Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Perfect Memorial Day

First off thanks for a few days off and yes my computer did crash and I did  have to totally rebuild all the software and files.

I know tomorrow is Memorial Day but there is something really special about 3 day weekends.  But first and foremost lets say thanks to all those who served in the armed forces.  I look back to Shidler and Grainola and all the surrounding areas and we were blessed to be surrounded with folks who cared enough for their country to serve.  I know that in my dad's family his parents had to live through WW II with ALL their children active in the service at one time during war.  Not all five were in danger but they were in the Pacific and Europe and three were in combat situations.  Uncle Phil was in the Navy and I just do not know where and of course Dad was repairing shot up airplanes. Uncle Mack, Stack and Rollin (Olie) were in the infantry with two in Europe and one in the Pacific.  Aunt Gladys (Mrs. Snyder) served during that time and then there was Uncle Snyd and Uncle Maif (never did know how to spell it) who served on Mom's side.  Uncle Snyd was a prisoner of war and was in the Bataan March which someday I will get that totally put together and give you the full story. 

But the one war I remember well was the Vietnam War and there were countless Shidler area students who served.  I am so proud of you who served and I want to sincerely say thanks.  I cannot say I fully understood that war but anyone who lays their life on the line so that we (you and me) can have our freedom to become what we want or to gripe and complain about the republicans or the democrats or the liberals and conservatives deserve a heartfelt THANK YOU!  That was a long sentence.  Anyway what I am saying is that it does not matter whether you agree or disagree but in America we are free not because of any politician but only because someone sacrificed their life for you and me.

God Bless our Soldiers, past and present.

Thanks for your time,

Monday, May 23, 2011

gary@thepioneerman .. so sorry i am having computer failure

my computer has crashed and i have been down for a few days and will try to get it totally backup by wednesday.

i am going to other computers and getting email and facebook for the next few days

thank you for asking.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spanking contest and Hugh Allen Jones

Now this guy may seem like a very innocent sort of guy but I grew up with him and knew his every move.  Actually Hugh Allen as we called him was a membrer of the Grainola 5 and sometimes 6 if Joy Frank was around and then there was one year Ralph joined us when we had 7.  This group was not the Osage Mofia or affiliated with it but we did have an element of trouble making and of course if there was anything happening you could bet that Hugh Allen was in on it.  You should also know that this group was closely nit for eitght years and did I mention it that we started this outfit when on average we were about six years old? 
The first grade was where it all got started and Geneva Snyder was our first teacher.  She was the sister to Snyd (Vernon) Snyder who I am doing research on who was a prisoner of war during WWII and in the Batan Death March.  The sad thing was Miss Snyder (Aunt Geve to me) got a brain tumor and had to quit after just a few months and then later passed away.  She was a cool lady as she collected small glassware from around the world.  Her hair was always in a big bun on her head.  In fact I remember the first time I saw her at her house and she had her hair down combing it.  It was down below her waist and it was kind of a dish pan gray color.  She loved us kids and laughed a lot at our oneriness.  Which brings me back to Hugh Allen.

I think out of the class of 5 and sometimes 6 at least three of us would be diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, Hugh Allen, Jon Tanny and me.  But Hugh Allen was smart, hilarious and loved to laugh in a big way and he was extremely competitive.  In fact this particular characteristic is what made him a great United States Marine.  He was one of the few I believe could become a Ranger or Navy Seal.  His grit and toughness was incredible.  I was always dramatically bigger than him but Hugh Allen was ALWAYS willing to wrestle or play some competitive game like Alligators (previous story) where he would sacrifice his entire body at the risk of breaking something.  But one of my favorite stories was when we were in the first or second grade and Mrs. Casslemen was our teacher.  Hugh Allen and I got in this contest to see who could write the smallest and also who could count on  paper to 1,000 again using the smallest writing but it had to be readible.  Mrs. Casselmen even encouraged our behavior as I think she knew we needed plenty to do to keep our busy minds engaged.  By the way Hugh Allen won that contest as he could write legibly where each number was about as small as "nat shit".  Think about that for a minute. 

Now you are probably wondering where that term came from and it is a story that I love to tell.  My dad, Cliff Olson, always had this great ability to come up with little sayings and you would just wonder how he even thought them up.   One day we were planting bermuda grass seed and it is extremely small, smaller than a mustard seed by far.  Anyway dad coined that phrase, "smaller than nat shit" that day and I laughed so hard just thinking about how small that must be.  Have you ever seen a pile of the stuff?  Not even under a microscope could you.

The other thing about Hugh Allen is he NEVER was out of energy.  He could run forever like an Eveready Battery bunny.  I am sure his folks thought the same thing.  Anyway one of the other things that happened every year was the apple man would come by the school to sell apples.  I guess it was just how he made a living and I never knew his name but the funny thing was every year as he would drive away we would chase his truck and Hugh Allen was fast enough that he caught the truck and procurred an apple.  Now some would call that a crime but we saw it as a contest and it worked pretty well except the one year Mr. Lewis Morris caught us and since Hugh Allen won the prize by getting an apple he also got the prize of being in big trouble with Mr. Morris.  Some folks don't have a since of humor and come to think of it neither did our parents on this one.

Ok, now about those spankings.  When the Grainola Grubbers or the Grainola 5 and sometimes 6 passed the 8th grade we all went to the big town of Shidler for high school.  Now if you were driving straight there it is 12 miles from Grainola to Shidler with two big 100 mile an hour curves at Grainola and two small curves close to Shidler but other than that it was about 10 miles straight.  During those years we road the bus and if you were like our house we were the first ones Don Conner would pick up each morning and we road the bus for well over an hour each way.  Anyway during what I believe was our sophomore year at Shidler, Hugh Allen got this contest going to see who could get the most spankings.   Now I don't know if Hugh Allen was just getting ready for the Marines or what but he led the pack that year and as I remember he got 23 spankings.  It really was a badge of honor. 

