This and That Newsletter

Vol 13  Issue 674     Circulation 5,000      December 24, 2009

PO Box 2

Ardmore, Oklahoma 73402

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Its Christmas Eve and around noon today the snow starting falling in Southern Oklahoma.  As of press time this evening the snow was still falling at a rapid rate and the ground completely covered.  A white Christmas will be so beautiful.  I wonder how long its been since we had a white Christmas in these parts?

Several Readers wrote in since the last issue with their most memorable Christmas.  Their emails are in the Mailbag below.

Last week I talked about the electric train set I got for Christmas in the 60s.  This week I was in Tractor Supply on North Commerce in Ardmore and low and below, there was a train set on the clearance rack.  Boy, this one at Tractor Supply is really close to the type I got for Christmas in the 60s.

Dean Earhart brought by some old Sterescopic pictures taken in Germany during WWII.  They are the kind used in a viewer a Stereoscopic Viewer. The particular photos below were made by Keystone.

Here is a photo sent in by Fern Smathers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana about a year ago.  Fern played for the Ada Herefords in 1954 as catcher and a contributor to Oklahoma author Pete Pierce's book, 'Baseball in the Crosstimbers'.

Left to right in the picture is Pete Pierce, Bob Tuminello, pitcher; and Fern Smathers.

Jill and I walked across pastureland to a neighbor's farm pond last Saturday.  The 'trail' is through the woods, so peaceful, we enjoy the half mile walk.  I was surprised how the pond was up from a year ago.  I'm sure the animals are glad the drought of last year is past, or at least, better.

You can see the big difference from the above pic and the ones I took 12 months ago.

Mike McComber (Carter county treasurer from 1963-1989) brought by some persimmons the other day.  Boy, you talk about sweet, nothing like persimmons from the countryside around Ardmore.  I remember as a kid we'd right out on Gene Autry Road on a Sunday afternoon, and belong, there were persimmons.

The Daily Ardmoreite, December 9, 1949

Fighter Plane Crashes, Two Die

Two men were killed when an F-82 Army fighter plane enroute from Lincoln, Neb., to Austin, Texas crashed into a field 12 miles east of Ardmore at 5:30pm Thursday. The plane exploded on contact with the ground, scattering debris over 200 square yards and burning the two men aboard beyond recognition. The dead were identified by the Bergstrom Air Force base at Austin as:

Capt. Harold M. Sawyer, 27, Lincoln, Neb., pilot
S/Sgt Conrad Liesback, 48, Orchard, Neb., mechanic

Sheriff Howard Johnson of Carter county who was notified of the crash a few minutes after residents in the area heard the explosion and saw smoke towering up from the isolated area, was summoned to the scene.

Gas prices today in the Ardmore area......

Q.   Don Diego del Castillo came to Oklahoma in search of what?
A.    Gold in Kiowa county

Q.   Oklahoma was at one time divided into what two territories?
A.    (answer in next week's issue)

Some mail from this week's MAILBAG.....

"Hi Butch, Speaking of remembering a Christmas. In 1937 we lived just west of the Baum store.  We had a large tent set up where some relatives were staying . On Christmas eve all the kids were asked to go in the tent. A little later we heard trace chains rattling and a hearty Ho Ho and a Merry Christmas to all. Of course we believed it was Santa. Funny the next morning we could see sleigh tracks which was just wagon tracks. I will never forget my dad making Christmas for us kids. The gifts (which wasn't much in those days ) was under the tree when we went back in the house. My dad passed away 23 years ago at age 90, but those memories will live with me forever."  -Orie Edwards
"MY MOST "MEMORABLE CHRISTMAS:   I have too many memorable Christmases to pick out just one. But the one thing that I remember most from my childhood is that my maternal grandfather (from Ardmore) always managed despite having little money to spend on his 7 grandchildren to give each of us a silver dollar. I actually still have 3 of them that I've saved all of these years. Two of them were minted in 1923 and one was minted in 1921 just like the attached photo. And since my 3 grandchildren were born I've always tried to put some type of dollar coin in their stockings. Though most of them have been the newer gold colored dollar coins, this year I got lucky and found a whole roll of the older silver dollars at my neighborhood bank. So, I bought 6 of them and will be able to put silver dollars from 1978 and 1976 in the grandkids stockings for this year & next year. I can't wait until they see this HUGE coins. And I can't wait to tell them my story about my beloved Grandpa Parker."   :-)   -Kathi G.

