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February 18, 2000

In case you missed it the other day, the Sunday Oklahoman had considerable reading matter of great interest to Noble county residents. First and foremost was a lengthy article starting on the front page and headlined: "Bellmon style shapes state policy." It was a detailed account of the political career of our friend and neighbor, Henry Bellmon, the Billings wheat farmer who began his life as a statesman by serving one term as state representative from Noble county. Of course he went on to become a two-term governor of this state and a two-term U.S. senator. He practically rebuilt the Republican party in this state after he became the first member of that party to serve as governor of a "Southern" state since the reconstruction era after the Civil War. What the Oklahoman refers to as his style was partly a determination to make up his own mind when an issue presented itself, then stubbornly stand by it regardless of any controversy that might swirl around him. We saw this during the angry school bus flap in Oklahoma City and his decision to hand the Panama Canal over to the Panamanians. The article provides an insight to his thinking on the latter issue. It's an interesting piece well illustrated with photos of Mr. Bellmon, his wife, Shirley, and their daughters, Pat, Gail and Ann.

Almost buried on page 2 of that same issue was a brief morsel about an incident that occurred in Perry a century ago, back in the year 1900. Here's the little gem in its entirety: "Two robbers attempted to hold up a southbound passenger train on the Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway outside Perry. Just after the train left the coal chute, someone pulled the bell chord (sic) and the train slowed down. The engineer noticed the masked men and opened the throttle, leaving the would-be robbers in the dust." Sounds like a scene from a Buster Keaton movie, or perhaps it could have been inspired by the aborted train holdup attempted a few years earlier by Manuel Herrick, the eccentric farm boy who eventually was elected to a seat in Congress from our district. (That story is related in my book, "The First Generation," in case you want to read more about it.)

A few days earlier, the same Oklahoma City newspaper had a front-page column by Jay Grelen, one of the new hands down there, with a focus on Noble county. Among other things, Jay writes about having lunch at the Kumback with Anna Lou Randall, Glenda Riddle of the Heritage Bed & Breakfast lodge, and Glen and Jill Zimmer. He wrote about the new editorial cartoon now appearing periodically in this newspaper and signed by "Zen Glimmer." If you haven't already guessed, that's Glen's pen name. He does the cartoons as a hobby. Since the panels relate only to topics of general interest in Perry and Noble county, they are becoming a very popular feature, I'm told.

One more thing about the Oklahoman. The sports section in last Tuesday's edition contained the weekly standings of Oklahoma high school basketball teams. It was the final poll for schools in Class B, and the Frontier boys (composed of Red Rock and Marland area players) are rated No. 2 in the state with a record of 23-2. An identical won-lost record is shown for Boynton-Morton, the No. 1 team. Also in Class B, the Mulhall-Orlando boys (19-6) are ranked 17th. The Perry Maroon boys, with a proud record of 13-7, are ranked 19th in Class 3A. Pawnee Black Bear boys are No. 5 with a record of 12-7 in that same class. Congratulations to all those players and a special commendation to the Perry Maroon wrestlers for wrapping up their second straight state dual team championship (third overall) at the state dual tournament last weekend. Good luck to them now as they go for a regional championship and then their 29th state individual team championship. That is an incredible record.