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On The Bricks Archives

April 17, 2019

Today it took two hours to get Community Clean – Up photos arranged and the information from the different crews doing litter pick – up and other work organized. That is amazing. Yes, amazing that I work so slow, but also amazing that we have so many people working to clean up Guymon and get ready for company (OPSU Rodeo on April 25, Pioneer Days the first week in May, and the Five State Motorcycle Run on May 11).

It is Spring and there is some serious Spring cleaning going on.

This is a public thank you to all of you that are pitching in and giving an hour or two, who are willing to put some sweat equity into the community. There are churches, businesses, individuals, and groups all doing something and expecting nothing back in return.

In fact, this month and every other month, you can call the Seventh Day Adventist Pathfinder Club if you are over 60 and need help with yard work, house cleaning, or other odd jobs. Call Pastor Lian at 405-896-0463.

There are some things to think about when you do trash pick – up. First, you’re a lot less likely to toss trash out if you’ve spent some timing picking it up. That is why it’s a good thing when you have the young ones go with you on your trash quest. Second, it makes us notice things that we see every day but have stopped actually noticing.

It is just a good thing, every way you look at it.

Blessings to each and every one of you that has helped in the Community Clean – Up!

Time to share a few things I’ve seen recently. This is on a shirt that I saw in a catalog. “Gym? Never heard of him.”

Now that made me laugh. And laugh. I just laughed again when I typed it.

A few pages later in the catalog was this winner: “Well, to be Frank, I’d have to change my name.”

Good one.

Here’s a little piece of trivia you might find interesting. Found this in Readers Digest. “Donnie Dunagan joined the Marines when he was 18, did three tours of duty in Vietnam, won a Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, and finally retired as a major. Yet in his 20 + year military career, he never told anyone about his connection to one of Hollywood’s quintessential tearjerkers. When he was six, Dunagan was the voice of Disney’s young Bambi.”

Hope you’re enjoying the Spring weather and the beautiful Redbud trees.

Here are some things going on around town that you might want to know about:

Jim Norris is selling chances on 10 pounds of beef tenderloin, 16 pounds of beef rib eye, a box of St. Louis pork ribs, and a 10 – pound box of pork chops to be given away in four different drawings. The proceeds of the drawing go to the Love Does project that helps pay for lunches for kids in school whose family has gotten behind. We all know that education takes a back seat when you’re hungry. And being embarrassed by the free sandwich is tough on kids, so Jim takes it upon himself to help those kids out without knowing who they are or them knowing who has helped. Tickets are $5 each and you can get them at Main Street Guymon or call Jim at 580-651-1018 for a ticket or two. The drawing was going to be on April 12, but that date has been extended.

Speaking of food, the Learning to Live Life with Diabetes Support Group meets on Monday, Apr. 22, at 5:30 pm in the beautiful Heritage Community Assisted Living Facility at 501 NE 15th Street. If you’re wanting more information, call Amanda Crawford at 580-338-3186.

Did you miss getting your high school diploma and want to go for your GED? There are free classes (although the GED test costs $136) in Guymon at the Academy School North Building, 712 N. Academy. This Adult Basic Education class is offered through Oklahoma Panhandle State University. To learn more about it, call 580-349-1552 (English) or 580-349-1538 (Spanish).

Hope all is good with you and yours.

See you on the Bricks!

April 10, 2019

I am 59 years old. When I turn 60 years old, I should be welcoming my sixth grandchild. I will also be celebrating, on that day, my father’s 81st birthday. So, to me, September 2 is a day that I look forward to. It is a day to celebrate. It isn’t a day to lie about how old I am.

Why are some people ashamed of having lived for so long? This is a question addressed in a Dec. 2018 Rotarian magazine.

The article was interesting.

“America has always been a country that celebrated youth. According to one study, it was around 1880 that attitudes toward older people started to become significantly more negative.” They seemed to believe it was partly due to the “medicalization” of old age, as well as the growing portion of the population over 65. Youth worship has increased since the end of World War II.

We are bomblasted with jokes about declining looks, declining memory, and declining reverence. Where in the past the love of youth was tempered with a respect for age, the respect seems to be going downhill.

“Now we think of aging as simply an inexorable decline that ends in death,” tells the article author, Frank Bures. “And our fear of death has become pathological.” But Bures says we can decline to decline.

“Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer took a group of eight elderly men, measured their biomarkers of aging, then took them on a retreat to a location she had decorated to look and feel like 1959.

