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On The Bricks Archives

August 10, 2019

For those of us that love to read and hate tossing a book away, here is a way to pass on your paperbacks.
Operation Paperback is a non-profit organization that can help you share your gently – used paperback books to American troops overseas and veterans and military families here in the United States. Since 1999, over 2 million books have been shipped through this program.
Operation Paperback provides books to wounded warrior programs and veteran’s hospitals in the U.S., as well as USO centers at U.S. airport transit points. In 2112, they added a program to ship books to any military family.
You can go online to www.operationpaperback.org and click on the “send books” point and sign up to be a volunteer shipper. The volunteer shipper collects and ships their own books using the addresses they provide. The list they provide is generated by the genres you have to ship, and the program generates a customize address label to use. You label the books and insert their standard shipping letter or write one of your own. Pack the box, address it, and mail it off at the post office.
This is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization and donations are tax deductible.
And if you have children’s books, they can be donated to the Bus 6 program here in Guymon. If you have some, bring them on by the Main Street Guymon office and we’ll make sure they get to the right folks!
Talk about know, there is a program on the people from Burma (also knows as Myanmar) at the Guymon Public Library on Sunday, Aug. 25, from 2 to 3:30 pm. This is part of the Main Street Guymon program “Know Your Neighbor.” Guymon has a significant population of people who have been living in Guymon for a long time. It’s good to learn a little about why the people from Burma have chosen to move to the United States, and Guymon in particular.
The next day is Aug. 26 and the day the Diabetes Support Group meetings at the Heritage Community at 5:30 pm. All are welcome to attend this free support group that has a program each month.
Does it sometimes feel that you’re always being rejected? That everyone is always telling you “no?” You can also use these moments as learning tools. Go to www.rejectiontherapy.com and you’ll find Jia Jiang teaches individuals and organizations that the fear of rejection is usually more damaging than the actual experience. In fact, he believes that looking at rejection with open – minded curiosity can be an impressive catalyst for success.
That’s an interesting concept.
When you’re down in the dumps, you can also look at these 10 signs that show you’re doing pretty good in life.
1. You have a roof over your head.
2. You ate today.
3. You have a good heart.
4. You wish good for others.
5. You have clean water.
6. Someone cares for you.
7. You strive to be better.
8. You have clean clothes.
9. You have a dream.
10. You’re breathing.
Be thankful for the little things, for they are the most important.
I am thankful for each and every one of you that support Main Street Guymon, our local businesses, and our community.
See you on the bricks!

