On The Bricks

January 27, 2014

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

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

Some things are just too funny.

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

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

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

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

What have you learned recently?

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

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

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 21, 2014

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

I am none of those things.

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

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

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

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

My hat off to you two.

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

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

It’s a good day to be alive.

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

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 15, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 9, 2014

Having a 10 year old living in the house has certainly changed things for me. I recently read that if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, they you won’t grow. Obviously this old girl is growing! Not to mention the poor little girl. She has had to watch “My Fair Lady.” I mean is there a real childhood without the classic musicals? “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “The Music Man” are in the near future.

And we have been working on things that are really important. Priorities. She has a Serge Ibaka shirt now. Go OKC Thunder! Yep, there are priorities.

Let’s talk a little bit more about growth. If you have had a problem such as narcotics abuse, alcohol abuse, financial problems, physical abuse, or whatever, you’re invited to attend the faith based 12 Step Program every Saturday evening at Victory Center Church at 5th and Quinn in Guymon. There is a free meal at 5:30 pm followed by the program at 6. For more information call Jeremiah Mallard at 580-651-3486. Celebrate recovery!

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be.” ~Abraham Lincoln

How happy have you decided to be recently?

There was a blah day for me and then I went to lunch at the Heritage Community and got to eat with my friends Don and Wanda Fischer. Good food. Good friends. Good fun. Bud Edenborough was at our table too and I really enjoyed talking to him.

You know what is fun about going to eat there? They are happy to see me and they don’t all have something for me to do. Seems most places I go, someone always has something they want me to do for them. I don’t mind it, but it is a wonderful reprieve to just have lunch and visit.

“Life is 10% what you make it, and 90% how you take it.” ~Irving Berlin

When you are feeling in the dumps, having a pity party, go visit someone that likely has worse days then you. Do something for someone else and it’s crazy, but then everyone feels better!

The Ready Group is starting to meet on Sat., Jan. 11. This group is open to anyone who wants to learn, usually about being newly alone and some of the things you need to do and be careful of. Peggy Keenan is going to speak this week about taxes and give some great tips. The meeting is at the Fellowship Hall of the First Christian Church on Quinn between 8th and 9th. Use the glass door on the south end of the brick building.

The primary goal is to provide education and a social time for those who have lost a spouse or find themselves single again. There is no cost for the program or brunch. And there’s no selling of services or items! It starts at 9.30 with coffee and visiting. The brunch is at 10 and then followed by the presentation. Be there. Be prepared. Take care.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Last weekend at the Texhoma Grocery, we bought this little bouquet of flowers that are such pretty colors. They sit on the table in a vase. The little girl loves those flowers. Life doesn’t have to be complicated to be wonderful. Smiles don’t have to cost a lot. Everyone deserves to have colorful flowers once in awhile.

This makes me laugh … “You laugh at me because I am different, but I laugh at you because you are all the same.” Unknown said that. He really said lots of interesting things if you read quote books.

“Wishing you a rainbow for sunlight after showers. Miles and miles of Irish smiles for golden happy hours. Shamrocks at your doorway for luck and laughter too, and a host of friends that never ends each day your whole life through!”

Have a flower filled week and I’ll see you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 8, 2014

Honestly, when I’m working on something and my brain is engaged and in high gear if someone walks in the office, I look up, but I don’t see. Even if it is someone I have known well for 20 years, often it just doesn’t register who it is. There is no click to show engagement, so to speak.

So that means that I don’t multitask nearly as well as I think I do, does it? Now, if someone walks in and I’m making my cup of coffee or playing a game of mah jong, no problem. Well, there might be a problem that I’m not working, but no problem is seeing who came in the door.

So many skills we need to be successful. Recently I attended a meeting and Dr. Todd Connor was the speaker and he talked about leadership. I’m going to share some of those interesting parts with you.

Just because you go there first or you are out front does not mean you are a leader.

Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. You cannot lead any more people than your ability to influence. Leadership is not a title or a position, it is influence. Leadership doesn’t equal power, it equals influence.

The greater the impact you want to make, the greater your influence needs to be.

So, to influence others usually we need to work on ourselves. We need to get out of our comfort zone because growth occurs out of the comfort zone. The perfect place for personal growth are the circumstances we find ourselves in right now. Make it a point to be around people who think differently than you. Make it a point to also spend time with better leaders. Always be grateful, but never satisfied.

Influence comes from valuing people.

A good leader asks his followers, “How are you?”, “What can I do for you?”, “What problems are you facing?”, “How can I help you?”. Then it turns into “Are you getting all the support from me you need?”, “How can I help you grow?”.

People are interested that you care, not what you know.

Your leadership skills take in your ability to cast vision for the business or project; getting a like – minded team of individuals together; uniting this team in a common purpose; helping them see how their goals are in alignment with team goals; getting the right people on the bus; getting the wrong people off the bus; getting the right people in the right seats; and getting the bus going in the right direction.

These insights came from Dr. Todd, who teaches a mastermind class on the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. If you’re interested in being in the class call him at 580-651-6729 or email at

Success is when preparation meets opportunity.

