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November 2021

Meet the Barróns, America’s Kindest Family

Golden Radio Returns

General Aragon

Duke the Wolf-dog







An award? For me? Well, thank you very much. I recently received an award for our work recording the “modern history of Edmond.” The award was from the Edmond Historical Society & Museum. Once I got word of the upcoming honor, my immediate thoughts were, “I don’t deserve this,” then “Wait, I don’t do public speeches.” I was greatly relieved when informed there would be no acceptance speeches, but instead there would be a short video prepared prior to the event. If you witnessed this video, I apologize. I truly can make full sentences and complete thoughts. The event took place at Venue 102. Award recipients comprised an interesting cross section of our community and included musicians, volunteers, and a childcare worker.

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Features

Photo by Eriech Tapia

We have a very talented team that puts the publication together every month. There’s Adrian Townsend and Anne Richardson - they put the content and advertising design. Jennay Wangen edits the publication. Angie Clemens Byers works with our advertisers. Reid Landherr takes care of our social media. Alison and I come up with the story ideas (the fun part). Marshall Hawkins shoots our photos - and has for 10-plus years. Plus our freelance writers, Maggie Murdock Nichols, Maria Veres, Amy Dee Stephens, and columnist Louise Tucker Jones. A group of true professionals. The magazine is a publication of Back40, my digital marketing agency over at Covell and Kelly. I hope you enjoy this issue. We enjoyed putting it together. There are so many great Edmond stories out there - I don’t think we’ll run out anytime soon.

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Ask Edmond #ONEEDMOND

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Local Eats: Bee Healthy

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A Patriotic Message from General Rita Aragon

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America’s Kindest Family

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We are for Good

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Golden Age of Radio Returns

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Duke the Wolf-dog

Business 22

Crossings Church

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Generator Super Store

Columns 7

In Other Words With Dave

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Louise Tucker Jones

Cover Photography by www.sundancephotographyokc.com

Dave Miller Publisher & Back40 Design President

ADVERTISING l 405-301-3926 l sales@edmondoutlook.com MAILED MONTHLY TO 50,000 HOMES IN THE EDMOND AREA 1024 W Covell, Edmond, OK 73003 l 405-341-5599 l edmondoutlook.com l info@edmondoutlook.com November 2021 Volume 17, Number 11

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Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc.

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© 2021 Back40 Design, Inc.

PUBLISHER Dave Miller l EDITOR Jennay Wangen l ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Angie Clemens Byers l GRAPHIC DESIGN Adrian Townsend, Anne Richardson PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins www.sundancephotographyokc.com l DISTRIBUTION Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to 50,000 Edmond area homes. Articles and advertisements in the Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Back40 Design. Back40 Design does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by the Outlook does not constitute endorsement of the products, services or information. We do not knowingly present any product or service that is fraudulent or misleading in nature. The Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.


LOCALLOOK

Ask Edmond

How has the #ONEEDMOND campaign impacted your classroom and students? The #ONEEDMOND campaign supports our public school teachers and students with needed classroom materials. The Edmond Public Schools Foundation is asking the community to match teachers and school employee donations. The goal is 500 community members to make a one-time donation of $100, or sign up for a monthly recurring gift of $10.

Dwight Justus

Stacy Jackson

“Donations received through the #ONEEDMOND campaign allowed my students to explore our world! Because the board games tie into my class of Geography, my students are already getting a head start on some country research projects and knowledge of current events. Thanks again for supporting my classroom.”

“The #ONEEDMOND campaign recently helped purchase a dry erase board for each desk in my classroom. Students work out problems each day on their boards, and they love having an erasable workspace. I enjoy their little pictures and notes they leave me on them as well!”

Jasmine King

Cam Case

Elizabeth Ging

“It means a lot to have community support. Coming together to show students how much they care makes such a huge difference! The ping pong table provided through the #ONEEDMOND campaign not only helps teach math, but gives them a lifetime skill of working through adversity with others.”