Hugh Allen also assisted that year in getting the nicest guy in school a spanking, Harold Codding.  Harold had never been spanked by anyone as he was the nicest person you would and still will ever meet.  Well that year the football coachs had made a rule that if your locker was left unlocked you got two licks with a paddle which hung in the coaches office.  Back then we had those combination locks on our lockers and somehow Hugh Allen knew Harolds number.  Well Harold, Chuckles, was dilligently working out lifting weights and being obedient and a bunch of us were talking to the coach and we suggested that Chuckles had never gotten a spanking.  So we proceeded to unlock Harold's locker.  One of the guys then ran up to Harold to tell him his locker was unlocked and he should go get it locked.  Harold took off running to get it locked.  But just about the time Harold got to the ramp down to the locker room the coach walked out with the paddle!  Harold ran back up the stairs and grabbed one of those big pieces of foam and stuffed it in his shorts.  Everyone was laughing including the coach and Chuckles was laughing as well.  However there was no leniency and Harold got his first and probably last and only swats on the bottom in his life.  Harold was no longer perfect.

Well, what do you leaern from the Osage?
  • don't always trust your buddies
  • No one is perfect except Jesus Christ
  • Hyperactive kids just need things to do, encourage them, don't punish them unless they really did somehting wrong
  • Even a little trouble can be fun as long as you don't hurt someone else, except Hugh Allen but he loved being beat up
  • Thanks Hugh Allen for some great memories
Thanks for your time,


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

From Sweden to the Osage 2

Cliff Olson 1942 - age 26
 My Great Grandad was a stone cutter in Sweden and was a wealthy man who lived in a home he built in the early 1800's.  When his wife died he never recovered from the loss and started to drink and lost his wealth.  He had four children that I knew of with my Granddad Olaf, born in 1872 or 1873, no one is sure and neither was Grandad.  Granddad's mom died when he was very young and when his dad lost all the money the children had to go to work to feed the family.  Grandad quit school after the second grade and started driving a team of horses which would deliver the potatoes to the distillery.  That is where they made potato whiskey which was very popular in Sweden.  It also explains why Grandad and Dad knew how to raise potatoes and particularly sweet potatoes so well.  The distillery was like a coop and it was owned by five families and each would take turns to process their potatoes.  Grandad said he could deliver one load of potatoes a day to the distillery.  Interestingly enough he fed the horses home bread when they traveled.  That seems a little strange to me since they had an entire load of potatoes and horses like potatoes.

Another thing that was interesting is they baked bread twice a year.  They would wrap it in cloth and store it back in the oven for up to six months.  They say it was very hard bread.  If I were guessing I would say you could use it for a hammer or snow shoes or a lever to lift things if it was able to last for half a year. 

Anyway what drove Grandad to come to America was the fact that the tax rate was 72%.  The government promised to take care of you when you retired including all medical and housing.  From Granddad's perspective you could never get a head no matter how hard you worked because the taxes were so high.  In fact because of that he said no one ever saved any money and far too many people became alcoholics  and lazy because they did not have enough responsibility which made them lazy.  Does this sound familiar?

So in 1898 Grandad left Stockholm, Sweden for America at the ripe old age of 16.

part 3 tomorrow

What did I learn from these stories in the Osage?
  •  Responsibility makes a man (person)
  • Lack of responsibility ruins people
  • If it seems free, remember it costs someone
  • The Osage really was and is the land of opportunity
Thanks for your time,

Monday, May 16, 2011

From Sweden to the Osage

I am going to suggest you do what I did and that is film or record your parents telling you the history of their family and the history of how they came to live in the Osage and even if you are one of those folks just following this blog and not from the Osage I suggest you do the same in order that you NEVER FORGET YOUR ROOTS AND THE VALUES THAT MADE AMERICA WHAT IT IS TODAY.
Cliff and Opal Olson

Of course now that dad, Cliff Olson, has passed it is the evidence of these tapes and some interviews that I am going to share with you his roots and how he came to put those roots down in the Osage.  One more thing I want to share before I begin and that is the blessing I received on my 50th birthday. 

Dad had been sick for about six months and on December 8th, 2002 he passed away and on December 10th we had a memorial service.  On December 9th, 2002 was a surprise birthday party at my house put on by my wonderful wife, Shouna.  The timing could not have been better as so many friends were there.  I don't know how my wife did it since she had tons of food and all kinds of activities going on around the house.   There were people from all over the country who came for my 50th.  I guess I was just too pre-occupied to notice.  That party was what I needed at the time as I had just lost from this earth my best friend, Dad.

In 1945 Dad and Mom had purchased 160 acres of bottom land on Beaver Creek for $5,000 plus furniture, machinery and a harness for another $100.  As a surprise to me they actually lived around Manhattan, Kansas for a while before moving back to Grainola where Mom was raised.  In about 1946 Dad decided to put in electricity.  The thing about Dad was that he never saw anything he could not figure out.  Even when he was in the Air Force they asked him if he knew how to wire things.  He said he could figure it and they saw that he was a small man, about 125 lbs sopping wet so they put him in the nose of airplanes re-wiring them after they were shot up during air raids.  Dad said he made sure he did it right because when the pilot tested his work Dad had to ride with them.