August 1, 2019

Today let’s just mess around with some Oklahoma trivia that is gathering dust in my “On the Bricks” folder.
Oklahoma is home to several exceptional athletes over the years. Mickey Mantle is a baseball player from Spavinaw, who hit his 500th home run on May 14, 1967, for the New York Yankees. That day he became the sixth player in baseball to hit 500 home runs or more.
Baseball catcher Johnny Bench, Binger, is also well – known; as is Time Magazine’s Athlete of the Century, Jim Thorpe from Prague; Dallas Cowboy Quarterback Troy Aikman, Henryetta; baseballer Dizzy Dean, Holdenville; and footballer Darrell Royal of Hollis.
Gymnast Shannon Miller moved to Edmond, Oklahoma, at six months of age. She is the most decorated U.S. gymnast, male or female, at the Olympic Games, with a total of 7 medals; she has 16 World Championships and Olympic medals between 1991 and 1996; is the second most decorated gymnast, male or female, in U.S. history; and the tenth most decorated gymnast from any country by her individual medal count.
Bertha Frank Teague was a basketball coach and the first woman inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame.
Oklahoma also has some well-known people in the arts. Ralph Waldo Ellison is an author from Oklahoma City best known for his novel Invisible Man, winner of the National Book Award in 1953.
Author Tony Hillerman is from Sacred Heart; Pultizer Prize winning poet John Berryman, Anadarko and McAlester; S.E. Hinton, author from Tulsa; columnist Argus Hamilton, Ardmore; and Louis L’Amour, Oklahoma City.
Maria Tallchief was an Osage dancer considered America’s first major prima ballerina. Born in Fairfax, Okla., she studied in Los Angeles, moved to New York City, spent five years with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo where she met choreographer George Balanchine who later co-founded what became the New York City Ballet in 1946, where this Oklahoma ballerina became its first star. She was the first American to perform in Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater. Before retirement she served as director of ballet for the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Brad Pitt is an American actor, born in 1963 in Shawnee, who had a leading role in A River Runs Through It, Legends of the Fall, Seven, Fight, Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean’s Twelve, and Ocean’s Thirteen, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and many more movies. He had as wives both Jennifer Aniston and Angelina Jolie.
This year Quentin Tarantino delivers an Oklahoma one – two punch with his newest film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, starring Pitt and featuring Oklahoma City native James Marsden as part of a sprawling ensemble cast exploring the film industry of the late 1960s.
Some other notable actors are James Garner, Norman; Ron Howard, Duncan; Ben Johnson, Pawhuska; Tony Randall, Tulsa; Gene Autry, Gene Autry and Sapulpa; Gary Busey, Tulsa; Kristin Chenowith, Broken Arrow; Joan Crawford, Lawton; Chuck Norris, Wilson and Ryan; and Donna Reed, Tulsa;.
TV host Phillip McGraw, “Dr. Phil” is from Oklahoma City. Broadcast journalist Walter Cronkite also came from Oklahoma City.
Paul Harvey was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He was an American radio broadcaster known for his famous The Rest of the Story segments. From the 1950s through the 1990s, his programs reached as many as 24 million people a week.
The most famous radio personality in the history of the United States was Will Rogers of Oolagah and Claremore.
Woody Guthrie is a famous Oklahoma folk singer and song writer born in 1912 in Okemah. His best-known song is This Land is Your Land. He wrote many songs about his experiences in the Dust Bowl and was nicknamed the Dust Bowl Troubadour.
A few other singers include Garth Brooks, Tulsa; Vince Gill, Norman; Reba McEntire, McAlester; Roy Clark, Tulsa; Charlie Christian, Oklahoma City; David Gates (Bread) from Tulsa; Leon Russell, also from Tulsa; and Blake Shelton, Ada.
Cartoonist Chester Gould was from Pawnee. He drew the Dick Tracy comic from 1931 to 1977.
Air and space travel includes some famous Okies. Astronaut Thomas Stafford was born in Weatherford, Oklahoma, and flew on the Gemini 6, Gemini 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo-Soyuz missions. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and is known for the “Handshake in Space” with Russian cosmonaut Alexei Lenov.
Other Oklahoma astronauts are Gordon Cooper, Shawnee and Tecumseh; Owen Garriott, Enid; Shannon Lucid, Bethany; and John Herrington.
Aviation pioneers Paul and Thomas Braniff were from Oklahoma City.
Outlaw Pretty Boy Floyd is from Akins and Sallisaw; and Outlaw Belle Starr is from Eufaula.
Financier J. Paul Getty is from Tulsa.
The two largest airports in Oklahoma are named after two famous Oklahomans who were both killed in airplane crashes. Will Rogers Airport in OKC and Wiley Post Airport in Tulsa.
Carl McGee of Oklahoma City and Tulsa invented the parking meter.
Bill Pickett of Ponca City is considered the inventor of bull dogging.
Oklahoma has a rich history full of notable people and places.
See you on the bricks!