“Early Birds classes have impacted hundreds of Edmond families! Available for caregivers with children beginning at age 2. Classes provide information on development, school readiness, parenting, and more. #ONEEDMOND has helped provide knowledge and tools to give every child a smart start!”

Cimarron Middle School 7th Social Studies

Cheyenne Middle School GATE Teacher

Sunset Elementary 4th-grade teacher “The #ONEEDMOND campaign has turned our vision into a reality! “MySpace” safe place has encouraged my students to be selfadvocates, identify and name their feelings, and self-regulate...while remaining active participants in the learning process. Thank you so much!”

Boulevard Academy Educator, Business, Computer Applications, Physical Education

Kathy Radle

John Ross Elementary Moderate-Cognitive Special Education Teacher “The #ONEEDMOND campaign has given my students the opportunity to work on life skills that will go far beyond my classroom. We received a grant to operate a classroom coffee cart that serves the teachers. Running their business is one of their highlights of the week and I get to teach in a new way!”

Edmond Public Schools Administration Center Early Childhood Facilitator

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FOODLOOK

Alex & Kendra

Cody Pepper & Amir Alavi

Bee Healthy Cafe: A Values Based Rebrand By Maggie Murdock Nichols In 2007, Cindy and Amir Alavi were riding bikes, like they often did, when Cindy started feeling ill. Soon Cindy would face a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and learn that healthy eating would be key to her quality of life and longevity. At the time, Amir was working as an independent photographer and filmmaker, and Cindy was halfway through nursing school. The two put their plans on hold and began developing recipes of their own, not knowing at the time that this would be the inspiration to open their first Health Nut Cafe. Cody Pepper discovered Health Nut Cafe in 2015 when seeking nutritious catering options for business functions. He was an instant fan and began bringing the food home for his own family. Cody’s sons and wife Leila have food allergies and had limited options their family could enjoy when dining out. With a background in franchising and development, Cody joined with Amir and began working on a plan to expand the business with added efficiencies, more locations, and drivethroughs. The two Edmond families have decided to spread their wings and franchise under a new name. Bee Healthy Cafe Spreads their Wings The logo and look may have changed, but the values remain the same and are stronger than ever. “The new name, Bee Healthy Cafe, underscores our journey. Now we say, we’re the 10

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health nuts so you don’t have to be—you can just come in and be healthy. And the bee? That’s a nod to our use of honey as a sweetener instead of processed sugar and our ingredients that rely on pollinator health,” says Amir, co-founder and chief operations officer. Health Nut Cafe’s eight, soon to be nine, metro locations began rebranding to Bee Healthy Cafe in mid-October. “We want to grow, and we want to grow with like-minded, passionate people. That’s why the franchise model makes the most sense,” says Cody Pepper, chief executive officer. “We are actively seeking partners to join us on this journey and have the opportunity to pick prime territories.” Healthy Doesn’t Have to be Hard Bee Healthy Cafe aims to be an alternative to underwhelming fast food and overpriced health food. They’ve made it easy to be healthy – as easy as one-two-three! Step 1: Choose what goes inside, from a variety of signature recipes like Mediterranean, Wild Alaskan Salmon, Pecan Chicken, and more. Step 2: The outside, from wrap, to melt, to salad, quinoa bowl or sandwich. Step 3: On-the-side, with healthy sides at no additional cost. Bee Healthy Cafe also serves a variety of smoothies with add-ins like vegan and whey protein, turmeric, and more. They serve locally roasted Plaid Rooster Coffee and craft espresso drinks. Bee Healthy Cafe values transparency and quality ingredients, making it an ideal choice for those with specific dietary preferences or food allergies. With more than 65 flavor combinations, Bee Healthy Cafe offers fresh and guiltless food that’s fast and affordable. Visit BeeHealthyCafe.com to explore the new website, brand, menu, and franchising opportunities.


