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June 27, 2003

See where Walter Cronkite, the retired 80-something CBS evening news anchor, is about to begin a new career. He's signed a contract to produce a newspaper column of commentary starting in August. Walter says he resisted offers to write a similar column while he was still doing the weekday evening news. When he retired in 1981, the controversial Dan Rather replaced him and the Texas-born Dan already is doing a newspaper column. Mr. Rather makes no secret of the fact that he has a liberal leaning. Walter's column has had a big preliminary sale among newspapers so far, but we'll see how long he is able to sustain a high readership. Long-time readers of this newspaper may remember the World War II years when Walter Cronkite was one of the United Press reporters sending us accounts of the war from Europe. His byline appeared often on UP stories carried by the Journal.

Perry is about to lose a couple of very valuable citizens. Toni Miller and her husband, Larry, are offering Perry Printing Co. for sale and are planning to move to Colorado. Larry is the son of the late Leland Miller, Covington banker who died a short time back. For the past two years Toni has been chairman of the Perry Carnegie Library board of trustees and she is completing a second consecutive term as president of Stagecoach Community Theatre. She also has had other civic responsibilities, including serving as a rural schoolmarm at Rose Hill School on the Cherokee Strip Museum grounds, and Larry has produced quality print jobs from their shop on the west side of the square. That shop, incidentally, had its beginning more than 60 yes ago when Harry Jones, shop foreman at the Journal, and Wendell Gottschall, assistant advertising manager of this paper, moved across the alley to operate the printing company. The business has been an asset to this community for all those years. We're sorry to lose Toni and Larry, but we certainly wish them well.

The death last week of Kathryn Peden in her home near Houston sent some of us old-timers to thinking about that family name. If you've forgotten, her late husband, Freddy, who died a few years ago, was an outstanding football player at PHS in the mid-30s. His father, Fred Peden, was the night police chief here in the 1940s, serving under Police Chief Oscar Dozier. Freddy's younger sister was Zelma Peden Gatz, who died in 1984 in Tonkawa where she had made her home with her family for several years. The Pedens lived at 815 Delaware. Zelma and my late sister, Gloria, were best friends. The elder Mr. Peden, by the way, was a brother of Herb Peden, a contract mail carrier who shuttled loads on his flat-bed Model T Ford truck between the Perry post office and our two railroad stations.

A reader passes along one of the amusing "Signs of the Times" tales that seem to tickle all of us. Thought you'd enjoy it as much as I did. Here 'tis:

"This sign," the reader writes, "was hanging on the wall of the house we first looked at when preparing to buy. The sign read: 'If we see smoke, we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.' No one has smoked here since then.

That's all until next time.