Courtney Caplan stopped by Tuesday. She’s got a “soft spot” for lonely, old buildings and wants to restore Kearney Hall. A fund-raising event has been scheduled for Saturday, June 7, which includes an auction beginning at 10 a.m. Kearney Hall opened in the 1950s and served as a place to vote, to square dance, a place to meet. It’s on highway 87 near the Piney Creek exit on interstate 90. It was quite the facility at one time, says Ms. Caplan, but has fallen into disrepair. If you’d like more information or have items to donate at the auction, contact Ms. Caplan: 307.683.2181.
It dawned on me Tuesday afternoon that today was my father’s 100th birthday. The things you forget, then remember at the oddest moments. He died in 1979 of cancer at 65.
He was a pretty interesting guy before we met in 1952. William M. Woody captured a bank robber (‘Machine Gun’ Frank Bailey) in Ardmore, Oklahoma in 1933. It was the time of Bonnie and Clyde, Pretty Boy Floyd and all the other Depression-era gangsters. He played professional baseball in the low minors for the Cincinnati Reds organization; made bathtub gin and got his start in the newspaper business delivering papers on horseback. He was always quite proud of interviewing Will Rogers, another Oklahoman whose saying, “I never met a man I didn’t like,” became etched into the state’s dust bowl psyche. He served in the Army Air Corps during WWII. He was more of a “newspaperman” than a publisher, a term of which he was proud and encompasses many qualities – journalist, editor, advertising sales, compositor, printer, community activist, janitor. In his prime, he could “work” a crowd at a restaurant while my older brother and I sat and watched. (It was often a frosty ride home with our mother who didn’t like being ignored for the sake of advertising and public relations.) He didn’t write much, leaving that to others mostly but one editorial that I do recall dealt with the pragmatism of school integration and getting on with it sooner than later. To get the civic house in order before the National Guard shows up with weapons and the television stations roll out with film coverage of the events. Given the times and the incendiary mood thereabouts, it was brave. Some things he said:
• Play it where it lies. In golf and in life. The harder you work the luckier you are.
• Remember birthdays. Call people to say hello. Strive for lasting friendships.
• Community newspapers have great responsibility. It is a trust. It isn’t an easy business.
• Ninety percent of the people don’t care about your problems and the other ten percent are glad you have them.
He was upbeat, and had a good sense of humor and himself.
Father’s Day Joke
A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West.
He slides up to the bar and announces: “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”