Oklahoma Memorial Day

Welcome back.  Memorial Day weekend 2020 is history now but before it slips away in our memory here’s a few places I went you might find interesting. First, I took a spin down to south central Oklahoma to Tenkiller Lake on Saturday to see if folks were getting out and I found all the boat launches crowded with people out on the lake to enjoy the weather.  At the restaurants things seemed somewhat back to normal although not everything was open.

If you are not familiar with Tenkiller, it is one of the larger lakes in Oklahoma and also one of the clearest. A popular place to have a weekend home for those who can afford that sort of thing, the area round the lake is quite beautiful with big hills, lots of trees and wilderness areas for hiking. As you can imagine camping is big here and the camp hosts I spoke with told me that their campgrounds were full for the holiday but that spaces were usually available on regular weekends. If you’re in the mood for a day trip or even an overnight stay Tenkiller is a great destination.

Fort Gibson Lake is nearby and when I got to Sequoyah State Park which is on the lake, I found most of the campsite and cottages rented although the historic Lodge there won’t open until June. Sequoyah is another great place to visit which offers not only swimming, boating and fishing but also golf and tennis. Several of their rental cabins are right on the lake with decks over the water so put this place on your list too.

In northeast Oklahoma I found plenty of swimmers and boats at Lake Copan and the campgrounds there were full except for a few spots that were under water. The campgrounds at Hulah Lake which are now run by a group of great volunteers had a few spots available and at $10 a night for seniors you can’t go wrong. If you haven’t been camping or picnicking along the scenic bluffs here, I can tell you the view is well worth the trip.

On another note, my friend Jerry Poppenhouse who is a well-known photographer from this area was back in town for the weekend and shared a few thoughts on his recent move to Phoenix, AZ.   Even if you don’t know Jerry personally you have probably seen his photographs over the years.  Hired by Phillips Petroleum Company to take photos of their projects, he traveled around the world to every job they had underway back in the day. The North Sea in the early days of off-shore drilling, Jerry was there. He was the first American with a camera to visit the Great Wall in China. He photographed celebrities too, including Walt Disney, Robert Redford. Willie Mays and dozens of other big names. After retiring from Phillips Jerry went on to teach others his art at Okmulgee State University for ten year. Yes, friends I’m sure you probably know who he is and have seen his work. Here’s this week’s scoop. Although Jerry is now living in Phoenix and won’t be there, Gail’s Estate Sales will be conducting a sale of his belongings soon, photos and all so you might give her a call at (918) 440-5200 for the details. In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the Dewey Antique Show that’s coming up on June 6th.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…………….

Bob Funk’s 80th Birthday Parade

Welcome back. The date was May 4, 2020 yes friends this past Thursday, the time was 6PM and the location was on the old Chisholm Trail where Texas cattle were brought to Oklahoma and then shipped by Kansas railroads to folks on the east coast to eat. Sitting just a few miles north of Yukon, Oklahoma alongside the trail are four ten-foot-tall and four-foot-wide concrete markers wrapped around large bronze tablets which tell the history of the ground you’re standing on. The view and the history of this place are inspiring and standing in front of the concrete markers is a full-size bronze statue of a real-life man sitting on his horse.

Now I know you’ve seen many a statue of famous men. Over in Claremore at the Will Rogers Memorial there’s a statue of Will riding his horse Soapsuds. At Woolaroc just as you enter the museum you are greeted by a large bronze of a man and his horse. Inside the museum are more bronzes honoring men who accomplished great things in their lifetimes but unfortunately Will, Frank Philllips and his brother Waite are gone now.

This brings me to the reason I was in this area along the Chisholm Trail. The man and the horse depicted in this particular bronze are still alive and when I got the invitation to this man’s 80th birthday party nothing was going to stop me from attending. So, here’s the scoop on the 80th birthday of a man who changed thousands of lives.

