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Santa Incognito | Hometown Holiday Shopping

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contents December 2010

17 departments 6 From the Editor A New Outlook for the Holidays

10 Best of Shawnee 20 Sonic Contest 21 All About Food Obsessed

A-Caroling We Go

30 Reflections Generosity

Advertising Sales

Managing Editor


Michael Keith Brad Carter Rian Ada Hunter Layers Media, Inc.


Rian Ada Hunter Dejah Quinn


Rian Ada Hunter Patti Marshall Sandra Merchant Bob Searl S.N. Spice


The Shawnee Outlook is delivered FREE by direct mail to 25,000 homes and businesses. Distribution includes Shawnee, Tecumseh, McLoud, Meeker & Prague.

Comments or Suggestions?

Write to: Shawnee Outlook PO Box 1365 Shawnee, OK 74802 Website: E-mail:

29 features 9 Because it feels good

26 Faces 29 In Tune


To Advertise Call Brad at 445-3033 or 808-0963.

Relaxation at its Best!

25 Larkings of an Editor Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens

Volume 7, Number 10 Shawnee Outlook is a publication of Layers Media, Inc. © 2010 Layers Media, Inc. Articles and advertisements in Shawnee Outlook do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the magazine or Layers Media. Layers Media does not assume responsibility for statements made by advertisers or editorial contributors. The acceptance of advertising by Shawnee 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. Shawnee Outlook assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials.

13 Santa incognito 17 heart full of art 22 Hometown Holiday Shopping


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From the Editor

A New Outlook for the Holidays by: Rian Ada Hunter

Rian Ada Hunter is a writer, singer, and the new managing editor of the Shawnee Outlook. She obtained her BA in Humanities, concentrating in philosophy and theology, from St. Gregory’s University, and holds a Master of Arts in Religion with high honors from Oklahoma City University. Ada’s multi-faceted career includes work in music ministry, guest artist performances, operating a successful voice studio in her native Oregon, and guest lecturing on topics of religion, biblical studies, and spirituality. She resides in Shawnee, along with her husband, Simon Ott – a master craftsman and contractor – her parents, dogs, and cats. She loves to garden, design jewelry, read mystery novels, and she adamantly proclaims that Oklahoma is far more than “OK!�

While we haven’t conceived a marketing strategy of “the new Outlook,â€? it is evident from the pages of the last issue and this one that changes are afoot. Most obvious is probably the appearance of my humble self on board as a combination editor and lead writer – which is why I write a number of stories in each issue. Funny how that lead-writer thing works! But beyond the writers and personalities involved in the magazine, a new vision is beginning to emerge to take us further into the realm of excellence in journalism. Just as any project must grow over time lest it coast for awhile before an inevitable decline, we are embracing change for the better, exploring ways in which to deliver a better magazine with each issue that captures the atmosphere and uniqueness of this community. How appropriate is it that we are stirring things up, shifting gears, and pursuing new goals in this season? A season dedicated to giving, caring, and hopefully being open to a little bit of wonder. I think you’ll enjoy this issue. We’ve filled it full of meaningful messages, interesting people, and attention to the heart of the holiday season. Take a look at some of those who give of their time and talents in Patti Marshall’s exposĂŠ on holiday volunteerism – maybe you’ll get inspired to join their ranks if you aren’t already one of them. Shopping during the season always poses a problem; to be honest, I avoid Black Friday like the plague (pun intended) having no intention of potentially ending my time on earth over a 40â€? television set that was “on sale.â€? Sandra Merchant explores alternatives to the hustle of holiday shopping in her article on locally crafted gifts, which has the added bonus of benefitting our local economy. Just for fun, Sandra takes a look at a local hero of sorts, Shawnee’s own Santa Claus, Daryl McVey in Santa Incognito. And, be sure to catch In Tune’s spotlight on Christmas carols, which offers some interesting information unfamiliar

