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September 22, 2000

A few choice thoughts on selected short subjects...

Before we close the books on the 2000 Cherokee Strip Celebration in Perry, let's hear it for the Perry high school student council and their faculty sponsor, Sharon Yost. Thousands of people jammed the downtown area Saturday for the parade and other things related to this annual mega-event. As you would expect, paper and all kinds of trash quickly appeared and continued to pile up throughout the day. By Sunday morning at church time, however, the Perry square and streets within a broad perimeter were clear and you'd hardly know anything had happened here the day before. Sharon, her students and some Chamber of Commerce folks met downtown at about 7 a.m. Sunday and picked up the litter before most of us had finished that first cup of coffee. Thanks to them, and to everyone who had a hand in planning and carrying out this annual Perry birthday anniversary. It was a huge success.

Once again portable potties were located throughout the downtown area. Like most other towns in the U. S., Perry has a shortage of public rest rooms to serve visitors. The courthouse is equipped with them but that's about it. Thanks to the celebration planners for keeping this item on their checklist.

If there's a sour note, it may be about the candy thrown by walkers and those who ride on floats, all along the parade route. This always excites young people as they scurry to pick up some of those goodies off the street. Consequently, the potential for a serious accident is very real. I know the people who toss out the candy mean well, but I fear for the safety of those little tikes. We used to have a ban on throwing candy, gum and souvenirs from floats, but it was never enforced and I don't think any such restriction now exists. Let's don't wait too long to do something about the problem.

The new quarterly issue (for Summer, 2000) of The Chronicles of Oklahoma, published by the Oklahoma Historical Society, is just being distributed and once again it contains articles of local interest. One of these is about the 179th Infantry Regiment of the Oklahoma National Guard, which used to include Company I, based in Perry. This particular article tells about the 179th's participation in the Korean conflict 50 years ago. The piece deals with an incident involving the late Capt. David C. Matthews, Perry attorney who commanded Company I at the time. This article, by Penn V. Rabb Jr., tells about Capt. Matthews' great success in recruiting veterans by selling them on a six-month enlistment. Summer camp time came, many of the veterans left the unit because they did not want to go to camp, and Company I had fewer than 20 men in the ranks.

As a result, Capt. Matthews had to do a little explaining to Col. Frederick Daugherty, regimental commander. It all worked out fine, however. Capt. Matthews eventually rose to the rank of major general and commanded the Oklahoma National Guard before his death. Find or buy a copy of the book and read the entire article.