July 23, 2019

There are few dreams that I recall having … and even fewer nightmares. Pretty much all of them have snakes in them. And they often happen after seeing or reading about snakes. Seems there is a very deep – seated fear in me of those slithering reptiles.
Recently my father gave me his latest Smithsonian magazine to read, which I enjoy. Lots of great articles in those bi – monthly magazines.
The July – August issue had the very lengthy story entitled “Bounty Hunters and Biologists Wade Deep into the Everglades to Wrestle with the Invasion of Giant Pythons Threatening Florida’s Wetlands.” Holy Toledo, Batman, reading that article may have scarred me for life.
The article had statements such as, “Given the python’s survival advantages, they will never be eliminated.” Just what I wanted to hear.
It also told us, “No one knows how many pythons are out there now. Estimates run from 10,000 to perhaps hundred of thousands. A problem with trying to count them is that they’re what scientists call ‘cryptic’ – hard to detect. Their black – brown – tan camouflage fits perfectly in the marsh, as well as in the higher sandy ground that makes up another part of their range. They are good swimmers and can stay underwater for half an hour or more.” Oh, Lord help us.
Some of the snake hunters use their feet in the water to search for the pythons. That is a nightmare in itself.
Here’s another quote to take from the article, “Twelve thousand five hundred pounds of Burmese pythons have come through that door (speaking of the lab) in the last six years. And we caught all of them within 55 square miles around Naples. The Everglades ecosystem is about 5,000 square miles. Consider that fact when you’re wondering how many pythons might be in the Everglades.” Oh, I’m considering … lots of things.
In a part of the story, they describe the how one python female had 43 eggs in her. Yep, that’s really scary. Every female has over 40 babies a year?
Really want me to continue sharing?
How about, “Now that the snakes have devastated the population of smaller animals, they appear to be moving to larger ones. … pictures he had taken last year of a python in the process of swallowing a fawn. The python weighed 31 pounds, the fawn weighed 35.” Yikes.
“…I heard some of Donna’s snake – hunting stores – about the python she caught that, when she cut it open, had a domestic cat in its stomach, and about the huge python that came at her with fangs bared and she shot it and it got away … and about the one she caught and then let go of its tail, so she could answer her phone, and in that moment the snake slipped its tail around her neck and started squeezing and would have strangled her if the friend who was riding with her hadn’t pried it off.” Oh, my heavens.
And I haven’t even told you about the photos in the article.
Scarred. I will never be the same.
Nor will I ever visit the Florida Everglades. Ever.
Enjoyed sharing with you today.
Enjoy your summer and I’ll see you on the bricks!

July 19, 2019

Summer is the time for class reunions. And some reunions have some real surprises for us.
You get me?
Harvey Deutschendorf wrote, “For much of the 20th century, we assumed the person who was the smartest, or had the highest IQ, would be the most likely to succeed. That’s what everyone thought when I went to school. However, after attending our high school reunions, many of us realized this wasn’t always the case.
“Of course, having a high IQ – receiving a high score on an intelligence test – is still a good thing. But social scientists now confirm that strong social skills are a key element to success and that humans are born with the potential for EI (emotional intelligence). This inborn capacity may be damaged or highly developed, depending on a person’s life circumstances and experiences. However, the wonderful thing about EI is that with work and awareness, we can rebuild or enhance EI regardless of our backgrounds.
“In 1990, two American professors, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, coined the term “emotional intelligence” to identify a type of self – awareness they believed had greater influence on human behavior and life outcomes than pure brain power.
“In 1995, a science journalist Daniel Goleman expanded on the concept in his seminal work, Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ. The book was a fixture on bestseller lists for nearly two years and was translated into 40 languages. Among other insights, Goleman notes three levels of EI: (1) recognizing the emotions of others; (2) feeling what others feel; and (3) understanding others’ motivations and emotions so well that a respectful, trusting connection develops.
“… Goleman’s book says in essence ‘your intelligence can come to naught when emotions hold sway.’
“… Harvard recently released results from a 75 – year study, looking for the single most important and reliable predictor of happiness. The answer? Our connections with others ….”
Deutschendorf proceeds to explain in this article in the July 2019 Toastmaster magazine, the importance for EI of Listening; be fully present, put yourself in their shoes, let the speaker know you understood, practice active listening, and curate curiosity.
Lofty personal goals in that short paragraph, but ones that make sense.
You get me?
One thing that is true, in my opinion, is that I can always improve myself. Lots of room for that! And life is more interesting when we have challenges.
Hope your days are filled with happiness and fun challenges to meet.
See you on the bricks.

