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April 24, 2024

Funny Papers Again Column | How I Later Became a Sooner

If I ever again contemplate air travel, it will only be because I have lost all sensibilities and am probably living in a room with rubber walls. The last time I flew in a jet airliner I vowed it would be just that, the last time. But when the opportunity was given to me to visit with family in Oklahoma, and having eliminated for a variety of reasons all other forms of transportation, I went ahead and booked round-trip flights. I am now contemplating getting a refund on the return ticket and either hitchhike back or just stay here because air travel is a pain in the backside.

The biggest advantage to flying rather than driving or riding in a train car or bus is of course the time factor because flying is much quicker; or is it? Way back in June of 1971 two of us hitchhiked from the Wildhorse Truck Stop to Fort Huachuca, Ariz., to visit a friend stationed there. Ft. Huachuca is just above the Mexican border in Central Arizona.

On that first day we caught three rides that got us all the way to Phoenix in just under 16 hours: not bad for hitching. Fifty-two years later by auto and plane and 14 hours later I was stuck in Phoenix; déjà vu all over again. This because the flight from Monterey to Phoenix was delayed two hours, so I missed my connecting flight to Oklahoma City. The guy behind the counter said I was on a flight four hours later but on standby status; if I did not make that flight, I was confirmed for an even later flight. Not true. I was on standby for both flights, did not make the first one and got the only free seat on the second flight. The standby list had 12 names on it and all but three from different flights; all of them were stranded by missed connections. Is this any way to run an airline?

I could go on with a rant against overbooked flights, lack of flight crews, and overpriced everything in all airport businesses, but the bottom line is that although hours later than scheduled I am here in Edmond, Okla., six miles north of OKCity, and in a few minutes will head out to granddaughter No. 2’s graduation from high school.

Well, the graduation was last night, and the grads got their diplomas, all 742 of them; yep, 742 seniors all seated in white folding chairs in the football stadium. I have attended smaller colleges than this high school. The fact that football is BIG in Oklahoma is evident once one is inside the stadium, which is by most high school standards expansive. Families and friends were numerous, at conservative estimates there were seven or eight per grad, over 5,000 humans, and we filled the stadium to about 2/3’s capacity. Football contests must be awesome events given the amount of seating, restrooms and concessions, etc., available. But last night it was all pomp and circumstance with three hours of ceremony, and another set of teen scholars are on their way to life beyond the strict confines of high school.

A last quick mention: Rebecca “Becca” Sami Kimiko Jarvis will be a math major/high school teacher minor on a first year full-ride scholarship on her way to a BA degree at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond, Okla. I wish her all the luck one man can wish.

It is now 6:10 a.m. Sunday morn in Indian Territory and it is raining a real gully washer accompanied with the near constant rumbling of thunder; this has been pretty much the norm since my arrival three days ago. I love it. The air is warm, much warmer than my daughter’s air-conditioned house, so I am outside under a patio roof as the sky lightens as much as a grey sky can lighten. This part of Oklahoma is famous for its red clay, unlike soil in the Valley that soaks up water the rain accumulates atop the ground and will be there for hours before it runs off to street drainage.

Last evening, I dined with my oldest grandson, Steven Cameron Wilson (known as Cam so as to distinguish him from his uncle Steven Conrow Wilson and his grandfather Steven Craig Wilson) at a downtown Italian restaurant, where he is employed. The main street of Edmond, Broadway, is a delight to the eyes. Much of the old buildings have been wonderfully maintained and in the past two years have added street sculptures on nearly every intersection.

We dined al fresco and 20 feet from our table was a bronze bald eagle, life size, sitting atop a tree limb pedestal; very impressive. Across the street, not quite life size, was a boy on stilts, at the end of the block, in front of the local newspaper building, is a boy on a bicycle, a filled bag of papers strung on the handlebars; in his hand is a rolled issue ready to be thrown onto a customer’s doorstep. Neither paper carriers on bicycles nor wooden stilts are seen today, so obviously the theme of most of these works of art are a throwback to times gone by. The presence of art and the wonderfully kept buildings reminded me King City has done the same in the past decade.

I had made the decision to not bring my laptop along on this short time away, knowing there are a couple devices here I could use; but I failed to bring the paper with a list of all necessary passwords, which are automatically saved in my machine. So, I cannot access my email nor log on to Facebook or indeed do anything that requires a password, and while at first that irked me, I now find there is a certain freedom from the online world that is rather nice and may be something I continue in the future.

Take care. Peace.

Steve Wilson
Steve Wilson
King City and Greenfield columnist Steve Wilson may be reached at [email protected].

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