Monday, June 29, 2009

Puppy prowess

We welcomed the newest addition to our family with open arms. A puppy. Actually it’s not our puppy. It’s Garrett’s puppy and Garrett is our youngest grandson. So, I guess that makes Brady our grand puppy. Garrett, his brother Brandon and his parents, Paul and my daughter Karen, took a trip to Birmingham , AL for a reunion, Paul’s family. When Karen asked if we could “puppy sit” for them. I immediately said yes, because Brady is such a cute little fellow — he’s a long-haired mini-wienie (the correct pronunciation is dachshund) dog. He’s playful and loves to run around and around in circles at full speed, and when he stops he rolls over to have his belly rubbed. How do you resist anything so cute?

We tried the first day or two to keep him in a (makeshift) pen, so to speak. We were concerned that he might dig out or find an area around the gate where he might wiggle through. First, we kept him in our sun room, but that quickly became a not-so-good idea. He tore up anything he could get into his mouth, be it one of Cynthia’s baskets, paper or a sack of potting soil. He managed to make a big mess of that. So, I put him outside the sun room in a little breezeway area between the back deck and our sun room in a small makeshift pen. That didn’t last long, because next thing I knew, he was standing at the door to the sunroom, staring in at us. Then, I tried putting him in the yard behind the deck in an area I tried to build for him. Almost before I could get back into the house, he had already gotten out and was standing at the sunroom door staring at me again. So, I moved him again, putting him an another area I attempted to block – barricade is more like it -- and again he crept out and, you guessed it, he was standing and staring at me. Actually, I think he was laughing at me! Cynthia and I have renamed him Little Houdini!

We even took him camping with us last weekend. He loved it and wasn’t any much trouble. He slept on the floor beside our bed. He’s so darned cute and so playful, though. Karen called to check on him and I gave him all good reports. She said, “Good, you’ve got him house trained, huh.” I said, “Maybe not so much house trained, but we’ve got him RV trained!” .The good news is, like all good little grand puppies he went home, because we had to go to Heavener for a few days. We admit, however, he will be missed. Only a little. Because every time Cynthia and I come home, we ask, ”Did you check on Brady?” We’ve also come to the gripping conclusion; maybe we just aren’t quite ready for a puppy. Not full-time, at least.

Friday, June 26, 2009

We called him "Coach"