 Well back to the electricity.  Dad could not find an electrician so he found a buddy and they proceeded to wire the house.  Now if I were a betting man it was Bill Head, Danny's dad, because Dad always used Bill to wire things and he was always bragging on how good Bill was.  Anyway the tape did not say who it was that helped on Mom and Dad's first house in the Osage.  Dad said they did not have all the connectors and boxes like they do today so he just soldered and black taped every joint. 

By the way did I mention that they wired the house from the crawl space which is a small area generally about 18 inches high underneath the house.  That meant they had to crawl all around underneath and drill holes to shove the wire into to be able to put in an electrical plug or light in every room of the house.  The most amazing part was during this process they had gotten out to go eat and when they came back to crawl under the house they found two copperhead snakes that had been with them all morning and the days before.  Dad and his buddy were pretty gun shy after that about getting under houses.  Dad always said there are no good snakes besides dead snakes.  I once tried to convince him that some snakes just killed rats and mice but he did not care.  If you check back to one of my earlier stories when he was cowboying down in Louisiana they were crossing a bayou and a couple of snakes got on his horse with him so he decided he would ride the ferry the rest of the way.

Well there is a lot more to tell but I am going to break this up in to small stories each day for a few.

So, what do you learn in the Osage?
  •  know where you are going, it might be a little snaky
  • be careful what you say you can do like wiring cause it might get you air born
  • most likely when you marry a woman you are gonna wind up moving close to her home
  • buying 180 acres for $5000 represents opportunity for a vision or a dream but if you missed it when is the best time to grab the opportunity?  NOW
Thanks for listening,

Shidler Water Falls and some comments about todays blog

Being such a favorite place I am adding this blog of comments so everyone can tell their memories of the park and falls area.  The story that brought this on was published last night so if you would like to read it, take a peak just before this one.

Hi Gary, David McCollum commented on your link. David wrote: "At one time, poison ivy was prolific around the waterfall area. Also the Phillips men built a brick fireplace with a tall chimney on the small bluff next to the waterfall pool. That's where we had many picnics, cookouts and weinie roasts. There were willow trees by the pool at the base of the falls. The willow limbs were ideal as "weiner sticks" because they were sturdy, yet green enough that they would not burn. Of course, all the men and boys always carried pocketknives (until they were banned in the schools after a game of "stretch 'em" when one of the participants suffered a minor injury when his opponent's throw accidently pierced his boot and cut his foot). Among other things, we used the pocketknives to cut and sharpen the willow sticks. Always had to do at least two. One for you and one for your best girl. (Girls did not carry knives.)"

Nancy Nash Codding commented on your link.
Nancy wrote: "Gary, I remember being a little kid and playing in the water. I remember being fascinated by the tadpoles and crawdads. If I recall, I was too scared to pick them up. That waterfall will always be locked in my childhood memories. Don't you wish things were that simple today?"

Hi Gary,
Russell Cottle commented on your link.
Russell wrote: "There were several 'shelters' and 'cookers' in the park area, along with an assortment of playground equipment. Lots of summertime fun memories. David, seems I remember an incident during 'noon hour' involving a couple of friends and a game of stretch......."
Hi Gary,
Russell Whiles commented on your link.
Russell wrote: "Karen and I were married in First United Methodist, over at Ponca City, BUT...that waterfall was on our preliminary list of possible wedding sites."
Here are a few and I look forward to adding more, so please send in your comments and memories on the falls and the park.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

What happened at those Shidler Water Falls?

  I stopped by the water falls and shared them with my son Preston.  They were running and I just wonder why folks don't come to Shidler to camp and visit such a great place. 

I bet everyone has some memory of going to the water falls or to the old park for a summer party.  I remember wading all around the falls with friends from class just passing time.  And then there were annual picnics like the Shidler Methodist Church which always included Grainola and Foraker.  I remember picking cat-tales along the creek and then breaking them open to let the wind carry the tightly packed inside everywhere.  Boy does it make a mess.  Now that I think about that park it is where I remember meeting Mike Benton who was a freshman (I think) at the time and he was extremely strong. 

And does anyone remember the acorns from the oak trees there?  I think they are still the largest acorns from any oak trees.  The cotton woods were and still are about 100 feet tall and I remember loving to watch the cotton, although most folks complain about it today stopping up their air conditioner units.  I still love those huge trees and the cotton wood leaves shimmering in the sun as the wind blew.  They remind me of the aspen trees in Colorado but bigger by far.  Everything is bigger in Oklahoma and the Osage, not really, but you know we should have a lot of pride in the Osage. 
I still remember the hot dogs and hamburgers cooking on the grill on the south end of the park while a lot of us explored and most of the time the men would play horse shoes.  Many times we would go fishing and catch perch and some small bass in the creek.

How many times did we go out there on the weekend after ball games just to hang out?  Visiting with friends and sometimes we just went there to see who we would catch parking?  Now for those of you who don't know what that is:  go ask your dad or mom.
  Now I don't know much about who takes care of the park now-a-days but what I think would be really great is if there could be some cabins built down there and it become a camp ground for groups to come and enjoy or it could just be a destination for summer vacationers.  There really is a lot to see and explore and besides if they come on Saturday they can eat the best steak in America at Amanda's.  I still find it hard to believe it is sooooooo gooooood!

Well what did we learn from the Osage?
  •  you don't have to go to Yellowstone to see some of the prettiest places in America
  • you don't have to go to Lowery's in Chicago to get the best steak - I dare you to go to Amanda's
  • the friendliest and nicest people live in the Osage
  • share the Shidler area with your friends just like Facebook
Thanks for your time,

Saturday, May 14, 2011

going to shidler tomorrow

I am heading to Shidler in the morning and looking forward to taking some pictures and seeing some folks.