July 15, 2019

You ever have those days that you just wake up and you aren’t really fit company for anyone? Nothing has gone wrong out of the norm, you aren’t sick, you just need to be away from people because you’re not feeling very friendly. Those days happen and then you read something like this on Facebook:
“I went to the Walmart today, and I was there for literally five minutes. When I came out, there was a state trooper writing a parking ticket for being parked in a handicap spot.
“So, I went up to him and said, ‘Come on, buddy, how about giving a guy a break?’ He ignored me and continued writing the ticket. So, I called him a pencil-necked cop. He glared at me and started writing another ticket for worn tires!
So, I then asked him if his psychiatrist makes him lie face down on the couch cause he’s so ugly.
“He finished the second ticket and put it on the windshield with the first. Then he started writing a third ticket. This went on until he had placed five tickets on the windshield … the more I insulted him, the more tickets he wrote.
“I didn’t care. My car was parked around the corner.”
How in the world can you have a frown on your face after reading something like that?
Here’s one I read in Reader’s Digest: “My boss told me to have a good day. So, I went home.”
That’s what I’m talking about … funny.
Here’s another recent read that sums it up pretty well, “Some people could be given an entire field of roses and only see the thorns in it. Others could be given a single weed and only see the wildflower in it. Perception is a key component to gratitude. And gratitude is a key component to joy.”
My life is blessed by the many friends and acquaintances I have with a great sense of humor and who share positive thoughts and ideas. For these folks I am grateful, and my life is blessed to no end. Smiles abound.
Share the smiles and gratitude and consider attending some of these community happenings:
The Children’s Back to School Health Fair is July 18 at the Texas County Activity Center from 4 to 7 pm. Lots of fun things, free hot dog meals, free back to school supplies and much more.
The City of Guymon Free Movie Night at Cross Park (behind the YMCA) is Sat., July 19, with the movie starting when the sun goes down. It’s a Luau Night and the movie is “Moana.” There are also food vendors and fun happening before the show.
Barn Quilt Door Sign and Punch creative project class is Fri., July 26 at 7:30 pm in the American Legion building. The cost is $40 per person and you take your beautiful art project home with you. The entire $40 is donated to Kid’s Inc. because the supplies and refreshments are paid for by Bank of the Panhandle and childcare is provided at the YMCA for 6 months to 12 – year – olds. That’s a heck of a deal … and it’s a great example of folks working together to make Guymon a great place to live and work.
Don’t forget the Guymon Farmers Market is happening every Saturday morning in front of the Texas County Courthouse, starting at 8 am.
It’s a good place to be, in Guymon, Oklahoma.
See you on the bricks!

July 11, 2019

Lately the definition of success has been a topic of several conversations for me. It’s interesting. And then I read this, written by Coach Keith, an assistant coach in the OPSU baseball program who recently resigned. Coach Keith is the one that made Main Street Guymon’s Special Game Day happen.

What Coach Keith wrote says what I believe so well. I think he wrote it to other OPSU staff.

“I’ve worked here for 6 years. And seeing this university grow has been exciting. But seeing young boys turn into men by making mature decisions, on and off the baseball field, has been the most rewarding goal in my young life. Having a young man from half a world away, tell me ‘thank you for everything’ and having his family embrace me as one of their own trumps any amount of money an individual could get paid.

“We often think of happiness and wealth as money or success. But to be a positive influence in a human being life is worth more than its weight in gold.

“Helping a young man pass a test when 5 months ago he could barely speak English, is a reward.

“Allowing a young man, the opportunity to play college baseball at a competitive level, is a reward.

“Having a young man be the first to graduate college in his entire family, is a reward.

“Coaches, parents and mentors: do not take for granted the impact you make on a young person’s life, and do not overlook the impact they make in yours.

Players: play for a coach who you make you a better person, father, brother, sister, mother, aunt or uncle. Because you are as rewarding in a coach’s life as he/she is to your own.”

