember the reason for the season is Jesus. And Jesus is love, forgiveness, and understanding. You are loved.

There is a Christmas Morning Candlelight Service at 10:30 am at Victory Center Church, 6th and Quinn. If you don’t have a church home and would like to baske in the Christmas spirit, this is a good place to try.

The Community Christmas Dinner is held at the Methodist Enrichment Center from 11:30-1 pm for all who would like to attend. Bring your family or just yourself and share the holiday with other families.

See you on the bricks.

On The Bricks

December 10, 2022

When you have children, you learn what looks easy, usually is not. Like teaching your children to be kind and how to be nice to others, not rude and self – centered … this seems it would be simple, but that is far from the truth. First, those kids learn more from how we act than from how we tell them to act. And most adults aren’t nice all the time at home. For sure I wasn’t.

I read this statement that says much the same, “Your beliefs don’t make you a better person; your behavior does.”

Recently in talking to someone involved in a kids sports activity, we were discussing when they have had to discipline spectators and coaches and such. She said there wasn’t really any problem with the kids. Her direct quote was, “The players just want to play.” It seems, once again, to be the adults who aren’t wearing a uniform that are the problem.


Sometimes a coach gets onto his / her players for something they’ve done wrong. That’s why they’re the coaches. That’s what they are supposed to do … help the team members be a better team, be better individuals. And they do that by coaching them. Being coaches isn’t always flowers and dancing fairies. Sometimes it is coming face to face with stupid mistakes and errors. And parents seem to want sweet coaches … and, yet, they also seem to want their kids to win. Doesn’t go together that well, really.

Read this meme on Facebook, “If you continue to defend your child’s wrong behavior, one day you will pay an attorney to do the same. They might not win.”


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.”

Gives me something to ponder, for sure.

Here are some happenings around town we can also ponder.

The miniature train rides, Reindeer Express, is happening in the evenings at Thompson Park during December. Those Lions Club members are really getting serious about this volunteering and making your Christmas the best it can be. In fact, they are also sponsoring the Lions Christmas Shopping Spree on Dec. 17. They need adult help to take the children shopping. You can show up 7 am at the Methodist Enrichment Center to help. Be a blessing. That’s good behavior!

Also on Dec. 17 is the Christmas Village Gift Show at Connection Church, 1901 N. Lelia and the Nazarene Church at 2214 N. Sunset, both in Guymon. Great time to do some Christmas Shopping.

And everyone is invited to the Christmas Morning Candlelight Service at 10:30 am at Victory Center Church in Guymon.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

December 2, 2022

Fun Christmas facts for today, including local happenings.

The Christmas Cheer for Children in the Oklahoma Panhandle Tree is back at the Bank of the Panhandle! Stop by and choose a tag that contains the wish of an “angel” in our community. This is a wonderful way to get in the spirit and know that you will have a face full of smiles on the receiving end. All gifts need to be returned by December 12, 2022.

“The way you spend Christmas is far more important than how much.”  Henry David Thoreau

The idea of Santa Claus came from St. Nicholas. The saint wasn’t really a bearded man who wore a red suit; that look came much later with a Coca Cola ad. In the fourth century, the Christian bishop gave away his large inheritance to the poor and rescued women from servitude. In Dutch, his name is Sinter Klaas, which later morphed into Santa Claus in English.

The Home for the Holidays lights are beautiful to see all during December at Thompson Park in Guymon. Community volunteers, which an immense amount of help from Golden Mesa Casino have made this happen for the second year. Last year more than 22,000 visits were made to the park during December.

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” – Charles M. Schulz

Brew a cup o’ tea when trimming your tree this year to pay homage to its origins. When Prince Albert of Germany got a tree for his new wife, Queen Victoria of England, the tradition really took off across the pond. A drawing of the couple in front of a Christmas first tree appeared in Illustrated London News in 1848. To use modern parlance, the idea went viral.

The OPSU Winter Honors Recital happens Tues., Dec. 6, at Hughes Strong Auditorium in Goodwell starting at 7 pm.

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” – Mother Theresa

Legend has it, we hang stockings by the chimney with care thanks to a poor man who didn’t have enough money for his three daughters’ dowries. Generous old St. Nick dropped a bag of gold down their chimney one night after the girls had hung their freshly – washed stockings there to dry. That’s where the gold ended up, and the tradition stuck.