to most people before it highlights the upcoming Festival of Lessons and Carols concert coming up at St. Gregory’s University. Meet Shawnee resident Penny Coates, a fabulous artist who let us tour her home, and feast your eyes on her magical holiday decorating. Bob Searl is back with wisdom about giving, while Marshall’s Law has an altogether different take on the matter – personally, I think you’ll find both funny. And, be sure to meet the three little kittens larking about. Don’t forget to take a peek at “faces,â€? our new department for society photos‌with a twist. “Societyâ€? is made up of all sorts of people and events, and we try to capture a little bit of the wonderful diversity in our midst. We want to hear from you! If you like what we are doing, let us know. And, of course you are more than welcome to write in about what you don’t like, but it’s more helpful to the whole process if you give us suggestions to go along with it. No matter who you are, no matter what you are dealing with right now, and no matter how you feel about the holidays, I hope that you experience blessings beyond expectation this season, even if you don’t recognize them at the time. We often do not. Take the opportunity to extend love and gratitude to those around you, and accept the care that is freely sent your way even if it seems insignificant at the time. I guarantee it will be transformational for you and for those around you. My most heartfelt wish for a blessed holiday season. Merry Christmas,


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it feels good by: Patti Marshall

John Wormeringer

As most people would imagine, volunteerism rises during the two most popular holidays of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The reasons for this occurrence vary, but suffice it to say, local organizations are grateful. Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP) Director, Thixe Totty, said that due to special holiday programs within her organization, more volunteers than usual are needed, and when she asks for help no one says no. “Shawnee is a very compassionate and very helping community. Like with all Oklahomans, when there is a need, people come forward to fill that need,” said Totty. During the Christmas season, RSVP offers “Friend of a Senior” program where a caring volunteer connects with a local senior adult without family by offering gifts, food, and friendship to help ease loneliness during the holiday. Why people tend to volunteer more during the holidays than other times of the year can range from filling a void in their lives due to death or divorce, to fulfilling an obligation such as a court order. However, most individuals volunteer just because it feels good. Family Promise of Shawnee volunteer, Carrie Favre, said she gives of her time because it’s the right thing to do. Favre, who volunteers with her husband, Chris, and seven-year-old son, Beau, said she is adamant about doing volunteer work in the Shawnee community. “It’s important that we start in our own backyard, and it’s very important that you don’t just talk about charity, but that you act on it and make a difference where it is needed,” said Favre. “So to see people succeed where you’ve helped, it is an unbelievable feeling that words cannot describe.” According to a 2006 Corporation for National & Community Service report:

Baby Boomers are volunteering at sharply higher rates than did the previous generation at mid-life. The volunteer rate for Americans ages 65 years and over has increased 64 percent since 1974. The proportion of Americans volunteering with an educational or youth service organization has seen a 63 percent increase just since 1989. ( Seventy-five year old Shawnee resident and retired oil field worker, John Wormeringer, offers his time and talents at many local nonprofit organizations, especially RSVP, delivering meals to homebound and shut-in senior adults for the Meals on Wheels program. “It fills a niche and I like doing it. I feel good that I am able to do things that benefit someone else,” explained Wormeringer. “I enjoy meeting the people we help feed. I like the people who run the program and work there, and they couldn’t do their jobs without us volunteers.” Wormeringer has been honored many times during the past decade for his service to the community including the 2008 Oklahoma Conference on Aging Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, but he remains humble. “All my life my dad told me to do a good deed for someone else because good deeds continue on and on. As for the awards, I always ask, ‘Why me?’ There are so many people out there doing the same thing who deserve it too,” said Wormeringer. United Way of Pottawatomie County Executive Director, Audrey Seeliger, recognizes the need for volunteers because of the economic impact that affects organizations run strictly on volunteers. This year’s United Way Days of Caring saw more than 300 people volunteer for 18 projects over nine days, which is up from

Chris and Beau Favre

last year, and a marked increase since Days of Caring began in 2006 with 30 volunteers working on a single project. Seeliger said the most recent in-kind value per Oklahoma volunteer hour is $17.10 and $20.85 per national average. “There’s going to be people who want to volunteer because it makes them feel better about themselves, but I think lately, as a great trend, more businesses are encouraging volunteerism by giving their employees incentives. For example, OG&E offers two 8-hours paid days per year to be used specifically for volunteering. ExxonMobil Foundation donates $500 to a non-profit where employees volunteer 20 hours of their time. That’s a great way for corporations to make their workplaces a better place,” said Seeliger. Major Lori Barnhouse from the Salvation Army expressed her gratitude for all the volunteers. “Without volunteers the mission and ministry of the Salvation Army would be greatly diminished in our capacity to help and serve others in Christ’s name.” The reasons people volunteer could be as simple as paying forward a compassionate deed done for them, to the complexity of trying to make the world better for others in dire need. No matter the reason, non-profit organizations are thankful for the hundreds of thousands of hours offered in the form of time, skills and talents by the people of the community. Jake Peterson, Director of the American Red Cross’s Oklahoma mid-central service center, said he couldn’t agree more with the other leaders of local volunteer-based organizations. “The volunteers are the heart and soul of the American Red Cross, and all non-profit organizations. Without them, we [non-profits] cannot function to help the people of our community through any and all crises.”