Hope to see you there.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Boisenberry Cobbler

Now I don’t know about you but there is nothing like Mom’s homemade cobblers.  My favorite is “all the above”.  Actually apricot is about the best because Mom’s was sweet but a little tart with lots of crust.  Now that I think about it I have written a cook book years ago and I might start adding recipes to this blog.  Anyway back to PIE.
First thing is you need to know how to say PIE.  Basically it has two syllables, PI (long I) a little dip in your voice then “I” (long).  So it should be spelled PII but we have to keep Mrs. Head, Mrs, Harris, Mr. Morris, Mrs. Shumate, Mrs, Cassleman, and Aunt Geneva (Givi) and for the rest of you the list was long and included Mrs. Stebler, Mrs. Wade and a slew of others.  Now that you know how to say PIE you wonder why we call it cobbler when it is a pie.  Well, Pie are round and cornbread and cobbler are square, get it.

Now back to Boisenberry.  One of my favorite things to do was eat and particularly sweet things.  We will talk cinnamon rolls and chili on another occasion.  One year during the canning season (remember that is putting food up for the winter in glass jars and in the freezer) I decided I wanted to put up some berries because my next most favorite thing after apricot cobber was berry cobbler.  I was glad to go pick blackberries and I was crazy over raspberries but of course we did not have those in the Osage nor did we raise boysenberries.  However one year we went to the farmers market in Ark City (Arkansas City for you none locals) and yes it is in Kansas.  I loved going there as across the street was the park and there was and still is an old time train engine that you could go play on.  Well this year they had boysenberries and I decided with mom’s help that we would preserve some by canning.  There was also a bonus in that I got to enter some of my canning talents in the Grainola and later the county fair in Pawhuska.  I was very disappointed in that I won the Grainola prize even though there was only one entry and placed a lousy second at Pawhuska.  I don’t know why I was so disappointed but it was the last time I entered any canned goods in the fair at Pawhuska.
Well the real reward was during the winter months I got to have a boysenberry pie.  Man when I walked in the door of the house it was filled with the smell of hot berry cobbler!  Why eat meat when you can have PII?

What do you learn on the Osage?

·         When troubles come smell the Pie and look for the sweet part of life

·         Prepare for your future – someday you will need those berries

·         Like apricot cobbler a little sour makes sweet so much better – it is the bad times that make the good times roll

Thanks for  your time,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Another fishing story - trot linning - by Russell Whiles

Gary, good evening!  The fishing stories, worms, Beaver Creek...many great memories stirred by that writing, and thank you very much! I will share a short one with you, for your consideration.

Back in the days when boys and dads did stuff together, there was the Work Stuff and the Fun Stuff, to keep them occupied. Under Fun Stuff, there were all sorts of fish-catching strategies, that's for sure. One strategy that required a lot more preparation time and just took a lot longer to do, was setting and running a trot line. 

According to Wikipedia, A trot line is a heavy fishing line with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines called snoods. A snood is a short length of line which is attached to the main line using a clip or swivel, with the hook at the other end. A trot line can be set so it covers the width of a creek or river with baited hooks and can be left unattended.

Back then, rules were not so frequent and complex as they are today, and trot line assembly was not regulated quite as closely as it is today. Most dads that I was aware of made their own trot lines, and the line was generally as long as it needed to be, with as many hooks as it took to fill that particular length of line. Dads knew a special knot for each dangling Snood..I didn't know Snood was a word, until I saw it in Wikipedia...there was a Snood maybe every three feet, or so, along the main line. And there was no end to the clever ways that dads devised to keep the completed trot line tangle-free.

My dad and I, with various buddies from the Osage, trot lined Beaver Creek, Salt Creek, and some creeks that probably had no names. And not only trot lines...there were many variations of this fishing style, like limb lines, drop lines, throw lines, and jug lines. I remember dad's favorite way of tying off his lines was to tie to a very "whippy" young tree or that could handle tremendous strain, if some really big catfish were to get hooked, but would not be likely to snap or break at a crotch.

So, with lines made up, and the boat and overnight gear made ready, there was the Bait Fish catching trip yet to do. Kids are really GOOD at catching bait fish...little perch and sunfish. The worms are necessary, as explained in Gary's story, to do an efficient bait fish expedition, and cane poles worked famously. Our favorite place to catch the little ones was up over the dam above Phillips Park and around to the right, near the old boat houses. And if the water was clear and still, we could dangle a small piece of bacon in the rock crevices, and judge the perfect moment to pull out some pretty impressive crawdads before they let go with their pinchers. Crawdads DO love bacon! And catfish DO love crawdads!

Now...skip over a bunch of small steps,... we are on location, boat in the water, preliminary camp set up, and trot line is out there. Right before dark we do the first baiting run, pulling the boat along the entire length of line by hand, pausing to bait each hook, and back to camp. The bait would be the small perch, hooked to remain alive, or the crawdads, or any among a whole menagerie of other baits...cut bait, stink bait, various know, stink bait, and the making of it, might be a whole nother story by itself!

At camp, the usual evening meals and marshmallows (clinically OK, as per the Locker Room story), small talk and stories, and right before bed time, the first run of the trot line. Back in the boat, very quiet in the still of the night, man-odors mingling with "6-12" brand rub-on bug repellent, again hand-pulling the boat along the line, elevated heart rates anticipating what might be on that next hook! And, believe me, it might be anything...catfish, gar, turtles, snakes, even some rare animal called a Mud Puppy!