The more skillful leaders our community has, the further it can go.

See you on the bricks, leading away!

On The Bricks

January 7, 2014

Are you student loans eating you up? Do you worry at night if you have enough savings for when you’re retired? There is a time when we have to take control of ourselves and handle our finances, rather than letting what we’ve done tie us up in knots.

If you’re wanting some guidance to get your finances in better shape, think about attending the Dave Ramsey “Financial Peace” classes at the First Christian Church, 802 N Quinn. The classes begin on Thur., Feb. 13, and are held the following eight Thursday evenings starting at 7 pm. The cost is $95. Consider it an investment in your investments! For more information contact Larry Watson at 338-6603.

Sometimes we don’t make good choices concerning our money or want of money. In 1977 the Associated Press ran this story about a man in New York City: “A man was knocked down by a car and got up uninjured, but lay back down in front of the car when a bystander told him to feign injury in order to collect insurance money. The car rolled forward and crushed him to death.”

Dave Ramsey gives much better advice. Be sure to make good decisions concerning your financial future.

Being frugal is an acquired habit. Some are really good at it. If you are a senior citizen (55 years or so or older) and you’re watching your pennies, remember that you’re not older, you’re just smarter.

Robert Carter and I were discussing some good deals for the senior in Guymon … whether you need or just want to have some better savings. Steeles has a senior 15% discount on Tuesday; coffee for seniors is 27 cents at McDonalds; have a full course lunch at the Senior Citizens for not much of a cost; Walls gives a 10% discount to seniors; and you can go watch a movie matinee at the cinema for only $4. I just hate that all but the senior citizens center are not Main Street members, but I love that they give senior citizen discounts!

Sometimes our financial woes come about because of health reasons. We have little control over most of these, but they can cause deep financial strain, not to mention all the other heartache that goes with them.

Such a case is Lori Downing and the fund raiser that is being held for her on Sat., Jan. 18, at the Texas County Activity Center. From 9 am to 5 pm is the Crop Out Cancer, a crafter’s retreat. Lori loves her scrapbooking and other crafting and many of her friends are coming together to have a fun day filled with crafting. You bring your own supplies. Provided is lunch, snacks, swag bags, classes and prizes. The cost is $30 per person.

Then at 6:30 pm begins the Fund Raising Dinner. Chef Virgil Gibson is cooking, Bipolar Echo is the music, and there are some TV type games to be played. It is going to be fun and the cost is only $50 per person or $75 for a couple.

The tickets are available at Main Street Guymon and Wirtz Lumber. Call Denise at 806-339-4851 or Neil at 806-339-1091 for more information. You can also donate at the Bank of the Panhandle.

Another time that funds need replenished is when you’re paying for your college. Be sure to go to to check out their scholarship applications. The deadline is soon. It’s a bad financial decision to put this off!

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony,” according to Mahatma Gandhi.

See you on the bricks … in harmony.

On The Bricks

January 6, 2014

Read an interesting article about Superbugs recently in the December Rotarian. The article refers to “drug – resistant superbugs as ‘nightmare bacteria.’” And it tells what is bringing these superbugs along.

“Counterfeit drugs, self – medication, and limited access to medical care contribute to antibiotic resistance, as these factors may lead to incorrect dosages that do not kill all bacteria. Pediatricians wrote more than 10 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions each year from 2006 to 2008, for ailments such as the flu, bronchitis, asthma, and allergies, which are not caused by bacteria. Half of all antibiotic prescriptions are for broad – spectrum drugs that wipe out the body’s good bacteria too.

“Taking carbapenems (powerful antibiotics used as a last resort) may increase your risk of contracting a carbapenem – resistant superbug by a factor of 15. Scientists haven’t discovered any new classes of antibiotics since 1987.

“Nearly half of all soaps on the market in the United States are antibacterial, which may encourage the growth of superbugs.

“Some drug – resistant superbugs kill up to 50% of the people they infect. In the first half of 2012, about 4% of short – stay hospitals and 18% of long – term care hospitals in the United States reported infections involving bacteria resistant to carbapenems. The bacteria, which usually live in the gut, can enter the body through medical devices such as ventilators or though wounds.

“Superbugs kill 23,000 people each year in the country. In 2008, at least 150,000 people were killed worldwide by multidrug – resistant tuberculosis.

“Food – safety precautions will protect against bacteria, including drug – resistant strains. To slow the rate at which bacteria evolve into superbugs, doctors shouldn’t try to treat viral infections with antibiotics, should avoid prescribing mild doses of antibiotics over long periods, and should use a combination of antibiotics rather than increasing the dose when they encounter an infection that isn’t responding. Patients should take care of their pills.”

I am no doctor and I suspect the Rotarian isn’t probably the best information on medicine that is obtainable. But there is a point in this article. Our stupidity (not only doctors) is making us get sicker. Quit sharing your prescriptions. Quit taking only a portion of your prescription. Quit thinking you know more than the doctor.

