Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Tiffees- A Memorial

I just now logged on to "Craigs" Journal and read where Ellen Tiffee had died and I of course remembered that it was only a few days ago that I had read in the "Journal" that her husband Harlan had died.. I know that it is not all that uncommon for that to happen; that is for a husband or wife to die soon after the other has passed, but it always touches me when it does happen. I am reminded of when my friend Alton Manifold’s wife died and then a few days later Alton was gone also. Alton worked for the Tulsa World and had an office which had a "Boulder Street" window. I worked across the street in Williams Tower I. Nearly everyday Alton would holler at me out of his window when he would see me heading down the street towards "Coney Island" for lunch. Alton and I grew up across the street from each other there in Heavener and I would go to his house to "borrow" their phone since we didn’t have one at our house back then. Alton’s mother, Bonita, would always tell me "sure you can borrow the phone, just be sure and bring it back when your done". But anyways, back to my story. Just a few days before I learned that Harlan Tiffee had died, my other brother (I’ll write more about that later) Dick Perry and I were out "grave hunting" up by Howe and we happened to drive by where Harlan Tiffee and Ellen’s parents the Crawfords used to live. I told Dick then that I was familiar with that area because I had visited there back when I used to work with Harlan down at Olive Brothers in Heavener back in the "60’s". Harlan had been Buck and Clyde’s "Head Clerk" back in those days and pretty much ran the place when the "Brothers" and their wives were not around. The Crawfords would always come to the store on Saturdays and buy their grocery needs and get feed for the chickens and cattle that they raised. Ellen and Harlan Jr. Often came with them so I got to know the whole family. They were all good people and Harlan in particular was your typical "Good, honest, hard working man". I had pretty much lost touch with the Tiffee’s since I moved away. I wondered how come they left the farm and stuff like that but I’m sure they maintained their good natured, God fearing style of living all the rest of their days and this old world is a better place because of folks like the Tiffees.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Blizzard for Christmas

Here at our little place out in the country this Christmas Morning our world is covered over with approximately a foot of snow. The news people kept repeating yesterday that this was the first time ever that a "blizzard warning" had been issued for this part of Oklahoma and there was much talk about traffic hazards and street closings and church services being cancelled and story after story on the news about travelers stuck at airports with no hope of getting to their destinations on time for Christmas; but this morning I have not yet turned on anything electronic except this computer and have heard no bad news and as I look out my window everything is quiet and peaceful and beautiful with not even a dog track to disturb the beautiful scenery. Looking out over all the beauty I am reminded of sitting in Mrs. Blassingame’s American Literature Class back at Ole HHS and the time we studied a poem called The First Snowfall by James Russell Lowell. I don’t remember it all but it opened with line something like:
The snow had begun in the gloaming
And busily all through the night
Has been heaping field and highway
With a silence deep and white
And that is just what happened here last night. We had planned as usual to have the kids and grandkids and now great-grandkids over to celebrate Christmas with thoughts of Jesus Birth, a good meal, and opening of presents, but no one could come due to the bad traveling conditions so Peggy and I had our own Christmas time together and that was Good.
I also remembered another line in Russell’s poem in which he sees in his mind the snow covering a grave in "Sweet Auburn". I don’t know if it snowed in Hodgen last night but I too am reminded of where Dad and Mother and my sister Myrna are buried and this is the first Christmas that I have had that I don’t have my Mother to share the holidays with..
I remember too another poem we studied in HHS. It was "Snow Bound" by John Greenleaf Whittier. Whittier like Russell describes a big snowfall and all the things that happen at his family’s farm. It was also a beautiful story. And then there is what is my most favorite poem I suppose about winter. It may very well be your favorite also. It is "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. I think I can remember most of it.
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though
And he will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow
My little horse must thing it queer
Stopping without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The coldest evening of the year
He gives his harness bells a shake
As if to ask if there is some mistake
The only other sound is the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake
The woods are lovely dark and deep
But I have promises to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
And miles to go before I sleep
I’m sure I botched a line or two but after all that was 50 years ago.
Well, I better go find the snow shovel and see if I can clear a path out to the road. I don’t think the Tulsa World was delivered today but I best go check just in case.
Merry Christmas to all of you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

Here it is Christmas Eve and we haven't had a new blog posted in over a week. I guess most of our bloggers are resting up for the big day tomorrow. I'm in that mode, myself.

