May 2023

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MAY 2023 History Fan Girl PJAE's Golden Ticket Hobby's Hoagies
"Voice of the OKC Dodgers" Pryor
Loud With The Crowd Shaun

Alison’s Mission

Find an adult wiener dog.

The Hunt

Facebook follow every shelter in a 250 mile radius. Direct message those shelters.


Show me every online photo of a dachshund. Experience the excitement of a possible opportunity. Experience the sadness of that opportunity not working out. Repeat. Consider getting a cat.

The Lucky Break

An early Sunday morning text message alerts us that a scheduled adoption did not happen near Arkansas. We pack up the SUV and head east.

Love at First Sight

We take possession of a 3 year-old miniature dachshund. He’s short-haired, but with fluffy ears and feet. He sits in Alison’s lap most of the ride home. This could be love.

Getting to Know You

The dog with no name travels well. He meets our Aussie. They become friends. He explores the backyard. At bedtime he barks in his crate, we cave and he sleeps with us.

Mission Accomplished

We decide on a name... Redford. He’s a cuddler. He makes us happy. We take him to the Vibes event downtown and no one steps on him. So far so good.

Benefits of Ownership

Laughter (could there be a funnier shape for a dog?), endless cuddles, unconditional love, and he has trained Alison to put her shoes away - so Redford’s not perfect, almost though.


The sheer amount of joy that this little guy provides is disproportionate to his size. Re-homing, adopting or fostering an adult dog is a good thing.

10 Features 8 Edmond Kiwanis 10 Hobby’s Hoagies 12 The Anna's House Foundation 16 Shaun Pryor: Voice of the OKC Dodgers 18 History Fan Girl 20 Cimarron Reenactors Guild 26 PJAE’s Golden Ticket 30 A LOOK Back: May Day 1923 Business 22 UCO School of Music 24 Busby & Willoughby Dental Columns 7 In Other Words with Dave 28 Louise Tucker Jones ADVERTISING l 405-301-3926 l MAILED MONTHLY TO OVER 50,000 HOMES IN THE EDMOND AREA 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. PUBLISHER Dave Miller l PRODUCTION MANAGER Alison Miller l ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE / EDITOR Laura Beam l GRAPHIC DESIGN Anne Richardson PHOTOGRAPHY Marshall Hawkins l DISTRIBUTION Edmond Outlook is delivered FREE by direct-mail to over 50,000 Edmond area homes. 1024 W Covell, Edmond, OK 73003 l 405-341-5599 l l MAY 2023 Volume 19, Number 5 l Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. l © 2023 Back40 Design, Inc.
26 Cover photography by 20

Edmond Kiwanis

Since 1926, Building Up the Youth of the Community

Kiwanis Club is the oldest community service organization in Edmond. It was chartered in 1926, and the goal has remained the same: Build up the youth of the community. Evidence of their good work is found throughout the city, wherever kids are involved.

In 1940, the Kiwanis raised money for Edmond’s first swimming pool, and later helped open Pelican Bay. In 1953, they supported the opening of Boys Ranch Town for orphans. Kiwanis helped coordinate Safety Patrols in the elementary schools, and they sponsor the annual “Santa on a Firetruck” for foster children.

“Funds from our annual Pancake Breakfast provide food, clothing and books for needy children,” said Dan O’Neil, current president and 15-year member. “In a nutshell, we just love helping kids.”

Key Clubs and K-Closets

Kiwanis is an international organization dating back to 1919. To integrate the concepts of volunteerism for all ages, Kiwanis offers Key Club, a student-level chapter and Circle K as the college-level club. All the high schools in Edmond and Deer Creek have Key Clubs.

Dane Wiggins was active in Key Club during his high school years in Oklahoma City. “I learned about leadership and how to run projects with my friends,” Wiggins said. He followed Kiwanis into college, joining off and on during his adult years, and has been active with the Edmond chapter since 2019.

