On The Bricks

November 20, 2019

Peggy Wheatcroft decided when she turned 80 years – old she was going to give presents rather than expect to receive them.

She bought 80 blue envelopes and place four $20 bills in each along with a self – addressed stamped postcard and a note asking people, in honor of her birthday to give the money to anyone they chose.

“Find someone who least expects it,” she wrote. “Then write … and tell me about your experience. Let’s spread a small bit of joy!!”

The weekend of her 80th birthday, she started handing out the envelopes to family members and friends who were in town for the wedding of one of her grandsons. She continued to deliver envelopes over the next year until all 80 had been handed out.

“As postcards arrived,” Wheatcroft wrote, “two things stood out. The first was the joy people experienced when giving in person. Many sent me heartfelt letters, some with photos of the receiver. The second was the rapport created when givers explained the source of the money to recipients. It was as if they were teaming up to help an 80 – year – old celebrate her birthday.

“People who gave the $80 as a lump sum often gave it to a person struggling with expenses. One woman heard a teller at her bank say that she would be out for six weeks for reconstructive surgery after a double mastectomy. The woman reached into her purse and gave the teller the $80 and my note. On her postcard she told how the woman cried and cried.

“Other people left a big tip for a service worker – a waiter or a gas station attendant. A mother of two young children wrote about seeing a boy of 11 or 12 walking her street on a summer day asking for work. After he’d labored an hour in the heat, she walked over and told him how much she admired his work ethic and determination. She gave him a $20 bill, and a huge smile crossed his face.”

One couple bought 52 pairs of socks and took them to a shelter right before Thanksgiving.

“My gifts had unexpected ripple effects,” said Wheatcroft. “One man whom I gave an envelope continues to give, three years later. He says he’s now more aware of the people around him and is more comfortable with giving to strangers.”

Giving, not receiving, turned into one of the best presents for this lady.

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.

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!

On The Bricks

May 30, 2019

My Uncle Clyde’s funeral is Saturday and I’ve been asked to read some memories of his childhood that he wrote in 2006. My dad is also speaking, so we have been reading a little in the family history books. It’s been interesting.

One of the things that Uncle Clyde talked about was his attitude about work. He worked road construction early on and was often first hired and last laid off. He said that “after the major job was done, other guys would sit around, but I would keep busy … even if it was just picking up nails. So, the bosses kept me on longer.”

It made me remember the only big chastising I got from my father. We were laying rock and I was a sophomore in high school. My job was to make the concrete. It’s hard work, shoveling sand and cement into that little mixer, shoving it into buckets and carrying it to Papa. At one point, Papa asked me to do something and I just wilted, saying, “I can’t.” I was so tired.

He stopped working … and he had been working twice as hard as me … and said in a very stern voice, “You are not allowed to say, ‘I can’t.’ You say, ‘I’ll try.’” I had done something unacceptable to my kind and caring father. That day made a real impact on me.

And last week, one of the cousins posted on Facebook about Grandpa Grantham (Papa and Uncle Clyde’s father) and how when he said the prayers before a meal he always started his prayer, “Dear Lord, thank you for our work.”

Generations of my family have been impacted by Grandpa Grantham, a young married man and father during the Great Depression. This morning I received a group text from my eldest son, who is a mechanic for a gas company. The text was accompanied a picture of some big motor.

He wrote, “Man, I love when things go smooth and I can drop in a new piston first shot! It’s a beautiful morning!”

His sister texted back, “… since you’re a hard worker.” She was proud of her brother.

Thank you, Lord, for our work and for family that appreciates the blessings you give us in so many ways.

Now, I really need to get to work and get something accomplished today! Grandpa Grantham and Papa need to be proud, not disappointed in me!

Hope you enjoy your work today.

See you on the bricks.