We called him "Coach"
The summer of 1962 was a mighty hot one as are most summers in the part of the country where Heavener is. Back then I had a part-time job working for Olive Brothers Grocery which meant I had to work the days the delivery trucks came in and all day on Saturday because back in those days there wasn’t a Wal-Mart up to Poteau and Saturday was the day everyone came to town. The pay was 40 cents an hour except on Saturday it was working from seven in the morning until seven at night with 30 minutes of for lunch for a whopping $4.00 for the day; but that was $4.00 more than I would have had if I had not of had the job except I guess I could have kept my old job shining shoes at the City Barber Shop for 15 cents a shine which on a good Saturday might be a good bit more than that $4 Buck and Clyde paid out about 6:55 p.m. each Saturday Night but somehow it seem a bit more respectable to be caring out groceries or loading feed sacks than shining shoes. But anyhow being part-time that left plenty of time for playing American Legion baseball. Our team that summer was coached by Lonzo Hudlow. Lonzo had learned his baseball just like us kids had by playing it all his life and he had been a pretty good sand-lot slugger himself out on the playground at the Loving School and later at Heavener. Some of Heavener’s really good players had been picked up by Ft. Smith. Guys like Jerry Johnson, John Council and the "Mick" being on the Ft. Smith roster meant Coach Hudlow had rather slim pickens to work with only the likes of his son Chuck, Buster Coggins, Mike Dedmond, Jim Day, Jim Allendar, the Raines twins, Mike Vickers, Ray Gaskin, Fred Pugh a few others and me. Not meaning to discount the talent and skills of these guys for certainly some of them could surely play and Fred, Buster, and Ray were good enough to play on about anybody’s American Legion team. Though we were not the best team around, Coach Hudlow was sound on the fundamentals and we got to be a pretty good team. Oh, we could hold our own with teams from Howe, Wister, Talihina, and even Poteau, but there was that one trip we made to McAlester for a double header that showed us how good we were not.. Some of out team members had gone off with their parents on vacations and Coach Hudlow was left sure enough shorthanded, especially when it came to pitching. Now me being the regular catcher on the team, I was about the closest thing to being a pitcher he had left. Not that I was anything close to being a pitcher, but I had at least caught a lot of pitches in my time and had some kind of idea of what to throw and when to throw it - and I could throw pretty hard too. Not that it meant much in that game because it seemed that all of McAlester’s players were like the Jerry Johnsons, Micky Wynns, and John Councils that we didn’t have on our squad. Practically every batter on the McAlester team was hitting the ball hard off of me and the ones that didn’t get a hit, I hit them and McAlester beat us something like 12 to 0. Well, Coach for sure was not going to pitch me in the second game so Chuck Hudlow was selected to throw against the Buffaloes in the second game. Now Chuck had pretty good fundamentals when it came to pitching. He knew how to stand on the mound right and had a good looking wind up and his fast stuff was ever bit as good as mine and he could throw a curve ball too. But, Alas, the outcome was about the same. Chuck couldn’t get anybody out either and we lost that game too. Although we had definitely let Coach Hudlow down, he never let on that he was the least bit disappointed in us and he made us feel like he was proud of us for trying to do our best. I’ve always been glad I got to play baseball for Coach Hudlow that summer. I’ve been away from the Ole Hometown most of the time since then, coming "home" for short visits and sometimes getting to see Coach Hudlow. He always knew who I was and somehow had kept up with where I was living and what I was doing. Most other folks would mistake me for my more famous brother, Wayne and ask how things were going in the Forest Service, But Coach Hudlow always made me feel like I was someone special to him. He was certainly special to me. The last time I saw Coach was at his wife’s funeral. I talked to him briefly there and he seemed that he was very glad to see me again. Yesterday Coach was buried in Heavener. The funeral was as excellent as a funeral can be I reckon. Coach Hudlows grand daughters sang and my how beautifully those girls can sing. A tribute Chuck had written was read and I know it made our old Coach proud. Rev Bob McCaslin preached the service and basically finished up the sermon he had started when he preached Chuck’s Mother’s funeral a few months ago and it was a fine message that he brought. As I left the Church yesterday, I noticed it was terribly hot outside and my mind went back to those hot summer days nearly 50 years ago and a good man we called "Coach".

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Witnessing death

Death, unfortunately is part of living. Chuck wrote a blog about his dad, Lonzo, on Father’s Day Sunday and mentioned it was probably the last Father’s Day he would spend with him. Sadly, he was right. Lonzo passed away Monday evening. Chuck, whom I consider a very good friend, has been courageous about it. When last I spoke with Chuck about Lonzo, he expected it soon. He sent me an email late Tuesday, notifying me of his death and to look for the obit within the next day or two on the Poteau Daily News or Ft. Smith Times-Record websites, since I always inform my fellow Heavenerites of obits. Death is what prompted me to write this blog.

I blogged on Father’s Day about my dad and his passing only weeks before Cynthia and I married. We were in the cafeteria at Sparks Hospital in Ft. Smith , when an announcement came over the loud speaker for the Inman family to report to the 3rd Floor. We, too, had been expecting it to happen anytime. That fact didn’t make it any easier. My daughter Karen was en route to Ft. Smith and missed getting to see him alive by only a few minutes.

Lonzo’s passing makes me sad for Chuck and his wife Maureen, his sister Judy and her family, Patricia and her family and Joyce. I don’t know if Joyce has a family, because I haven’t kept up with her life, other than the fact she works with Judy. It also made me think of the people I’ve actually seen take their last breaths of life, just as Chuck did Lonzo. I’ve been present for two other men I knew personally. One was my friend George’s dad and the other was my friend Judy’s dad. George handled his dad’s passing very maturely. I was standing next to George at a hospital in Longview and we watched on the monitor as it redlined. I was also at Judy’s dad’s bedside as he passed. Judy had left for the evening and I had relieved her. Others I have lost, but not witnessed, were my mother and step-mother, Lola and Jaunita. Cynthia has lost her mother and dad, Eloise and Felix, as well as a brother, Larry. None, of course, were easy, but yet comforting to realize they all joined loved ones in Heaven.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Spahn and Sain and Pray for Rain