I figured, though, that since I learned this little dance....and since I've shared it with some of my friends already....I might as well post it here so that everyone can have a good chuckle (play on words there).

So, from me (and my friends at JibJab) to all of our readers and fellow bloggers...turn your speakers's from me to you:

I hope everyone enjoys the fun and good fellowship that Christmas brings. I also hope you'll not forget what we're really celebrating on this holiday....the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Christmas gift to …

Christmas is my favorite time of the year, because I love to give presents to people, especially to my fellow Heavener bloggers. With that thought in mind, here is what I would give all my favorite bloggers (drum roll, please …)

To my best friend, Jim Patterson: Good tickets, in the shade preferably, for next season’s Yankees-Rangers series at The Ballpark in Arlington.

To my good friend Chuck Hudlow: To be as good as Tiger Woods, uh, not at everything.

To my new friend, Kathy Dunn: For OSU to be good, uh, but not as good as OU.

To Glen Lazalier: Continued good heath and happiness.

To Bill Hinds: Hope that he can re-discover how to get back to the blog site so he can resume writing one. Mercy!

To Craig Hall: Donations from all the Heavener bloggers, so he can continue to improve his newest venture, The LeFlore County Journal. It’s off to a healthy start and I’d like to see it grow in interest.

To Bob Collins: A renewed interest in writing blogs, because I miss reading all about his coaching career in Heavener.

To my pal, Colin Kelley: Correct “Choctaw” vision so he no longer sees double.

To Colin’s wife Peggy: Her own blog, so she can continue writing about her good memories.

To my dear family: All my love to Cynthia, Karen, Paul, Tammi, Kenny, Michael, Ora, Brandon, Garrett, McKenna, Kenedi, and last and least, Micah. Least in size, that is, not in love.

To my “deer family” at Lake Medina: Plenty of endless deer corn, since I’m not there to feed them all the time.

To all Heavener bloggers: A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

And to all: A good night.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

CHRISTMAS PAST by Peggy A. Kelley

(We're going to get Peggy her own posting credentials soon, but to get this online sooner, I'm posting this one for her)

When I was but a child (in a family of 8 children), I looooooved Christmas! Some months before, my Dad went hunting to harvest the hides of racoons, possums, skunks and sometimes mink. He sold the hides so us kids could have Christmas presents. The best gift was being with my Daddy on those shivering cold nights, spotting the sparkling stars in the dark skies and not being the least bit concerned how far we roamed. I was with Daddy, he would take me safely home. Our celebration started before December as we studied our parts and learned songs for the presentation of a Christmas Program at Petros Baptist Church. Around the first of December, I could smell apples. (My mother had a large wooden box and after wrapping our Christmas fruits in paper--apples and oranges, she stored them until Christmas.) Now, all these years later, I associate the smell of apples with Christmas. Our house was filled with the aroma of cedar when Daddy brought home our tree that was so tall it reached the ceiling. Daddy brought holly home with bright red berries. We all helped decorate–sometimes stringing popcorn, sometimes stringing holly berries. Much of the time we sang-- practicing the carols for our program.

I recall a time when the kids in our neighborhood at Petros went to the woods and brought a huge cedar tree back to the church. It was so tall it had to be topped to put it up. We all helped with the decorating and then helped to make the goodie bags for EVERYONE, child and adult alike who would attend the program. I don’t know how, but every year EVERYONE got a sack with an orange, apple, different kinds of nuts, orange slices, chocolate drops, peanut brittle, peppermint candy. In the meantime, our Momma sewed each of us clothes to wear in the Christmas Program. On Christmas Eve night, we performed our play and songs. What a gift that keeps on giving. I learned so much about the birth of Christ and about giving during those years. Jesus words so true, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Later in my teen years, I was in groups that went caroling to the homes of those who we called “shut-ins”. (They couldn’t get out and about.) I still remember the joy on those people’s faces as we sang several Christmas Carols. They laughed and talked and were so happy to see us! I have since done this with my children, the children I’ve taught and my grandchildren. We have gone to shut-ins homes, nursing homes, assisted living places, banks, and offices. What a joy!! “O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!”