Trot line re-baited and back at camp, any fish we brought in were cleaned and iced, or kept alive until the trip home, which meant keeping them safe from anything else that might eat them! The runs were repeated at intervals throughout the night, with something similar to sleep, in between runs. Thus, trot lining is accomplished, one more run to bring in the lines and discard unused bait, in the morning. 

I knew some guys that caught some super-huge catfish that way, but mostly all I ever saw on our lines were good eating-sized fish, and the other off-the-wall things I mentioned. But the fun we had, and the etched-in non-erasable memories of trot lining, with the occasional broken off or straightened out hooks (What the heck did that?)... so rewarding in its own uncomplicated way. The biggest cats I ever saw came out of Phillips Lake (Charlotte), the year that the lake was poisoned on purpose...there were  some kid-sized catfish being revived in stock tanks, and a whole bunch of carp and gar that they wanted to remove from the lake. Many times, as we bass-fished that lake, we had to untangle our lures from someone's trot lines. I think I recall that Ol' Clyde Lee ran trot lines in that lake.

Thanks Russell.

What do you learn from the Osage?

  •  a Jug Line is what you fish with not what you say at a bar
  • Memories are more important than the event, they last a life time
  • and the moral to that is keep your eye on the goal not on the pain (fish hooks in the eye, ask Janis Harris)
Thanks for your time,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Where do you get the best worms?

Big red barn - not so red anymore - picture from Sue McConaghy
One of the best things about living on the creek was there was always a place and time to fish.  We could go about 400 yards and be at our favorite fishing hole on Beaver Creek.  This particular place was wide enough you could not throw a lure all the way across the creek, as if that is what we fished with back then.  It was located right where the creek turned back east and it was deep enough that I never stood on the bottom and in fact never swam there either.  It was our fishing hole.  We could catch bass, perch and catfish.  Now I know that most folks call perch, blue gills but we had more varieties than that like sun fish. Anyway we loved to fish and this was one of the best, however Soup's fishing hole was incredible but it was a lot farther to walk to and you did have to walk because there was not an easy road there.  If you don't remember Soup and Litha Wade were two of the finest from the Osage.  They use to farm across the creek across from where Neal and Sue live and close to the big red barn.

We will get back to the worms but let me tell you about Soup's fishing hole.  There are three things I remember about this hole that were significant.  One is that this is the first place I saw beavers on Beaver Creek.  Second it is the only place I fished and caught a fishing pole.  It was a funny event as Dad and Mom, Larry, Debbie and me were all fishing together late one evening when I got this tremendous fish on my pole.  I could hardly pull it in but to find only that is was an old cane pole.  The third was the time I was using a cane pole which is about the most unsophisticated fishing apparatus you can find and I hooked the largest bass I have ever caught.  I really don't know how big it was but it still seems today to be the largest bass I ever caught and I caught it on a WORM!  This should tell everyone that you don't have to spend a lot of money to have a good time and it ain't about the pole it is about the worm.

So tell me about the worms you ask.  Well, when you live on Beaver Creek in the Osage you fish with one of three things:  worms, grasshoppers or minnows and the minnows are NOT store bought.  Well we did not call our worms night crawlers they were just earth worms.  When you are looking for good worms you gotta know what you are doing.  First off there are just a few really good places to dig and yes we dug for ours not just look under something or wait for the worms to come out at night (night crawlers). The first place to dig for the really big ones is go down by the septic system and look under a rock then start digging.  This was always the best place as the worms were bigger and fatter and there were plenty unless it was too wet.  If it was too wet the worms would go down too deep or move to another place temporarily.  So in this case you would go find a shady place close to the barn and either underneath some hay or beneath a rock or board.  There you would look for worm holes and then dig.  The worms were not as big but you could always find some worms.  The last place but an excellent place was in the cattle pens underneath a rock.  This was because the worms liked all the manure and grass and hay that piled up over the years.  They especially liked under a rock next to a water tank in the cattle pens.

Now I don't know how smart you are but have you figured out that you should always look under a rock or board and the best places is close to manure (s__t)?

So what do you learn in the Osage?
  •  Treasure is hidden under a rock
  • The best treasure is near s__t/Manure
  • The moral of the story is if there is a big pile of manure there must be a worm somewhere
  • Last of all if you ever hear someone say that a person is full of BS then there are worm holes in their story
Thanks for listening,

Saturday, May 7, 2011

lightening bugs

What kid didn't go out at night hunting for lightening bugs?  Every spring when winter broke and the earth began to heat back up there was an awakening.  The cows starting having calves then the daffodils would break open announcing the spring weather.  The crickets would awaken to a deafening chatter along the creek and the first coyote pups would be heard echoing along the hillside.  Lightening bugs would start to snap on and off and grow into large numbers along the creeks.  It was everyone's game to see who could catch the most into one of the mason jars left over from being emptied during the winter months.  Come to think of it we recycled about everything and those jars were a prized possession and we reused them year after year.  Milk bottles, pop bottles, egg cartons and in fact I remember pre-egg carton when you would bring your bucket or get eggs at the store in a sack.  Now we were different because we actually traded out eggs for groceries and the grocer (Fred and Vira Mow and I don't know if I spelled it right) would resell the eggs.  Well we meandered a little but spring brought one of my favorite parts.  That was the ice was gone and I did not have to chop ice for the cattle.  For some reason I just never got into that one. 

I did not mind the feeding the cattle everyday and counting to make sure they were all there.   I even enjoyed loading the hay each morning along with the cattle cake (we fed chocolate and red velvet to our cattle, lets see what that comment brings).  It was great seeing the cattle excited to see you coming as they gathered around the pickup anxiously awaiting you to put the feed out.  Typically I would grab a 50 lb. bag and tare it open then start almost running as the cake dropped out of the bag.  The idea was to get some spread before all the cattle got there else it was a tussle trying to get away from them.  You have to remember most of them weighted close to 1000 lbs. so they could push you around pretty easy. 