“After living for a week in a world that looked and felt 20 years young, er, Langer measured the participants’ biomarkers again. The men were found to have improved hearing, better memory, more grip strength, and increased joint flexibility and dexterity. They were taller and their fingers were longer. More than half of them were smarter. In photos taken after the study, the participants were judged, by impartial observers, to be younger than in photos taken beforehand.

“Much of what we fear about aging – such as losing our hearing, eyesight, mobility, or memories – may actually be caused in part by our belief that we will lose those things.

“One study led by Yale School of Public Health psychologist Becca Levy found that people who hold a negative view of aging die an average of 7.5 years before those with a positive view of it. Another study found that women who believed they were at risk from heart disease were 3.6 times more likely to die of heart attacks than women with the same risk factors who believed they weren’t.

“Levy found that by subliminally giving older people positive aging stereotypes, after just four weeks, subjects showed improved strength, gait, and balance. Positive beliefs about aging can have a wide range of health benefits in addition to increased mobility: better hearing, memory, and cognitive function.”

So, let’s cut out the old age jokes. Levy says that we need to question our assumption that youth is the best tie in life and that everything after it is worse. The truth is that there are good and bad things about every stage of our life. We should be getting less foolish as we get older, less self – absorbed, have a richer perspective, more experience, and more great memories. She says, “We can choose to see ourselves as rotting or as ripening with age.”

Let’s choose ripe.

Talk about ripe … the Guymon Lions Club has been working for this community for decades. And they are the first group to report their community clean – up work this month. What an awesome group of people. They’re certainly a great part of who we are in Guymon.

So, what’s coming up that fun?

The Little Mermaid is at the Guymon Community Theater on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The sold out on Sunday and so don’t tarry on getting your reservations! Their telephone number is 580-338-0019.

April 13 is a full Saturday. The Ready Group gathers at 10 am in the First Christian Church and their special guests this month is the Alma Folklorica dancers. That’s another great group that is part of our uniqueness here in Guymon. This group of High School kids are under the direction of Teri Mora and learn more than just dancing. They are there for many community activities, helping out.

That same day is AggieFest at OPSU, a special event that they want their alumni to attend. Lots of various events, including a football scrimmage at 10 am. Music and fun in addition to football.

That afternoon is a Mother Daughter Tea at the Nazarene Church, 2 pm. Call 580-338-3553 for more information. It’s $5 a person to attend.

We also have a group of Nazarene Youth who are planning to do their community cleaning that morning of April 13.

A few Easter dates coming in include April 18 for the Easter Egg Hunt and Coloring at the Guymon Public Library. And April 19 is the Easter Egg Hunt at Heritage Community at 2 pm.

Come by the Main Street Guymon office on Friday at from noon to 1 pm if you would like to learn more about volunteering opportunities in Guymon. And while you’re here, pick up a ticket for the OPSU Women’s Basketball Fund Raiser BBQ plate to be picked up on April 20 for $10 or a $10 drawing for lots of great pork or beef, a fund raiser for Love Does (helping kids who are behind with their school lunches).

Lots to do! Lots of opportunities to help! Lots of ways to have fun with friends and family.

See you on the bricks.

April 5, 2019

Volunteer clipartYou can be a gift to your community.

Every person that gives of their time to do something good for their community or neighbors, with no expected return, is a gift to the community.

Most volunteers begin their work as a volunteer by being asked to help on a project. Often times they are voluntolds, being told to help by family members or employers.

But what usually happens is that a person learns how good it feels to be a giver. They learn the feeling of accomplishment when a project helps someone out. And they learn to appreciate what they have when they’re working to help where help is needed.

Some have missed that chance of being told or asked. Especially those who move into a community and don’t know the organizations that they can help. Some have been helping in some ways but would like to expand their focus into more areas.

Whatever your thoughts are on volunteering in the Guymon area, you have chance to ask questions and learn about opportunities here where people can help. It might be helping at a one – day event or being on a committee that plans an event or helping with some of the traditional events that always need helpers. You might also decide to join a club or organization that works at doing things all year long. Those organizations might be the community theatre, helping run the Lions train at Thompson Park, or just a two – hour stint helping at the Iron Thunder Motorcycle Run banquet.

Come to the table for the discussion on Volunteering at the Main Street Guymon office. It’s scheduled for the lunch hour, noon to 1 pm, on Friday, April 12. Attending will not mean you’re automatically committed! You can call Melyn Johnson at 580-383-6246 for more information.

April 1, 2019

We usually don’t see the whole picture.

This is a little story I read that sort of puts that in focus. I have no idea if the story is true or if it was made up to make a point. No matter, I like it.

