Edmond Outlook - December 2018

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December 2018

In the Market for Freshness

Urban Agrarian treats Edmond to locally sourced foods

Holiday Hero to the Homeless Solar Storms and Supervolcanoes Nhinja Sushi & Wok





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Features 8

LUMINANCE AT MITCH PARK

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A HEART FOR OUR COMPANIONS

Are you constantly misplacing things? Like keys or your phone? Not me. I rarely lose personal items like that. Call me ridgid, but I have this routine I do every morning as I leave the house - I actually pat myself down while reciting a verbal checklist to make sure I have everything. Phone, wallet, keys, good looks… okay, set to go. Then I pull the door locked behind me and start my day. I do, however, lose my glasses every year or so. Lose as in vanished...gone, not to be found. Two years ago I lost a set of glasses while working around my house and yard. I retraced my steps without finding them. The best I could figure, I might have lost them in some rather large outdoor plants I repotted that day. At least, that’s the story I told myself. For the next several weeks, I put off replacing those glasses. It was a combination of stress, hope and stubbornness - I liked those glasses. I didn’t want to get new ones. I was going to find them. Meanwhile, I took to wearing my prescription sunglasses as a substitute. Yes, I was one of those guys. Sunglasses at the movies, dinners, Thunder games, evening walks, even meetings at work. Finally, I tired of looking like “that guy” and got another pair of glasses. Fast forward nearly two years and I’m boxing up my house, getting ready for the big move across town and my glasses go mysteriously missing. Again. This time I don’t stress. I am not going to “Ray-Ban” it for weeks hoping they magically appear. I’ve learned my lesson. If they show up, they show up. I continue my day squinty-eyed. By the end of the day, my house is ready for a final walk-through. All good. Then I figure I better check the attic to see if there’s anything I missed. I make my way up the folding stairs and squint into the dimness. I see a shape in the far corner. As I get closer, I see it’s a toilet seat, new, still in the box. Odd. As I crouch down and reach for it, I feel my knee hit something, I look down and there are my glasses. Not the ones I lost several hours ago the ones I lost two years ago. I have no idea how they ended up there. And I don’t really care. I can see clearly now. Dave Miller Back40 Design President

Discover Edmond’s new walk-thru holiday lights display Dana McCrory invests her life as an animal advocate

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NHINJA SUSHI & WOK

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IN THE MARKET FOR FRESHNESS

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Family business savors success Urban Agrarian treats Edmond to locally sourced foods

SOLAR STORMS AND SUPERVOLCANOES

Novelist Tim Washburn releases his latest apocalyptic thriller

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HOLIDAY HERO TO THE HOMELESS

Carolyn Herr’s Christmas mission

Business 22

UPSTAGE THEATRE COMPANY

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LA PETITE

Classes, camps and community shows Child care that educates and nurtures

Columns 28

LOUISE TUCKER JONES

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DR. J. DAVID CHAPMAN

Memories of the Heart Home Delivered by Sears

Cover photography by Marshall Hawkins

ADVERTISING l Laura Beam at 405-301-3926 l laura@edmondoutlook.com MAILED MONTHLY TO 50,000 HOMES IN EDMOND/NORTH OKC 80 East 5th Street, Suite 130, Edmond, OK 73034 l 405-341-5599 l edmondoutlook.com l info@edmondoutlook.com December 2018 Volume 14, Number 12

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Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc.

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© 2018 Back40 Design, Inc.

PUBLISHER Dave Miller l ADVERTISING MANAGER Laura Beam l GRAPHIC DESIGN Adrian Townsend l PRODUCTION Rachel Morse PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins www.sundancephotographyokc.com l DISTRIBUTION Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to 50,000 Edmond & North OKC 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.


