Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

January 2007

Oklahoma, OK?

It’s 2007! You know what that means, don’t you? Oklahoma celebrates its centennial, for goodness’ sake! And I go to my 50th high school reunion.

Let me back up. I was born in Oklahoma less than 100 years ago, but since the state is only just now 100 years old, I’m probably one of the older native Okies, even though I’m not any kind of Native American, which is what a lot of native Okies are.

When I was a kid, I lived next door to Mrs. Thorne, who made the “run.” Mrs. Thorne was from Maine but traveled to Oklahoma as a child. Her father raced to Guthrie to stake a claim on land, while she, her mom and brothers and sisters followed later in a big wagon. She told me of the experience.

It seems that when her father returned from the land office, someone else had set up camp on the land he claimed. Her father pulled out his pistol and shot holes in the pots and pans the claim-jumpers had hung up. The jumpers left.

Mrs. Thorne and her family were Sooners. You wouldn’t think people would be proud of being Sooners, since the term implied that they cheated in the great land race. Sooners snuck across the starting line so as to get the pick of the sites. There’s a poem that goes something like this:

“In God we trusted / In Kansas we busted / I’d sooner be a Sooner ...”

My family didn’t get to Oklahoma until 1938, when my dad was transferred there by Sears & Roebuck. I got there a year later. We not only weren’t Sooners, I think my dad was a Republican. He, like my mother, was from West Newton, Mass.

Although I went to elementary school in Enid, Okla., I went to high school in Wellesley, Mass., which is just west of West Newton. I graduated in 1957 and am looking forward to reunioning with classmates in September.

My, what a busy year I’m facing. Beats the heck out of the usual ritual of making up resolutions to diet, exercise and be nicer.

Actually, 2006 was pretty eventful. I got a car with Sirius satellite radio and a navigation system. I like to enter a destination and then go a different way just to hear the lady get all flustered telling me to make U-turns and stuff.

Oh, and one other thing. I ate a ton of chipotle-seasoned stuff this past year — mayo, fries, chicken, pork, just about everything but ice cream. Ben & Jerry’s Chipotle Ripple, I definitely have to try that this year. I bet they’ll sell a ton of it at the Oklahoma Centennial Celebration.

Well, happy new year.