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FEATURELOOK

teacher and principal. She believes her teaching background led to her military success, because, she said with a laugh, “Adults are much like children.” Her enjoyment of people also made her job more difficult, as she faced the obligation of putting lives in danger. “People By Amy Dee Stephens in uniform are extremely conscious of the price of enlisting in the military. No one fully understands this more, except the families who are left behind when we fight or when we don’t come back.” Rita Aragon joined the Oklahoma National Guard for a Gen. Aragon has vivid memories of September 11th, when simple reason--she needed the money. She was a single mom a lieutenant rushed in and said, “Turn on the TV. You won’t with two young girls, and her schoolteacher salary wasn’t believe what you’re going to see!” As the state commander, enough. “I was also working fast food and as the church Gen. Aragon sent the first aircraft off to war and continued secretary, but I still needed my parent’s financial help to make sending people to war until she retired in 2007. Retirement ends meet.” did not end her service, however, and in 2011, Aragon once In 1979, Aragon’s friend from church suggested she join the again earned the “first woman” role, this time as Secretary of National Guard because she could work flexible hours when Veterans Affairs under Governor Mary Fallin. school was out. Aragon was unaware that her life was about Currently, Gen. Aragon serves on Edmond’s Veterans to take a major turn, leading to a 30-year career as a highMemorial Committee, raising funds to honor fellow military ranking officer. members. “We’ve been designing a Aragon enrolled as an airman basic. spectacular memorial,” Gen. Aragon said. “I’m proud to live in “I had more education than 99% of “I’m proud to live in Edmond, because the recruits, but I took advantage of Edmond, because it’s it’s one of the most patriotic towns in every schooling opportunity so I could one of the most patriotic Oklahoma, and there are a number of understand every military function,” Veterans Day ceremonies scheduled in towns in Oklahoma” Aragon said. Edmond on November 11th. Veterans Twenty years later, Aragon was Day honors the 11th hour of the 11th day promoted as the first woman to hold the rank of brigadier of the 11th month—the moment World War I ended. It’s an general of the Oklahoma National Guard and the first female important day to recognize the cost of freedom.” commander of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. “I was Protecting freedom is a common theme as Gen. Aragon proud, but it was tenuous because I realized that if I fell, speaks to groups because although her military time has it would not bode well for those coming behind me,” Gen. ended, her mission has not. “Thank veterans for their service,” Aragon said. “I had some hard knocks, but the men gave me she urges. “It takes people to defend America. Veterans the opportunity to learn leadership.” willingly stand in the breach of those who would take over During Gen. Aragon’s career, she completed tours of duty America and defeat her; of those who would break down our around the world and at the Pentagon. Although travel was democracy because they’d love to have our wealth, resources interesting, she found people to be the greatest part about and people. The military, both past and present, stand National Guard service. Gen. Aragon also continued to work between us and those who would take over. Please thank as an educator for 22 years, becoming an award-winning them. I do, every day.”