EVENTLOOK

Luminance at Mitch Park Discover Edmond’s new walk-thru holiday lights display

Stroll through a holiday wonderland at Edmond’s all-new Luminance attraction at Mitch Park. Decked out with more than 50,000 LED lights, the pavilions and trees are transformed into the ultimate walk-through holiday lighting display. A 50ft. walkthrough tunnel and 20 3D lighted displays add to the fun. With Edmond being the premier city to have 3D lighted displays, visitors are sure to be dazzled during this not-tobe-missed seasonal event.

Where:

Luminance will take place in Mitch Park between the baseball fields and directly north of the Edmond Outdoor Ice Skating Rink.

When:

Luminance will be open from December 1- January 7. The lights will be on Monday-Sunday from 5p-10p.

Cost: Free!!!

To learn more, visit www.edmondok.com/1460/Luminance.

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FEATURELOOK

A Heart For Our

Companions By Amy Dee Stephens

Dana McCrory is the moving force behind improved animal welfare in Oklahoma City. She’s honored to have overseen the funding of a multimillion-dollar veterinary clinic, but she’s equally proud when a rescue kitty finds a good home. In 2007, McCrory was a founding board member of the Central Oklahoma Humane Society. “We were one of the few thriving areas without one, and our pet population was in terrible trouble.” A year later, McCrory resigned her board role to become the Executive Director of the Zoological Society for eight years. Last year, she was thrilled to accept the CEO position at her beloved humane society. She’s proud of the strides the organization has made in one decade. In 2007, 30,000 pets entered shelters, with 75% being euthanized. Now, 75% are leaving alive, and the goal is 90%. “The city is more humane than it was 10 years ago. I’m surrounded by a staff of heroes,” McCrory said. “I lead the organization, but they generate creative solutions for pets. We now work with populations in crisis, such as the homeless or those who need an extra hand. We also have an animal advocate to help the victim “place their pets” until they themselves find shelter. To McCrory, humans are the species responsible for improving the plight of animals. This philosophy is the reason McCrory has asked for money on behalf of whales, rhinos, frogs and dogs. It’s also how she found herself tromping through the Rwandan jungle, searching for wild mountain gorillas. “Our group was there to understand first-hand why we must protect wild animals. I remember turning a corner and saying, ‘I smell gorillas.’ The guide, surprised that I knew the smell, said, ‘Look in the tree behind you.’ That glimpse of the most endangered animal on earth will always be my favorite memory.”

“I’m not an animal activist, I’m an animal advocate.”

For McCrory, animals are not a novelty--they are a way of life. She grew up on an acreage with lots of love, laughter, siblings and animals. Her father rescued and adopted an astounding array of animals, which McCrory viewed as family members. “I’m not an animal activist, I’m an animal advocate,” she explained. “Animals have been part of my family, and they’ve been my savior.” Four years ago, her husband, Mac, experienced a debilitating health crisis. Their dog, MayBelle, was both Mac’s physical therapy buddy, but also his emotional companion, helping him through his darkest days. “MayBelle saved us both,” McCrory said. In exchange for all the kindness and compassion McCrory has received from a lifetime of animal friends, she hopes to give thousands of future pet-owners the chance to experience the scientifically-proven fact that humans do benefit from animal interactions. “I keep a painting of Malee, the zoo’s first baby elephant, in my office at the humane society. Meeting Malee was a special moment for me, and I was devastated when she died of a genetic disease. Malee’s painting reminds me that there is still much to do. More research is needed, and not just for elephants, because we are also still unable to stop disease transmission in domesticated dogs and cats.” “My mom trained me that if I needed to change something wrong in this world, there was no better person than me to make changes. Animals have improved my life, and so I can passionately advocate for them.” Dana McCrory & MayBelle

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For more information, visit www.okhumane.org


