November 2023

Page 1


A Life of Distinction

WWII Tank Driver, "Choc" Charleston

Emme, the Comforting Canine

Donatos Pizza

An Enchanted Stroll Through Luminance







My in-laws are considering a move to Edmond from Osage County. They have been house hunting - and my wife, Alison, a former Realtor, has been in “search and scroll” mode for weeks. Exciting times. Moving to Edmond checks quite a few of the boxes for them. Here are some of the reasons I think they chose Edmond…


1. Multiple Schlotzsky's locations 2. Numerous parks with walking trails (my father-in-law walks over 25,000 steps a day) 3. A more exciting, involved and challenging traffic environment 4. The opportunity to run with a larger herd of Teslas


5. Higher quality “city” squirrels to friend and to feed 6. Closer proximity to their granddogs and grandkids


7. Pops on Rt. 66 - they really like Pops 8. Bargains galore with nearly 20 area thrift shops 9. Locally owned magazine that features all-local content delivered monthly to their mailbox 10. Closer to their awesome daughter and their fantastic son-in-law And as a bonus… SO MANY CAR WASHES!

Features 8 10 12 14 18 20 30

Luminance, an Enchanted Stroll Donatos Pizza Comforting Canine A Life of Distinction: WWII Tank Driver, “Choc” Charleston Meet Ryin Jones, Music Festival Manager Operation Christmas Child A LOOK Back

Business 22 24 26

Dave Miller Publisher & Back40 Design President

Pitchford Perfect Tree Service Mr. Handyman Kim Baker, 72SOLD

Columns 7 28

In Other Words with Dave Louise Tucker Jones

Cover photography by

ADVERTISING l 405-301-3926 l MAILED MONTHLY TO OVER 50,000 HOMES IN THE EDMOND AREA 1024 W Covell, Edmond, OK 73003 l 405-341-5599 l l

NOVEMBER 2023 Volume 19, Number 11 l Edmond Outlook is a publication of Back40 Design, Inc. l © 2023 Back40 Design, Inc. 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. 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.



An Enchanted Stroll By Taylor Bollinger



of the one located at 1129 S. Broadway in Edmond. The creators set the iconic figure to hold a sign that pays tribute to the upcoming Route 66 Centennial in 2026. Aside from being Edmond’s biggest holiday event and one of the first walk-through light displays in the state, Edmond Electric is proud to provide the opportunity for people to build tradition and connect – and to do it all for free. “You’re not just in your car, driving through and then leaving,” Nicole said. “You are spending time and connecting with others. It’s a fun, unique way to expand your holiday experiences.” Nicole says it’s all thanks to our generous sponsors and community. “This would not be possible without the Edmond Chamber of Commerce, Edmond Economic Development Authority, the YMCA at Mitch Park and Visit Edmond.” Edmond Electric encourages everyone – from Edmond and beyond – to incorporate Luminance into their holiday celebrations this year. Special event nights include opening night on November 17th. Merry Marketplace will be available on opening night and again on December 8th. Learn more at photos submitted

From November 17 to January 1, Edmond’s Mitch Park comes alive in a tapestry of lights called Luminance. Hosted by Edmond Electric, the aptly named “enchanted stroll” leads guests through more than 30 larger-than-life, lighted displays. Over 80,000 visitors will attend during the season. They may come for the lights, but they linger for the added entertainment the city incorporates into the event. “Opening night is a huge extravaganza,” said Edmond Electric representative, Nicole Koehn. “We have food trucks, Santa Claus, face painting, and live music from Edgar Cruz.” This year’s events will feature a drone show from Dynamic Skies. The Edmond Ice Rink is also returning for its thirteenth season at Mitch Park. But the most notable attraction, making its debut appearance, is undoubtedly the display of a giant blue hippo holding a Route 66 sign, hosted by this year’s Diamond presenting sponsor, Visit Edmond. “We are so excited about this display,” said Jennifer Thornton, Tourism Director for Visit Edmond. “As we ramp up for the Route 66 Centennial in 2026, we think this is a great way to educate, add charm, and heighten awareness of all Edmond has to offer.” The hippo is a 7-foot replica