Live trees are my favorite! The first year we had a plastic tree was when I had surgery the last of November and was in the hospital several days. . My daughter bought the tree and decorated it with handmade decorations. We have continued to use that tree. This year I’m writing the names of JESUS on bulbs for the tree. Deep inside, I can still see and smell the live trees, remember with pleasure the programs that presented the “Babe in the Manger” and truths from the Word, all the goodie sacks, the joy on people’s faces and hear those meaningful Christmas Carols that still thrill my heart! Momma & Daddy’s happiness was revealed in their faces as all their children enjoyed CHRISTMAS!!! Thank you, Father God, for the true gift of CHRISTmas!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

One man's opinion of college bowls

All a college football team has to do to qualify for a bowl game is win six games. It can then be considered “bowl eligible.” That’s because there are so many bowls these days, a team only has to win half of its games, for goodness sakes. It’s no wonder Notre Dame elected to not attend a bowl game this season, because the Fighting Irish were barely a .500 team. Notre Dame was certainly a big disappointment to its fans, who probably would have been embarrassed with any bowl invitation.

With that in mind, here’s my short list of (tongue in cheek) bowls:

The Ex-SWC Bowl – Texas Longhorns (13-0) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (12-0). A perfectly good match-up of undefeated teams which used to play in the old SWC. At least the best team in Texas could win bragging rights and the winner could claim itself the national champion, too.

The Didn’t-You-Used-To-Be-Ranked Bowl – Oklahoma (7-5) vs. Southern Cal (8-4). A match-up of two former national champion contenders, both of which fell on hard times this season.

The Saban Bowl – Alabama (13-0) vs. LSU (9-3). An SEC rematch of the team now coached by Nick Saban trying to with a national championship and the team formerly coached by the same Nick Saban which won a national championship. Will never happen, but we’re just having fun here, anyway.

Northwest Bowl -- Boise State (13-0) vs. Montana (13-0) – These is a match-up of unbeatens who aren’t even in the same division (Montana is in a lower division, the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision), but both are way up in the northwest and in need of proving which is best. Montana just polished off Stephen F. Austin in a game I would have covered if I were still in the newspaper business at Longview (TX).

Possibility Bowl – Cincinnati (12-0) vs. Florida (12-1). This is a match-up of a coach (Brian Kelly) who may be the next Notre Dame coach vs. a coach (Urban Meyer) who didn’t want to be the next Notre Dame coach.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Legend of the Christmas Tree