“One Sunday morning at a small southern church, the new pastor called on one of his older deacons to lead the opening prayer. The deacon stood up, bowed his head, and said, ‘Lord, I hate buttermilk.’

“The pastor opened one eye and wondered where this was going. The deacon continued, ‘Lord, I hate lard.’

“Now the pastor was totally perplexed. The deacon continued, ‘Lord, I ain’t too crazy about plain flour. But after you mix ‘em all together and bake ‘em in a hot oven, I just love biscuits.’

“’Lord, help us to realize when life gets hard, when things come up that we don’t like, whenever we don’t understand what You are doing, that we need to wait and see what You are making. After you get through mixing and baking, it’ll probably be something even better than biscuits. Amen.’”

The big picture.

Life is more than today, so don’t get too set on what’s happening today. Have faith and look ahead to tomorrow. Enjoy today, but don’t let today mire you down.

We’ve got a survey out on the Main Street Guymon programs so that we can see just which programs the community really does care about. It is pretty senseless to keep ones that the community doesn’t like. We have over 100 returned at this point, which isn’t very many considering our population, but it is 100 more opinions than we had last month.

It would be a help to us if you would take the survey. Just email me at and I’ll send you the link. There are 24 questions and it takes about 4 minutes to do it.

Another opinion that you might need to think about giving is the election on April 2. We are lucky to have an abundance of candidates. Make your opinion count and vote.

This weekend is also the first weekend of the Guymon Community Theatre production of “The Little Mermaid!”

It’s a good day to be living in the Oklahoma Panhandle!

See you on the bricks.

March 28, 2019

All sorts of studies show that being bilingual is better for your brain.

Being able to speak more than one language fluently postpones symptoms of dementia. Several researchers say it can average four years or more that the bilingual person’s mind can ward off the symptoms of dementia.

A study in Scotland shows bilinguals recover brain function after a stroke more than twice as often as monolinguals. While both have the same risk of developing aphasia – a disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to process and use language – monolinguals are more likely to have a more severe form of the condition.

An occupational therapist who works primarily with patients after a traumatic brain injury said they would want to know if their clients were bilingual. If they were, then they would have a cognitive reserve that could boost their recovery.

Bilingualism also helps people pay attention to what’s relevant and focus when there’s a distraction. “It sounds like a trivial thing, but attention is the central aspect of cognition,” says Bialystok, a research professor in Toronto. “Attention develops early in infancy and matures throughout childhood. In older age, when we start to struggle with memory, attention is at the heart of everything significant of cognition.”

In one study, it showed measurable improved attention in people after just one week of language instruction. Those who practices a new language five hours a week over nine months maintained the positive effects.

All of this explains a lot.

I lived in another country one summer and never could pick up the language. And I tried.

Put that together with all the things I forget and the many mistakes I make … yep, my brain just isn’t quite as bueno as a lot of other people.

Sometimes the truth really hurts.

But it is still a good day on the bricks!

March 22, 2019

Three young kids from a Gruver family volunteered last summer for something called StoryBridge in Amarillo and learned that not all kids have books at home to read.

“We were surprised by the number of children who do not have early access to such materials at home,” one of them said.

Not everyone has a library in their town. Not everyone lives in town. Not everyone knows about public libraries. Not everyone knows they’re welcome into a library. Not everyone can count on being able to get the books back in time.

Whatever the reasons, it is sometimes just nice to have your own book.

So, the Gruver kids came home and started to collect children’s books. Nearly 200 of them. And they sent them home with elementary kids from pre – kindergarten to fourth grade. Now the Junior Honor Society is going to continue the program, collecting and organizing book donations for the program. The take board books to chapter books and find good homes for them.

It started with volunteering.

It started with learning about other people.

It started with caring.

Do you have any children’s books that need a new home? If you drop off your books at the Main Street Guymon office at 116 NE Fifth Street or at Brown and Associates Insurance at 917 N. Main in Guymon, then we’ll find good homes for them. Homes that might have kids wanting a book.

My favorite children’s book when my kids were little was “Stand back, said the Elephant.” Stand back said the elephant, I’m going to sneeze. I don’t mean to harm you, I don’t wish to alarm you, but I fear, oh, dear …. Yes, you get the idea. Great book!

And then when my grandchildren were born, my eldest grandson loved Curious George. Probably because that’s what I read to him all the time. Curious George and Winnie the Pooh. And when he was little his Aunt Lisa and I took him to the Garden City Zoo to find Curious George. That little boy started yelling, “I found him! I found him!”

Life is better with books.

Life is better when we share books.

Life is good on the bricks.