“The main thing is supporting kids that need extra help,” Wiggins said. “We run K-Closets at three of the Title 1 schools: Sunset, Ida Freeman and Orvis Risner. We supply extra clothes and snacks for the schools to keep in a closet and distribute as needed. A child might have missed breakfast,

or needs a winter coat, or their clothes got wet on the way to school—so the school is ready.”

Projects with Purpose

Like Wiggins, Al Warren started his Kiwanis involvement back in high school. “I’ve always believed in giving back to the community, so going back into Kiwanis was a natural choice for me. I’ve been an Edmond member now for 18 years.”

Warren is active in distributing college scholarships to Edmond students and coordinating the annual Aiming for Miracles Sporting Clay Shoot. “Last year, we presented a $90,000 check to Children’s Miracle Network for pediatric diabetic research and care in Oklahoma hospitals,” Warren said.

O’Neil loves many Kiwanis projects, but he found his personal purpose in gathering information to complete Edmond’s veterans list. “In 1981, the Kiwanis funded the Veterans Memorial at Grace Lawn Cemetery,” O’Neil said. “In 2021, I helped update the veteran list we found in the Kiwanis time capsule. It was a lot of work, but I feel really good about honoring the people who served our country. So many of our soldiers who passed away were just kids, really, barely out of high school.”

Continuing the Kiwanis Legacy

As Kiwanis approaches its 100th anniversary in Edmond, members are determined to raise even more awareness about the community’s youth. “History shows how we’ve made a difference, and we are eager to welcome more members to help with future projects,” O’Neil said.

“If you have a servant’s heart and a service heart, Kiwanis is a great organization. A vital organization, really,” Warren said, “because we can save the world one child at a time.”

Kiwanis meet each Wednesday at noon at The Big Biscuit on Santa Fe. Visitors welcome!


Hobby’s Hoagies

It’s hard to remember a time when there wasn’t a sandwich shop on every corner, but in 1991 when Hobby’s Hoagies opened in Edmond, it was a legacy in the making. Today, 32 years later, the authentic East Coast hoagies and pizzas still stand out in a class all their own.

George Hobson moved from Delaware to OKC in 1978 as part of the management team to help open the new GM plant. Craving the sandwiches and Philly cheesesteaks he had in Delaware, but not finding any restaurants in Oklahoma that served them, he began making his own. With the recipes and help of his wife, Patricia, George’s homemade hoagies became a huge hit among friends and coworkers at GM. In 1991, Patricia and daughter, Kim Nixon, opened Hobby’s Hoagies and George joined them there after retiring from GM. “At one point,” Kim recalls, “all three of my brothers and I were working here with mom and dad. Over the years, we’ve had three generations of family working here.” Although the family never intended to be one of the first to bring a taste of the East Coast to Oklahoma, that’s just what they did.

A Taste of Home

Now operated by Kim and her son, Christopher Nixon, the Edmond and Downtown OKC locations serve up the same crowd-pleasing recipes as they did on day one. “Other than adding some new sandwiches, we haven’t changed anything,” Kim reflects. “Everything is made exactly the same, with my mom’s recipes.”

Anything that starts with homemade Italian bread, rolls and pizza dough is destined for greatness. Topping that with only the freshest and finest ingredients is a signature must for Hobby’s Hoagies. Prime, juicy ribeye steak, premium Boar’s Head lunch meat, fresh vegetables prepped in-house daily, and crushed hot cherry peppers shipped in from Delaware are standard fare. The Philly Hoagie, one of the most popular menu items, is loaded with flavor

and brimming with East Coast flair. Prime ribeye steak, natural chicken breast and lean hamburger are layered on a homemade Italian roll and finished with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions and cheese. The Special Italian Hoagie, aptly named, is another big hitter. Ham, salami, Provolone cheese and cappocola, plus all the toppings, get an extra kick with oils, spices and spicy cherry peppers. Everything about this sub is satisfying. The crunch, the touch of heat, the tang–it just works!