The Nutcracker Market, a holiday gift market, takes place Dec. 10 and 11 at the Texas County Activity Center (fairgrounds) in Guymon.

“The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek ways to make life better for those around us.” – Anonymous

The Christmas wreath first originated as a symbol of Christ. The holly represents the crown of thorns Jesus wore at his crucifixion and the red berries stand for the blood he shed.

The Lions Christmas Spree happens Dec. 17, starting at 7 am in the Methodist Enrichment Center on 6th and Quinn in Guymon. Volunteers are needed!

“We should learn the true Christmas lesson of gentle, thoughtful kindness to those we love and to all we meet in life’s busy ways.” – J. R. Miller

If your kids leave Santa a little snack to keep him sated on his journey, thank the Dutch. On St. Nicholas’ feast day on Dec. 6, Dutch children leave him food and drink in exchange for the gifts he leaves overnight.

The Christmas Village gift show happens Dec. 17 from 9 am to 5 pm at Connection Church, 1901 N Lelia and Nazarene Church, 2214 N Sunset.

“Don’t get caught up in the wrapping paper and forget that the gift of the Christmas season is simply love.” – Toni Sorenson

The iconic spruce that stretches to the sky in Trafalgar Square in London each year since 1947, is donated by the people of Norway in gratitude for Britain’s support for Norway during World War II. That’s true goodwill toward men.

Ice skating rink will be at the Texas County Activity Center in Guymon Dec. 6-12.

Toys for Tots began its yearly donation drive during the 1947 Christmas season.

See you on the Bricks this holiday season!

On The Bricks

November 29, 2022

For about five years, people come in the Main Street Guymon office to ask where they could take an English class. Most were Spanish speakers, some were African.

First, I called the Guymon schools and they had a class, but when the folks went to the class, there was no teacher and the doors were locked. So, I called the local university and they didn’t have a class. Then I learned there was a great class in Liberal. But they only took so many people and it quickly filled.

Year after year, off and on this would happen. I suggested to the local librarian that there were people looking for a class. My thought was the schools and library probably had funding available for such a class. I didn’t know that for a fact, but I thought it made sense. And they certainly had access to educators.

But, alas, this didn’t seem to happen.

Until the Guymon Fiesta in 2022.

Until the girl who wants to be a teacher was crowned Guymon Fiesta Queen.

Anahi Espinoza was named Fiesta Queen and wants to attend college to be a teacher. While visiting with her, I learned she always wanted to teach an English class for Spanish speakers. She knows how difficult it is for her mother not knowing English.

Before long, Anahi is teaching English at the Main Street Guymon office. She has the class on Tuesday and Thursday from 5-6 (more like 6:30) and on Sunday from 3-4 (more realistically 4:30 or 5). This young 17-year-old high school senior who has As and a job as a check-out at Carter’s Market, had one person her first class. Two people came her second class, four the third class, and 20 on the fourth class.

Into the second month every chair in the Main Street Guymon office is filled and there is no more room. Anahi is doing an excellent job. She has been reading online on how to teach adults English and she gets the worksheets from the web, too.

Main Street Guymon has no funds for the program. But it’s happening. And it’s happening in full force. How this young girl can keep her grades up, have a job, and still finds the time and energy to come to English class three times a week with a smile and proceed to help her students is amazing to me.

Anahi Espinoza is a Superhero … and she’s from Guymon. And Main Street Guymon is lucky to have her as a volunteer.

Reminds me of something I read once … Great leaders don’t set out to be a leader … they set out to make a difference. It’s never about the role – always about the goal.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

November 14, 2022

Early this morning I finished listening to an audio book, “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah. I love this Libby app where all you need is your library card number (mine is from the Guymon Public Library) to get free book downloads. It’s great! And so was the book. It was so good that I couldn’t stop listening until I finished it.

The story started in Dalhart, Texas, with a farm family in the early 1900s. Soon the Dust Bowl and hard times hit. The main character and her two children ended up going to California, which was not the land of opportunity as advertised.

Here are some interesting facts about the Dust Bowl that I found online:

While “black blizzards” constantly menaced Plains states in the 1930s, a massive dust storm 2 miles high traveled 2,000 miles before hitting the East Coast on May 11, 1934. For five hours, a fog of prairie dirt enshrouded landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the U.S. Capitol, inside which lawmakers were debating a soil conservation bill.