Matt McLain and Will McLain

Donatos Pizza By Laura Beam Edmond can add another win to its list of credits with the opening of Donatos Pizza – the first Oklahoma location for the renowned, 60-year-old, multi-state brand. Celebrated for their famous edge-to-edge toppings on every pizza, premium cheese and 100 slices of family recipe pepperoni on every large, thin crust pepperoni pizza, Donatos is committed to their saying: “Every piece is important.” Edmond natives and brothers, Matt and Will McLain, along with co-franchise partner and industry veteran Pattye Moore, debuted the fast-casual pizza shop on Bryant Avenue on August 15. As sons of the former Sonic Drive-In President Scott McLain, Will and Matt grew up around the restaurant industry but didn’t necessarily have plans to follow that career path. “We only knew we wanted to work together and be business owners in Edmond,“ Will says. Thanks to longtime family friend and former Sonic President, Pattye, that business goal took shape in the form of pizza. Pattye became familiar with the Donatos brand when she was the Board Chairman at Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and successfully introduced Donatos Pizza to the Red Robin menu. “I loved the premium quality pizza, the culture of the company and the management team,” Pattye recalls. Knowing Matt and Will were looking for the right business opportunity, Pattye suggested they all partner and bring Donatos to Oklahoma. Thinking Outside the Box From its beginning in 1963 when Jim Grote, a sophomore at Ohio State University, bought the Ohio pizza shop he’d worked at since he was 13, Donatos has embraced a distinctive culture of putting people first and giving back to the community. “A big part of this brand is about serving the community through fundraisers, partnerships, volunteering and the Donatos 10


Family Foundation,” Pattye explains. Even the name Donatos – derived from the Latin “to give a good thing” – speaks to the company’s core values. “We are excited to introduce this family-oriented concept with premium pizza to Oklahoma,” Matt comments. “Edmond was the natural choice for the first Oklahoma restaurant. Both Will and I are Edmond Public School graduates and engaging with the schools is a key priority for us.” Top That! All the Donatos menu items are made with love, Matt and Will confess. At first bite, the pizza crust – whether it is their famous golden, crispy thin crust, hand-tossed or gluten-free cauliflower crust – immediately steals the show. “The crust is such an important part of the unique flavor that it is made in Columbus, Ohio at Donatos’ bakery, Jane’s Dough Premium Foods, and delivered to the restaurants,” Will says. The most popular pizzas are the thin crust pepperoni and the Founder’s Favorite, loaded with pepperoni, sausage, shaved ham, banana peppers, smoked Provolone and Romano. Another fan fave is the Hawaiian, generously layered with shaved ham, pineapple, smoked Provolone and an extra crunchy, warm kick with sliced almonds and cinnamon. Also, back by popular demand for a limited time is the Hot Honey Pepperoni Pizza with a sweet heat that is absolutely craveworthy. Other menu highlights are the family recipe sausage and meatballs, oven-baked subs, Asiago Cheese Bread, Cinnamon Bread and Hot Honey Wings. And for get-togethers, the party cut on thin crust pizzas is perfect for sharing with a crowd. Visit 1148 S. Bryant in Edmond or Dine in, drive-thru window, delivery and catering available.