John's story about the Giants took me back to the hot summer days of my childhood when my favorite past time was baseball. In those days my team was the Braves --Boston and then Milwaukee. The best escape from the heat around our house for a little kid was the shade underneath our back porch. The floor of the porch was about 3 or 4 feet above the ground so there was plenty of room to play under there so there we would gather and listen to the radio if a baseball game was on and if none was we would make up our own game using whatever was handy and our imaginations to put on a game of baseball. Didn't have to be anyone else there; if it was just me I could be both teams and name off the players of most National League teams or if were the world series it would be against the hated Yankeees. Me being part Indian my team was always the Braves. Back then the Braves had the best pitchers around with stars like Oklahoman Warren Spahn and his team mates Lou Burdette, Johnny Sain, and Bob Buhl. I don't remember who the announcer was but he often would say "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" and the Braves would keep on winning. ( For you non-fans, back then pitchers needed at least a couple of days of rest before they pitched again so if Warren Spahn pitched on Monday, Johnny Sain would pitch the next and then if it happened to rain on Wednesday then Spahn would be ready again on Thursday, don't you see? Me myself being a catcher my favorite Brave was Dale Crandel the Braves All-Star Catcher. At first Base there was Joe Adcock. The Braves had a second baseman but I can't think of who it was today. At short was Johny Logan and on Third was the great Eddie Matthews who later would be the Braves Manager. A couple of the outfielders were Henry Aaron (the best ever) and Bobby Thompson and I'm sure there was another guy too. With the 3 Cagle boys, the Duncan brothers, The Taylors, Jim Blaylock and his cousin Snooks and Me, Wayne and Homer, we had our own little neighborhood team. You could find us almost any summer day playing make up games or "work up" or maybe just "burn-out" but in our own minds were as good as those guys on the radio and we were having fun and doing so without any adult supervision and rarely any harsh words or scuffles. You don't see much of that with boys now-a-days . Oh, you can drive by the park and there will be teams out there but they are all dressed up in fancy uniforms and there are more parents around than players and I guess that is not a bad thing, but it wasn't that way back in the fifties on the far west-side in Heavener. Well, I'm done; better go mow the yard before it gets too hot for me so I can get back inside the house under the air conditioner.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day II

I enjoyed reading John's blog celebrating his father on this Father's Day. Rather than add my remarks as a "comment" to his blog, I figured I might as well make my comment a blog all its own...'cause I'm sure I'd get long-winded.

Unlike most of yours (I imagine), my father is still alive. However, his life is slipping away as I type this and I'm sure this will be the last Father's Day I have with him.

I don't want to be morbid, but the truth is, my Dad is rapidly, and finally, reaching the end of his long life. All of his siblings have been rotating along this last long road Dad is on, trying to keep him best we (and the hospice workers) can. Dad's condition is terminal, but in a sense, so is all of ours. I don't know of anyone who has escaped this life alive, except Jesus (and even he had to suffer death first).

Everyone who has lost a parent has had to endure similar circumstances, I'm sure, so my story isn't meant to sound exceptional. However, because it's Father's Day, I'm taking the liberty of expressing some of my memories of the man who's lying in a bed in the next room, waiting for his final breath, Dad.

Like John's (and many...if not most...of you), my Dad was a special Dad. I couldn't begin to list all of the lessons he's taught me over the years. Suffice it to say that were it not for him and his support and sacrifices over the years, my life would have turned out much different. I credit him (and God, through him) for the successes that I've enjoyed in my life. I could make a long list of the things he's done for me, but I won't do that to you.

I can't help but think that my Dad started his life with a handicap. His parents named him Eli Lonzo! Can you imagine, as a man, being called Eli Lonzo? Over the years, I've heard some of his friends call him Eli, but most, Lonzo. I believe there were some that called him Lonnie (a derivative of Lonzo, I guess) and maybe not coincidentally, that's what he and Mom gave me as a middle name: Lonnie.

Dad was born on October 3, 1919. He left home in Lovings when he was sixteen and hitch-hiked to California with $6.00 in his pocket, hoping to find a job. As unbelievable as that is to me, his first few years as an 'adult' were even more so. He survived, though, and eventually went into the military service, married my Mom, and raised a family. Over the years, he's worked in fruit orchards, oil fields, aircraft plants, coal mines, and, eventually, as a civil servant with the Post Office. He's served in many capacities at his Church, he's a Mason, and he served as Heavener's City Judge for several years. With his 'judge' credentials, he officiated three of his grand-children's weddings, and he traveled with me to New York, when he was in his 80's, to perform a Bible reading in my son's wedding there.

It would be an understatement to say that Dad has had lots of memorable experiences in his life. I'm glad that I haven't had nearly as many...thanks to Dad, because I wouldn't rate some of his as enjoyable.