There are many teachers, youth leaders, coaches, and others who have figured this out. I know many of them, I’m related to several of them, and I have Main Street Aggie Families who live by this. Those kids that enrich our lives aren’t related to us by blood, they’re probably not known to us until we start to work with them. But they give us the true richness our souls are made to crave.

Thank you to every Coach Keith in this world. You make this world a better place.

Good luck to Coach Keith in his future endeavors.

See you on the bricks.

July 10, 2019

It’s fun to read good things about our community, our state, our country. And sometimes it’s even more fun to share them. So how about sharing some great Oklahoma trivia for a bit?

The design chosen for the National Native American Veterans Memorial, which is set to open on Veteran’s Day 2020 in Washington DC, is Warriors’ Circle of Honor. The artist who designed the memorial, Harvey Pratt, was born in El Reno Okla., and is part of the Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes. He joined the Marine Corps as a young man, where he served in Vietnam. Then as a civilian he served in law enforcement, first with the Midwest City Police Department and later with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Along the way, Pratt discovered he had a knack for turning witness descriptions into suspect sketches. He extended into other forms of forensic identification as well, and his career includes a long list of high – profile cases, including serial killer Ted Bundy and the Murrah building bombing. He retired from the OSBI in 2017.

Just reading about this Okie, whom I’ve never met, makes me feel proud.

The Lion King is being redone in live – action format by Disney and is supposed to come out on July 19. It features Tulsa native Alfre Woodard as Sarabi, mother of Simba. Woodard is an exceptional actress that Wikipedia says, “Alfre Woodard; (born November 8, 1952) is an American actress, producer, and political activist. Woodard has been named one of the most versatile and accomplished actors of her generation.[1] She has been nominated once for an Academy Award and Grammy Award and 18 times for an Emmy Award (winning four) and has also won a Golden Globe Award and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.” Impressive.

Those two Okies have made a mark on a national scale. But we have impressive people who have made a mark here in our own community that deserve some recognition too.

Recently an obituary ran in the Guymon Daily Herald for Dorothy Lois Williams. My world stopped for a moment as I read the obit. My mind went back years ago when Dorothy Williams made such a strong impression on me. I placed foreign exchange students for over 30 years and met some of the greatest kids on earth, learned about and visited places that I should have only been able to read about, and met the nicest families in the Panhandle area, families that were unselfish and caring and interesting. All were interesting.

Dorothy Williams was one of those. But she stands out amongst the hundreds of families I met. When I called Dorothy, she was the principal at Yarbrough School. She said she and her husband would be happy to host two boys, but if I was willing to come to Yarbrough, she would bring together several good families that might be willing to host. Which she did.

We placed 5 students in Yarbrough that year, I believe. And the kids loved their year on the Oklahoma plains. But, even more interesting, Dorothy knew that the state would be counting the number of students and she was always working to make sure the Yarbrough School was not closed.

Dorothy was smart. Dorothy cared. Dorothy did more than just talk about it.

That wasn’t the only year that Dorothy or her employees or family members hosted. And every year. I suspect Dorothy Williams legacy will live long past her years on this earth.

May each of us do something with such love during our time.

On July 17 the Chamber of Commerce is having a Summer Celebration in conjunction with Channel 10 News out of Amarillo. It takes place at Thompson Park from 4:30 – 7 pm. Stay tuned to find out more of what will be happening and meeting the News Crews!

Texas County Children’s Health Fair is on July 18, 4 – 7 pm at the Texas County Activity Center.

The City of Guymon is hosting a summer movie in the area by the YMCA and the Guymon Library on July 19. The movie starts at dusk, but there are other fun things happening before the movie. Check their facebook page to see more. It’s a Luau that evening with the movie being “Moana.”

Go have fun with family and friends.

See you on the bricks!

July 5, 2019

My recent road trip, the route was figured out online with the motels considered via google and then reservations made online. When in any of the towns, google was checked once again for local restaurants and their ratings were given careful consideration. When I was in the motel by myself and didn’t want to get out after one day, I even googled “restaurants with delivery, (town name and state)”. And then I hit the “call” button and ordered.