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In an age where multinational corporations and large chain conglomerates dominate economic trends and consumer marketing, it is heartening to find substantial, thriving, locally-owned and operated businesses that truly serve the needs of the community. Such businesses are crucial to our local economic vitality, and they further the well being of community spirit. Ask anyone in Shawnee and the surrounding Kim Whitlock area to list businesses that meet such criteria, and Barber/Colorist you will likely see White’s Ace Building Center among Lauren Haley those at the top. Apprentice Barber Serving the area since 1926 with its Seminole store and lumberyard, and the establishment of the Shaw112 1/2 E. Main Street nee store in 1964, White’s Ace is a landmark business, (405) 273-3305 exemplifying what it means to “act locally.” In terms Tues-Sat • 10am-5pm of consumer needs, White’s Ace carries everything one could want to outfit one’s home – from paint to lighting, tools to appliances, everyday staples to seasonal goods. But, this business is about more that meeting consumer needs, important as they are. Behind countless charitable functions, non-profit endeavors, and community events, you will find White’s Ace as a major supporter. Just this month, they are one of A GOOD SIGN LIFE insurance the main sponsors of the Shawnee Christmas Parade EVEN IN TIMES LIKE THESE. that makes it on Main Street (December 2), an event they have supported for years. You’ll also see them participating WORTH in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program. Indeed, LIVING. Mrs. White is a long-time member of the Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, and Jimmy Nickles, president of White’s Ace, is a former Salvation Army advihris Rick, Agent Protect your family for less, 444 W Federal sory board member. build cash value or even get hawnee, OK 74804 Bus: 405-273-4644 your premiums back if the Such exceptional community support is rare death benefit has not been deed, and it is not surprising that such generosity paid out at the end of the level premium period. and intention can be seen within the workplace itself. White’s Ace is not only community oriented, it is famEveryone’s looking for an encouraging sign in today’s economy. ily Theoriented. fact is, they’llA number of employees have been on the see one in over 17,500 locations across North America. Because for over 86 years, payroll formost. some thirty years. Operating as a family that matter State Farm® agents have been there helping people protect the things That’s why more people trust State Farm. And we consider that a very goodnaturally sign. comes to White’s Ace; owner, Buford White’s ble Premium Level Term Life Insurance policy series 08025 in all states except MT, NY, WI; father started the business in the twenties and Buford, LIKE A GOOD NEIGHBOR, 08075 in MT, A08025 in NY & WI. STATE FARM IS THERE. ate Farm Life Insurance Company , Bloomington, IL (Not licensed in MA, NY and WI) along with each of his three brothers spent time worke Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company (Licensed in NY and WI) , Bloomington, IL ing the family business, culminating in Buford taking Chris Rick, Agent the helm in the ‘70s. It started out a family-run busiChris Rick CPCU, Agent 444 W. Federal 444 W Federal Shawnee, OK 74804 ness, and it will remain in the family. Shawnee, OK 74804 Bus: 405-273-4644 Bus: 405-273-4644 Take a few minutes to chat with Buford White, and it is easy to see what makes this business special. PROVIDING INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES He genuinely cares about his customers, his employState Farm, Bloomington IL P087082 11/08 (with this coupon)