A Patriotic Message from

General Rita Aragon

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FEATURELOOK

beds. “If it makes one child happy, then our work is worth it,” Holly said. “That’s why we do this! Being in the hospital is so hard on them.” Returning to the hospital is also hard on the Barróns, because it’s a place that carries memories of Keaton’s five and a half years of treatments. Holly is comfortable on the 10th floor, however, because the K Club raised enough money to renovate it into an area called Keaton’s Clubhouse. Nearly By Amy Dee Stephens every week, the Barróns provide gifts for patients who need a pick-me-up or have reached a milestone such as a birthday or Meet America’s Kindest Family! The Barróns of Edmond graduation while undergoing treatment. were selected from over 500 nominations, and now, their The Barróns spread kindness outside the hospital as well. family portrait is on the cover They hold sock and underwear of Parent Magazine. drives for the Homeless Alliance. A friend nominated Luke and In November, they celebrate World Holly Barrón and their boys, and Kindness Day by inviting people although they gave the possibility to chalk messages of kindness in little thought, a team of celebrity Edmond and Oklahoma City. The judges was impressed with the K Club also helps pay the funeral R AI S E selflessness of the Barróns. Over costs for parents who have lost a the summer, the family learned child to pediatric cancer. PEO PL E they had won the America’s “When a door opens to show Kindest Family contest and flew kindness, we walk through it,” Holly B O OKS to New York for the photo shoot. said. “How could we say no? We TH AT S PA R K CARING The contest result was publicly believe in what Keaton started, and and G I V I N G announced on the Today Show in it’s how we teach our other three September. boys about their brother. Keaton is Although it sounds fun and still part of our family.” fluffy, the Barrón’s story is Holly admits that their aggressive compelling; a story of generosity schedule of events is exhausting, and sacrifice and Legos. but they feel compelled to carry on It began when the Barrón’s with Keaton’s mission. “We never oldest son, Keaton, started in a million years thought Keaton the K Club, a kindness club, wouldn’t beat cancer,” Holly said. because of his inborn desire “Don’t ever think I’m okay, because to make everyone happy. His I’m not. We are lost without him, but goal was to bring kindness to these acts of kindness help us feel others; an incredible feat for a close to him.” child enduring cancer treatment According to Holly, the title of himself. Although he lost his America’s Kindest Family is actually a battle to leukemia in 2018, at the age of tribute to Keaton—the best person she’s eight, his K Club continues through the ever known. “The rest of us aren’t the five tireless work of his family. kindest people on earth, but collectively, “He was so selfless,” said Luke. “He we are working to honor Keaton’s shining thought about making everyone else example. He never complained. He’d get happier. He was going through the most in the car to go to the clinic and be sweet,” difficult and trying times of his life, and he Holly paused to contain her emotion. just put others before himself.” “Keaton wasn’t that way because of us. Keaton’s one-dollar membership fees He was a gift to us that we were privileged Keaton Barrón continue to be used to purchase Legos enough to take care of.” for children living in a hospital. Every To join the K Club and support local month, the Barrón family hosts a Lego children fighting cancer, please visit party at Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, giving the patients kclubkindness.org a break from treatment and a toy to play with back in their

America’s Kindest Family T RY O N A N E W T R A D I T I O N T H I S T H A N KS G I V I N G

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S C R E E N -T I M E U P G R A D E ! T H E 2 4 B E S T LE A R N I N G A P P S

EGG -AND - CHEESE B R E A K FA S T S F O R E V E RYO N E

AT I T TA K E S T O

of our 2021 cover contest

T H E B A R R Ó N FA M I LY Luke and Holly, with sons Holden, Reid, and Conley, tell their story on page 144.

NOVEMBER 2021 PARENTS.COM

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FEATURELOOK

We are for Good: A Local Podcast goes Global By Maggie Murdock Nichols

From the upstairs of a century-old home near downtown Edmond, Becky Endicott and Jonathan McCoy launched their podcast, We are for Good. The podcast debuted at #1 in the nonprofit category and has listeners across the United States and in more than 85 countries worldwide. A year has passed since the first episode. They’ve found that nonprofit professionals are eager to find their purpose at work, have a desire for connection, and want to learn from their peers. We are for Good welcomes dynamic nonprofit leaders, advocates, and philanthropists to share innovative ideas and lessons learned. As career nonprofit professionals and Certified Fundraising Executives (CFRE), the two have worked together for 15 years on notable fundraising campaigns with a dream to revolutionize the way the nonprofit sector raises up and invests in their own. They live by “ridiculous optimism” and believe an impact uprising among this sector will change the world. Elevating the Efforts of Nonprofits Becky says, “We are for Good inadvertently became this global brand.” They launched in the midst of the pandemic when many nonprofits were wondering what the future held for them. An ambitious start, they set out to produce three podcasts per week. They’ve now told more than 180 stories. The audience is not limited to nonprofit professionals but also appeals to those seeking to celebrate the goodness of humanity. “People who have a vision, take a brave leap, and run toward their passion are our favorite people,” Jon says while reflecting on their podcast guests. Paige Chenault (Ep. 37), Founder of the Birthday Party Project sketched the plan for her nonprofit on a cocktail napkin and has provided more than 12,000+ birthday parties for homeless children. Kari Watkins (Ep. 10), Executive Director of the OKC National Memorial and Museum shares the power of philanthropy and its role in healing a community. Mike Beckham (Ep. 87), an Oklahoma native and founder of Simple Modern, built one of the most popular insulated drinkware companies in the world on the foundation of existing to give generously. One connection has led to another and the lineup of stories to be told has no end in sight. We are for Good PRO, is a reimagining of nonprofit professional development with video course masterclasses. This is where nonprofit professionals can go deeper. Jon laughs, “It’s like Netflix for nonprofits.” They’ve curated the most inspiring teachers and accomplished professionals to share their tools, mindsets, and guides for growth.