The Reuben is another deli delight, with its toasty, buttery rye bread and generous layers of corned beef. Of course, no nod to the East Coast would be complete without that famous NY-style, foldable pizza, and Hobby’s does it right with homemade dough and creative combos like the Philly Cheesesteak Pizza.

Mood Meets Food

With its inviting neighborhood feel and great staff who are like family, this sandwich shop sees generations of diners coming back, bringing their kids and grandkids to share a taste of their own fond memories. “There is one couple who comes in every year for their anniversary,” Kim recounts. “They’ve been doing it for 22 years.”

For Kim, that sense of family and connectivity and gratitude extends to the whole Edmond community. “During Covid, the community rallied around small businesses. Not only did people support our restaurant, but they loved it when our food truck showed up in their neighborhood, selling our Italian Water Ice, which is like a snowcone, but has the texture of sorbet. We can’t thank everyone enough. Edmond truly is a great community.”

Visit 222 S. Santa Fe Ave. or order and pay online at

Christopher Nixon, George’s grandson

Fostering Hope With The Anna’s House Foundation

Anna’s Story

Anna was born in 2007 in the Oklahoma County jail. She was 10 weeks premature and pronounced clinically dead by medics, but her story wasn’t finished. Miraculously, she regained her heartbeat and lived on a ventilator at Children’s Hospital for the next six weeks. Even with expert care, her outlook was not great. After a failed kinship placement, she returned to the hospital with double pneumonia and “failure to thrive.” Doctors warned that without the bond of a loving parental figure, Anna would likely die.

When the Harkins family heard about Anna, they immediately stepped in. After spending many nights with her in the hospital, they brought her home as her foster parents. Two years later, Anna joined their family through adoption. Witnessing how profoundly a loving foster family can change–or even save–a child’s life, the Harkins formed The Anna’s House Foundation in her honor. Dedicated to meeting the needs of newborns and infants in foster care, The Anna’s House Foundation has provided immediate, stable and loving homes for Oklahoma’s children in state custody since 2009.

Support for Foster Families

The Foundation addresses the physical and emotional needs of foster families. In addition to clothing and the tangible resources needed to support a child, Anna’s House connects families with the preparation, training, and community support throughout their fostering journey.

“I think of a little one showing up in my home–a stranger’s home–in the middle of the night,” said Angie Sullivan, former foster parent and current Anna’s House volunteer. “Right out of the gate, Anna’s House provided everything we needed to give them a safe place, show them love, and be a sort of lighthouse during an incredibly difficult time in their life.”

Katherine Craig, executive director of The Anna’s House Foundation, encourages anyone who has ever considered fostering to simply give them a call. “Fear can keep people from seeking out answers,” Katherine said. “If it’s ever been on your heart, just give us a call and we can answer any questions you might have. No pressure, just information.”

For those who do move forward with fostering, the process is really simple. “Once someone calls, it only takes about 60 days to walk through certification, and we have a great team that helps families do that.” And the need has never been greater. “The Foundation has recently seen an increase in need, as foster homes are closing without being replenished,” Katherine said. “Children are waiting, sometimes overnight in a caseworker’s office.”

More Ways to Serve

Even if fostering is not in your future, there are still ways to get involved. And since May is National Foster Care Month, there’s no better time than now. The Anna’s House Foundation is always accepting donations and volunteers. “We appreciate any investment of time, talent, or treasure,” Katherine said.

Volunteer opportunities include offering childcare while future foster families attend two-hour training or support groups, providing meals for families as they adjust to new placements, organizing the Foundation’s free resource room, or hosting a donation drive. The Anna’s House Foundation is also a great destination for group volunteer work, providing corporate, church, or school groups with meaningful, handson service.

For more information about The Anna’s House Foundation, or to get involved, visit

Angie Sullivan, volunteer & foster parent for The Anna’s House Foundation

Shaun "Voice of the OKC Dodgers" Pryor

With a voice like Shaun’s, an announcing career was inevitable. Deep, booming, and with an infectious laugh to match–Shaun stumbled into his current career path simply by talking.