A Comforting Canine By Taylor Bollinger

Emme knows who needs comfort as soon as she walks into a room – a skill strengthened by experience but ultimately intuition. The eight-year-old Bernese mountain dog became a certified therapy dog at the age of one (or seven, if you’re counting dog years) and her owner, Noreen Lyman, says she executes her role with excellence. “She loves it so much,” Noreen said. “When she sees me and my husband, Craig, putting on our volunteer smocks, her tail starts wagging and she starts whining excitedly. She jumps into the car and is eager to get to work.” Emme frequents INTEGRIS Edmond, Arcadia Trails Center for Addiction Recovery, and The University of Central Oklahoma, offering her peaceful presence to high-stress, often scary situations. Noreen says her role is simply to provide the transportation. Emme does the rest. “Emme spends time with cancer patients undergoing chemo, with people experiencing mental health crises, and she is sometimes there for end-of-life visits,” Noreen explained. “She also goes to UCO every week to love on the students there. They all look forward to it so much.” Emme’s visits are as memorable as they are

I can’t tell you the number of times someone comes up to me with a picture on their phone of themselves with Emme.

Emme with owners Noreen and Craig Lyman

meaningful. “I can’t tell you the number of times we’re out and about and someone comes up to me with a picture on their phone of themselves with Emme,” Noreen said. “One day a delivery man put a package on my doorstep. He started to walk away, but turned around to show me a photo of Emme with his daughter who was battling cancer.” Noreen then took a photo of Emme and the man, so he could show it to his now healthy daughter. Though Noreen gives Emme all the credit, she and her husband bear a significant burden with their ministry, as they call it. “There are days that I am doing the best I can to hold it together until I get out to my car,” Noreen said. “I’ve seen some things that are hard to unsee. Some days I don’t feel like going, but each time I am so glad I went. Those are always the days someone really needed the visit.” Noreen’s animals have gone on to be included in weddings and graduations. But it’s the more private moments that are most meaningful. Emme has been held by the hurting, become a pillow for those in pain, and stood by cancer survivors as they rang the bell. In every situation, Noreen says one thing is certain: Emme loves her job. Noreen hopes others will be encouraged to join the ministry of pet therapy. You can contact Noreen by email at




Choc drove this tank through minefields

Choc and Billie, married 79 years

A Life of Distinction

WWII Tank Driver, "Choc" Charleston By Amy Dee Stephens During the blackest nights and toughest battles of WWII, soldiers marveled at Gilbert “Choc” Charleston’s calmness, saying, “The Indian isn’t afraid of anything.” Now, as Choc turns 100 years old, he vividly recalls his service as a tank driver. Although Choc shields listeners from the harsh details of the carnage he witnessed, he can’t forget surviving America’s bloodiest battle in Europe, the Battle of the Bulge. He tells about being shot at for nine months, never getting to sleep in a bed, and rarely getting a hot meal. Despite unimaginable horrors, Choc also encountered an array of special people who became his fast friends: movie stars, politicians, and musicians. The walls of his home, where he lives with Billie, his wife of 79 years, are filled with photographs of himself and the friends he’s made along the way.