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ees, and the community. Making sure he walks the floor and greets his customers in person even after 47 years of business, Buford’s love of serving his customers is evident. He is an exceptional businessman, exemplifying everything that a merchant can be. His attitude is mirrored by White’s Ace’ employees; you can count on good service, something often sadly missing in today’s marketplace. A small example of this quite literally casts an aroma through the store: the popcorn! Walk through White’s Ace and you’ll likely find happy customers chomping away on fresh popcorn, given freely to all. Mr. White relates that he has a particular penchant for popcorn – a “popcorn nut” as he likes to call himself. Popcorn is a trademark of White’s Ace. On the weekends, Mr. White often passes out popcorn personally to those whom he prizes most – the customer. It is well worth the cost to Mr. White as he greets teenagers and adults who have been enjoying the popcorn since childhood. Many a child delights in coming to the store for the crunchy treat, while their parents come for excellent customer service. It is a tradition that has been passed on from parent to child for nearly 50 years. White’s Ace is preparing to re-merchandise the store over the next eighteen months, beginning with an overhaul of their already considerable tool department. Topping the list is a full line of Craftsman Tools expected to hit the store this month. Other areas of the store will see gradual changes, keeping up with trends and serving the community’s needs. In fact, Jimmy Nickles is making sure that the company stays in touch with new technological trends while remaining firmly planted in traditional service. You can find them online at www. and on facebook and twitter where they relate the latest events, sales, tips, and new items. It’s the perfect blend of old-fashioned customer service that makes you want to shop there, and the new technological trends that make it even easier to do so. While it may seem, especially at this time of the year, that money is the bottom line in the consumer marketplace, White’s Ace demonstrates that business is about far more than that. It is about community, it’s about service, it’s about family – it’s about you. So, this season, let’s all show our appreciation for local businesses like this one that do their best for the community – shop locally and join in the community spirit that creates a better place for us all.


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Santa Incognito by: Sandra Merchant


ears ago, my older brother tried to convince me that Santa Claus didn’t really exist. After a careful investigation, I have discovered that during the off season Santa Claus resides right here in Shawnee, where he pretends to be a handyman named Daryl McVey, a.k.a. “Sparky.” Santa—I mean Daryl—kindly agreed to meet with me, and to answer a few of my questions. I wanted to know just what being Santa is really like. We met on a warm autumn afternoon, and Daryl arrived in his van looking like, well…Daryl. True, his beard was a bit longer and lighter, and there was a distinctive twinkle in his eye, but certainly no one would immediately recognize him as Santa Claus. When he spoke, however, his warm, deep voice gave him away. I waited for a hearty, “Ho! Ho! HO!” but it never came. Daryl McVey as Santa

After the usual formalities, we got down to the nitty-gritty. How did Santa end up in Shawnee, Oklahoma? Well, according to Daryl, he was invited to the Shawnee Mall for the 2004 holiday season. At first, he turned down the invitation, preferring to let his many helper Santas have the mall accounts. But as he thought about it, he decided to give it a try himself. He signed on with Santa Plus as an independent contractor, donned the standard issue Santa suit, and took his place on the stage in the middle of the Shawnee Mall. Since then, he has been seen at malls in Mississippi and California. This year, he’ll be back in California. Daryl begins preparing in early autumn by growing out his beard and bleaching it several times, until it is the snowy white we all recognize from his pictures.

He makes sure his liability insurance is paid up, makes his reservations, and on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving he flies out from Oklahoma City. In an airplane, that is. When he arrives at his destination, he rents a car and drives to a hotel that will be his home for the next month. On Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, Daryl takes in the nearby sites since, he said, “You’re working 7 days a week, and there’s really no break other than to explore locally.” Beginning on Black Friday, he will work seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a short break for lunch. If given the opportunity, Daryl—I mean, Santa—likes to visit various organizations or events, give interviews at local radio or television stations, or participate in charitable fundraising. I asked Santa—I mean, Daryl—if his wife travelled with him. He said family



continued from pg. 13

obligations kept her in Shawnee, but they speak on the telephone at least twice each day. And while most of the elves are busy in the North Pole workshops, a few of them do meet up with him to help with the children and pets that come to see Santa at the mall. Yes, pets, including Great Danes, bulldogs, and 10-foot long bull snakes, have taken their turn on Santa’s lap. It’s a strenuous schedule, and it’s challenging to just stay healthy. But the biggest challenge, says Daryl, is “maintaining, I guess you’d say, that Christmas spirit. Whether you feel good or not, whether you’re tired, worn out and exhausted, you still have to be up—you still have to be Santa Claus. I’m involved in just trying to be jolly St. Nick.” It’s always and only about the kids. “I’ve had kids…just see me and run screaming away. What do you do? I’ve had a lot of kids who’ll just stand at the edge of the set thinking ‘I’m not going to see him,’ but they’ll stand there and watch. And if the parents don’t push it, and if I’m not swamped with other kids, I can quite often

