Welcome back. The 20th anniversary of Elder Care’s The Good, the Bad & The Barbeque wrapped up Saturday night out at the Crossbell Ranch in perfect weather. The organizers told me that they had sold more tables than ever before and the live auction featuring auctioneer Roger Skelly had the large crowd in a buying frenzy. Since I was there I can tell you that Elder Care had everything from a ski lodge in Angel Fire, New Mexico to a football autographed by Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and friends all the proceeds went to support their programs.
For me this night is always special because of my association with the Mullendore family which dates back to 1965. Among many of my after school jobs, as a youth I cleaned tables at a fancy restaurant on highway 75 between Bartlesville and Dewey called The Embers. Long gone now of course, at the time the place had black waiters dressed in coats and ties each of whom had their own bus boy also somewhat formally dressed in slacks with black jackets and ties. For many years during junior high and high school if I was not playing sports I was busy working there. Over the years I got to know many of the local regulars like Leo Benefiel who owned the service station down the street and the Mullendores who came in almost every week. Always warm and pleasant to me, as many of you may know Gene Mullendore had started the Crossbell with his wife Kathleen and together they had grown it from a mere 160 acres to over 300,000 acres. Before their deaths on any given day Gene, Kathleen, their son E.C. and their daughter Katsy were all liable to come in together. They were a tightknit, loving family that I will always remember. Walking on the land they loved, where by the way, they are all buried now, I can feel their souls and if you think about it each one of them made history. If you missed this year’s party hopefully you can make it to the 21st year event where you might feel some of that Mullendore history.
I have to mention volunteers; Elder Care loves them and so does SUNFEST as dozens of volunteers are putting the finishing touches on their upcoming event. Hard to believe but its SUNFEST’s 36th year of bringing free entertainment to Sooner Park! Even though Richard Johnson and Lenny Baker who were two mainstays of the show have passed away, I’m sure their names will always be associated with the event they both loved. For any readers who have not experienced SUNFEST, there are dozens of craft vendors, music for all tastes and a wide variety of food trucks. Best of all there are plenty of free activities for kids of all ages. Yes, this town party has everything except your lawn chairs and blankets so put June 1st-June 3rd on your calendar.
Don’t forget the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show on June 8th and 9th and you also better make a note for Sunday June 10th when The Fabulous Midlife Crisis Band invades downtown Bartlesville for a free show.
Coming up next on my schedule is a short four hour drive up I-44 past Joplin to Springfield, Missouri. The trip to the largest gun show in the state is part of a story I’m putting together about changes in America’s gun laws. As always I also finding out about interesting people and places in history during my travels.
Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road…..