Choc was a strange experience for the people of Europe. “They’d never seen an Indian before,” said Choc. “I was pretty popular. They wanted to look me over real close.” Once Choc’s military duties began in earnest, his whole world revolved around his tank. “We lived in the tank. We slept in the tank. We ate in that tank. And at night, two of us walked around the tank on guard duty,” said Choc. “Invariably, they’d get spooked, but I never felt scared. One cold winter night, I saw a pinpoint of light behind a blackout window from a nearby home. I knocked on the door and said, ‘We’re two American G.I.s freezing to death, can you let us warm up?’ The man spoke English and invited us in for hot chocolate.” “The man pulled out a photo album and pointed to a picture. ‘Do you know who this is?’ he asked. I said, ‘That’s Jesse Owens, who ran in the 1936 Olympics.’ The guy Choc Goes to Europe [Choc] can't forget surviving said, ‘Yes, and that’s me standing next to As a Choctaw raised in Duncan, him. I ran against Jesse in the Olympics.’” America's bloodiest battle in Oklahoma, Choc was taught to be fearless Little did Choc know that he would have Europe, the Battle of the Bulge. and accept life’s challenges. He was many more brushes with fame, but war bullied at school by those who didn’t like was to come first. December 1944 was the pivotal moment when his dark skin color and beaten by teachers who wanted to “civilize” Germans shot the tracks off Choc’s tank. him. He took up boxing and whipped the school bully. “I was sent to Belgium to pick up a new tank,” Choc said. “While “I guess you could say I had a bad start,” Choc said. they prepared the tank, my buddy and I chowed down at the But Choc’s life took a turn after he was drafted into the Army. food tent. I wanted to stay a few more days, but he wanted to He reconnected with a childhood friend, Billie, during a training head back, because his girlfriend had sent him a package, and he leave from Fort Lewis. A week later, they married. Three weeks didn’t want to miss mail call. He started whining and moaning, so I later, he shipped out. finally said, ‘Get in the tank. Let’s go.’” Suddenly, Choc was seeing scenery very different from “It's a good thing we did, too, because when we returned, the Oklahoma: large trees in Washington, thousands of soldiers Captain said, ‘Choc, turn your tank around. We’re headed back to packed on a ship in the Atlantic ocean, and even a London Belgium to fight. The place you just came from got blown off the subway. “An underground tunnel with people getting onto face of the earth!’” moving stairways called escalators,” Choc said. “Strange Choc likes to say that love saved his life that day. experiences for a country boy.” What followed next was six weeks of destruction. Choc drove 14


his tank through Europe, blasting at the enemy during the Battle of the Bulge. It was impossible to navigate Europe’s narrow streets without damaging buildings. “By the time 17 tanks went down a street, we were driving through someone’s kitchen. And sometimes, a deserted kitchen provided dinner." In Service to the Stars After the war ended, Choc was stationed in Germany, where he was invited to help run a hotel for USO performers entertaining the troops. Choc soon managed the hotel staff–– and took care of celebrity guest needs. Choc met the big-name stars: Ingrid Bergman, Mickey Rooney, Lauren Bacall, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant. He became lasting friends with many of these entertainers, and he has the photos hanging on his wall to prove it. Choc indulged in his love of music while working at the hotel. Since he had the keys to the opera house, he picked the best seat for himself: the box formerly reserved for Hitler. What gave him chill bumps, however, was not Hitler’s seat nor the warfare he’d endured, it was listening to Paul Robeson sing Ol’ Man River. “Now, that gave me chills,” Choc said. Sergeant Civilian Once Choc returned home to Billie, he embarked on a civilian life that included management, sales, and ownership of Antique Alley in Oklahoma City. His military heroism followed him, and even though he had sergeant status, he was invited to honor three high-ranking generals. Choc also served as a spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Tourism, meeting tribal chiefs and dignitaries from around the world. He became close friends with Carl Albert, George Nigh, Erle Haliburton, and David Boren, adding their photos to his wall of friendship, along with a birthday card from President Jimmy Carter, who is just days younger than Choc. On the eve of a century, Choc speculates that his “toughness” is a result of his Choctaw raising in the 1920s. The “Indian who isn’t scared” does express one fear for the future: another war. Fortunately, Choc is surrounded by friends, Billie, and a wall of photographs to remind him of the many reasons why he drove that tank 79 years ago. NOVEMBER 2023







Meet Ryin Jones, Music Festival Manager By Amy Dee Stephens

How did you get started? By accident. I was a "coffee shop musician" in college, but knew it wasn’t in the cards for me to do that as a career. The spotlight isn’t really my comfort zone. When some of my friends started seeing success, I quickly figured out how I could help them. In the early 2000s, that meant website design, and by 2009, I was building ticketing systems. It grew from there.

Meet Ryin Jones, owner of Amplitix. His company “amplifies the fan experience” by providing support services to music festivals and mid-sized live entertainment venues.

Do you interact with the artists? Not as much as you think. The talent usually comes in to do a sound check directly with the hired production company. My interactions are with the artist's management and tour manager. It’s all very smooth and professional—but sure, it’s a bit of a buzz when I’m working with one of my favorite artists.