For what ever reason baseball was king in those days and baseball bats would be dug out of the closets and from under the beds along with the mitt and balls.  When chores were done and after school was out we rushed to the outdoors to hear the ball smack into the glove as it snapped back from a fast one.  Generally you would always start a little slow to warm up but pretty soon friends would start trying to burn the other person.  That means they would add a little heat by throwing it harder so when you caught it and it was in the wrong part of the mitt your hand would burn from the pain.  Boys would be boys you know.  In fact now that we crossed that line everyone knows that boys and girls are different besides some idiots who must not have ever observed life.  Here we go again.

Now I am not saying anything about being paid the same for the same job or any of that junk which was stupid in the first place.  How can any moral God fearing person ever think one person regardless of sex or color should be paid less for the same job? In fact I remember one time my dad got really mad because someone suggested that Aunt Gladys should not be paid as much as a man because the man had to support a family.  Aunt Glady's (Mrs. Snyder)  husband had been killed and she was the sole bread winner.  I suppose I have to explain that.  A bread winner is a person who makes the money to pay the bills and it does not include the government or anyone else to take responsibility away from an adult to work and make a living, be a BREAD Winner! 

But let me tell you of some stupid things along this line that happened to me after I left the Osage.  When I graduated from college at Weatherford, Oklahoma I went to work for a little short guy with big ears named Ross Perot and EDS.  It was a smaller company then but we were rocking and rolling and everyone was rowing in the same direction, I will not explain that.  Anyway being from the Osage and having a good work ethic allowed me to advance rapidly and I wound up working on the Iranian contracts where we had two of our employees put in jail by the Iatolla and subsequently Ross took some of our employees and broke them out of the Iranian prison.  It is a great read, "On Wings of  Eagles" and there is a movie about it.  Back to the story, I would up in a system engineering class (programming) in Dallas where I was on a team with two girls, one from New York City named Ilene Kanof and one from California named Janet Green.  We actually were great friends and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them but they had an adjustment problem with me.  Janet got really angry because I insisted on opening the door for her and in fact she yelled at me a few times.  I splained (remember the definition from an earlier story although she did not get a spanking) to her that I would wait all day and she tried to out wait me.  She lost.  The other thing I loved to do was when they would walk by my cubical and I was talking to Shouna, my wife, I would start saying things like, "be sure and get the floors scrubbed because you did not do a very good job before".  They would go nuts!  I loved it.

What do you learn in the Osage?
  •  Respect people, all of them, but you don't have to agree with everything
  • Have pride in the work you do but don't be prideful because of others shortcomings
  • Take time to catch some lightening bugs, enjoy your labor, then let them go
Thanks for your time,

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Big steps to fill

I don't know if you remember those pre-Christmas shopping trips to the big city, Ark City, Kansas for those who are locals and Arkansas City for those who just don't know, Ponca for the locals and Ponca City for those less familiar, or even Pawhuska and there is no special name for Pawhuska. 

My favorite was going to Newman's in Ark City because they had a Toy Land like in the movie Elf.  I could spend the entire day there.  It was packed with toys and of course mom was always down stairs buying me my annual shirt.  But there was always a game for the family. 

A little side story is due here on the Newman's men's ware salesman.  The year Bonnie and Clyde, the movie, came out we were visiting with this man and he was genuinely upset because he and his family experience the terror of Bonnie and Clyde in their home town.  He brought home a real good point to me and that was glamorizing bad people and in fact making them heroes in the movie was not a good idea.  But of course I was amazed that I just met someone who met them face to face.

Anyway back to the point of this entire story.  I distinctly remember as a small boy Christmas shopping in Ark City with my dad and trying to take big steps because I wanted to be just like my dad.  I literally would try to take as big a step as he did every time.   As I got older there were times of course when I did not want to be like my dad.  But overall and even today I want to be known to be just like my dad:
Hard Working 
Trust Worthy
Above Reproach

do you know who the hippie is?  Preston is the little one.

I have found that through life people judge each of us by as that old hippie song says, "with rose colored glasses".  Now in my best efforts taught by Mrs. Helen Head, head honcho of the English language and distinguished college prep teacher,  what that means is folks see you from their perspective and it might be drastically different than what you think.  Hopefully they see you in a very good light but I can tell you on more than one occasion folks have miss-judged my intentions or what I have said.  But in the end I want to be seen following in those giant steps of my dad and even greater than that I humbly accept the grace of God that even when I am wrong or have wronged someone His grace is sufficient.

Someone once told me that when you walk with God there are four footprints in the sand.  And when your load is heavy and I get down that the reason I feel alone is there are only two footprints instead of four.  But what you have to do is look around because the reason there are two footprints is because He is carrying me and my heavy burdens.

So what did I learn in the Osage?
  •  Choose the footsteps you want to walk in early in life and stay in the trail
  • Only you can give away your reputation, it is your choice
  • Surround yourself with folks that have good character
I love the Osage.
Thanks for your time,

What I do? for Larry Travis and all my friends who give me a hard time

Today I am going to take a little detour from normal as I have been tied up this week and even though I have several stories in the waiting I always try to update and modify them before publishing.  So here is a little about what I do that keeps me going everyday.