Daryl McVey as himself go over and talk to Mom and Dad for a little bit. Pretty soon I’m saying something [to the child], and after a while, if I can ever get them to touch me, I can usually take them by the hand, lead them over to the chair, sit them on my lap and we’ll visit. And things will go perfectly. I’ve had a real good success

rate if the parents will just let me do my job. I’ve won over countless kids that way.” The children are always full of surprises. It’s not unusual for them to bring candy canes and cookies to Santa, along with their letters and Christmas wish lists. “In a way,” Daryl reflected, “I feel like my whole life has brought me to this point.” A former sixth grade teacher and elementary school principal, this Santa has dedicated his life to children. He and his wife have four children between them, and 14 grandchildren. At 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Santa’s time at the mall is over. Though he wouldn’t tell me what he does on Christmas Eve, Daryl— or is it Santa?—did tell me that he always flies back to Oklahoma on Christmas Day. In an airplane, that is. I asked him if the flight crew knew that he was really Santa, and he replied, “Once I get this beard bleached, I can’t hide. No matter what I wear, I’m Santa Claus. It’s just part of you for that month, no matter where you go. And you have to maintain that responsibility. So I just enjoy it.”



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rue art always captures the attention of the aware observer. Art is not only something one creates with one’s hands or voice, it is an experiment, a journey, and requires a willingness to expose one’s inner world. Few people have the dedication and courage to really engage in this kind of journey; it takes time, commitment, and critical observation informed by humility and confidence – an uncommon combination. Shawnee native and Potawatomi tribal member, Penny Coates does just that. It is rare to meet an artist who excels in multiple areas of artistic expression, yet Coates’ flair takes many forms: pen and ink, pencil, painting, flower arrangement, and home decorating. For a special treat, Coates offered me a peek at her home, decorated early for the holiday season in order to celebrate her mother-in-law’s eightieth birthday, and displaying many of her works of art – I even got to poke through a portfolio of unframed work. The house, like her artwork, is a delight to behold. Trimmed with garland, flowers, tinsel and lights, it epitomizes holiday decorating at its best. Multiple Christmas trees boast so many ornaments one can hardly see branches. In fact, Coates pointed out a framed colored drawing she created of her ideal Christmas tree, bursting with ornaments – needless to say, it contains no branches whatsoever. She has a particular fondness for ornaments, having collected them for many years, and inheriting a good many. The small tree in the great room is a particularly touching display, decked out with ornaments Chris and Dorraine Hudson with Hunter & Ethan

made by her son, James, when he was young. James is now a 29-year-old U.S. Army Blackhawk pilot and is part of “mission Dustoff,” a medivac unit in Iraq; the tree, topped with a yellow ribbon, serves as celebration and reminder, and the hope of a safe return home. It seems everywhere one turns the reminder of Christmas abounds. The living room décor invites a guest to sit among vintage Santas, candles, the gorgeously decorated mantle, and of course, the wonderfully illuminated main Christmas tree. It is a feast for the eyes. Indeed, in preparation of the holiday feast itself, the dining room boasts yet another Christmas tree with an abundance of Santa ornaments and a festive table setting. The dining room will see quite a bit of use before Christmas, however, particularly during the celebration of her mother-in-law’s eightieth birthday party. Coates, an avid cook, is planning a four-tiered cake decorated with eighty roses, demonstrating yet another artistic skill. When asked about how she started in artwork, Coates related a story about herself as a child: “I remember reading a report card from kindergarten, that my teacher wrote to my mom, that she would have to pull the crayons out of my hands – that [drawing] was my favorite thing.” Her father, Jim Post, is a retired commercial artist, so his children naturally grew up with pen, pencil – or crayons – in hand. In fact, her father is Coates’ biggest inspiration. His evening visits usually take the shape of an informal art lesson, and even at her level of expertise she finds his attentive eye amazingly helpful. “I am thrilled to have the blessing of learning so much from my