March 20, 2019

We’re gearing up for some community cleaning. It’s Spring and it’s time to get some spit and polish on things. Time to get our trashy selves under control, for sure. The last part of April and through most of May we have lots of company coming to town and we should work to put our best foot forward. It’s just not cool, nor is it necessary, to be that lazy.

So, what part of cleaning up are you thinking you want to help with? Or maybe you just want to focus on your own yard and alley … and maybe closet and drawers?

You know that if you’re getting on the medicare bandwagon or get your senior citizen discount on McDonald’s coffee, you really need to think about downsizing. I can say these things because I qualify for that coffee discount, too, you know?

If we would just go through our “stuff” and toss some of the things that fill the drawers and the closets and the boxes and the attic, then when we move to a smaller place or, let’s just admit it, pass on to what our kids seem to call the icloud, it can help. It can help if our stuff goes where we want it to go. It can help because our kids can grieve (or celebrate, whatever the case might be) without the pressure of cleaning out a bunch of junk, errrr, I mean, treasures.

I threw out all sorts of cords that I didn’t know what they went to, nor would I know how to pick them out if I needed them. They went to all sorts of electronic do-dads. They took up a whole drawer. Glad I was saving those. I mean, I could have wrapped them up and given them to someone. To someone I didn’t like so they might feel compelled to store them.

Think about it. If you like your kids and grandkids, consider starting a little clear out some stuff. If you don’t like them, get another box and start saving more useless junk. But if that’s the case, then you’ll have time to help us with the community clean – up. In fact, clean up your alley and put that trash in a box and shove it in your garage. That’ll work for me.

All kidding aside, a blogger called “FlyLady”, Marla Cilley, has an online support group to help people counter household CHAOS (Can’t Have Anyone Over Syndrome). It seems the basic FlyLady flight plan is to set a timer for 15 minutes every day and pick up items with two bags – one for trash, one for things to be donated. See how much 15 minutes a day can work for you.

Here in Guymon, you can also collect some of these things and recycle them:

Egg cartons for the farmer with eggs;

Crayon markers;

Eye glasses;

Jigsaw puzzles;

Children’s books;

Flower vases; and

Mascara wands.

All of those can be recycled and you need only to bring them by Brown and Associates Insurance office or Main Street Guymon and we’ll get them to where they need to go.

Any other ideas of things that can be recycled?

Let’s get to work on clearing things out that are cluttering things up.

And for those who are over 60 years old or disabled, if you would like some help cleaning up your yard or alley, cleaning house, or doing other odd jobs, you can call 405-896-0463 and talk to the pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church about their youth group helping you. Or you can text Jill Kirkwood at 580-651-0512.

See you on the bricks!

March 18, 2019

Some things really don’t make sense. Like the ad that pops up to sell something that blocks pop up ads. Seriously?

It doesn’t make sense that we always think an interview for a potential job is all about the person being interviewed. We need to be remembering that the person is also interviewing the company to see if they are a place they want to work at. We forget that if we are a good choice as an employee, we also have value. Granted, the person that doesn’t show up for work on time, misses a lot of work, causes drama in the work place, doesn’t get their work done, doesn’t help co – workers with their work … you all need to not be wasting your time thinking you’re a valuable employee. *sigh*

Mama said if you can’t say something nice, just don’t say anything. So maybe a change in topic is best.

Here’s a great little story I recently read, “I was 13 years old, trying to teach my six – year – old sister how to dive into a swimming pool from the side of the pool. It was taking quite a while, as my sister was nervous.

“We were at a public pool and nearby there was a woman, about 75 – years – old, slowly swimming laps. Occasionally she would stop and watch us. Finally, she swam over to us just when I was really putting the pressure on, trying to get my sister to dive, and my sister was shouting, ‘but I’m afraid!! I’m so afraid!!’

“The old woman looked at my sister, raised her fist defiantly in the air, and said, ‘So, be afraid! And then do it anyway!’”

It’s not about being afraid. It’s about doing it even when you’re afraid. It’s life.

Too often we let our fears rule over us, instead of us ruling over our fears. It’s not the way it is supposed to work.

What are some of your fears?

Have you had a dream of starting your own business? Have you let the fear of stepping out and doing it keep you from your dream?

In January of 2020, Main Street Guymon is going to have a six – week long workshop about Starting Your Own Business. The cost is $50 per business and that entails one or two to take the classes. They will be held on Tuesday evenings. Think about it. Is this something you need to consider doing? Do you know someone else who might want to attend? Call me at 338-6246 to get on the list to attend. Only 15 people will be accepted into the workshop.