Now, Dad lies in wait....barely breathing, ...waiting for the end to come to the life that caused so much happiness for so many that knew him. It hurts me to see him in pain and having to suffer the embarrassment of having his children handle his every need. Is there not a better way? Maybe not.

So, on this Father's Day, as many remember those Dad's that have long since left this life, I can stand by my Dad's side one more time and tell him how much I appreciated the life he gave me. I won't know if he really understands what I'm saying, but I'll say it just the same. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Happy Father's Day

What can I say about my dad that I haven’t already said before? I just wish he were here today, so I could personally wish him a Happy Father’s Day on this special day. Unfortunately my dad, Floyd Inman, passed away six and a half years ago, give or take a few months, only a month and a half before Cynthia and I married. My dad was supposed to be the best man at our wedding. I wish he was here for my own selfish reason -- to see how happy Cynthia and I are. Cynthia misses her dad, too. He passed away long before we got married, but she has told me plenty of “Felix stories” that I know I would have liked him, too. His name was Felix Jack. Cynthia’s son Michael plans to name his little boy Micah Felix when he is born this coming October. Cynthia tried to talk Michael out of using the name Felix as the child’s middle name, but Michel has always wanted to name a son after his grandfather. He thought the world of Felix and Michael has his own selfish reasons for wanting to name him Micah Felix. Micah means “who is good?” and Felix is both Hebrew and Greek. Theologians have been arguing about Hebrews and Greeks for years, and Michael, being the theologian that he is, would be the one of the few to be aware of that little-known fact. So, he figures, who is good, Felix. It’s simple.

My daughter Karen loved her “grandpa Floyd,” too. I know she misses him just as I do.

Anyway, to all the men bloggers and to all their dads, and to all who read this particular blog, Happy Father’s Day. And to the women who may read it, Happy Father’s Day to their dads.

Friday, June 19, 2009

How I became a Giant fan

Upon hearing of the death of former New York Giant baseballer Dusty Rhodes this week, it brings back a lot of great memories. First of all, his name is one of the great all-time names in sports history.

But, it was in the 1954 World Series that he became a household name. He helped the Giants to a 4-0 sweep of the Cleveland Indians in that series with clutch pinch hits in each of the first three games.

Of course, Willie Mays' great over-the-head catch of Vic Wertz' long drive was also a big highlight of that series.

My mother wasn't a big baseball fan, but she always watched the World Series. I was seven years old when that series in 1954 came along and I helped my mom root for the Giants to win the series.

I can remember riding my tricycle up and down the sidewalk in front of our house in Dewey, Oklahoma, hollering "The Giants won the World Series."

From that time, I became a Giants fan and a Willie Mays fan. The Giants haven't won a World Series since, but I'm still rooting for them.

As for Dusty Rhodes, thanks for the memories. I'm glad I knew ya.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Three L's

This is the 100th blog I’ve written, so I figured it would be the best time to tell you, since Cynthia and I got married, we have adopted the motto of the three L’s: Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much. We’ve decided life’s too short to do anything else. Last Saturday, we decided with nothing to do for the day, that maybe we should run up to Lake Tawakonie and see if we could hook up the new RV. By that, I mean electric and water. We didn’t take food or our medicine (we are both diabetic), because we weren’t going to stay. It wasn’t real busy at the campground, so there were plenty of available spaces. Actually, we wanted to check out the new satellite system, so we pulled into a nice wide-open spot where there were no trees and we could point it to the southwest to get the best reception.

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier blog, we had it in dry storage (making a play on words, when it rained and stormed so badly during the week, I kidded Cynthia that it was nice we had it in storage so park Rangers make sure it’s covered for us and could stay nice and dry). The storage facility where we have it parked, although not covered, is only about 200 yards from the I-1 campsite (that’s appropriate, since we call it the I-bus). So, anyway, like I said, we were going to pull it into a campsite. All the hydraulic jacks have to be up when we move it, but one of the jacks only came up halfway. What to do now? Since the first campsite was just a couple 100 yards away, we thought we would go ahead and carefully move it anyway.

Oh, I forgot to mention when we got back into the car – we had stopped at the family center for something – to go to the RV storage facility, the car was acting sorta funny. The engine cranked, but wouldn’t keep running. Again and again, the engine kept dying. To make a long story short, we finally got it going, drove it to the campsite and Cynthia got out and walked back to the RV. Like I said, maybe a couple 100 yards.