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FOODLOOK FEATURELOOK

Nhinja Sushi & Wok Family Business Savors Success

By Laura Beam

Left to Right: Kobe, Mary, Jojo, Kang, & Michael Nhin

There’s no wrong time for sushi. Lunch with a good friend, dinner with family, an after-work indulgence—it’s always the perfect occasion to relish this bite-sized delicacy. It’s clean and simple (especially if you are adept with chopsticks), yet incredibly diverse in flavor. And when that sumptuous, artistic platter is set before you, it’s total food magic. You can’t grab the chopsticks fast enough. Striking just the right balance between superior ingredients and an affordable menu, Nhinja Sushi & Wok’s fresh-casual style, where guests order at the counter, is a win-win. Diners get the fresh, delicious foods they crave, in the eat-and-run environment they demand, and the restaurant eliminates a wait staff, allowing them to invest in a superb menu. Power couple, Mary and Kang Nhin, owners of Nhinja Sushi & Wok, are a testament to the success of a familyrun business in the local economy. The first Nhinja Sushi restaurant opened in 2010 and eight years later, this revered local restaurant has expanded to five locations and become a go-to favorite. Part of the restaurant’s appeal is a menu that entices you without overwhelming you. “As we gear up for expansion,” Mary says, “we’re further simplifying the menu, going more green and creating a smaller footprint and even better experiences for our customers.” Sound environmental business practices are a cornerstone of the Nhinja name. “We provide high quality seafood at the cost and convenience of faster food,” Mary explains.

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The commitment to top-grade ingredients is apparent in every bite. Selections like the Thunder Roll featuring tempura shrimp, the Nhinja Roll with salmon, cream cheese and jalapeno, and the Spider Roll with tempura soft shell crab are always a hit. Be prepared to linger over the to-die-for sauces like the Dynamite, a tangy cocktail sauce with a kick, or the fullflavored Spicy Mayo. The Wok’d entrees and rice and noodle bowls are just as much a headliner as the sushi. Classics like General Tso’s, Sweet and Sour and Spicy Kung Pao are paired with your choice of protein and rice. Once again, the incredible sauces, like the signature house soy garlic, Japanese sweet honey sauce and sweet chili orange sauce, are good enough to eat alone with a spoon. Exciting changes are coming soon for this local powerhouse. In an effort to expand their brand, protect their patents and recipes and franchise the business, they will be changing the name of the restaurant to Nhinjo, a combination of their last name and their youngest son, Jojo’s name. “We were getting requests from around the nation to set up shop in different cities,” Mary says. Trademarking the new name will allow them to do just that. The Nhins’ mission is to provide families in small towns and across the nation access to healthier food, especially high quality, affordable sushi. Pushing through adversity to trademark the name and grow the business is imperative to the Nhins. “We want to show and teach our boys to keep working hard even after success is found.” Visit www.nhinja.com for the five metro locations or to order online.