Ryin Jones

Have you worked with any big-name artists? I’ve worked with a lot of Americana and indie rock groups, but during Covid, I worked alongside Luck Presents and had success with online events. Artists were off the road, sitting at home, so we produced and streamed concerts with Jewel, James Taylor, Bonnie Raitt, John Mellencamp, and handled productions for Farm Aid 2020. Willie Nelson is the only living legend I can claim to know well. I was part of the team that runs the annual Luck Reunion festival at his ranch in Spicewood, Texas--which is an outdoor “wild west” movie set from Nelson’s film Red Headed Stranger. I did that festival for 11 years, and always enjoy hanging out at Willie's ranch with my family.



photos submitted

What's involved in managing a music festival? Everything from booking the talent to ticket sales. I'm the guy in the background who is taking care of logistics. Sometimes I just show up with a laptop, but often, I’m unloading trucks and setting up perimeter fences.

What's a favorite moment? It was a best/worst moment at our annual Luck Reunion outside of Austin in 2016. A lightning storm came rolling through. The sheriff said to shelter in place, so we announced to 3,000 people that they should wait in their cars. Most left disappointed, but a couple hundred people waited for two hours--and they were rewarded. That audience basically had a private concert with Willie Nelson, Jenny Lewis, and even Bill Murray stopped by. What could have been a total loss, ended as one of my favorite memories.

What's been your worst disaster? An artist, whom I'll not name, never showed up. That was not fun to relay on the customer end. What’s next? I’ve mostly managed shows in Oklahoma, Texas and Nashville. Many of them are college town festivals or shows centered around a major conference, like SXSW or Americana Music Fest. This job is historically a lot of travel and shutting down at 3AM. Recently, with growing family commitments, I've shifted to a local focus. My wife, Jen, and I are committed to investing our time and energy into Edmond, my adopted hometown since 2012. We’ve started investing in real estate and are developing a music venue for downtown Edmond.... and that’s a teaser!




Global Goodwill with Operation Christmas Child By Louise Tucker Jones

November brings thoughts of upcoming Christmas holidays and gifts for family and friends. But for the people who live in poverty-stricken areas, war-torn countries, or places with national disasters, will there be a Christmas? Will the children receive gifts? Operation Christmas Child answers those questions. Their mission is to demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way by sending shoeboxes filled with toys to children who would likely have no Christmas gifts and might never hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. For 30 years Samaritan’s Purse has sponsored this project and partners with local churches worldwide. The shoeboxes are filled with toys, school supplies, and hygiene items. Every box is prayed over before it leaves the U.S. These gift-filled shoeboxes have been delivered to more than 209 million children in 175 countries and territories around the world. And though several churches are packing shoeboxes, any individual can pack one, and can even choose whether to send it to a boy or a girl. Diane Cantu became involved with Operation Christmas Child while attending their annual conference in Orlando, Florida earlier this year. “I was amazed by the number of countries (106) represented and the number of people (4,400) attending,” stated Diane who now volunteers as a church relations team member. “This is the most impactful and far-reaching ministry I have ever heard of— children reaching children across the world through the gift of a shoebox. You can even include a letter and picture and possibly receive a return message from the child who receives your gift.” She added, “I was totally sold, I wanted to be part of this incredible organization.”

These gift-filled shoeboxes have been delivered to more than 209 million children in 175 countries. The 2023 Global goal is 11 million shoeboxes with 9.7 million sent from the United States. Partnering countries complete the total. "This is a wonderful holiday project for friends and family to pack a shoebox, light up a child's Christmas, and offer the love of Jesus around the world." Diane explained, "There’s even an option to create a box online by going to the website, and clicking on 'Build A Shoebox Online.' ” National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child is November 13-20. First Christian Church, located at 2nd and Boulevard, is the central drop-off area in Edmond. For more information contact Carolyn Edwards-Johnson at