She got in the RV, drove it to the campsite, got the electric plugged in and sure enough, the jack still wouldn’t go up. With no food, no medicine, and not being real sure if the car would start again, we thought we would have to spend the night, or the rest of the weekend. We got the car started again, however, and went to a nearby restaurant get something to eat and came back to the campsite. The heat was scorching, and I’m talking about INSIDE the RV. The temperature was 100 when we arrived and by the time we left the air conditioner had lowered it all the way down to 92! With the car seeming to run okay again, we decided to come back home. We left the RV at the campsite, unhooked the electric, left our key with the rangers and told them we would call an RV repair shop when we got back home. We did, but not until Monday morning.

The RV repair shop will go out, take care of the faulty jack, then we will go back to Tawakonie and put the RV back into dry storage. We plan to go back the first weekend in July for another test. In all the confusion, we still didn’t get to check the satellite, though.

We will know now, when we do start our first journey, at least the electric works. In spite all that, we’re still living, laughing and loving.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Another Heavener star

Reading Colin’s blog the other day about a guy who played basketball in a couple of all-star games brought back memories of watching a Heavener girl back in my sports writing days. It was in the national juco tournament at Tyler Junior College , better known as TJC. I was covering it probably because Kilgore JC was playing in it, or because it was in Tyler , not far from Longview , and we had a tendency to cover everything as long as it was close by. Besides, TJC had a good hospitality room!

Mercy, I gave away one of my trade secrets.

One of the girls teams playing was Westark and as I was scanning the rosters, I noticed a girl from Heavener was on the Westark team (it’s called University of Arkansas - Forth Smith these days). That intrigued me a little. Her name was Jessica Rowland. Westark finally reached the finals. I was there as a member of the working media, so I could partake in my trade secret …

No, I was legit, covering the game for a reason. I did look in the stands to see if there was anyone from Heavener I would recognize. Bingo, there was Lester Rowland. I remembered Lester from my school days, especially since David Rowland was a classmate, so I approached Lester to re-introduce myself, since it had been almost 40 years or so since I had last seen him. Jessica, indeed, played well and Westark won the national championship that night. That gave me a chance to talk to her. She was very talkative, especially when she discovered I was from Heavener. So much so, that I was able to get enough comments that I not only wrote a story for the Longview paper, but I also did one for the Heavener Ledger.

I usually send one to Roy Faulkenberry, the editor, with a headline suggestion. I suggested Jessica Rowland: it has a nice ring to it, or something like that, since she would win a ring signifying the national championship she and the Lady Lions had won. I don’t remember any of what she did, stats-wise, but Roy ran the story, with the headline idea. Ever time I see Lester now, he brings up the story I did on Jessica. Lester works at the Runestone up on Poteau Mountain as one of the park rangers.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Remembering a Friend Downtown

On Facebook and on this blog site, I have chatted with people who have churned up a bunch of memories. Steve Mattison and I typed back and forth in the past couple of weeks, and I thought back to the Cedar Lake days. When we were really young, Blue John Costner would load us and our innertubes all in the back of his truck and take us out to the lake to swim. (I don't know why we called him Blue John. Seems like his dad was John Costner, maybe?) Steve and Bobby Costner tolerated Celia and me pretty well, and I don't even recall one single near-drowning incident. But I do remember it was very important to have your own innertube 'cause Blue John wasn't going to waste any of his time going down town to pick one up. Well, one day I slipped off to the Mobil station to get a new innertube on a hot summer day. The walk made me thirsty, and I needed a Nehi Grape to make it back up the hill. So I paid a visit to one of my downtown buddies, Floyd Inman, to borrow the change for a bottle of soda. I must have been about 6 or 7 years old at the time, and I didn't want to carry debt, so I told Floyd he could just go down to the Pool Hall to get the money back from my Daddy because I wasn't allowed to go in there!
Well, Floyd couldn't wait to get down to the Pool Hall to tell all the men in the domino game about Bain's little girl being out on the streets begging! As it turns out, I didn't have to walk home that day because Dad found it necessary to take me home with several lectures along the way. Best I remember, the lecture ended with "and you don't need to tell your Mother!" Apparently, I wasn't the only one in our family who wasn't supposed to be in the Pool Hall that day!
Probably several years later, but still floating along in innertubes, Celia Jean and I floated across Cedar Lake while Bob and Steve swam to the other side. That was so long ago -- there wasn't an "other side" back then. It was just the natural lake side.
I'm glad I grew up with friends like Floyd and Blue John, and Celia, Bobby, and Steve - and parents like Mo and June! What a difference it has made in my life!