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FEATURELOOK

Holiday Hero

to the Homeless By Amy Dee Stephens

On December 25th, while most of us are settling down to Christmas turkey, Carolyn Herr is in downtown Oklahoma City searching for the people who have nowhere to go for the holiday. Last year, she found 800 people. In one hour. Instead of a sleigh full of toys, she uses a 20-ft trailer and two trucks filled with provisions. To each man, woman and child, she provides food, winterwear and camping equipment. It’s Carolyn’s Christmas Day tradition, but it takes her all year to prepare for that one hour of work. Carolyn describes the reactions of the homeless people as grateful. “They love the food, but they are happiest about the human contact. They appreciate a hug and conversation. Most of them accept the food and then offer to share it—they are very unselfish.” According to Carolyn, Oklahoma City has about 4,000 homeless people, but another 2,000 never get counted because these are the people who are hiding, are paranoid, or mentally unable to seek governmental help. “They won’t go to a shelter or a structured event for Christmas, so I go to them,” Carolyn says. “I drive around watching for their shanty settlements—so I know where to find them at Christmas.” In 2002, Carolyn and her husband, Brad, had just moved to a small house in Oklahoma City. They budgeted carefully so that Carolyn could stay home. Brad noticed the high number of transients near his workplace downtown, so Carolyn crocheted a dozen blankets to hand out that Christmas—but hundreds got nothing. So, she ramped up her efforts. Carolyn sells homemade products at the downtown OSU-OKC Farmer’s Market every Saturday. She puts 100% of the money toward the purchase of supplies for making more hats and scarves. Carolyn initially didn’t have any “elves” to help her, but after 16 years, she’s assembled her own kind of Santa’s workshop. She receives sock donations, dog food, and handmade hats from people around the world, including Canada, Spain and Bolivia. Many Farmer’s Market vendors donate their blemished or leftover foods—which she bags up or freezes. Carolyn sees women living on social security who donate $2 to her coin jar every Saturday at the Farmer’s Market. Carolyn calls them her “Two Dollar Club.” Two younger ladies create plastic baggies filled with no-cook “camping foods” and a lip balm to hand to hungry people standing on street corners—which is something Carolyn encourages anyone to do. One year, a UPS truck showed up with 300 pounds of donated yarn, which furthered her efforts to make hats, scarves and blankets. “It literally filled my house! We couldn’t even sit on the couch. My neighbor let me use his garage to store it.” Eventually, that neighbor sold his house to Carolyn for a generously low price, so she could use it as a storage facility for dry goods and yarn. “I keep one room where homeless people can stay a few nights in emergency situations.” Then, two years ago, Carolyn and Brad purchased a third house for their growing mission. Carolyn works year-round to help the homeless on the fringes—but Christmas Day remains the focus of her year. “It’s all over in about an hour, and I come home exhausted, but I feel so much personal satisfaction helping these people.” Carolyn proves that Christmas isn’t about expensive presents from the store. Sometimes giving a little means so much more. Carolyn Herr

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To learn more, visit Herr Projects on Facebook.


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FEATURELOOK

Solar Storms and Supervolcanoes By Lea Terry

Novelist Tim Washburn releases his latest apocalyptic thriller

Edmond resident Timothy Washburn spends his days planning sophisticated Washburn’s fourth thriller, “Cyber Attack,” published in late November. It cyber attacks and unleashing monstrous volcanic eruptions, a career path focuses on a series of cyber attacks that destroy everything from power grids he never anticipated. “I didn’t want to destroy the world over and over,” to chemical plants and threaten the entire United States. His other novels Washburn said. These doomsday scenarios unfold in Washburn’s thriller include “Powerless,” in which a solar storm takes down the power grid across novels, which focus on events such as catastrophic the Northern Hemisphere, “Cataclysm” which solar storms or hackers taking down government focuses on the eruption of a supervolcano and the “Everything I write is computer networks. All of his scenarios start with a massive earthquakes that follow, and “The Day kernel of truth, he said. After Oblivion,” which follows what happens when possible, maybe not the NSA’s computer networks are hacked, leading probable, but certainly to nuclear strikes, millions of deaths and a handful “Everything I write is possible, maybe not probable, but certainly possible,” he said. Originally from of survivors struggling to rebuild civilization. possible.” Tecumseh, Washburn attended the University of Oklahoma and later worked in broadcast Washburn just signed a three-book deal for a journalism and as a freelancer before pursuing a historical Western series that follows a family based career as a novelist. Getting published took time and perseverance, and he in Texas. With the first book set in 1873, he shifted his research to historical wrote four novels in other genres before writing a disaster thriller that landed details such as the history of guns, newspapers and telegraphs. Washburn him a publishing deal. grew up reading Westerns but never imagined he’d write in the genre, in part because the genre’s popularity waned for a while. However, he sees it “If I’d known how difficult it was going to be, I’m not sure I would have making a comeback.”I think people are looking for escapism from the reality pursued it,” Washburn said. “Now that I’m here, though, I can’t see ever of what’s happening,” Washburn said. “If you’re writing a fiction book about doing anything else.” what’s going on in Washington, people would say that would never happen. You just can’t compete with what you see on the news every day.” Washburn spends between three and four months researching each book, focusing on details ranging from the effects of radiation sickness to how jets When asked what advice he can offer aspiring writers, Washburn suggests work and often generating a stack of papers a foot high. Immersing himself to keep writing, even though 90 percent of submissions don’t even get a in apocalyptic themes has prompted him to think about what he’d do in a response. “A lot of people make the mistake of writing one book and trying similar situation, but despite his in-depth knowledge of the subject, he says to get it published. You’re better off to just keep writing,” he said. he’ll probably be in the same situation as everyone else.”I mean what do you To learn more, visit www.timwashburnbooks.com. do, you can stock up on cases of water or buy some freeze dried food, but realistically, how prepared can you be?” he said. 18