by: Rian Ada Hunter



continued from pg. 17

father,” Coates asserts. After working as a professional floral designer for many years in Minnesota and Missouri, which included arranging sets for magazine photo sessions, Coates found herself once more in Shawnee. That particular tale is almost as artful as Coates’ work. Through synchronistic events (and the handiwork of two mothers), she met up with her high school/college sweetheart, Andrew, after some 36 years. Both were divorced, and a whirlwind courtship began when Andrew picked her up for their “first” date by presenting her with 36 roses, one for each year they had been apart. A short time later, the couple became engaged, much to the delight of their children, and, of course, their mothers. They were married shortly thereafter and Penny relocated to Shawnee where she is now the manager of Firelake Gifts at the CPN Cultural Heritage Center and brings her artistic flair to the task of filling the gift shop with works of art from local Native American artists. Coates’ work at the gift store allows her access to an array of Native American tradition and artwork. Not surprisingly, most of her subjects in recent years are inspired by her heritage.

Her drawings of birds and feathers are outstanding. She recently received third place from the Comanche Art Fair, the only nonComanche to place, with her drawing of an owl. Her son’s favorite bird, Coates was not surprised to find herself inspired to draw an owl, but the award surprised her because, as she relates, “a lot of Native Americans do not like owls.” Coates also received first and second prize from the Citizen Potawatomi Family Festival Art Contest with her drawings “Potawatomi Sisters” and “The Old Man” (respectively), which are stunning portraits of Native Americans. Her work has appeared in galleries, art shows, gift shops, and on her own greeting cards. Following the path of inspiration comes naturally to Penny Coates, even if it has its share of challenges. As she remarks, “It is a life long adventure.” Those of us living in this area are lucky to have such an adventurous in the community. To see more of Coates’ art, visit the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center’s gift store at 1899 South Gordon Copper Drive, Shawnee.

Penny Coates

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All About Food

Obsessed by: S.N. Spice

Do you ever get totally obsessed about something? Last month’s article brought clearly to my mind a cookie-baking session my daughter and I had years ago with my friend Audrey. She had some great recipes, one comprised of a humble filling on cottage cheese based dough. It looked like a miniature croissant and melted in your mouth with bursts of brown sugar and cinnamon. It always made it into my cookie boxes that I gave away for Christmas. Invariably each season someone would open the box, bite into one of these delectable gems and say with fervor, “these are really good.” Of course, I would never let a cookie into my Christmas cookie boxes that hadn’t been taste-tested by my entire family, not precluding the possibility of a fourlegged tester or two. Though the tradition seems to be dwindling, the art of cookie making has to go on or we’ll be leaving it to the commercial giants who put out tins of cookies that you see in stacks in every store you go into around the holidays. I can only imagine how old those cookies are. You can make a simple batch of cookies from very basic ingredients in the time it takes you to drive to the store and back. And, I’ll guarantee that you will enjoy the ones you make more. I only have to watch my son-in-law when he happens into the kitchen while I am baking to know this is true. His face lights up like a kid while chewing this delight-to-his-taste-buds. Then, off he goes with a few more in his hand. Just for a few moments he has forgotten all his responsibilities in life. . . while chewing a freshly baked cookie. Okay, back to the cottage cheese cookie. Somewhere during the course of my several cross-country

moves, I’d lost the recipe, and I’d also lost track of my friend. I thought I remembered it fairly well, but I did an online search and came up with a cookie on Cooks’ site called “Meltaways,” which matched what I remembered of the recipe. I tried the recipe out and the cookie-bite experience wasn’t at all what I remembered, so the quest was on. I had to create a cookie that matched an old memory. Now, I could have just forgotten it and shared another cookie recipe with you, but this is where the obsessive part comes in. My memory of those cookies and the reality didn’t match. Yet. Maybe my taste buds had changed or I expected more, but my mission was clear: I would work on it until the memory and the reality matched. In the end, I dumped the cottage cheese and used cream cheese instead; it gave better flavor and texture. Then, I realized what I was trying to create: Rugelach! A cookie with very old origins. My finalized recipe is a combination of several, plus a touch of baking intuition. Rugelach is very simple, but it takes some time. The memory and reality match – mission accomplished. For those of you who want something quicker to make, don’t forget Pizzelle - a really fast cookie with lots of Christmas tradition behind it. As an added plus, they are just beautiful! The dough is quick as a wink, and cooking them is fast and fun. You can use an electric Pizzelle maker like I do, or use a model that will work on your stovetop. You can have a plateful of beautiful cookies in less than a half an hour. Recipes abound online for these cookies. Have fun sharing your talents with others this season.