Basically I have the privilege of working with lots of small to large companies and individuals on how to manage their money and how to avoid taxes and best practices for setting up trusts for families and individuals.  It is a very broad topic but it is enjoyable to help folks plan for their retirements and for what happens after they pass away.  You would not believe some of the stories we get to hear about how families struggle with theses issues.  In fact I will tell you about how some folks who never planned for the death of a loved one failed to plan:

Story one:  There are two brothers living in Edmond who cannot talk to each other because when their dad passed away he left one of the brothers in charge of the estate.  Most of the time that is not a problem except that the father set both boys up to sign on the checking account before he died.  Since his death one of the sons just writes checks for whatever he need.The son says, that is why Dad put both of them on the checking account.  That son also accuses the other of cheating him out of money by writing checks on the account.  They use to have Christmas's with both families together but for a few years now they cannot even talk to each other.

Story Two:  Both parents passed away due to an accident and left a large amount of money to the child who was barely out of high school and just married.  There was no trust company but there was a will and of course it all went to the child.  They blew through a half million in less than two years, the house which was paid for is now gone because they did not finish school and did not plan for the taxes, insurance, upkeep, utilities, and more.  By the time they were 28 years old everything was gone and they had no education and no steady solid jobs.  There was no planning and therefore as you probably heard, if you fail to plan you plan to fail.

Story three with  A positive ending:  The parents had a trust drawn up (if you need one I have two or three lawyers who are inexpensive and reasonable but know what they are doing) and when the last one of the two passed away the trust company managed the trust, took care of the taxes and other filing which had to be done on a timely basis, manged the disposal of certain assets, paid for the college educations and other necessary expenses, and created a situation where the child would not have the ability to blow threw the money.  That child is married today with a healthy financial situation even though their jobs are not high paying jobs.  The parents planned well.

Well it was kind of fun telling you about one of the things we do and I will just say at this point the other major thing we do is manage the administration of benefits for small to large companies on totally paperless and automated systems which also helps to keep medical costs in check.  Here is a list of what they are and if it means anything to you and you are interested call me.

401k and all other types of retirement administration and funds investing - so far I have never seen someone who was better automated or less expensive than we are

Health Administration - this is a little hard to describe but just to say we have been very successful at controlling to lowering cost of health care for companies

Cafeteria Plans/Section 125/132 - this has nothing to do with eating but it is all about paying for medical costs not covered by insurance and child care expenses.

Well now you know.

OK OK here it is.
What I learned from the Osage?
  •  Everybody has to do something to make a living
  • Lawyers are like pond scum, you really do need it, can't you take a joke?
  • Planning for retirement is the same as canning those vegetables , you have to plan for the future
  • Don't be afraid to ask for help

Have a great day,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Craig Andrews and how he got me in trouble

Now you all know that any trouble I got into would not be my fault and that is the way it was with Criag.  He may not know that he is the problem but here goes.   First I want you to know that I do not endorse this type of activity and am not proud of it but it might bring back a few memories and solidify myself as a true beneficiary of the mystique of the SLAB. 

For many of you mentioning the slab is enough to tell you what this is about and for others you are thinking Marble Slab and ice cream.  The slab is a large section of concrete left by the oil companies where many a person spent many a night talking to friends and living out of the trunk of a car.  

But before I go on I need to tell you a little about my experiences growing  up.  Number one, I was not a party-er (that means person who drank and partied a lot).  In fact I was not inclined to drink a few beers as was the reputation of a lot of folks.  It was not that I objected to it but that I was a tight wad (meaning I saved my money for other things).  In fact I remember thinking that if I did not drink a beer I would save 35 cents and if I did not drink a Pepsi I would save 15 cents and that if I saved that much money each day I would have about another $10 per month to spend on something significant.  In fact I use to calculate how much it would cost to purchase another cow or ewe and how much money I would have to save each month to do that.  Yes, at an early age I use to figure that if I had a cow which had a calf each year and sold that calf I could make a lot of money and pay for college and most of all not have to be a HONEY DIPPER or DITCH DIGGER.  This is probably consistent with many of my stories and a problem still today, if it is a problem.  Now before I go on I will tell you one last thing and that is I did save enough money to go to college and in fact when I was a junior in college I had 26 cows which I sold that year as that was the year mom and dad moved to Perkins.  It did break my heart to have them move even though I was gone from home by then.  I loved the Osage and still do, obviously.

Ok, the reason I told you all that is I had a little too much pride at the time and maybe God was getting ready to teach me a lesson, which he did, several in fact.  Well up until this time, I was a senior in high school, I had barely tasted a beer except for one time with Boog Williams, Kenny Kelsey, Don Kelsey and there was someone else, but I don't remember who, at the Copan lake while we worked for E.C. Mullendor (another story).  Anyway I had broken up with my girl friend and was a little bit in a pity party.  As another side, isn't it amazing how something so small can seem so big at the time?  As I look back the best thing that ever happened was getting rid of that girl friend.  Back to Craig, the cause of my problem, as I was feeling sorry for myself I ran into Craig at the slab one Saturday night and we started talking.  As the evening progressed I was drinking and Craig introduced me to Everclear.  Now for all of my fellow Baptist that is some pretty mean stuff and I had no idea!  We sat there and mixed it with whatever (a noun) and drank and talked and drank and talked until I am not sure we could either talk. 

