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June 25, 1999

Aimless wandering around our town usually produces a few observations, even one or two worth repeating, as some of these may be...

Sonic Drive-Ins have adopted a new look for the numerous new locations being opened in various parts of their market area. Ours, out on Perry Plaza, is new enough that it still looks great, but the signage is being updated to show the company's new logo. "Service at the speed of sound" is still the Sonic slogan.

We rightfully claim Buster Keaton as a former Perry resident who had an enormous impact on the early days of the movie industry in this country. His stonefaced humor, a staple of motion pictures before talkies were born, made him a major attraction throughout the U.S. Some of his gymnastics were learned as a tot in a vaudeville act with his father, Joe Keaton, when they performed on the stage at the Grand Opera House on the east side of the square in Perry some 90 years ago. He became bigger than some of us might imagine. According to a list in the Daily Oklahoman's entertainment section recently, he ranks 21st on a list of the 100 most important male movie actors of the 20th century. Someday, Perry just has to figure out a way to make the public aware that Buster Keaton did some of his growing up right here.

You may have noticed a recent story in this newspaper telling about the annual meeting of the Perry Main Street organization. Among other points covered, the story announced that Betty Warner, the group's program manager since its inception more than three years ago, has decided to leave that position. She will, however, continue to be actively involved as a member of the board of directors. Her successor as program manager has not been announced. Betty has been responsible for many of the good things that have happened here during her time at the helm. She deserves our thanks.

It's that time of year for many hay fever sufferers in the Perry area. Cottonwood trees are filling the air with their tufted, hairy offerings, and the start of wheat harvest always produces a number of other airbome nose ticklers. So, many of us are sneezing, coughing and snorting as we await relief in the near future.

The frontier days facade has been removed from the front of the venerable Kumback Cafe on the north side of the square. Scaffolding is still in place, but the maroon and cream marble tiles that have been hidden by the facade for several years plainly show the damage they have suffered in the decades since Kate and Eddie Parker modernized the building in 1941. Tony and Marilee Macias, now the owner-operators of the Kumback, will no doubt come up with something very attractive to replace the old wooden facade. The Kumback is one of our town's authentic institutions and that means all of us have a vested interest in the place.