Now, you should know, I’m preaching to myself. I am not the one who thinks a pill makes everything better. I tend to think a fever means my body is fighting something and I let it fight. But I do tend to try to do almost anything before going to the doctor. We should all be smarter.

And besides not being stupid with meds, we can get smarter with our Epic Saturday classes! Jan. 10 is Stampin’ It with Sharlene Wale at The Studio, 3rd and Roosevelt. Sat., Jan. 11 is the Shutterbugs from 10 – noon at the Main Street Guymon office, and the Transformers are going that day to visit the Open Cross Ranch. Transformers meet at 1 at the Main Street Guymon office.

Be sure to put Jan. 18 on your calendar to attend the Crop Out Cancer for Lori event. Call Denise Gebara at Hitch Enterprises for more information on that event.

It’s a great year, isn’t it?

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

January 4, 2014

There is a file in my desk of things that I have read and find interesting. They’re to share in the column, if it works out. Well, that file is getting a little thick, so I’m going to just hodge podge today of “Facts Melyn Finds Interesting.”

Before we really jump into this endeavor though, have you picked up your Christmas photo with Santa from the night of the Christmas Parade at Frida’s? Oliver Marquez does a wonderful job volunteering to take those photos for Main Street Guymon and I hope everyone enjoys them. There is always a line for Santa, so it must be pretty popular. Santa certainly is a popular guy.

And while you’re doing a little catching up, did you see the December “On the Bricks” show on PTCI’s Channel 2? If you don’t have Channel 2, then goon your computer to and click “videos” and on the left you’ll see “On the Bricks.” There’s some good information on there!

In the Rotary magazine, “The Rotarian”, there was an article about being careful about being a saver. They’re basically saying that if you have lots of stuff it is hard for your family when you die. Hard on their back, hard on their time, hard on the garbage collector, etc. They gave a few pieces of advice that I found exceptional.

#1. Never photograph a church. Not even Notre – Dame. Your children do not want a photograph of any church on earth.

#2. Never photograph an animal in a zoo. Not ever.

#3. Throw away your old tax returns, your canceled checks from long ago.

#4. If you break a piece of pottery, toss that too, unless it was thrown by Picasso.

#5. All of your homework and notebooks from high school and college? Recycle. No one, not even you, will ever read any of it.

#6. Letters from early boyfriends or girlfriends? Bonfire of the vanities.

If you continue to save everything, the article says, “And when you pass from this earth, as all of us must, your children will come in and find their hearts twice rent from losing you and from inheriting your stuff. They don’t want to let you go, and yet, cruelly, they have been forced to do so. And then your stuff becomes your proxy, and they do want to let it go, but it pains them to do so because, well, you kept it, so it must mean something important.”

“What is life but time spent on earth? You can give your children the gift of time and therefore more of their own lives. The time you spend going through your own stuff is time they will not have to spend doing it.”

See, because I am so far from a saver, this makes sense to me. And stuff really just holds you down, in my opinion. But there is another side that came to mind after reading the article. If you don’t like your children … save everything. Don’t like your grandchildren? Put a few dollar bills amongst junk mail, maybe credit card approval letters, so they can’t just junk the whole box, but need to go through each piece. Yes, this is a way to be mean and evil and unkind to those you dislike. Don’t tell my mama. I wasn’t always the easiest child ….

“If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” ~Cavett Robert

Don’t miss the 9th Annual Dinner, Dance and Draw Down at Pickle Creek on Jan. 26 at 7 pm. It’s located at 822 NE 6th Street and costs $50 to get in. There they have the Wooden Nickel Band performing and you get great food. It’s BYOB and with the purchase of a ticket you have the chance to win $5,000 (that’s the Draw Down)! All of this is a fund raiser for the Pioneer Days Rodeo.

That Chamber Pioneer Days Rodeo Committee works all year long to bring us the world-wide wonderful Pioneer Days Rodeo the first weekend in May. Support those who are working so hard in our community!

Speaking of volunteers, because that’s what the Rodeo Committee is made up of entirely, was another article in the Rotarian magazine. It was talking about how to fit in, work in, become an integral part of your community. It stated, “Volunteer constantly and show up religiously. In any community, there’s only a small subset of people who show up and do things, and when they see you showing up, they’ll start to see you as a brother or sister. … Share credit. Make other people look good.”

That is such good advice on how to gain friends and squash your enemies.

Gosh, I’ve only made a dent in my folder, but the column is getting longer than a reasonable person would want to read.

Don’t miss the Stampin with Sharlene class on Jan. 10th from 7 – 9 pm at The Studio, 3rd and Roosevelt in Guymon. This is for creative people or those who want to be more creative and everyone works together making cards. They’re awesome. And they’re nice to give to your friends and family. Wow, the friends and family would probably save them. Then when they pass, their family will have to deal with them. Hmmm, a vicious circle. But I really believe even the family would enjoy seeing these gorgeous cards made with so much love.

Let’s start the new year with this Irish blessing, “May God be with you and bless you. May you see your children’s children. May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in blessings. May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.”

See you on the bricks!