There are a few things you should never do and one of them is drink excessively and the other is NEVER drive when drinking or drink then drive.  Did I mentioned God teaching me a few things?  I did drive that night and the only thing I remember after talking and drinking with Craig, who caused this problem, just kidding of course, was a red light shining in my rear view mirror.  I do want to comment that YOU are responsible for your bad decisions NOT anyone else and You should pay the consequences for your action NOT someone else.  I remember falling asleep several times while that officer (not Charlie Doty but some new guy who was a little high on himself as well) was talking to me.  Should I mention one thing I love about growing up in a small town is that when Charlie Doty got on your case he did not take folks to jail but he would call your dad or mom and you would be punished by your parents.  That was because he knew that your parents would not Question Authority but execute quickly with rapid consequences for your bad behavior and there were no excuses for your bad behavior.  Your parents ASSUMED your were guilty NO MATTER what you said.  Back to the story, I got hauled off to the pokie (the jail) in Fairfax. 

So what does one learn in the Osage?
  •  You are responsible for your actions (pretty obvious)
  •  Drinking and driving is stupid (obvious)
  • Family and friends are more important than passing relationships
  • Forgiving people for their mistakes is paramount to finding the good in people
  • Everyone can overcome their mistakes, it is only a decision away
I love the folks in the Osage.

Thanks for your time,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My first loan

my sister Debbie with one of her sheep -
I was shaking in my boots the day my dad took me to Shidler State Bank to talk to Wendal Andrews the President of the bank.  I wanted to purchase 2 Ewes (female sheep) to start my first financial venture not to include turtles (previous stories). 

I got cleaned up that day and got in the pickup (Ford) with dad to go to the bank.  Dad talked to me and told me not to be nervous and that did help but I had never done this before.  I knew that those two ewes would cost me $60 so that is what I was going to request.  I anticipated he would ask me how I was going to pay him back so I made a few notes on what later in life I found out was a business plan.  I had calculated how much feed would cost and how much I thought I could sell the lambs for which I hoped the ewes would deliver.  It all seemed simple but Mr. Andrews was the man in those days and I had to talk to him.

Well we arrived and dad said I had to go by myself so he just waited in the pickup or went to drink some coffee, I really don't know.  Well I walked inside and the bank was pretty quiet and Mr. Andrews saw me and asked what I was up to.  I told him I came to request a loan.  It was kind of like in the movie "Its a Wonderful Life" where old man Potter was the banker and I felt intimidated but this giant of a man.  But thankfully Mr. Andrews was not like that and he got me pretty comfortable for just a few minutes.  And  I mean just a few minutes because then he started asking me questions and here is how it went from what I remember:

Mr. Andrews:  Well Gary how do you plan on spending that sixty dollars?

The confident pioneerman: I am going to buy me two ewes and they are going to have babies and I am going to sell them for a profit.

Mr. Andrews:  Well how are you going to have any lambs if you don't have a ram?  (I am not talking about a RAM truck either)

The worried pioneerman: The ewes are supposed to be pregnant already.

Mr. Andrews: What are you going to do if they don't live?

The squeamish and concerned pioneerman:  I don't know, I guess I will just get them bread again.  (that means to get a ram and get them pregnant,  you are probably thinking a ram truck full of bread)

Mr. Andrews:  So do you expect that you might not be able to pay me back for an extra year?

The lost confidence of the pioneerman but thinking quickly:  I will pay you some of the money because the odds are one of the lambs will live and I will sell it and pay you some of the money plus I will sheer them and sell the wool and make some money as well which will pay for the food so that all of the money for the lamb will go to you.

Mr. Andrews:  It seems you are pretty confident and I am going to make you that loan.


Of course I don't remember all the words that day but this is close and did I mention I was 9 years old?  Ya, I started young but my parents encouraged me to try.  I think mostly they wanted me to learn responsibility and doing what I had to regardless of the circumstances. 

That day was the beginning of getting up in the mornings to take care of MY business, not dads or moms or ours but MINE.  I had to feed and water and make sure they were safe from the coyotes by putting them inside each night.  I checked on them everyday morning and night.

I remember when the lambs were born and I got two sets of twins.  Mr. Andrews would be proud.  I was surprised that they were born with long tails.  You may not know it but those short tails are not normal.  You clip them off when they are young because it helps them develop better and yes you casterate the male lambs, sad.  It actually makes me glad I am not a sheep.  Anyway I sold one of my lambs to my sister, pictured above.  And one of the neatest things about sheep was when I hired some men to sheer the wool and I sold it and I found out it was worth a lot of money.  I don't remember how much but I just remember I was very surprised.

Debbie, my favorite sister, and I  raised lambs for the 4-H livestock show held each spring in Pawhuska.  The good and the bad was that the lamb I sold to Debbie won the show, not mine.  Another good thing about the livestock show that has nothing to do with this story is that is where I met a very pretty girl, Vicki McGuire.  We dated for a while when still in high school.  Another thing about that show which was bad is that (boy this is bad english, but it is the way I talk)  that is where Cathy Eaton, another pretty girl, and I were chasing each other and I had a pair of sheep sheers in my hand.  Sheep sheers are used to cut the wool on the sheep but when I caught Cathy I clipped her hair a little too much and I got clipped by my folks, metaphorically speaking.  That is the biggest word ever!  The Eatons were from Grainola and lived just east of Tom and Bud Head (Head Country BarBQue

Well back to the story.  Obviously my business plan was successful and I started next year raising hogs and cattle and those stories will come.

What did I learn in the Osage?
  • responsibility can start very young and it did at our house but it was more fun when it was mine
  • Ownership - that is what makes America great,  think about it, have you ever heard of Communism and how great it works?
  • Free Enterprise - the right to try to get a head, NOT a gift of the government, NOT an entitlement but the gift of OPPORTUNITY, God Bless America
  • It is about the journey not the effort or the end
Thanks for your time,

2018 06 Dominican Republic and the Osage

2018 06 25 Dominican Republic and the Osage Here I sit on the top of a mountain in a beautiful house enjoying the fruits of a life give...