“I was on the sidelines of a game, just talking, and someone walked up to me and asked, ‘Is that your voice or are you just being silly?’” Shaun said. “It turns out, he owned a sports network. He asked me to announce for him, and I never looked back.”

Shaun has since moved on from his career as a Deer Creek fireman and Southern Sports Network sports announcer to serve as the voice of the Oklahoma City Dodgers. A lifelong sports lover and semi-pro athlete, Shaun was well-equipped for the job. His favorite childhood memories are in the stands, cheering on the Chicago Cubs alongside his grandfather. Now, he enjoys replicating those “all-American memories” for families in the Oklahoma City metro.

Shaun emcees much of the entertainment throughout game nights. From hosting games atop the dugout to letting kids race the bases, Shaun considers himself a ringmaster of sorts. But interacting with fans during the game is when he feels truly in his element.

“Baseball comes with nostalgia–the sights and smells–it’s a very homey feeling,” Shaun said. “There’s something about

baseball that can’t be replicated elsewhere, and I want other kids and families to feel that.” Shaun’s goal is total inclusivity. He wants everyone to feel at home in the Oklahoma City Dodgers’ stadium, and he’s going to great lengths to accomplish it.

“Every game, we are out front to greet people,” Shaun said. “And I’ve noticed several kids using sign language. I wanted to interact with them, but I didn’t know how.”

Thankfully, his fiance is fluent in American sign language, and Shaun is now intent upon learning. “I have been practicing. I want everyone to feel seen and connected with when they come to a game.” And Shaun encourages everyone to experience a game at least once. “Baseball is like apple pie,” he said. “It’s an American institution and I implore people to come see the Dodgers play at least once.”

He emphasized the appeal, even for those who don’t consider themselves fans of the sport. The team is continually hosting promotions and family-focused events that offer fun for all ages and interests.“Every Friday night game is followed by a fireworks show,” he said. “And every Sunday, kids can come down to the field and run the bases after the games, just like the pros do.”

The voice of the Oklahoma City Dodgers says, “It’s always a good idea to take your family out to the ballgame.” Those hoping to see Shaun in action can find schedules, tickets, and more information at

From hosting games atop the dugout to letting kids race the bases, Shaun considers himself a ringmaster of sorts.

The History Fan Girl

Stephanie Craig has visited 57 countries, 45 states, 144 World Heritage Sites, and 21 National Parks. Aside from being quite the conversation starter, it’s also her profession, and the mother of two says she has no plans to stop.

“I launched my first blog in 2015,” Stephanie said. “It was before people knew how to make an income with blogging. So there was a lot of trial and error, but eventually I learned how to provide valuable content to my readers, and support myself with my writing.”

The career is a full-circle achievement for Stephanie, who earned a degree in creative writing and Eastern European studies, but never imagined putting them to such direct use. Her readers have come to rely on history-packed travel guides that simplify overseas travel.

Adventures Abroad

“Whether it’s being trusted with the keys to a 13th-century chapel or researching the story behind a haunted country cemetery, I’m never having more fun than when I’m learning something new and weird about the past,” Stephanie said.

This applies even when her adventures take a wild turn. “I’ve debated German hostel workers over fees at 3 a.m., attended the World Nomad Games in Kyrgyzstan, and barrelled across backroads with terrifying taxi drivers somewhere outside Azerbaijan.”

But ultimately, Stephanie says international travel is not something to fear. “Travel isn’t as hard as you think,” she said, “especially if you’re willing to be flexible.”

For first-time international travelers, Stephanie recommends destinations like Turkey or Greece. “They are actually less expensive than popular destinations like Paris and London, but the food, culture, history and people are absolutely amazing,” she said.

Sightseeing in the Sooner State

Stephanie was living in Bulgaria when she met her husband. Eventually the two decided to return to Oklahoma to raise their family. “Out of all the places in the world I’ve been,” she said, “I couldn’t picture raising a child anywhere else.” Not only does Stephanie say that Oklahoma is a great place to live, she’s made it her job to prove it.

