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June 15, 1999

Like many others, I do most of my morning fitness walking around the courthouse park in downtown Perry. The broad new sidewalks on the perimeter of the park are wonderful additions, especially for strolling on these pleasant spring days. Just recently I noted something new in the garden beds at each corner of the park. Nestled among the flowers and shrubs are flat sandstone pieces bearing simple messages of pride in Perry and references to our history carved into the face of each slab. Work is not yet finished on the stones. They will be mounted in some way to elevate them for easy reading, according to Jamie Layne, executive director of the Perry Chamber of Commerce/Perry Development Coalition. Placing the stones is a joint project of the C-C/PDC, Perry Main Street, the City of Perry and the U.S. Postal Service.

Other changes are visible in the local business district. At Sixth and Fir, work is speeding toward completion on the large new convenience store being constructed by Buy 'N Bye. I understand the present, much smaller store will be demolished to make more space to park customers' cars.

This is not exactly a "change," but those stop sign barrels are still thereon the east side of the square, along with the blinking traffic lights at both corners. When the city found it necessary to bring back the barrels and blinking red lights, I thought momentarily about keeping a log to see how long it would take to have the regular traffic lights in working order again, but eventually decided against it. They've been there several weeks so far. I understand the control box was struck by lightning in one of those f recent spring storms, necessitating the present arrangement.

We are not the only ones dealing with urban traffic disruptions. Over at Stillwater, major work is underway on improvements to the east side artery, Perkins Road. Traffic has been reduced there from four to two lanes in the work areas and the numerous strip malls along the way are seriously affected. Stop signs have temporarily replaced some of the traffic lights, but they are not mounted on barrels as ours are.

Two deaths last week brought back memories of other years in Perry. Ralph Foster Jr. died in Stillwater after a long, debilitating illness. His late father, Ralph Sr., established the Foster Corner Drug Store years ago on the east side of our Perry square after working a while for my Dad at the City Drug Store. Ralph Jr. grew up in Perry, was an outstanding member of the PHS football squad, then starred for the Oklahoma Aggies at Stillwater, entered the Navy in World War II, rejoined the Aggies after the war and later played for the NFL Chicago Cardinals before taking a position in the Oklahoma State University athletic department. Members of the Foster family were significant parts of Perry's early history. One of Ralph Jr.'s sons, Doug, is a teacher in the Perry school system. Ralph Jr.'s brother, Woody, died a few years ago.

Katherine (Cappy) Singletary was a bright young lady while she lived in Perry with her husband, the late Al T. Singletary. In the 1930s, she gave birth to a son, Tom, on the same day the Dionne quintuplets were born in Canada. Cappy was a very capable administrative legal secretary for major oil corporations, and her husband was one of the most highly regarded attorneys in Oklahoma. Cappy, who died Friday in a Dallas hospital, left Perry some 40 years ago, but she is well remembered by many of us.