No place to stay or eat was given any consideration because it wasn’t on google.

Once we arrived in Myrtle Beach, the same method was used to find things to do like go to the Aquarium.

Then I get home and go to work, my mom brings a friend over who is visiting from Maryland. Yes, they did almost the same road trip and they looked on their cell phone to decide where they would stop.

My serious question to our local merchants is this: While these friends were here, if they were to look up on the phone great places to visit, to stay, to shop, or to eat … would your business come up? Would our favorite restaurants have reviews? We can all leave reviews.

This is an issue that Taos McIntyre as a transformer during his high school years had as a project. He looked up businesses (first were the Main Street ones that are more apt to draw someone traveling off the highway) and offered to help them get their information updated on Google. He would bring his laptop in to the store and he didn’t charge anything.

And said people said, “No, thank you.”

You don’t have to be computer savvy to update Google. Especially if Taos is helping you. Why would you not take the 30 to 45 minutes to possibly bring new customers in?

It’s a puzzlement to me.

And then I recall the various things that my kids want me to do with my phone, my banking, etc., and I just nod and smile and never plan on doing it. And it probably would be easier. And it probably would save time. And yet I don’t do it.

So, that just happens, I guess.

What else is happening?

On July 15 during the lunch hour the OSU Extension is holding a class on “Eating Healthy on a Budget.” Call 338-7300 to reserve a spot.

The Texas County Children’s Health Fair is happening on July 18 from 4-7 pm at the Activity Center.

The City sponsored summer movie at Cross Park happens when the sun goes down on July 19 behind the YMCA.

And on July 22 is another OSU Extension class, this one on “Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping it Off.” This one is also held during the lunch hour.

Hope your Fourth of July was wonderful and it’s my hope that you were able to watch the beautiful City Firework display. How fun was that?

See you on the bricks!

July 1, 2019

June was wonderful. A two – week vacation got me relaxed, had time to visit with some old friends and some family, and then as I drove those last miles home feeling thankful to be back. Then on Monday morning I woke up wanting to come to work and be productive. June made July looks so good … and so fun.

During the two weeks I drove to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. That’s a long way. Lots of road time to listen to my music and sing to it when I wanted, and time to have quiet when I wanted to rest my mind. The first day I drove across Oklahoma. The second day I drove across Arkansas. The third day I drove across Tennessee, which I had been looking forward to because I’ve never explored Tennessee.

That whole exploring Tennessee still wasn’t marked off my bucket list when I crossed the state line into North Carolina. Interstate 40 is not conducive to exploring. And there’s no looking at the scenery because there are so many blamed trees that you can’t see the scenery. But I had a drive back to remedy this poor performance, so just mark it up to experience rather than adventure.

Going through North Carolina and arriving in South Carolina, I had the absolute pleasure of spending my best friends 60th birthday with her. We’ve been best friends (there are four of us) since first grade and all of us attended Panhandle State together. Having some time with Nancy was worth every single mile.

The next day after a few more hours on the road, I picked up my daughter Lisa and her friend Lisa (we call her GoGo) in Charleston. There we had our first meal of the anticipated seafood diet at a wonderful restaurant in the middle of downtown Charleston. And we stayed in a boutique inn there a few blocks away. Oh, my, it was fabulous. Our room was two – story and had two bathrooms and three TVs. I could go on, but just say it was a good call to stay there.

Then we drove to Myrtle Beach, SC, where we watched son – in – law Keith’s last baseball game and they won big time. The coast had cooled down because it was cloud covered and the humidity was unbelievable. GoGo and Lisa went to the beach and I stayed in the hotel enjoying my quiet time. And then we enjoyed all three days there.