The invite said it would be a drive by event so stay in your car and wave as you go by. That was fine with me being he was turning 80 and all the health experts say to stay away from seniors. I figured there would be 15 or maybe 20 cars and then I would be heading home but when I arrived for this surprise party there were over 200 lining up. The participants included a dozen police cars, two semi-trailers, a six-horse team of Percheron horses pulling a full-size replica stage coach and a dozen kids riding Clydesdale horses. All in all, the birthday parade was over two miles long. Riding in some of the cars I saw several past governors, professional rodeo cowboys and well-known sports figures. To top it all off there was a jet flyover that passed overhead not once but three times.

I think you regular readers have already guessed who I’m talking about but those of you who don’t know here’s a very, very brief biography. He was born poor in Duvall. Washington where his grandparents had settled after immigrating from Germany. His father worked on a small dairy farm and his mother worked in a grocery store earning $25 a month. His parents showed him the value of hard work and they also taught him that God loves everyone. When in 1949 he met Billy Graham during a revival at Taft Stadium in Seattle this boy of eleven saw God in an even brighter light.

After high school he went on to college, then began a career focused on helping other people, eventually buying the company he worked for and all the while doing things according to God’s word. He also became a patriot not only in his heart but with his wallet, supporting our country and especially our youth. To this day he will tell anyone who listens that young people hold our future and all they need is direction and opportunities. Along the way he has made thousands of friends so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by all the cars at my friend Bob Funk’s 80th birthday party.

I’ll end by telling you nurses “keep going” and so will I as I am giving away another bunch of my bestselling book Footprints in the Dew to nurses. You can email bestofbooks@sbcglobal.net  or call (405) 340-9202 to request a copy.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….


More on Nurses, Woolaroc and the Cowboy Hall of Fame

Welcome back.  From Montana to Texas, California to New York nurses have heard about the book Footprints in the Dew and learned that they could order a free copy by emailing bestofbooks@sbcglobal.net or calling the store at (405) 340-9202. Dozens of books have already been mailed out and the giveaway is still going on so if you know a deserving nurses, even a retired nurse,  anywhere in the country just send an email with their name and address to them and boom! the book gets shipped. If you’re not computer friendly you can call Best of Books and give them the info over the phone. It’s easy and it’s not too late. National Nurses Week should last all year long but I have to move on to another story although not far because these people also work in the healthcare field.

I want to give a shout out to caregivers so here’s a little history on these folks. According to the dictionary caregivers are defined as people who help other people with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing. Caregivers can be paid or unpaid, with or without formal training. I’m sure many of you know a caregiver or you may be one yourself. In Bartlesville we are fortunate to have several professional caregiving services including the Brighter Living program offered by Elder Care. Throughout the pandemic these workers have continued to care for their clients despite personal risk. To me these folks are also heroes working on the frontline of this struggle like nurses do everyday.

Moving forward in this uncertain time when so many things have changed so quickly I am happy to report that thus far two of my favorite parties are still being planned. The Western Heritage Awards at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City has been rescheduled to October 2nd-3rd. As I previously told you Kurt Russell and Robert Duval are among this year’s honorees and I heard they both planned to attend. This year the awards will be held in conjunction with the Traditional Cowboy Arts Exhibit and Sale so there will be even more to see and do.  Give ‘em a call at (405) 478-2250 for more information.

The Cow Thieves and Outlaws Reunion will be held out at Woolaroc on September 26th and it is another great get together held in a truly magical place. To my knowledge the ranch and museum are still closed to the public but on Wednesdays you can drive through the grounds for free and experience the beautiful scenery and wildlife that  Frank Phillips left us.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…………….

Another Drummond

Welcome back to part two of the history of the nursing profession, who started it, when, where and how we should all show our appreciation during National Nurses Week which starts today, May 6th. From your history books you may have learned about Florence Nightingale who established nursing as a profession in England and founded the first nursing school. One of her students Linda Richards became the first trained nurse in the United States and was also a highly respected teacher. In the mid to late 1800s Richards pioneered the use of individual medical records for hospitalized patients and set up several training programs for nurses in both the United States and Japan. Today there are more than 3.8 million registered nurses in the United States and with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic the importance of their work has never been more obvious.