If the dust storms that turned daylight to darkness weren’t apocalyptic enough, seemingly biblical plagues of jackrabbits and grasshoppers descended on the Plains and destroyed whatever meager crops could grow. To combat the hundreds of thousands of jackrabbits that overran the Dust Bowl states in 1935, some towns staged “rabbit drives” in which townsmen corralled the jackrabbits in pens and smashed them to death with clubs and baseball bats. Thick clouds of grasshoppers—as large as 23,000 insects per acre, according to one estimate—also swept over farms and consumed everything in their wakes. “What the sun left, the grasshoppers took,” President Franklin D. Roosevelt said during a fireside chat. The National Guard was called out to crush grasshoppers with tractors and burn infested fields, while the Civilian Conservation Corps spread an insecticide of arsenic, molasses and bran.

So much static electricity built up between the ground and airborne dust that blue flames leapt from barbed wire fences and well-wishers shaking hands could generate a spark so powerful it could knock them to the ground. Since static electricity could short out engines and car radios, motorists driving through dust storms dragged chains from the back of their automobiles to ground their cars.

Those who inhaled the airborne prairie dust suffered coughing spasms, shortness of breath, asthma, bronchitis and influenza. Much like miners, Dust Bowl residents exhibited signs of silicosis from breathing in the extremely fine silt particulates, which had high silica content. Dust pneumonia, called the “brown plague,” killed hundreds and was particularly lethal for infants, children and the elderly.

As part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, the federal government purchased starving livestock for at least $1 a head. Livestock healthy enough to be butchered could fetch as much as $16 a head, with the meat used to feed homeless people living in Hoovervilles. The Soil Conservation Service, established in 1935, paid farmers to leave fields idle, employ land management techniques such as crop rotation and replant native prairie grasses. The federal government also bought more than 10 million acres and converted them to grasslands, some managed today by the U.S. Forest Service.

John Steinbeck’s story of migrating tenant farmers in his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1939 novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” tends to obscure the fact that upwards of three-quarters of farmers in the Dust Bowl stayed put. Dust Bowl refugees did not flood California. Only 16,000 of the 1.2 million migrants to California during the 1930s came from the drought-stricken region.

While farm families migrating to California during the 1930s, like the fictitious Joad family, were often derided as “Okies,” only one-fifth of them were actually from Oklahoma. (Plus, many of those Oklahoma migrants were from the eastern part of the state outside of the Dust Bowl.) “Okie” was a blanket term used to describe all agricultural migrants, no matter their home states. They were greeted with hostility and signs such as one in a California diner that read: “Okies and dogs not allowed inside.”

They were hard times here during the Dust Bowl. I am thankful for those who persevered and got through the hard times. And I know there are many who have moved here in recent years from their areas with hard times and I pray we give them a better welcome than the Okies got in California in the 30s.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

October 31, 2022

There is a city council election coming up on April 4, 2023. I hope you have that date marked, are registered to vote, and you’re paying attention to those that are running. It’s a lot easier to register to vote than to figure out the changes on Facebook or to get a Paypal business account updated. If you didn’t hear the whine in that comment … I promise, it was there when I typed it. My old soul is really getting tired of technology. That was one of the first clues it was time to consider retirement. But I digress.

Back to the City Council election. We’ve gotten past the registering to vote, which can be done with a real walking, talking human, if you so choose! There I go whining again. Wing Wednesday, Whine Thursday (or whatever day today is). I need a little cheese with that whine.

Let’s get back to the actual topic.

City Council is made up of volunteers. They do not receive any payment, any insurance, just a lot of complaints from the citizens. Well, there are a lot of wonderful people they get to work with, too, but since I had been focusing on the whining ….

What do you look for when choosing who to vote for as one of our community leaders? I like to see who is active. Who attends the school and community events, who is active in their church. The people who are actually out there with the citizens. An active citizen is not one that just types their whines on Facebook, spouts their opinions, and talks. It’s the doers and the attendees and the helpers. And not those that are only out in the public during election time.

I love working with positive people, so I try to vote for those with a positive attitude. A positive attitude can solve a lot of problems, in my opinion.

If you are being chosen to be a leader in your community, I want someone who loves the community, loves the Panhandle. We can be realistic and see challenges (which a positive person considers an opportunity) and see where we can improve, but we love it nonetheless … in the drought and the rain.