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I am Kathy Bain Dunn, probably best known to most of you as Judy's little sister. John Inman invited me to this blog, and I am already hooked. Heavener represents so much of what is good in my life, not that life after Heavener has been bad. Not at all!! It's just that Heavener shaped what has made my life good. I read about Floyd Inman selecting his middle name as a requirement for the military. My uncle, Bo Roop, from Heavener had to do the same thing when he joined the Marines during WWII. Uncle Bo chose to be B. O. Roop, and to my knowledge he didn't ever have names for the B and O, just initials I think. When I think of family strength, I think about my grandparents, Tom and Bonnie Roop, and my mother June Roop Bain - how in the world did they handle the distress they were dealt during WWII?
Daddy Tom was a mail carrier in Heavener for over 40 years. During the war, it was his job to accept the telegraphs sent to families who had sons missing or killed in action. He would then deliver that somber news to the families on his route. He told of how hard that duty was to perform, and one day it became unbelievably hard when the message delivered the news that his own son, Carl, was missing and presumed dead. Daddy Tom ran his route that day, and kept that grief to himself until he got home to his family that afternoon to deliver their tragic news.
Uncle Bo was serving overseas at the same time, and so was my Daddy, Elmo Bain, who was my mother's fiance' at the time. My mother, June, was a student at OU where both her brothers had been going to college when they left to join the military. They had a precious little sister just 12 years old. Within 6 months of Carl's plane being lost at sea, the sister Edith came down with polio. Their home was quarantined, and the polio took her life. The funeral service for Edith was held in their home because of the quarantine and the fear that polio caused.
I can remember the Veteran's Day program given every year at Westside Elementary. Mrs. Fay Moore played the piano. Mrs. Hilda Grae Wynn led the singing as the kids recognized every branch of the service by singing their theme song. We students would stand when the song for our Dad's branch was sung, and all the parents and grandparents would stand as well to represent their loved ones. I'll never forget my grandmother, Bonnie Roop, during those assemblies. She came every year, and tears streamed down her face every year as she stood to represent the son that never came home. "Nothing can stop the Army Air Corps." (They changed the words to U.S. Air Force later, but while I was at Heavener we never changed it.) Every year at the same assembly, Mr. Keller would sing "My Buddy." I shall never forget his rich voice, and how much that song meant to my mother and my grandmother.
Many years have passed, and as a tradition at my church here in Midwest City we sing a "Salute to the Troops" in celebration of Independence Day. Men and women in the service stand when their branch's song is sung. And you guessed it - every year tears stream down my face when we play the Air Force song. I play organ and synthesizer in the church chorchestra (we aren't quite good enough to be called a real orchestra). Last year, my closest neighbor in the orchestra, the pianist, asked me why I cry every year, and sure enough she was moved to tears, and when neither the pianist or the organist can play - well it stops a rehearsal! Tears can flow, and we play on because that's what I learned from my parents and my grandparents. Already this year, we are practicing the Salute to the Troops, and tears have come - guess they always will! But the important lesson is to play on and to live on and honor his memory with living in freedom!
The strength in the Bain/Roop clan runs deep, and we have a rich heritage that has shaped us!

Tribute to a Heavener Star

In the past couple of weeks I have attended two Oklahoma High School Basketball "All State" games. The first was held on the campus of Oklahoma Baptist University at Shawnee and was sponsored by the Oklahoma High School Coaches Association and the second was played at Oklahoma Wesleyan Univesity at Bartlesville and was the Oklahoma Indian "All-State" Game. I attended these games because our grandson Josh Stevens had been selected to play in both games but I new from reading the Ledger that a student athlete from Heavener named Michael Moholt had also been selected to play in the games. When we arived at the gym for the game at Shawnee my Grandson pointed out a young man there that was wearing a "t-shirt" with Heavener Wolves on the front of it. I assumed that it was Michael Moholt and introduced myself to him and that is who it was. He was very polite and said that he was glad to meet me. Later as I sat in the stands waiting for the game to start a man came up to me at said "Michael Moholt " pointed you out to me and said you attended school at Heavener. This man was Bobby "Jelly" Mead. Jelly pointed out to me someother Heavnerites seated just down the way a bit and told me that they were Chock Manley and his family and that Chock was Michael's grandfather. Attending the game with me were my wife Peggy and her sister Judy and their brother Terry and his wife Cindy (all from Heavener too, of course), so we had our own little re-union and then settled in to watch the game. Michael is a very good basketball player (of course he is or he would not be playing in the "All-State" game. He played well on both offense and defence. He is only a little over six foot tall but held is own amongst the much taller players