Ok, hopefully most of you know that so this week I thought I would tell you about a project I came up with to recognize nurses during Nurses Week which might give you readers ideas for things you might want to do. I’d been on tour promoting my book Footprints in the Dew, including traveling to trade shows almost every week for the past four years. Next, I had planned to head to the east coast for a four-month book signing tour when the coronavirus hit and of course that changed everything. On the bright side self isolating gave me plenty of quiet time to work on a new book. Then early one morning while I was watching a story about nurses on the frontline of coronavirus patient care, it occurred to me that I could do something to thank nurses for all that they are doing. With a new supply of books on hand I decided what better way for me then to give a copy to every nurse who requested one, free of any charge including shipping, while supplies last of course. My good friend Nan Hight at Best of Books in Edmond agreed to help distribute the books, also at no charge.

Then another friend Gentner Drummond of Drummond Law Firm fame in Tulsa stepped up to help with the costs of the project and although he said he did not need any acknowledgement for his role I thought I would share a little of his family history.

The year was 1887 when Fred Drummond moved to Pawhuska, Oklahoma and began working at the Osage Mercantile.  Three years later he met Adeline Gentner Leonhardt from Coffeyville, KS and the two married soon after. For the next five years Fred continued working at the store while Addie, as she was called, secretly saved money selling eggs and vegetables from her garden. By now it was 1895 and Fred wanted to buy the store but based on his salary of twenty-five dollars month he didn’t had the money. Addie however had saved a thousand dollars and the rest is history. Over the years the Drummond name has become synonymous with three words, fairness, honesty and generosity and I have found that they live by these words.

Fred died in 1913 and for the next 43 years Addie devoted herself to community service before her own death in 1956. Today the original Drummond family home in Hominy is usually open to the public and offers a look into life before statehood.

These were present day Gentner Drummond’s  hardworking and resourceful ancestors and in the four years I’ve known him I’ve learned he is cut from the same cloth.

I’ll end this week with some information for any nurse who might like to receive a copy of Footprints in the Dew, free of charge. You can email bestofbooks@sbcglobal.net  or call  (405) 340-9202. Please remember that this is a gift for nurses only especially as supplies are limited.

Before I go, I’d also like to thank Southwest Stationery and Bank Supply in Oklahoma City for their contribution to the project.

Till next time, I’ll see ya down the road……………….


Celebrating National Nurses Week

 In recognition of the brave work of nurses across the country during the coronavirus pandemic, I am partnering with Best of Books in Edmond, Oklahoma to give nurses a free copy of my best-selling book during National Nurses Week starting at 12AM on May 6th and ending at 12PM on May12th. While supplies last anyone in the nursing field may contact Best of Books at bestofbooks@sbcglobal.net or (405) 340-9202 and arrange to pick up a copy or have one mailed to them at no charge. They can select either a paperback copy or a copy of the recently released audio book. Drummond Law LLC in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Southwestern Stationary and Bank Supply in Oklahoma City are also sponsoring the giveaway which hopes to reach nurses across the country. National Nurses Week is also a celebration of the birthday of Florence Nightingale who is considered to be the founder of the modern nursing profession. Footprints in the Dew is about the life of Damon “Chub” Anderson and his role in the most famous unsolved murder in the southwest. E.C. Mullendore III was shot between the eyes in his home on the family’s 400,000-acre Cross Bell ranch on September 26, 1970. When he died, he held the largest life insurance policy ever written in the U.S. At the time the family owned the New Orleans Saints football team. With E.C. that night was Damon “Chub” Anderson, a man who would end up on the most wanted list when he skipped bail on numerous charges including an arrest for growing the largest pot crop in Oklahoma history. He was on the run for 16 years before being captured in Montana where he had been working for media mogul Ted Turner under an alias. Although also wanted in Oklahoma, Anderson was extradited to Kansas and sentenced to time in Lansing Prison. Footprints in the Dew is his life story as he told it to me before his death in 2010. First published in 2015, the book is now in its 4th printing and has been consistently included on the list of bestselling books in Oklahoma since the day it came out.