The person who can sit and listen is good. So much better than the person who talks and talks because they are so in love with hearing their opinions and their own voice (and their whines … yes, that was sarcasm to myself … I don’t think I would vote for me).

And pay attention. We need people who think well. They don’t have to have a genius IQ, but they should know what tax supports the City, what taxes go to the county, how the school gets their funding … and not confuse the issues. A person running for City Council that is saying they will improve county roads is just wrong. Unless they plan to hike it up and do it themselves, with the permission from the county. See what I mean? City Council works with city issues, County Commissioners and other elected officials work with county issues, State officials work with state issues … and so on and so forth. All these entities work together, but they also have their boundaries. The City Council does not deal with most school issues, the school doesn’t deal with city issues. Pay attention to what the candidates are saying. Are they making noise or are they making sense?

We are lucky that we usually have choices on our city ballot. We have people who are concerned, who are willing to work for the community, and we should be proud of this fact. Now watch which one is best, in your opinion, and go vote for them!

And be sure to thank every single one that is on the ballot for being willing to serve our community in this capacity. It is serious business and we should be paying attention.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

October 25, 2022

Recently read an interesting article in the Oklahoma Humanities magazine about Cy Young Award winners (baseball pitchers). First, I found it interesting to be reading about sports in a humanities magazine, but it was a great article and the more you read it, the more you understood that they were telling what sets people who are great at what they do from others.

The pitchers they interviewed were open to trying new ideas. It is always easier and safer to stay with what we are used to doing, even if the new way is better and not as much work. We have to be brave and try new things to be the best, it seems.

Trying new ideas, when you dissect it, also means that you realize you don’t know everything, so you listen to others. The greatest athletes are the most coachable athletes. Period. And the greatest athletes probably didn’t have their parents saying they knew more than the coaches. Nor did the parents believe their children all the time … the coach is not always wrong. The coaches just have to deal with a whole team and not just your child. I don’t think this changes as we get older. We still have to admit we don’t know everything and listen to those who do know more.

The author of the article, Doug Wedge, wrote, “Though the circumstances varied, the pitchers had the humility to recognize that they didn’t have all the answers, and they had the curiosity and willingness to consider different ways for improving their craft.”

One of the pitchers, was quoted as saying, Corey Kluber, said, “Having the mind-set of trying to always learn, there’s always an opportunity to gain things from different people, no matter what their role is.”

Being prepared, and not relying on their talent alone, was one thing all of the pitchers did. They prepared their bodies to physically perform, working harder than others. They also prepared mentally. They studied their opponents. They took their work seriously.

These athletes also spoke about trusting your teammates. And treating your teammates well. They talked about dealing with failure. A great person does not blame others for their errors or failings. They simply work to rectify.

Wedge said, “Not one of these pitchers simply arrived on the summit as the best pitcher in the American or National League. All devoted themselves to a climb involving hours on a field, working with their catchers, teammates, and coaches; experimenting and finding things that worked well that they made a part of their game; and practicing them. They learned to deal with pressure and failure, and after years of this work, they earned and achieved exceptional success, reaching that pinnacle on the mound.”

Would not hurt us all to learn something from the best.

Hope you have a Happy Halloween.

See you on the bricks.

On The Bricks

October 17, 2022

Pam, Nancy, Deets, and I started first grade together. We started playing softball together when we were 8 years old. We graduated from high school together. We went to the Oklahoma Panhandle together and played volleyball in college. When my daughter married, two of them were there and the other was in the hospital. I am the youngest of the four and when I had my 50th birthday, we all got together for the weekend in Colorado Springs. A year ago. we all got together in South Carolina at Nancy’s house on the Lake. We always stay in contact.

Today I read this post on the continual stream of conversation between the four of us: “Besties allow each other to be themselves, even when they can be annoying. Besties know how to keep secrets. They are usually part of that secret. Besties and judgmental don’t go together. Besties are happy and freaking proud of your successes. In fact, they are known to brag about each other. Besties will cry with you or give you a kick in the behind when necessary. Besties love you with all your flaws. What flaws? Besties can call you a bad name and it’s a term of endearment, but if anyone else does, they will suffer the Besties wrath. Besties can look at one another and know exactly what you are thinking. Scary at times. But most of all, they just simply love you like no one else can.”

For almost 60 years those three have had my back. And brought my smiles. And made me laugh until I cried. They have always been there.

Life is good. God blessed me with the best friends any person has ever had. Today I am appreciating them.