Jonathan McCoy & Becky Endicott

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The Who Behind We are for Good Becky Endicott is the resident storyteller. Her goal is to sit at the feet of a stranger, hear their story and determine how to rally a community of support around them. She lives in Edmond with her family and says, “As a teenager growing up in OKC, I remember hearing about Swine Week and marveling at how generous this community was.” John McCoy is a designer and makes We are for Good look... well, good. His is the 100-year-old house where the podcast is recorded and where their ideas have come to life. He lives there with his wife and two sets of twins when they’re not following their wanderlust and traveling the world. To learn more go to weareforgood.com


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BIZLOOK

Many Oklahomans are struggling with mental-health issues right now. LifeCare Ministry at Crossings Community Church offers support and healing, not just for church members, but for the whole community.

and healthier in relationships, all from a discipleship perspective.” The ministry offers a wide variety of programs, all overseen by licensed counselors. Free individual counseling is available for congregants who regularly attend Sunday services at Crossings. All other services are open to everyone. Whether you’re grieving, reeling from divorce, working to manage your anger, or struggling with your addiction or someone else’s, LifeCare Ministry has a place for you. CareSeries groups meet on Monday nights. Celebrate Recovery, a Christian Twelve-Step program, meets on Thursday evenings. Crossings also sponsors ministries for married couples and engaged couples, as well as other special programs.

A Place for Everyone “We believe emotional health is essential for spiritual maturity,” says Rev. Ron Mahn, LPC, LMFT, Director of LifeCare Ministry. “We encourage people to become more emotionally healthy

Growing with Edmond LifeCare Ministry has served Edmond and OKC for more than twenty years. It began as a counseling ministry and has since blossomed into many groups meeting both virtually and in person. Future

LifeCare Ministry at Crossings Church By Maria Veres

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Rev. Ron Mahn, LPC, LMFT

plans include weekend retreats for men and couples, as well as an expanded digital ministry that will give the community access to resources used in counseling. The fall session of LifeCare Ministry is already under way, but many groups remain open to new members. “We want to walk with people in the love of Jesus and help them encounter God in a tangible way,” says Ron. “We’re excited about the opportunity to continue serving the community.” Crossings is located at 14600 N. Portland in OKC, 1500 W. Covell Rd. in Edmond, and online at www.crossings.church.


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Generator Supercenter By Maria Veres An extended power outage is more than an inconvenience. It can put a family’s health and safety at risk. With our recent severe weather events, more Oklahomans are turning to whole-home generators as a safeguard against disaster. Generator Supercenter’s mission is to meet that need. A Tradition of Excellence In business for more than 30 years, Generator Supercenter is one of the nation’s largest dealers of high-quality Generac generators. “What makes us unique is that we have 22 Generac-certified technicians,” says owner Austin Par-

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tida. The Edmond-based company serves customers throughout Oklahoma. An Oklahoma native and OSU graduate, Austin worked for Generac Power Systems before joining the team at Generator Supercenter (formerly Faith Electric). He was mentored by Faith Electric’s Founder, Larry Admire, and took the helm when Larry retired. The business is thriving, with a second office in Tulsa and new locations set to open soon in Lawton and Enid. Turnkey Installations for Every Home Generator Supercenter completes every job from start to finish. Once the generator is installed, Austin and his team offer 24/7 monitoring for the life of the unit, and a technician visits once a year to service the unit. With this proactive approach, they’re aware of which generators are at risk of failure and can address any problems before a storm hits.