I don’t really know anything about any Christmas Tree legends; I just thought that it would be a "catchy" phrase to introduce this blog. I think that I read somewhere once upon a time that decorating evergreen trees was a heathen practice of some kind but I don’t actually know anyone I consider a heathen and almost everyone I know puts up a Christmas tree and I pretty much just associate with Christian folks so I won’t label the practice a heathen tradition, but I don’t see any real connection with prettified cedar trees and the birth of Jesus but it does make a convenient place to put Christmas presents under so I don’t object to them. The first Christmas tree that I remember was at the old Forester School. Our family lived at Forester back the 1940's and my brother Wayne started to school there in 1948. The Forester community held a Christmas program at the school each year back then and Santa always showed up and gave out presents to all the kids that came to the program. I was too little to go to school back then but somehow Santa knew that I was present and called my name and I got a toy just like all the other kids did. We all got bags of Christmas candy too. I don’t remember that we had a tree at our house back then but we may have. We moved to Heavener in1950 and we always had a Christmas tree each Christmas season there. We never had any tradition about us all going into the woods and cutting down a tree and hauling it home. My Dad always took care of that chore. My Dad, George Kelley, was an avid quail hunter and each year on one of his many quail hunts a few days before Christmas, he would find a suitable tree and cut it and bring it home. We never had anything but a small cedar tree and certainly never had a plastic tree. We would put the tree that Dad brought home up in the living room and hang "icicles" and strings of shiny rope around it and then patiently wait until December 25 to see if any presents showed up under it. Some always did. Usually new shirts that Mother had sewed for us and maybe a small toy or two for each of us. My Grandfather, Pa Kelley we called him, would come by on Christmas day and give us firecrackers to shoot off. That was OK but I never quite got the connection between firecrackers and Christmas. I don’t remember that we had Christmas lights on our tree but we might have as I got older. I do remember going over to Homer and Bobby’s house and they had some lights on their tree that had liquid in them that bubbled up. I thought that was pretty keen. Some folks in Heavener back then would decorate their houses and outside trees and such back then too, but it wasn’t as wide spread as the practice is today. Sometimes Dad would drive us up on the hill where Diana Guinn lived and from there we could look out across all of Heavener and see the pretty scenery around town. Somebody that lived up on that hill put up some really fine lights too. After I got growed up and got married and had a family of my own, it never occurred to me do the Christmas tree thing any different than my Dad had done, so down through the years I would find a cedar tree growing somewhere out in the wild and bring it home to be our Christmas tree. We moved around quite a bit and sometimes cedar trees were kinda scarce, but I always managed to find a "free" one somewhere. However; due to the poor quality I brought home on a "few" "rare" occasions I was frequently accused of bringing home a "Charley Brown" tree and am remembered more for those times than I am for the good ones I managed to find and bring home . For nearly forty years I did what I thought was my manly duty. I went into the woods and found a "nice" cedar tree, cut it down and proudly brought the tree home for my family to enjoy but then a few years back we made the switch to one of the "store bought plastic ones", and have used it since then. Peggy and our daughter have made some beautiful had crafted decorations to put on it and I must admit the tree is always much more attractive than any I ever brought in and they are certainly much less messy and safer than mine ever were; but somehow it just isn’t the same. I think that I thought there was a law or something that said Christmas trees had to be real evergreens and even then not evergreens that you bought from somebody but one that you went out and cut down yourself. Peggy tells me frequently that I live too much in the past and I reckon she is right again, and anyhow it is not the tree that makes a good Christmas is it? "For unto us is born this day in the City of David, a Savior who is Christ the Lord".
Merry Christmas Everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wait 'til next year!

Okay, so my Sooners let me down this year. Disappointed is probably a better way to describe it. Injuries to key players – namely Jermaine Gresham and Sam Bradford – took their toll on Bob Stoops’ 2009 team. At least I can look forward to both of them playing in the NFL next season. Once Gresham, a big, fast, talented tight end, went down with a knee injury before the season even started, I knew it was going to be a long year. Then when Bradford, last year’s Heisman-winning quarterback, went down in the season-opener with a first-quarter shoulder separation against BYU, Stoops had to know this wasn’t going to be the season most of us in Sooner Nation thought it would be. Still, OU played rival Texas right down to the wire before falling 16-13, and it shutdown in-state rival OSU to the tune of 27-0 in the regular-season finale. So in the grand scheme of things, I guess it could have been worse. Texas will probably defeat Nebraska this weekend and go on to the national championship game and play either Florida or Alabama. And the victory over OSU knocked the Cowboys from any consideration for a BSC bowl invite. A loss to Nebraska in which the Sooners failed to score a touchdown for the first time since … I don’t know, maybe since I was a kid, and a devastating loss to Texas Tech were a little hard to swallow. Since I missed the majority of the season when Cynthia and I were on practically an all-season RV trip to Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas and San Antonio, nobody was around that could give me a hard time about this season.

For that I’m thankful. My buddy George and his Longhorns are to be commended for the undefeated season they’ve had, and personally I hope Texas QB Colt McCoy wins the Heisman over Tim Tebow in a close vote. The win over OSU kept alive a 30-game winning streak and boosted Stoops’ home record to something like 65-2. ’Nuff said, except that my Yankees did come through in the World Series and the Dallas Cowboys are still alive in the NFL postseason chase.

Oh, yeah, one other thing, just wait until next season!