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March 9, 1996

By the time you're reading this I'll be with a bunch of Perry folks on a Colorado skiing trip. I will not be among those testing the slopes, however. Laura and I are going along to enjoy the winter scenery and play with our granddaughters while their folks strap on the equipment and glide down the glistening snow around Glenwood, Colorado. About 50 of us will be on this jaunt, which was timed to coincide with spring break in the Perry schools. Ron Motley, director of Christian education at the Presbyterian church, made all the arrangements for the rest of us and I have to admire his attention to details. Hopefully we'll be back in Perry in just a few days with no broken bones or shattered egos.

Some of the group took advantage of a special advance program at the YMCA to get themselves physically ready for skiing. Even though some of them already were in great condition, they quickly found out that skiing puts stress on some muscles that are not normally used, and they probably will get the most enjoyment from this trip.

Personally, I get most of my exercise these days just by retracing my steps around the house looking for things that have been temporarily mislaid. However, I know the YMCA is the logical place to get fit, so I fully support its program. If you go there too, you know that you get your money's worth and a whole lot more, whatever your level of participation. We're so lucky to have the YMCA, its staff and facilities.

A lot of us were saddened this week by the death of comedienne Minnie Pearl, the venerable star of country music who entertained for decades on TV's Grand Old Opry and Hee Haw. How many others remember when she came to Perry as the star attraction of one of our giant Cherokee Strip celebrations several years ago? I hope someone does remember, because I have been unable to pinpoint the year. Seems like it I was in the early 1950s. Can someone help me out on this? Eleanor Yahn remembers Minnie Pearl very vividly. They became acquainted when they attended the Ward Belmont school for young ladies in Nashville, Tenn. A few years ago, Minnie Pearl headlined the entertainment for a convention of the Oklahoma Lumbermen's Association in Oklahoma City, and she invited Eleanor to join her on stage. It was a memorable moment.

From all indications, the Perry Bridal Fair the other day has to be considered a resounding success. A steady stream, of people milled about the armory last Saturday admiring the offerings of many service companies who assist families in planning weddings. A fashion show featuring some 100 wedding gowns climaxed the afternoon and helped some potential brides choose their attire.

Ted and Glenda Riddle had a booth at the fair to promote their new bed and breakfast enterprise, the Homestead, north of Perry near the intersection of U.S. 77 and SH 15. Glenda told me they are shooting for a formal opening on April 1. This will be the first bed and breakfast in Noble county and it has several unique characteristics. It is a log house in the purest sense. The logs came from southeastern Oklahoma, not a pre-cut kit.

The Homestead name honors the pioneers who settled this territory at the opening of the Cherokee Strip on Sept. 16, 1893. Ted's great-grandparents were ready to make the run but the death of their infant the previous day made that impossible. Today the Riddles operate a large Texas Longhorn ranch, and those animals will be one of the focal points of a tour to be offered guests staying at the Homestead.

Accommodations will be chosen from among Miss Mary's Room, decorated with the real Miss Mary's (Glenda's mother) belongings; the Bunkhouse, a room with twin beds, an upper deck, library and sitting room; the Cherokee, featuring a queen-sized log bed and Native American art; and the Homestead, decorated with hand-made quilt, king-size cannon ball and a pastoral view of the longhorns. This one is ideal for honeymooners, Glenda says.

Watch for an announcement about the opening. The Homestead seems destined to become an important tourist attraction for this area. On I-35 exit at marker 203 and go three miles east. It is the first house south of the U.S. '77 junction.

Another welcome addition to our local features is Carol Steichen's Antiques on the Square mall in the historic Nicewander building on the north side of the square. At the opening last week Carol proudly showed off a well-lighted, spacious room with several spaces already taken by local vendors. One of the principal features is a small display room given over to Tamac pottery, the line that was manufactured here for several years after World War II. We'll have more information on Tamac in due time. Meantime, go visit Carol's new shop. It has lots of things to interest every age.