Now, Stephanie is creating content for sightseeing within the Sooner State. Her second blog is dedicated to the state parks, small towns, roadside attractions, and even castles scattered across Oklahoma.

“I want to show people that Oklahoma is a travel destination,” she said. “I grew up thinking you had to drive eight hours or get on a plane to experience something cool. But Oklahoma is full of history and fun things to do, if you know where to find them.”

Her favorite is the Blue Whale in Catoosa. “It’s just a roadside stop, but it’s one of the coolest, weirdest pieces of folk art in the country. I love that kind of thing!”

As summer approaches, Stephanie encourages families to find fun within their state. Visit for day trips and tips for your family.

Surva Festival in Bulgaria
Erick, OK
Stephanie in Jerusalem Petra, Jordan

Bringing Back the Virginia Reel

Four steps forward…four steps back…join hands…turn in a circle.

Victorian dances, such as the Virginia Reel, may seem a thing of the past, but a group of teenagers and young adults in Guthrie are reviving its history by performing dance demonstrations at events.

Emma Bowers Montgomery brought the group to life because of her own childhood exposure to 19th century history in Guthrie’s historical district.

“My dad and grandparents were both cavalry riders in Civil War movies, and my grandmother worked at the Territorial Museum,” Emma said. “My father even owned a carriage-ride business for a time, and I gave tours between the ages of seven and thirteen years old.”

Because of her constant access to the Victorian era, she began sewing period costumes and modeling them at fashion shows. Then, in 2017, Emma got a group of eight girls together to perform a dance at the Victorian Walk in Guthrie. Only a teenager herself, she admitted that they were mostly “goofing off,” but that dancing in a storefront window at Christmas time was enormously fun. She was approached by Nathan and Micah Montgomery, brothers who were interested in joining in on the fun, too. Soon, she and Nathan were a dating couple, and later married.

“After that, we attended a Civil War reenactment and enjoyed the dancing so much that we decided to officially form a group with some of our other friends to give historic dance demonstrations,” Emma said.

Emma began researching historical documents and looking through diaries and etiquette books in order to be historically accurate. She discovered how integral dancing was

to social life during the 1800s for both men and women.

“Today’s dance style is mostly done singularly, so it’s hard for people to become comfortable or develop their own style by themselves, but group dancing with partners makes it easier to cover up mistakes,” Emma said. “Every single guy in the group, except my husband, initially said they didn’t like dancing—until they tried it.”

The group’s name, Cimarron Reenactors Guild of Guthrie, was selected to honor Emma’s grandmother, who ran a Civil War reenactment group named the Cimarron Settlers. Instead of focusing on the military side of things, however, Emma and Nathan decided to specialize in civilian life. Besides dancing at the annual Victorian Walk, they also participate in the Battle of Honey Springs, which is a choreographed military demonstration for the public.

“We reenact the non-military side of things,” Emma said, “so we are educating people about daily life, which might include a soldier’s wife, or a laundress, or a refugee following the army. It’s fun, but we take our roles seriously.”

Guild members, who currently range in ages from 14 to 25, meet monthly to practice. New members are required to commit to buying or making a time-period costume within a year, although Emma loans costumes to new members who are still developing their dancing and character-acting roles.

“We love bringing in new young people, and their parents appreciate the wholesome activities that promote etiquette and friendship,” Emma said. “We are reviving the Civil War experience that was becoming a dying hobby, and every time we perform, people want to participate and learn more. Honestly, what I hear most is, ‘I didn’t know this was a thing!’”

Visit Cimarron Reenactors Guild on Facebook to learn more.


UCO School of Music

The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music already has a reputation for excellence. Now they’re elevating the program to the next level, with Oklahoma City Philharmonic Music Director Alexander Mickelthwate joining the faculty as the newly established Chickasaw Artist in Residence.