Packing shoeboxes can be a great family project. Years ago, when my son, Jay was young we learned about Operation Christmas Child and decided to fill a shoebox for a boy, making it easier for Jay to shop by picking out things he would also like for Christmas. As requested we chose small toys, a toothbrush, and hygiene items, as well as a knit scarf, flashlight, Yo-Yo, and more. Diane Cantu 20


A few years after the project began, Franklin Graham, founder of Samaritan’s Purse, published a picture book, Miracle in a Shoebox, about a young boy packing a shoebox. As it turned out, the child in the story was named Jay. How perfect! I bought the book and told my son they had written a story about him sending the Christmas box we had packed. Naturally, we packed another shoebox!




Pitchford Perfect Tree Service By Maria Veres If you’ve ever lost a favorite tree after a storm, you know how stressful it can be. With expert help from Pitchford Perfect Tree Service, you can make sure your trees stay healthy and beautiful year round. Healthy Trees in Every Season A tree may look fine but still have problems that make it vulnerable to damage. With a wealth of experience and training, owner Josh Pitchford and his team can diagnose tree ailments that most of us can’t see. “The goal is always to keep the tree healthy,” says Kandice Pitchford, who co-owns the business with her husband. If a tree can’t be saved, the company also



A Family Tradition of Entrepreneurship If you’ve lived in Edmond for awhile, you probably know the Pitchford name. Josh is from Edmond, and his grandparents operated Pitchford’s Pawn Shop for over 30 years. Kandice runs a thriving cake decorating business, Kandice with a Kake. The Pitchfords have three children and love living in Edmond. Pitchford Perfect Tree Service began as a sideline to supplement a different family business. But as demand grew, Josh and Kandice decided to focus exclusively on tree services. Josh recommends that any major tree pruning be done in the fall, while the trees are resting and healing. Your

©Visually Bias Photography


does removal and stump grinding. Every job, large or small, includes thorough cleanup and hauling away branches and debris. Now is the perfect time to prepare your trees for winter. Josh will remove any dead throughout the tree, as well as trim and shape the branches so the tree can withstand those blustery freezes.

Josh & Kandice Pitchford with kids

reward will be healthy trees that outlast the winter and provide beauty for years to come. Contact Pitchford Perfect Tree Service at 405-834-0156 or on Facebook at Pitchford Perfect.




Mr. Handyman By Maria Veres From kitchen updates, bathroom remodels, and floor installation to repairing drywall and painting almost anything, Mr. Handyman has you covered and can fence you in as well. The Edmond-based, locally owned company offers premier home improvement, repair and maintenance services for every need. Workmanship You Can Trust Before each appointment, you’ll get a text with your uniformed technician’s photo and arrival time. Technicians are bonded and insured, with an average of ten years’ experience. All jobs include thorough cleanup, and work is guaranteed.



Mr. Handyman can tackle a huge range of projects and covers a service area focusing on Edmond and the OKC metro, and many areas outside the city as well. Most jobs are scheduled during standard office hours, but the phones are answered 24/7. A Heart for Service Owner Thomas Fiordelisi served 27 years in the Air Force and strives to employ other veterans. Thomas is committed to treating both customers and employees well. All team members receive full benefits, including retirement and health insurance. Thomas is not only a local business owner but also a longtime Edmond resident who loves to serve the community. He’s an active member of the Edmond Chamber of Commerce and Small Business Association, and he and his wife are deeply involved in serving at North Church. Ready for Winter November is a perfect time to

Thomas Fiordelisi

winterize your home. By scheduling this service early, you can fix any drafty window seals or other problems before bitter cold weather arrives. Through November, Mr. Handyman is offering a discount on winterizing services. Mr. Handyman serves both residential and commercial customers and welcomes new clients. Contact Mr. Handyman at (405) 442-2106 or