If you’re thinking of installing a whole-home generator but have some questions, Generator Supercenter offers a free consultation to help you decide what best meets your needs. They also offer multiple financing options. “We go over placement, cost, and permits,” says Austin. “We make the process easy. Our goal is to have a customer for life.” Generator Supercenter can be found at 3632 East I-35 Frontage Road in Edmond, and online at www.generatorsupercenterofoklahoma.com.


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FEATURELOOK

Barrett Huddleston, Curt Rose, Kim Thomas-Cobb

Golden Age Radio Returns

Autry’s “singing cowboy” show. And, the phrase “faster than a speeding bullet” was first applied to Superman on the radio, not in the comic book. The museum’s shows are directed by Barrett Huddleston, who has a Ph.D. in theater. He enjoys working with the community cast, which sometimes includes child actors. He’s especially intrigued by the eclectic crowd the radio shows By Amy Dee Stephens draw. “The audiences are so polyvalent, in that there are very different kinds of attendees in the same room,” said Huddleston. “Some were alive when these radio dramas first came out, so their attendance is purely nostalgic, but we also Before television, families gathered around the radio to have young Edmond hipsters coming because it’s a cheap listen to music and entertainment. Comedies, mysteries, date night, and they are laughing at the irony of how families and science fiction skits became especially popular, relying were portrayed back in the 1940s.” on masterful storytelling and sound effects to spark the When the pandemic began, the radio shows easily imagination--no screen required. transferred to Zoom and video formats. Last winter’s Holiday The Edmond Historical Society & Museum began Cooking Disaster show featured online comedy skits about reenacting famous radio shows in 2018 as part of its living food. “The most surprising was a history program. Actors read the scripts version of Betty Crocker teaching before a live audience, sound effects women the recipe for war steak, a are created on stage, and live music is revolting concoction of ground beef often incorporated. The 1940s Radio and cornflakes,” said Huddleston. “It’s Theater produces three shows a year funny now, but it was a serious foodand just won an Oklahoma Museum stretching suggestion during the war.” Association award. To celebrate the museum’s Olympics “We pick the script to tie into a exhibit, 1940s Radio Theater recently current exhibit,” said Anna Studstill, delved into a sci-fi script known ‘round director of education. “We recently had the world: the famed production War an animal photography display, so we of the Worlds. The 1938 broadcast performed animal-themed skits from sounded so realistic that some listeners Archie Andrews, Father Knows Best, thought Martians had actually attacked. and Tarzan.” Barrett Huddleston, Nora Cripe “We spoofed the script, setting it in The first script the museum modern-day Edmond, with live music presented was a World War II show to played by Kyle Dillingham and a cameo appearance by Mayor coincide with a WWII exhibit. The Fibber McGee and Molly Darrell Davis. No Edmond landmarks were blasted in the show was a comedy about collecting scrap metal. Since then, making of that show, by the way,” Studstill added with a laugh. the shows have ranged from a Flash Gordon episode to the “Our next radio reenactment is planned for Valentine’s Day.” Gracie Allen Runs for President stunt. Regardless if you remember listening to old-time radio or Those who have never listened to old radio are usually are seeking screen-free family entertainment, 1940s Radio surprised by their familiarity with the shows, because they Theater is an entertaining way to experience history and pop have seeped into today’s pop culture. The famous “Who’s on culture from eighty years ago—in person! First?” skit was a radio original, as were the characters of The Visit edmondhistory.org to learn more. Lone Ranger and The Shadow. The everlasting Christmas hit, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, gained popularity on Gene 26

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ALOOKBACK

My Menagerie By Louise Tucker Jones Recently, I’ve had a daily visitor. In fact, over the last couple of weeks, she has frequented my back door several times a day, begging for food. Yep, my neighbor’s little red hen flew the coop as well as the fence between our properties. I’ve spoiled Little Miss Red to the point that she pecks on the glass door at my deck to let me know she needs a snack, then afterwards, she takes a nap beside the door. I enjoy the interaction with the little critters that come my way. A squirrel often sits on the rail of my deck, munching on nuts that I put out. And oh, my goodness, once I saw a mama skunk and her babies run under my deck.