Shaping the Next Generation of Musicians

Mickelthwate has always had a passion for working with students. As Artist in Residence, he will conduct the UCO Symphony and mentor graduate conducting students. He will also lead community outreach, especially to Oklahoma’s Native American groups.

Mickelthwate worked closely with First Nations in his previous position in Winnipeg, Canada, and he’s eager to nourish Native American talent here in Oklahoma. UCO and the Chickasaw Nation share his vision. The Chickasaw Nation will fund the new Artist in Residence position and provide scholarships for Native American music students at UCO.

Oklahoma-Centered, Student-Focused Education

Many people are familiar with the popular UCO Jazz Lab performances, but the school also has a strong tradition of nurturing classical talent. Mickelthwate’s addition to the program fills several needs. Current symphony conductor Dr. Ralph Morris is retiring, so the timing for Mickelthwate to step in is ideal. The partnership with the Chickasaw Nation will also help the school extend its outreach to Native American communities. “Our long-term vision is to develop a cultural center for modern indigenous classical music,” says Dr. Rob Glaubitz, Director of the UCO School of Music.

The Edmond community can see Mickelthwate in action at the UCO Symphony’s first 2023-24 concert on October 10, 2023. “We’re all delighted to have Alexander here,” says Rob. “We’re excited for our students to have this opportunity.”

The University of Central Oklahoma is located at 100 N. University Drive in Edmond. Learn more about the UCO School of Music at their website

Alexander Mickelthwate

Busby and Willoughby Dental

If you’re looking for a dental practice where you’re cared for like family, Busby and Willoughby Dental is ready to welcome you.

Dr. Graham Busby and Dr. Jack Willoughby are focused not only on providing expert treatment, but also on building relationships.

Patient-Focused Cosmetic and Family Dentistry

Dr. Busby and Dr. Willoughby treat patients of all ages, from children to elders. They have the expertise to keep your smile looking its best, whether it’s through regular cleanings or restorative work like fillings and cosmetic

procedures. Beyond basic dental care, they’re deeply committed to serving each patient as a whole person.

“Most people see their dentist every six months, but they don’t always see their primary healthcare provider that often,” says Dr. Busby. The care team watches for signs of other health issues, from oral cancer to skin lesions, and they often refer patients to other healthcare providers when needed.

Both doctors take time to know every patient and build ongoing relationships. Dr. Busby completes regular training at the Pankey Institute in Florida, an advanced dental education training center.

Continuing a Legacy of Trust

Dr. Willoughby has served Edmond patients since 1984. He now practices part time and teaches at OU’s College of Dentistry. Dr. Busby joined the practice as an associate four years ago and became owner in 2021.

Busby Dental is a true family business. Dr. Willoughby’s wife Laura is the office manager, and Dr. Busby’s wife Nicole is one of the team’s

Registered Dental Hygienist. “Our goal is to carry on the high standard of care that Dr. Willoughby has established,” says Dr. Busby. “I’m excited to give back to the community that has given so much to me.” Busby Dental is located at 1222 S. Kelly Ave., Edmond. You can contact the office at 405-341-8518 or

(l-r) Dr. Graham Busby, Registered Dental Hygienist Nicole Busby, Dr. Jack Willoughby, and Office Manager Laura Willoughby

American Idol tests more than your vocal abilities. —PJAE

Getting the Golden Ticket

UCO Alumn Sees American Idol Success

Just a few months ago PJAE was a graphic designer dreaming of a musical career. Today, he’s a top 26 contestant on American Idol who Katie Perry said people should be paying to listen to, and his dream is rocketing toward reality.

A graduate of UCO’s Academy of Contemporary Music, PJAE says his family was not musically inclined, but it was always a part of his life, growing up in Lawton.

“As a child, my daycare was in the basement of a Baptist Church,” PJAE said. “The teacher sent me home with a gospel mix that I quickly memorized, and I always loved hearing the choir upstairs prepping for Sunday service.”

As he got older, PJAE said his focus started to shift. He pursued the practicality of graphic design, a decision he says was made partially out of fear. “I love graphic design, but nothing makes me feel the way music and being on stage does.”