Friday, June 12, 2009

Better late than never

We have two different photos, one of Cynthia and I together on our facebook and the same one of just me on my blog, Cynthia cropped out. The one of us together on facebook represents a team. Often, we have thought how much we needed each other, were made for each other and make a good team. You know, she is good at putting the dirty dishes in the sink, knowing I will come along and put them in the dishwasher. She comes up with good ideas, knowing that I will implement them, she is rather disorganized and I am very organized. I am good at reminding her of things she needs to do or people she needs to call. She has said between us, we can usually think of everything, apart we can’t think to do anything. So, we make a good TEAM.

Our facebook photo is of both of us wearing Boomer Sooner Hawaiian shirts, a photo taken on a cruise in 2004. When a friend, Teri Holbrook , first saw it, she said, “Oooh, those OU shirts have to go …” Teri is a true Longhorn fan. Another friend, Kathy Bain Dunn, from Heavener, said recently, “I’m thinking of getting you guys some shirts with orange in them.” I thought she meant something about Longhorns, too, and in response, I said, “We’re strictly OU fans, anything with orange is out of the question.”

Well, turns out, she was making a reference to OSU, that the Cowboys have some orange in their uniforms, because she said, “OU is okay, it’s in my home state, but I went to Stillwater …” Silly me, I wasn’t even thinking of OSU. It sometime takes me a little while to pick up on something, especially after Cynthia tells me what someone is talking about. After all, I said we make a good team.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I-bus ready to roll

Cynthia and I, in preparation for her retirement, and subsequently to our travels plans, purchased a new RV. We’ve had a small Class B, or B-plus, that we’ve been using the last couple of years, but we decided it was time to go larger (see comparison in related photo above). To us, it’s a beauty, even though we bought it used.

A friend of mine, Teri Holbrook , re-named it the I-bus (Inman bus). I liked the new name, so I stuck with it. Chuck suggested I write a blog about it, prepping it and loading it, especially since I’ve kept everyone updated about Cynthia’s retirement. We spent a little over two weeks, since we bought it, loading it, because it has room for everything we need. It has several compartments in the basement (a term used for all the places underneath the RV). This time, unlike previous times, it has a place to keep the “blue ox” (a device used for towing a vehicle), all the tools we think we might possibly need, etc.
It has plenty of closet space, so we can just keep the clothes we want in it all the time. It has plenty of drawers to keep our unmentionables in, drawers to keep our cooking utensils in, cabinets to keep our plates, glasses, drawers to keep our eating utensils in. The bathroom has towel rack, so we just keep them in place. It has a compartment in the basement to keep a small folding table (to set up outside when we are camping), a compartment in the basement for all our hoses (water and otherwise), a compartment for all our electrical needs, one for our sewer hoses, and another to keep all our OU stuff (flags, canopies, chairs, etc.) so there’s no mistake where our loyalties lie when we’re out camping. You can tell by the accompanying photos (1 bedroom, 2 a nice recliner, 3 a small picture given to us by some friends, and 4 Cynthia in the driver's seat what it looks like.

For final loading, I have a “supply” list saved on the computer, so we don’t forget anything when we have a chance to go camping anywhere. A checklist, if you will. We have things like charcoal (we have known people to actually forget this before), charcoal lighter, food (God forbid we forget that), medications, shoes (regular and shower – in case we use the campground’s bath houses) – CDs (to listen to some oldies tunes), DVDs (to watch when the TV isn’t on) and pretty much all the comforts of home. Oh, this RV has a satellite dish (just like we have at home) to keep up with all the local news (wherever we are at the time) and movies. We only have to park where there are no trees to the southwest, so the dish can pick up the signal. For that we must take along a compass and when we don’t have a pull through campsite, we have walkie talkies (one for the driver and one for helping to spot) to use when we have to back it into a campsite.
We are keeping it stored at Lake Tawakonie , in dry storage, because it costs about the same as a storage facility around here in Tyler . That way, when we’re ready to go camping, it’s already there and we don’t have to pay the gasoline coats to drive it back and fourth. Or, it we decide to go up to Lake Texoma , or anywhere else, Tawakonie is on the way.
Oh, if we park on a campsite that is not entirely level, it has automatic hydraulic jacks that lower and make it level. So, we’re ready to roll.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Mine That Bird looks good - - - but