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BIZLOOK

Upstage Theatre By Maria Veres

As an actor and a mother of five, Jenny Rottmayer understands how tough it is to make time for the things you love while working and raising a family. But Rottmayer has found a unique way to do it all. With her husband Brett, she runs Upstage Theatre Company, a family-oriented theatre group in Edmond. Founded in 2010, Upstage offers community theatre productions and many learning opportunities for young actors. The Rottmayers saw a need for their business when Summer Stock discontinued its productions at Mitch Park. They quickly stepped in to fill the gap. “We’ve always loved outdoor theater,” says Rottmayer. “The timing was perfect.” Upstage produces two outdoor musicals in Edmond every summer and an adult-oriented indoor community theatre production during the winter. In between, they hold production

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classes and summer camps for young actors from preschool through high school. It’s a full load, but the Rottmayers can’t imagine doing anything else. They met while studying theater at UCO, and both of them wanted to continue nourishing their love of theater after college. Upstage has given them the perfect chance to do that. Brett is the executive director of company and helps with technical direction while also working full time. Jenny runs the day-to-day operations and teaches several classes. The company’s third team member, Patrick Towne, teaches classes and directs many of the productions. “He does an amazing job,” says Rottmayer. Audiences at Upstage’s Danforth and Kelly location will soon enjoy an expanded performance space with theatre-style seating. The Rottmayers hope to have the new space finished in time the December production of “Chicago” by the senior production class. “We thought it would be a perfect way to start,” says Rottmayer. The production classes are one of Rottmayer’s favorite parts of her job. There are three classes per

semester, each geared for a different age group. “Once students enroll, they audition, rehearse, and have the full-scale theater experience,” says Rottmayer. “It’s amazing to see what kids can do with just a little push.” Summer camps and all-inclusive, theatre-themed birthday parties round out Upstage’s programs for kids. For grownups, Upstage offers an adult dance class, acting opportunities in the community theatre productions, and other workshops and classes depending on interest. As usual, the company has a full calendar for the months ahead. After the holidays, watch for “Carrie: The Musical” in mid January. Enrollment for spring classes is also open. Whether you’re an actor yourself or have a child who loves the spotlight, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to shine at Upstage. Learn more about Upstage Theatre Company’s upcoming shows and classes at www.upstagetheatreok.com.


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BIZLOOK

La Petite Academy By Maria Veres

When Wykeshia De Four talks about her work as director of La Petite Academy, the word “family” keeps coming up. “I like to make it feel like home,” she says. “I want parents to know we will love, nurture and truly care for their children while they’re at work. As the mom of a two-year-old, I want what I’d want for my own child.” Parents are greeted by name when they arrive, and De Four makes herself available to address any concerns they may have. La Petite’s community of caring extends beyond school hours. “We recently had a family that lost two loved ones, and I was able to go to one of the viewings,” she says. “These little things make a difference.” She’s quick to praise the teachers for the school’s success. “My staff is truly a team. They pull together to love and care for my babies—and they’re all my babies!”