"When I was a child many years ago, living at Graham, OK, I remember some of the men at The First Baptist Church going to the Arbuckle Mountains just before Christmas and cutting down a tall cedar tree to put up in the Church. The Christmas program was held on Christmas Eve and the Church was full to over-flowing. Then, during the program, someone said, "Is that sleigh bells I hear?" Sure enough, we could hear bells jingling. All of a sudden, the door burst open and there stood Santa Claus in his red suit with a bag on his back. I could hardly remain standing from the excitement. Santa began making his way down the aisle, saying ho - Ho- Ho, Merry Christmas to all and laughing in a big booming way. When he arrived at the front he opened his bag and told all the children to come up and stand around him. He gave each of us a sack full of candy, nuts and fruit. I couldn't believe he had taken time out from his busy schedule to stop off in this small town in Oklahoma. After giving each child their sack, he said he had to leave as he had many places to go. All of the above was stopped at some point, but I always remembered this as a special Christmas and no one there believed we were dishonoring Christ. The program continued and the story of the birth of Jesus was told. We have heard this wonderful story many times, and again, and again, stand amazed in His presence and humbled by His Love. I don't guess we are supposed to say Merry Christmas anymore, and instead say happy holidays, but to me it is Christmas and the birth of Christ, and so I say........................
Merry Christmas to all of you that receive Butch and Jill's wonderful This 'N That, and how thankful we are to them for their dedication in sending it to all of us." -Elisabeth

"Butch ? One of my memories of many years ago is the Christmas tree that was a top the Ardmore Milling Company elevator. It never reached the notoriety of the Flying Red Horse in Dallas but was a seasonal landmark to Ardmore residents and visitors. The tree was decorated with many blue, green, red and white Christmas lights visible to rural residents living several miles from Ardmore. I do not know when the tree first appeared on the elevator or when it was discontinued. Perhaps one of your readers will remember and enlighten us. During WWII, the Flying Red Horse in Dallas became a well known landmark for B-17 crews from Ardmore Army Air Field as they traveled to and from Galveston Bay and elsewhere on training missions. The Christmas tree on the elevator might have served a similar purpose."
"Butch, I saw the picture of the house on Newport Road & recognized it. My father had taken a picture of this house a few years ago as this was where my great-great grandmother lived. Her name was Emma (Burns) Keith and she lived there at the time of her death in 1945. I don't have any stories or history of the house as my father was only 8 years old when she died. I have attached a copy of the picture he took of this house in the late 1980's or early 1990's. Wish I could provide more information."  -Glenda Ayres

"Butch, The Daube Puppet Christmas display can be viewed until January 5th. We also have other Christmas displays including three Daube elves, the Daube Santa, and the Gary's Flowers bears as well as our numerous Christmas trees decorated for our Santa's House on the Prairie program."

Kristin Mravinec, Curator
Greater Southwest Historical Museum

"Butch in the latest This and That a person asked the name of the restaurant at the Crystalwood.  Bob and Irene Ledbetter ran it as "Dakotas".  Irene also had the Den located near the Sonic.  Bob designed and they ran the restaurant on the road to Lake Murray called the Fireside. Both of them still work in Ardmore but not in the food service business." -Rick
The Daily Ardmoreite
Friday - November 8, 1918
Palacine Filling Station
One of the most notable improvements in the city is at the Palacine filling station on Main Street, opposite Central Park. An ornamental little structure has been erected for the office, and the old buildings that for years have occupied the corner lot have been cleared away; some of them torn down and others moved back and repaired. The grounds have been cleared and this prominent corner that a few months ago was covered with unsightly rubbish is now one of the most attractive points along Main Street. The filling station itself is the most modern affair of the kind in the city, or perhaps in the state. Cars can be driven in from either the park side or the Main Street side, and are under shelter while receiving their supply of gasoline. The office building is a tidy little brick affair, as ornamental as a building of that kind can well be.

The Daily Ardmoreite
Friday - November 15, 1918
Palacine Oil Company's new filling station, corner Main and E Street, will open Saturday. Fill your car with gasoline on opening day and get 2 lb. grease gun free.

Thanks for the Christmas emails everyone.  Merry Christmas from our house to yours!

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas written by Irvin Berlin 1940

Song by Bing Crosby

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the treetops glisten,
and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas
With every Christmas card I write
May your days be merry and bright
And may all your Christmases be white

See everyone next week!

Butch and Jill Bridges

PO Box 2
Lone Grove, Oklahoma 73443

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Oklahoma Bells:
American Flyers Memorial Fund - Administration Webpage
Official American Flyers Memorial Website
Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Base Website
Mirror Site of the Ardmore Army Air Field/Ardmore Air Force Website
Carter county schools, past and present
Carter County Government Website
Ardmore School Criterions

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