Kim Baker, 72SOLD By Maria Veres In her personal and professional life, Kim Baker’s priority is to treat others with kindness. Her position as regional director of 72SOLD allows her to do exactly that. The name 72SOLD reflects the company’s innovative approach, which allows them to identify the best-qualified buyers within 72 hours. “With this program I believe I’m finally serving home sellers in the best way possible,” she says. Serving with Love Kim learned the importance of kindness early. She’s blind in her right



eye due to a detached retina, and surgery at age 4 left her with a droopy eyelid. She endured teasing because of her appearance. “It wasn’t until college that I realized God loved me exactly the way I was,” she says. She focuses on loving and accepting others, just as she is loved. “Because I was made fun of and it hurt so much, I’ve made it a point to be conscientious and kind,” she says. “I don’t turn a 'blind eye' to the injustices in the world.” At 72SOLD, Kim strives to treat both buyers and sellers as she would want to be treated. “The program provides a level of service that hasn’t always been a part of traditional real estate,” she says. Positioned for Success “We’re in a low velocity market where there aren’t many homes on the market and buyers are not taking action,” says Kim. In this challenging time, 72SOLD offers unique advantages. Homes are marketed strategically, with highquality photos and inviting sales copy.

Kim Baker

©Visually Bias Photography


Kim personally shows every buyer the home. Outstanding customer service is woven into every part of the process. “At the end of the day, I can put my head on the pillow knowing I served everyone to the best of my ability,” says Kim. “How we treat people is what matters most.” Contact Kim Baker with Keller Williams Central Oklahoma at 405-869-6449 or email




Reminiscing! By Louise Tucker Jones Lately, I have been lost in a “sea of reminiscing” while going through stacks of things belonging to my mother who is now in heaven. I think she saved everything I ever sent her. Magazine articles, pictures, Birthday and Mother’s Day cards, letters and even post cards I sent as a teenager from church camp. But it brought back sweet memories. And recently, my son, Aaron and I went through some boxes I had stuffed in a closet years ago. Things from my late husband’s office. Everything from ink pens and architect rulers to golf paraphernalia and pictures of grandchildren. I had packed those items then stashed them out of the way in order to deal with the heartbreak and absolute necessities of my loving husband’s passing.



It was actually a good time with my son as we laughed at some of the things Carl had collected and smiled over pictures of young grandkids who are now teenagers. Then came a completely different remembrance. While visiting with a friend and her young grandchildren, the 7-yearold excitedly told me he was interested in skateboarding. I volunteered that my son, Aaron, used to skateboard and loved it, but to be careful because Aaron once had to have stitches. Wow! This grabbed his interest and he wanted details. Being a storyteller, I obliged, embellishing a bit as I told how I was the doctor’s assistant as he sewed up the gash in Aaron’s chin. (Okay, I held a special light!) Once I got queasy and turned my head and the doctor yelled, “Nurse, I need that light.” Of course, Aaron was fine and would have liked watching the procedure himself. It was an “almost forgotten” yet fun memory. Reminiscing is a good thing. I do it often, especially now that my son, Jay is also in heaven with his daddy and other family members. I miss them! All of them! And I love it when others reminisce

Louise and son Aaron

with me. Never feel that sharing sweet memories will bring someone sadness. Yes, it might bring a few happy tears, but that’s okay. It also brings smiles. Count it a blessing! ABOUT THE AUTHOR 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 WWII Photo Before War Damage During World War II, a 45th Division soldier took a series of “tourist” photographs while stationed in Italy. These photos recently caught the attention of Italian historians because they show the ancient Greek ruins of Paestum, a UNESCO World Heritage site, before suffering bomb damage. A copy of this photograph is currently on display in the Nations at War: Field Sketches of a Pawnee Warrior exhibit in Oklahoma City and in Italy. Photo provided by Edmond History Museum, Bob Frazier Collection. Soldier’s identity currently being researched. Please contact the museum if you recognize this man or have similar WWII images.





1024 W Covell Rd., Edmond, OK 73003

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