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January 10, 2003

Events of the past few weeks have necessitated changes in some things that once seemed to have high priority in the life of your humble servant here, so I apologize if you have noticed that certain topics were out of balance or non-sequential, but I guess that's par for the course we're all traveling. Let me add a few more nuggets.

Laura and I made the trek to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Parade and, of course, the football game that afternoon. Unfortunately, we did not see any other Perry folks at the game or along the parade route, but we did see some 86,000 strangers. The Rose Parade is even bigger than our Cherokee Strip Parade, if you can imagine that. I'm glad to hear there were some other representatives of Our Town in Pasadena that day. We were proud of the Oklahoma University team, not only for winning the game but also for their good sportsmanship and that elusive quality, CLASS. We made the trip on a charter flight that for some reason always had an early departure time. That was pretty much the story of the whole week - an early departure for every scheduled event, but, usually, lots of spare time after we arrived at our destination. Hurry up and wait. Hey, I thought the Army had exclusive rights to that.

We made one side trip on our own. That was to the J. Paul Getty Museum nestled on a beautiful mountain aerie overlooking some of the most expensive real estate in the U.S.A. We had a limited amount of time to tour the facility, mostly the art gallery, but it was an exhilarating experience. One thought kept nagging at me, however. Wasn't J. Paul Getty an Oklahoman? If so, how come we don't have a facility like that inside our state's borders?

The return trip to Oklahoma City from LAX, the huge Los Angeles airport, also required an early arrival. I'm talking about a 4 a.m. wakeup call. One of the reasons, aside from the flight time, was the newly instituted security check for luggage. This includes an X-ray scan with the owner standing nearby, and no locks on the luggage. Some were chosen for an open inspection. I saw several unhappy campers watching their carefully packed underwear, socks and so forth being checked by federal agents, who were just doing their job. Personally, I am all for these airport safety checks even if it does mean a pre-sunup reveille. Rather that than another would-be shoe bomber.

You probably watched the game on TV, and it's quite likely that the camera had a better view of the teams and the playing field than we did. Our seats were not bad, and we could see most of the action throughout the afternoon. It was my first up close look at the Rose Bowl and it is just as majestic as the sportswriters say. Most of the band members from both Washington State and Oklahoma stood in dressing room tunnels throughout the game, and the OU musicians acquitted themselves extremely well. We thought the Big Red band from Norman must have given their team a lift by playing frequently and punctuating all the good things that happened. The halftime shows by both bands were almost worth the price of admission by themselves.

The event may or may not have been a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it will last us for some time to come - at least until the Oklahoma State Cowboys get their turn on that fabled field. 'Ray Sooners! Ride 'em Cowboys!