It seems that PJAE left all fear outside the audition room door. Fans of the show will know that PJAE flew past auditions, dazzled the judges during duets, and sailed past the showstoppers with his soulful voice and R&B song selection.

On his 24th birthday, PJAE made the top 24, but only after facing a fellow contestant in an impromptu sing-off. Because of their outstanding performances, the judges made the first-ever decision to amend the top 24 to fit two more.

PJAE says the competition tests more than your vocal abilities. It gives you perspective on who you are as a person, and what you have to share with the world. “It’s not just an audition,” he said. “You’re opening yourself up to the public, so you need to be comfortable with who you are.”

That is not something that has always come easily to PJAE, but he set a clear strategy to combat nerves and imposter syndrome going into Hollywood Week.

“It can be intimidating, or it can be motivating,” he said. “I could focus on how scary it is to perform in that setting, or I could feel honored to convene with all these talented people I’m now a part of. So I got to know them as peers rather than competition.”

Secondary to winning, PJAE’s goal is to stay present. “Before going into a room to sing for my life in front of judges I respect, I will pinch myself or smell something to ground myself and stay present. I have to take time to let out my excitement, it’s all way bigger than what you see on TV.”

PJAE considers the relationships he’s built during the show, both with fans and fellow contestants, to be the ultimate success.

“I never saw myself as the type of person that would inspire people,” he said. “But I’ve gotten messages from all over the world. If I’m able to be that light for someone, I think that feels like winning.”

Stay up to date with PJAE’s journey on Instagram @thisispjae.


Mama’s Love!

May brings thoughts of mothers and I had one of the best. This is my first Mother’s Day without her as well as without my son, Jay. The two were buddies so I’m sure they’re celebrating together in Heaven.

Mama was 105 years old! What a heritage she had to tell and I loved hearing it. But Mama also lived in the present, enjoying church, country music and family. She doted on all of her grandkids but she had a special bond with Jay, my youngest.

I never knew my mother was uncomfortable around people with disabilities so she had a lot to learn when Jay was born with Down syndrome. She loved him dearly but had no idea how to relate to his special needs.

I encouraged her with suggestions and reading material, but the one who helped her most was Jay. He became her mentor. Jay’s vivacious personality, his smile, hugs and unconditional love helped my mom not only overcome her own insecurities but to eventually become an advocate for others with special needs.

When Mama came to spend several weeks with us after my dad died, Jay loved her back to emotional health. He hugged her, held her when she cried, patted her and told her it was okay. Then he would tease her—which is something Mama normally didn’t like—but Jay did “joyful teasing” until his grandmother would laugh. They bonded over and over through the years.

So of course, when my courageous son, Jay was lying at Heaven’s door for weeks in ICU, my beautiful mother silently slipped into Heaven during her sleep one Sunday morning so she could be at Heaven’s gate when her precious grandson arrived just 24 days later.

That Sunday morning happened to be Mama and Daddy’s 89 th wedding anniversary. Since Mama always loved

a celebration I think the Lord decided it was time for my parents to have an anniversary waltz on streets of gold then join Jay’s daddy and Jesus at those gates of pearl to welcome my sweet son into Glory. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama! Take care of my boy!


Louise Tucker Jones is an award-winning author, inspirational speaker & founder of Wives With Heavenly Husbands, a support group for widows. or


a look back May Day 1923

Donovan Banzett and Stella Curtis pose for a photo in front of Old North Tower on the Central State Teachers College campus (now the University of Central Oklahoma) for the 1923 May Day celebration. The May Day event was an early campus tradition, much like a modernday Homecoming. Stella was the elected queen and Donovan was her attendant.

May Day included dances by women taking physical education at the college and 120 girls from the training school on campus. Donovan Banzett, who was 20 years old in this photo, would go on to found the Edmond Booster newspaper, among other newspapers in the area.

Photo provided by the Edmond History Museum.
1024 W Covell Rd., Edmond, OK 73003