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De Four takes special pride in the schools prekindergarten program. “Our teacher takes the curriculum and makes it her own,” she says. “Our kids leave here and they are truly ready for school.” Like La Petite’s other early childhood programs, pre-K includes plenty of hands-on activities and a kid-friendly dose of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). Along with getting the little ones prepared for school, La Petite also offers before and afterschool care for children through age twelve. The school-age room includes comfortable study space, a Nintendo console and Foosball table, science stations, and even a yoga center. “We have children who start with us as babies and go all the way up through school age,” says De Four. La Petite maintains a three-star status, the highest rating given by the state of Oklahoma. Along with lots of TLC, it offers a high-quality curriculum to make sure the children’s learning needs are met. “It truly is no child left behind,” says De Four. “If a child is struggling, we pull together to bring that child on board.”

The school got a new look recently, with a playground remodel, new paint and flooring. De Four and her staff have also added more technology to the learning mix, including robotics and teacher-led, age-appropriate iPad activities. But La Petite’s central focus remains the same— providing a warm, safe home-away-from-home to the children in its care. La Petite is accepting new students, and De Four is glad to talk with parents about the program. “If they’re looking for child care and want a family friendly place, LaPetite on 33rd is the location,” she says. “We are family.” La Petite Academy serves children from infancy through age 12. Learn more at www.lapetite.com.


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FEATURELOOK

In the Market for Freshness By Lea Terry

At Urban Agrarian’s new Edmond store, shoppers can browse a wide selection of locally produced fruits, vegetables, meat and other foods, and even pick up a salad or a cooked chicken on their way home from work. It’s part of the store’s strategy for increasing options for both consumers and the merchants the store buys from. “We’re trying to build our local food economy first, but we also believe strongly in environmental sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals, so our standards prioritize those practices,” said Urban Agrarian co-owner Chelsey Simpson. Urban Agrarian opened its Edmond location at the end of October, and has seen a “tremendous response” from the local community, Simpson said. Jayne Benkendorf, co-owner of BF Farms, says one of the benefits of working with Urban Agrarian is that the store understands how the goods are made. They also have a direct line to customers that provides local producers a place to sell their goods on a more continual basis instead of the one or two days a week and few months out of the year offered by farmer’s markets. Benkendorf’s company supplies Urban Agrarian with beef and lamb, and she said she’s seeing an increase in the number of consumers seeking out locally produced food. “I think people just really want to know where their food comes from and how it’s made,” Benkendorf said. Urban Agrarian got its start in 2008 with several pop-up markets around the OKC metro area before opening up a permanent location in 2011. The store quickly became an important part of the Oklahoma City culinary scene and the city’s Farmer’s Market District. However, it nearly shut down two years

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ago thanks to a downturn in the economy and aging equipment that needed to be replaced. Owner and founder Matt Burch announced the news on social media, generating an outpouring of support. Jill Castilla, president and CEO of Citizens Bank of Edmond, saw the announcement and asked Urban Agrarian to serve as a cornerstone for the bank’s new Vault 405 coworking space in downtown Edmond. This enabled the store to secure the funding it needed to continue in business. “We knew that Edmond really loved to support good food and local food so we thought it would be a great place for Urban Agrarian to grow,” Simpson said. With its Edmond store, Urban Agrarian added a butcher counter and hot, prepared food options ranging from roast chicken to a wide selection of vegetable side dishes. “We really want our Edmond location to be a place where people can come in for lunch and also swing by on their way home to pick up something for dinner,” Simpson said. Customers can also order online from an email the store sends out each week, and then pick up their items at one of the store’s locations. Urban Agrarian works with approximately 50 local merchants at any given time, Simpson said, and she stressed that it’s not just a specialty store. “We’re really lucky to live in a state where a wide variety of things can be grown and raised year-round and that gives us access to almost all of the same food that you would find in a regular grocery store,” she said. Urban Agrarian is located at 1 E. Main St. in downtown Edmond. For more information, visit www.urbanagrarian.com.