Mine That Bird is training great and looks really good. If the Belmont track is sloppy or muddy I will go with him - BUT if the track is fast I am looking at Dunkirk. His trainer is Todd Pletcher, when Pletcher brings a horse to the Belmont he normally finishes in the top 3. He beat Curlin with a filly, named Rags to Riches. He did it because he had a good horse and she was fresh. Curlin had ran second in the Derby and Won the Preakness without a break. That is the same situation this time, Mine That Bird has just ran two very tough races that were just two weeks apart, now just 3 weeks later he is running the longest race he has ever ran at 1 1/2 miles. Pletcher is bringing in a fresh horse that has a higher Beyers Speed rating than Mine That Bird. That speed rating was earned on a shorter race but this horse is bred to go the distance, he is a 3 yr old that is continually improving.

Now there is one other factor, his name is D. Wayne Lukas. He has two horses in this race, they are both bred for the distance and either one could fire. The horsemen have a saying, "never overlook Lukas". I think he has won this race five times and he did it the last time with a
15 - 1 shot. Mercy, its gonna be a good race!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

To be (or not to be) an interviewer

Thinking about D.J. Gregory interviewing PGA golfers, and writing and interacting with them, for some strange reason, made me think of Steve Mattison going along with me to places and conducting interviews. For me, or with people I often got to interview myself. Steve’s penchant for “talking to just anyone” always amazed me.

Once, we were in the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room, and Steve went with me as I had to get a post-game interview with someone (I don’t even remember who it was now), and I looked up and Steve was over chatting with O.J. Simpson. Asking O.J. about what it was like to be with the 49ers, a team to whom he was traded after a brilliant career with the Buffalo Bills. I taped everything Steve asked him and went back and wrote a story for my newspaper. It didn’t seem to phase Steve at all, that he had just interview one of the greatest NFL stars ever. I wish I had kept the recording, because, as we all know, Simpson has become famous for something other than running with a football in his arms.

Another time, we were, shall I say, in a very classy place enjoying our drinks and food (that’s all I’m going to say) and who else but Paul Hornung, Tom Brookshire and Pat Sumerall – all NFL stars-turned-TV broadcasters -- happened to walk past. Steve stopped them and told them how much he was enjoying their broadcasts and what great playing careers each had had and proceeded talking about something else. More than just kissin’ up to them, it was a really good spirited conservation. Just like it was anyone talking nonchalantly to anyone else.

Steve was like that, though. He could strike up a conversation with anyone. I always liked having him along with me when I had to go to Dallas Cowboy games, or something. He wasn’t afraid to ask anyone anything and it often helped me.

Monday, June 1, 2009


Several people have influenced my life, but the ones that who have had the most include my dad and my wife Cynthia. Parents are supposed to have a great influence on your life, because they are the ones you grew up with from day one, learned everything from, the one(s) who you most want to be like, the one(s) you want to please the most, etc.

Nobody has been the single most important person in my life more than my dad. Floyd L. Inman. He didn’t have a middle name, but when he went into the Army, he was told everybody must have a middle name, so he came up Leonard so he would have a middle initial, at least. I miss him every single day. He was 81 when he passed away, way too young. He was going to be the best man in our wedding, and he passed away a mere month before Cynthia and I got married. I probably dealt more misery to him than I should have, for all the bad things I did along the way, but I have a feeling he would be proud of me and for me. I know he would have been proud of Cynthia. He lived every day as a Christian, particularly the last 35 years or so. Of that, I am sure. He taught me how important Christianity was and would become to me. He taught me how to save money. He taught me how to love my daughter and her children. Dad was a quiet man, but I’m convinced that’s because he was always thinking of what to do next.

The other person that has most influenced my life has been Cynthia, my wife. Funny how “life” and “wife’ sound almost alike. It’s probably more than a coincidence; God meant that for a reason. We’ve been married for a little over six and a half years, but it only seems like yesterday and I’m sorry it wasn’t any sooner. From her, I’ve re-learned the importance of Christianity and honesty and trying to do everything right. This isn’t much about her, but it’s not necessary. I’ve said things in a blog and I make sure every day to tell her how much I love her. Just three little words, but they say it all. ’Nuff said.

For that reason, I’m so happy I can have her all to myself starting next week, possibly, retired and finished with her job.