National Nurses Week

Welcome back.    It’s a profession that is overlooked by most of us until we need their services and that’s when we learn just how important these people are. This week I am bringing you their story.

First let me take you back in time again, back to May 12, 1820 in Florence, Italy where a girl child was born. Her parents were British citizens of wealth and prominence and they named their new baby Florence after the town where she was born. Shortly after her birth they moved back to England where she was raised and educated by her father who had inherited a large estate along with the official title and arms of Nightingale. Both her parents encouraged her studies and in 1938 her father took the family on a tour of Europe where Florence was introduced to the idea that men and women could be equals.

At the time the role of most women was as wives and mothers but this role was not in keeping with Florence’s independent character. Florence decided to dedicate herself to serving mankind and began educating herself in the art and science of the    nursing discipline. Despite the disapproval of her family, Florence began traveling from country to country studying as much as she could about the nursing practices in each area and often teaching others what she had learned. Then in 1950 while sailing up the Nile River near Cairo, Egypt Florence wrote in her dairy that she had been called to God and I quote “God called me in the morning and asked me would I do good for him alone without reputation.” This experience changed her life.

The Crimean War would as well! In 1854 there were no nurses in the battlefield caring for the wounded. Most wounded soldiers were just left to die until Florence trained a group of 35 nurses who were deployed to the front lines with her. Through an emphasis on sanitation Florence and her troop not only improved the death rate from the wounds themselves but also lowered death rates from diseases such as typhus, cholera and dysentery which were common.  The Dictionary of National Biography states that the death rate fell from 42% to 2% owing to the improvements that Florence introduced.

In 1860 Florence established the first school for nurses at St. Thomas Hospital in London where hundreds of nurses were trained. Now known as the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing and Midwifery the school continues to educate medical professionals today.

In 1870 Florence schooled a woman named Linda Richards who she described as “America’s first trained nurse.” Richards went on to become a pioneer in nursing in both the United States and Japan but that’s another inspiring story I just don’t have space for right now.

Florence Nightingale died peacefully in her sleep at her apartment in London in 1910 at the age of 90. A constant writer, she left her notes behind, hundreds of them pertaining to illnesses and their cures. She also left notes about mathematics. I discovered Florence had a gift in this field and had even developed a form of the pie chart known as the Nightingale Rose Diagram which is still in use today.

In my lifetime I have been so lucky to have been able to travel across the country. To the east in Maine where “Beware of Moose” signs are on every road. Through historical towns along old Route 1 to the city where nuclear subs are built. I’ve swum on the beaches of Connecticut and ridden the subways in New York City and Washington, D.C. I’ve driven to Florida stopping at historical sites in every state along the way.

One summer I lived in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco along with hundreds of flower children. I was back in California when Whitey Bulger was arrested at his apartment there and I visited the home of one of my heroes, Will Rogers, in the Santa Monica mountains.

From the southwest where the borders of Tucson, Arizona and Nogales, Mexico come together I’ve walked and driven every mile of the highway back to New York. To the north I’ve experienced the solitude and wildlife in the mountains of Montana.

Yes, friends I’ve been lucky but this story about nurses I’m able to engage you in is the luckiest thing yet. Starting on May 6th which is the beginning of National Nurses Week I am fortunate to be able to offer several hundred copies of my best-selling book Footprints in the Dew free of charge to nurses around the country. Stay tuned for that story next week and in the meantime be sure to thank a nurse for all they do.

Till next time I’ll see ya down the road…………….