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ALOOKBACK

Memories of the Heart

By Louise Tucker Jones

With Christmas approaching, my heart stirs up precious, old memories. Simple things that never made their way onto the pages of my writing. Little things, like my daddy making white divinity at Christmas. No, he was not the cook in our home, and I have no idea how that came to be. I only know it was special.

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Years ago, when my late husband, Carl and I were dating, we decided to make a lacey, wax Christmas candle from ice, paraffin and a milk carton. A popular DIY project at that time. It actually turned out well, but then we tried to make fudge. It would never set up so we finally grabbed spoons and ate it that way. Now that’s a memory!

or the year, our family always had a Nativity. It may have been a tiny, plastic manger scene that you could hold in one hand, like the one we had as struggling newly weds, or our present Nativity with its wooden stable along with Mary, Joseph, wise men, shepherds, animals, and of course, the Christ Child and an angel.

As a young family, our little church group had a progressive Christmas dinner with our house serving punch. I thought I should be festive and bought a small box of Christmas glasses for the occasion. Every Christmas, throughout the years, I have pulled out those glasses and used them with my family, remembering that long ago Christmas with old friends, many of whom are now in heaven.

That tradition will never change because Jesus Christ is the center of Christmas. It’s the celebration of His birth. Deity descending to earth. Angels rejoiced. Shepherds worshiped. Wise men bowed. A Savior was born.

At a different town and church, I shared in a cookie exchange with the ladies, and I always enjoyed gifting neighbors with baked goodies. These remembrances may not be passed on to younger generations, but they are still memories of the heart. And traditions? Many. Some change through the years, but one goes on forever. No matter the place

Without this Holy Day, there would be no Holiday. Wishing you a Blessed Christmas!

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.



CITYLOOK

Home Delivered by Sears By Dr. J. David Chapman As I write this column, I have a party of three checking into our most popular Airbnb home in downtown Edmond. The party of three are all academic researchers from Coventry University; one from Switzerland, one from Northern Ireland, and one from Coventry, UK. The house they are calling home for a two-week period was rumored to be a “kit home” when we purchased it several years ago. We have renovated the home, adding central heat and air, exterior paint, new electrical, plumbing, and roof. Interior changes and updates were made while trying to keep the 1915 charm of the old kit home. We believed the charm and history were worth preserving. Before there was Amazon and the Internet, there was Sears & Roebuck and the Catalog. I continue to be amazed by the variety of things purchased on Amazon, but long ago, in the pages of the Sears Catalog, you could even buy a house. Between the years of 1908 and 1942,

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the Sears & Roebuck company sold more than 70,000 of these Sears Catalog homes, which were built in locations all over the country. The houses, which were shipped on railroad boxcars, came as huge kits containing everything needed to build a home; lumber, siding, doors, windows, shingles, and even some fixtures. Local owners normally provided plaster, brick, plumbing, electrical fixtures, heating systems, and labor. This led to a bit of customization, that frankly makes it more difficult to tell if a home is definitely a “Sears” home or some other kit home that was sold during the time frame. Kit homes required access to the railway for delivery, however many were shipped via horse-drawn carriage or in later years trucked to owners. Locations, such as Edmond, that have good access to railway were natural candidates for these kit homes cutting much of the transportation costs. The Airbnb home we own near Hurd and Broadway would have been a natural location for a kit home being within 50 feet of the railway negating the need for further transportation beyond the railcar. The current demise of the Sears & Roebuck Company is particularly sad to me considering their contribution to the built environment in the way of kit homes,

appliances, fixtures, and tools. I still remember the family’s excitement when the Sears & Roebuck catalog filled the mailbox. I am proud to have invested in a bit of the history, and made it possible for yet another generation to experience a kit home, ordered out of a catalog, delivered by railcar, built by a community, and still in service today.

Dr. J. David Chapman is an Associate Professor of Finance & Real Estate at UCO. jchapman7@uco.edu



80 East 5th St., Ste. 130 Edmond, OK 73034