We also have some good things happening in the community that I appreciate.

The Children’s Costume Closet is open at the Main Street Guymon office on Oct. 22 from 10 am to 1 pm. Deirdre Harbison – Humphreys started this several years ago and used (and some new) costumes are free until they run out. Come on by and check out the choices. We are located at 116 NE 5th Street.

Broken Rock Ranch has Muscadine Bloodline in Concert on Oct. 26.

On Oct. 29 the PTSO Fall Carnival is from 2 to 4 in the afternoon at the Texas County Activity Center and then you can go to NW Fifth off Main Street to the Trunk or Treat, which starts at 4 pm.

On Oct. 31 the Methodist Church has Harvest Festival from 6 to 8 pm.

And mark Nov. 5 and 6 as the Pumpkin Patch Arts and Craft Show at the Activity Center. This is a Lambda Psi Sorority tradition that officially marks the holiday season in Guymon!

Hope your life is full of blessings these days.

On The Bricks

October 5, 2022

Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr, better known as Belle Starr, was a notorious American outlaw, part of Oklahoma’s history.

Belle associated with the James–Younger Gang and other outlaws. She was convicted of horse theft in 1883. She was fatally shot in 1889 in a case that is still officially unsolved. Her story was popularized by Richard K. Fox, editor and publisher of the National Police Gazette, and she later became a popular character in television and films.

Belle Starr was born Myra Maybelle Shirley on her father’s farm near Carthage, Mo., on Feb. 5, 1848. Most of her family members called her May. Her mother, Elizabeth “Eliza” Hatfield Shirley, was a distant relative to the Hatfields of the famous family feud. In the 1860s, Belle’s father sold the farm and moved the family to Carthage, where he bought an inn, livery stable and blacksmith shop on the town square.

After a Union attack on Carthage in 1864, the Shirleys moved to Scyene, Texas. According to legend, here the Shirleys became associated with Jesse James and the Younger brothers.

May Shirley (Belle) married Jim Reed in 1866. Two years later, she gave birth to Rosie Lee (nicknamed Pearl).  A crack shot, Belle used to ride sidesaddle while dressed in a black velvet riding habit and a plumed hat, carrying two pistols, with cartridge belts across her hips. Her husband turned to crime and was wanted for murder in Arkansas, which caused the family to move to California, where James Edwin (Eddie), was born in 1871.

Later returning to Texas, Reed was involved with several criminal gangs, including the Starr clan, a Cherokee Indian family notorious for whiskey, cattle, and horse thievery in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), as well as his wife’s old friends the James and Younger gangs. In April 1874, despite a lack of any evidence, a warrant was issued for Belle’s arrest for a stagecoach robbery by her husband and others. Reed was killed in August of that year in Paris, Texas, where he had settled down with his family.

In 1880, May (Belle) married a Cherokee man named Sam Starr and settled with the Starr family in Indian Territory. There, she learned ways of organizing, planning, and fencing for the rustlers, horse thieves, and bootleggers, as well as harboring them from the law. Belle’s illegal enterprises proved lucrative enough for her to employ bribery to free her cohorts from the law when they were caught.

In 1883, Belle and Sam were arrested by Bass Reeves, charged with horse theft and tried before “The Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker in Fort Smith, Ark. She was found guilty and served nine months at the Detroit House of Corrections in Detroit, Mich. Belle proved to be a model prisoner. In contrast, Sam was incorrigible and assigned to hard labor.

In 1886, Belle eluded conviction on another theft charge, but on Dec. 17, Sam Starr was involved in a gunfight with an officer of the law. Both men were killed and Belle’s life as an outlaw queen abruptly ended.

For the last couple years of her life, gossips and scandal sheets linked her to a series of men. In order to keep her residence on Indian land, she married a relative of Sam Starr, Jim July Starr, who was 15 years younger than she.

On Feb. 3, 1889, two days before her 41st birthday, Belle Starr was killed in an ambush riding home from a neighbor’s house in Eufaula, Okla.

Although an obscure figure outside Texas throughout most of her life, Belle’s story was picked up by the dime novel and National Police Gazette publisher Richard K. Fox, who made her name famous with his novel Bella Starr, the Bandit Queen, or the Female Jesse James, published in 1889 (the year of her murder).

Made me laugh: You can tell a lot about a woman by her hands. Like if they’re around your throat, she probably isn’t happy with you.

Catch you on the bricks!