After dropping Keith and the Lisa’s off at the Charleston airport, my road trip west began. This time I traveled the smaller roads and I seemed to weave from South Carolina into Tennessee and Mississippi and back and forth between the last two. I might have even been in Alabama for a moment, or not far from it. My roads were slow and gorgeous. I drove through where the Civil War Battle of Shiloh took place and through the Appalachian Mountains. At one point there was a mower going in front of my lane of traffic and since we couldn’t pass, it was at times stand still on the road. Nobody seemed to be nervous or cranky. We could see a beautiful and big river flowing below over the rocks and we were in the shade of the mountain. So, I rolled down my window and had that cool breeze and listened to the river. It was a highlight.

Eventually I arrived in Chattanooga and then on into Fayetteville, fulfilling my Tennessee adventure. In Memphis, the evening was great because I had supper with another old friend. It wasn’t his birthday, but we celebrated anyway. Lots of laughing and another highlight in Tennessee.

Soon I was traveling across Arkansas again and into Oklahoma, where the trees thinned out and the are thinned out. I could see better and breathe better. My heart (and lungs) were happy when I finally got home on Friday night.

Saturday was great because I could get the car cleaned out, the laundry done, sleep in my own bed. And on Sunday at church and for lunch was with Mama, supper with my daughter Missy and her family. Still need to catch up with work, with Papa, and with Justin … but there is time.

They’re all doing well, and life is good.

Hoping that your June was filled with highlights, too.

Now it’s time to make some Main Street Guymon highlights … like the Farmers Market on Saturday! I love the Farmers Market!

See you on the bricks!

Survey – Part 5

Each year the four primary Main Street Guymon committees put together their Road Map for the upcoming year, listing each activity and program and the work plan for each. The work plans are then approved by the Board of Directors and sent to Oklahoma Main Street with our Annual Agreement.

This year the board decided to find out what programs the community found the most important and the most helpful. A survey was developed and sent out to Main Street members and volunteers and social media in March and April.

The survey had 24 questions with multiple choice answers. There were 149 people who took the less than five minutes to answer the questions. This is the last article in a series of five on what the surveys revealed on the opinions from the community.

It is obvious from the recent online survey of Main Street Guymon programs that the board, director, and volunteers need to work better at getting the word out about opportunities offered to the membership and public.

Currently, Main Street Guymon posts community events and Main Street programs on their Facebook page that has 4,800 likes and 10,000 to 25,000 post reaches each month.

“But there is a fine line in over – posting and causing people to hide your posts,” says Main Street Guymon Director Melyn Johnson. “And so, in the interest of not losing followers, we try to not post the same thing over and over and we might miss some who don’t see Facebook as often. We also post community events coming up that are not part of Main Street Guymon because our followers want to know more than just the Main Street events.”

The “On the Bricks” personal column has been written by Johnson since 2010 and usually includes a run down of community events that are coming up. The column runs weekly in the Guymon Daily Herald and is posted on the web at www.MainStreetGuymon.com. The column had a 77% positive rating in the survey and 19% who were not aware of the column. One comment that probably fell in the 4% that don’t find the column to be a positive for Main Street Guymon said, “Many find the ‘On the Bricks’ offensive or as if they are being lectured.”

Another said in the comments, “Do enjoy the newspaper column with the thought – provoking stories.”

PTCI films an “On the Bricks with Melyn” show that shares upcoming events, information from classes that have been offered, or a visit into some of the Main Street member businesses. These are available on YouTube and are shared on the website and on social media.

Johnson also appears on KGYN radio Monday mornings at 7:30 to talk about upcoming events and Main Street programs.

“We do what we can with only one full – time person and volunteers on a limited budget,” says Johnson, “but I wish we did a better job of getting our message out. It is something that takes a lot of time but is necessary.”

The only Main Street Guymon program that received a low approval rating was the Archaeologist Lecture in October, with brought home a 36% like and a high 32% that didn’t know about it.

“This is a program that has a smaller interest group,” says Johnson, “sort of a niche market and we held it each year because there was no cost to us, and it was a part of our Main Street Month and part of Oklahoma Archaeological Month. But with the low rating and the fact that it takes place off Main Street (at the public library), we’re going to take it off our annual schedule of events. I have contacted the library to see if they’re interested in continuing the program through the library.”