Tuesday evening, March 19, from 6 – 8:30 is a free showing of the movie “Oklahoma” at the Guymon Public Library, 1718 N. Oklahoma.

Wednesday is the Grand Opening of Gordman’s where Stage was, Northridge Shopping Center in Guymon. The ribbon cutting is at 5:30 pm. Go check it out!

Creativity rules at the All Fired Up Art Gallery on March 20 and 22 with their Mini-Art Camp. They have classes for kids from age 5 years and up. The cost is $45 each. Call them at 580-338-4278 for more information.

On March 21 is a Boy Scout Luncheon at the Methodist Enrichment Center, 6th and Quinn, from noon to 1 pm. You know, Boy Scouts isn’t just for boys these days. Take time to go see what’s happening in Scouting. The luncheon is open to all.

That same day at 5:30 pm is a meeting at Brown and Associates to learn more about Medicare. You need to listen to Dianna, she makes this very confusing process a little more accessible. And you won’t be as apt to make errors if you listen to Dianna.

It’s all good in Guymon.

See you on the bricks!

March 15, 2019

Starting your own business can be a daunting endeavor. Any type of business, whether you’re providing a service or a retail business, one that you have to have a building open to the public, one from home, or one that is more industrial – there are a lot of things that you should consider before jumping in to such a project.

Those who do plan well, have a better chance of being successful. They also have a better chance of getting funded.

The Main Street Guymon Business Development Committee would like to help those who have thought about being their own boss.

In January they offer a workshop, one evening a week for six weeks, from 7 – 8:30 pm, that addresses aspects an entrepreneur might need to consider before opening shop. The workshop is geared for all types of business ideas and is open to all ages.

“We built our workshop around one that has been done for the past 10 years in a Kansas community,” explains Main Street Director Melyn Johnson. “And their track rate on improving the new business success rate is very impressive. Our committee chairman for this project is Davin Winger, Dean of Business at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, and a farmer / rancher who ran his own successful business for many years before taking a dip into academia.”

The workshop addresses types of businesses, legal, financing, permits and licenses, sales tax, start up costs, demand, target markets, location, insurance, e-commerce, promotion, bookkeeping, bank services, and management. The cost is $50 per business to register to attend and this fee allows up to two people per business to attend. The maximum for attendance is 15 people, so that each person / business idea can get specific attention.

Area business owners and managers are going to be asked to address the topics that they have expertise and experience in doing.

“It’s important to know,” explains Johnson, “that the workshop is open to high school students and up. According to the Kansas group, some of the most successful people to come out of their workshop are high school and college students who know that what they would like to do is own their own business. Often, they have ideas for services that are outside the realm of traditional services, but that the younger people are wanting.”

For more information about becoming your own boss, contact Melyn Johnson at Main Street Guymon, 580-338-6246 or

March 11, 2019

The last part of the article that tells how to be a better conversationalist from the November Toastmaster magazine talks about a balanced conversation.

“Allow the other person to speak as often as you do. Keep in mind that you can’t control other people’s behavior. That means you can’t prevent them from talking too much, interrupting you or rambling on about irrelevant subjects. Therefore, it’s best not to expend mental energy worrying about someone else’s conversational etiquette and instead focus on what you can control – namely, your own habits.

“Pay attention to how often you allow the other person a chance to respond. The best conversations resemble a friendly game of catch, in that there’s a perfect balance between throwing and catching. Attention spans have been shrinking for at least the past two decades, so if you talk for more than 30 seconds at a time, it’s likely you’ve lost the other person’s focus.

“Help them stay engaged and remain focused by keeping it brief. An easy way to do that and to ensure what you’ve said will be understood and remembered is to talk about one thing at a time.

“If someone asks what you did over the weekend, don’t start with Friday afternoon and give them all the details you can remember. Instead, give the bullet points and allow them to respond.” Or just focus on one aspect that who you’re talking to might be more interested in hearing.

“Imagine conversation as a game of tennis in which you are constantly hitting the ball back to the other side. Remember that you already know everything you’re going to say and, if you’re going to learn something new, you’re going to have to listen.”

Would you like to be a part of the Community Clean-Up in April? We sure need your help. Whether you have 30 minutes or 2 hours to give, we need help on this Spring cleaning of our community. What part of cleaning up would you like to take part in? You have your choices … litter pick up in your favorite park, alley cleaning in your own alley, limb and trash pick up for elderly, cleaning up at the nursing home or along the highway and roads you drive every day. What clean up project would make you happier? Now get a couple of people you enjoy being around and plan to do that project together. Call me while you’re figuring it out. My number is 580-338-6246.

See you on the bricks!