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Thankfully, they left without fragrance so I threw mothballs in their hiding place to discourage further shelter. But one of my sweetest visitors was a bunny so tiny that I named her Baby. She came the summer my husband went to heaven and followed me all around my acre yard as I watered trees, dragging a hose behind me. When I walked, Baby scampered along beside me. When I stopped, she paused and listened to me talk or cry. What a gift! Then some time later, a fox family came to visit. Four lively “kits” played on my deck for days. Mama fox lay in the grass watching her babies, but at night she rested on the deck, guarding my door. I am certain God sent her to me. A few outdoor varmints also found their way to my house. Raccoons, armadillos, even a roadrunner. And Hannibal, the hawk, has rested on my fence multiple times. I marched outside and explained clearly that he could stay only if he left my bunnies alone.

And nope, I don’t live in the “boonies.” In fact, I live so close to a school that crowds of cute little kiddos run across my front yard every afternoon and I love it. Being a widow can be extremely lonely, especially during a pandemic, so I’m thankful for all the wonderful friends God sends my way. Even the furry and feathered ones. ABOUT THE AUTHOR Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker & founder of Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. LouiseTJ@cox.net or LouiseTuckerJones.com.


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FEATURELOOK Have you always been interested in wolf-dogs? I’ve always been a dog person. Owning wolf-dogs was just something I wanted to try. They are different from dogs. They are smarter, faster and much much more independent. Can you tell us a little about each wolf-dog’s personality? Kato hands down is the leader. She’s the only female and has adopted the role of being in charge. Duke is the most mild-mannered, kind of just wants people to love on him. Apollo is the most wild, most independent, and has the least amount of regard for others. Do wolf-dogs make good pets? No, not particularly. They lack the emotional human attachment so they don’t mind humans, but they don’t listen either. It’s the lack of wanting to please people. They are independent and don’t really mind if you are there or not. How much do they eat? They go through a 30-pound bag of dog food a week. Where do they sleep? I bought them an amazing insulated and cooled dog house and I have an acre lot dedicated to them. James Samples & Duke

Duke, the Wolf-dog Perhaps you’ve seen James Samples and his rather large dog around Edmond or local pet supply stores. Actually, the rather large dog is a hybrid wolf-dog. We visited with James and Duke and learned about this unique pet-owning experience. How did you become a wolf-dog owner? About 10 years ago I decided that I wanted a dog that not a lot of people had. I did 3 years of research before I got Kato, who is the only female. She was very wild and was missing being a part of a pack. So then I got Duke, the large white one, and Pike from a local individual who could not take care of them. Unfortunately, Pike had health problems and passed away. I found Apollo, the dark black one, to fill out the pack.

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How much does Duke weigh? Does he even know he’s huge? Duke weighs 140 pounds and he thinks he’s a lap dog. What has surprised you the most about owning a wolf-dog? The need for them to be together as a pack. Taking them away from each other is almost impossible. They don’t understand when each other leaves. Do they howl? Are there any other wolf behavior traits that they exhibit? Oh yeah, they’re howlers. They are always looking to get into things and always watching all the movements. Nothing gets by them. Their body language is always directly focused on things. And they are determined to investigate everything. What advice would you give to someone thinking about owning a wolf-dog? I don’t normally recommend them. The cost, the independence, the large space needed. They aren’t as easy as one would think.



1024 W Covell Rd., Edmond, OK 73003