Of interest are some of the comments at the end of the survey. Because of comments about people not knowing about the programs, we are going to work to post on our website each program, a short description, and how to get involved.

One person said, “A listing of all committees needs to be spread widely to inform people with what all they can choose to volunteer in. I think many more people what to be involved, they just don’t know how or when they can step in to participate!”

Taking this beyond just the Main Street Guymon programs, we are currently working on a community list of places where a person can volunteer and who to contact to find out about helping. This will eventually end up on the Main Street Guymon website under “Volunteering.”

“Doing things like this sounds easy,” says Johnson, “but it takes a lot of hours to gather the information and get it set up. Then doing the updates is a chore, but I think it is needed and we are going to do our best to provide the information. For a long time, people have been coming into the office and finding out ways to help in the community and this is just a step further to make it official. What I know is that we want our community to have these programs, whether it is Pioneer Days (through the Chamber of Commerce) or Panhandle Partners (who help families battling cancer) or Iron Thunder (whose brings us the Five State Motorcycle Run with all proceeds going back to help people in the community) or the Ultra Runners (Livin’ Green and other runs who promote a healthier lifestyle), or Scouts or 4-H because they make a better community.

And so, we will work to help all these programs find people interested in working as a volunteer with them … including the Main Street Guymon programs and partnerships.

One of the best Main Street Guymon partnerships is with the Shutterbugs, a group that started through Main Street Guymon about eight years ago after Chris Urias taught a short workshop for amateur photographers. The photographers wanted to continue meeting, so they met at the Main Street Guymon office, and they have done many helpful things in the community since, carrying out the volunteer service mind that Main Street Guymon has. They have volunteered to take photos for community events and have meetings and lessons on learning about their cameras and shooting photographs. It has been a very positive group in Guymon.

“They no longer need our help from the Main Street Guymon office,” says Johnson, “but they continue to increase their prominence in the community through their volunteer work and we are proud of what all they’ve done.”

One survey comment read, “I would like to see a food program where community members could donate canned goods and other non – perishable items year – round, but also include an annual program where sportsmen and women could donate venison and other game meat to families in need.”

“Loaves and Fishes has been our local food pantry in Guymon, a 501c3 organization, since 1990,” says Johnson. “They do a fantastic job. In fact, they served 55,584 individual visits in 2018. Yet, I don’t know that they had ever considered taking game from hunters and I am anxious to share that idea with Loaves and Fishes Director Gail Parsley.”

Another wrote, “(The) City of Guymon needs to perform more and better repairs of Main Street, including the curbs. Thanks.” Often people forget that most of Guymon’s Main Street is also a state highway and so it can be a state highway issue or a City issue or them working together.

The City does have a beautification project, a streetscape, for the downtown blocks under consideration now and they hope the community will follow that work and give their thoughts into that when the public meetings come up soon.

Another comment at the end of the survey, said, “I think we need an annual fundraiser for the senior home to give more to our very bored seniors. They deserve more than can be afforded.”

Heritage Community staff work to have activities at the assisted living and nursing home. “They also have volunteers who can help make these ideas happen and I encourage whomever wrote this to join them and work to add more,” said Johnson.

The comment also said, “The high school needs dance Fridays at $3 a child as a school fund raiser.”

“Once again, Main Street Guymon doesn’t do school fund raisers, but I’m more than willing to share this idea with some of the teachers that are part of our Main Street volunteers. And they probably would enjoy having help with school fund raisers.”

Many of the comments were positive and showed appreciation for the Main Street Guymon volunteers and programs. “You guys are awesome,” said one on the survey. “Keep up the great work. I have only been here for a few years, but I am proud to say I am from Guymon!”

Another said, “Main Street Guymon is a great connector for the community. If they were to go away, there would be a very large void to be filled.”

And for that sentiment alone, those who work as a part Main Street Guymon say, “Thank you. We hope our programs today, and in the future, hold true to our mission and to always remember that we are all about making lasting relationships, one handshake at a time.”

2019 Main Street Guymon Survey Results