Rugelache Cream Together: Unsalted butter – 1 cup Cream cheese – 8 ounces Add & Blend: Sugar – 1/4 cup Vanilla – 1 teaspoon Add & Blend just until incorporated: Unbleached all purpose flour – 2 cups Salt – 1/8 teaspoon Place dough on a sheet of saran wrap or wax paper; knead a couple of times to completely blend; separate into 4 pieces and shape each into a disc shape. Wrap each in saran wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or more. Filling – Combine Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1 cup chopped pecans 1/2 cup unsalted butter Roll out each disc to a 9” or 10 “ circle. Keep checking dough to make sure it’s not sticking to the rolling surface (my personal favorite for this is Wiltons giant spatula). Spread on 1/4 of filling leaving 1” clear around outer edge. With pizza cutter or knife cut in 8 pie-shaped sections. Gently roll from widest edge to point. Place point side down on parchment covered cookie sheet. Bake approximately 23 to 25 minutes @ 350 degrees.


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Hometown Holiday Shopping:

Finding the Unique Just Up the Street

Ardeana O’Neal & Penny Coates

by: Sandra Merchant

David Byland

Holiday shopping is always a challenge, but it can also be a true pleasure. The holidays provide us with the opportunity to browse through local shops and craft bazaars in search of the perfect gift for the person who seems to have it all, or a unique treasure for that special someone. Frequently, however, we overlook the small gift shops tucked away within our museums, cultural centers, and historical monuments. These shops often carry a nice variety of locally-made and handcrafted items at reasonable prices. For instance, the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art (MGMoA) gift shop, located at 1900 W. MacArthur, is offering works by over a dozen area artists. Leather bound sketch books, by David Byland, a professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, are the perfect gift for the artist in your life. These small books are hand tied and bound with natural leather for a rustic look. David also creates beautifully tooled leather journals and key holders. His wife, Laura, has created a line of beaded bookmarks, which make great stocking stuffers. If it’s accessories you want, the MGMoA carries a fine selection of handcrafted jewelry, including exquisite beadwork by Susan Bennett and Linda Glenn Kesler and other local crafters. Scarves and bags made from hand woven silk, cotton, wool, and alpaca wool are also available. Decorative items for the home are wonderful gifts, serving as a reminder of friendship, love, and caring. At the MGMoA gift shop, you will find one-of-a-kind hand thrown pottery, decorative gourds by Tina Bly, and paintings, including watercolors and batiks by Susan Beth Wilhelm. Wilhelm, who teaches watercolor technique at the MGMoA, uses a hot wax and dye to create delightful scenes depicting ordinary things. The


Kelly and Ardeana O’Neal

prints are stretched and mounted—ready to grace someone’s home. A short drive south to the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center is well worth the gas and time. Situated adjacent to FireLake Golf Course, at 1899 South Gordon Cooper Drive, the Center houses the Potawatomi Nation’s museum collection, as well as a library, Veterans memorial, archives and genealogical research facility. The gift shop is a showcase for many local artisans representing a number of tribes. Here, you will find moccasins for children and infants, handmade by Kelly O’Neal, a Northern Arapaho-Shoshone craftsman. Ardeana O’Neal, a Cheyenne-Arapaho beading artist, has added her touch to some of the moccasins. Her beadwork necklaces are also available for purchase, as are porcupine quill earrings by Menominee-Oneida artist, Stacy S. Coons. For that very special woman in your life, the Center carries a selection of traditional hand tied fringed shawls by Amy Rose Herrick, of the Potawatomi Nation. Turquoise and beaded jewelry, beaded leather bags, and comfortable moccasins add a nice finishing touch. The Center gift shop’s selection of traditional decorative art is unsurpassed in quality. From original paintings and drawings by awardwinning artists, including Gary Montgomery, winner of this year’s Red Earth Festival art exhibition, and Penny Coates, a Citizen Potawatomi member, to the painted gourds by Sharon Catlege and the one-of-a-kind Spirit Dream Catcher’s hoops by Karen Sue Milburn, there is something for every taste. These women, all local Potawatomi artists, look to nature and the wisdom of the ancestors for their inspiration, interpreting the tradition for today’s culture.

Traditional flutes are also available, along with a selection of Pendleton products. Finally, if you are browsing through the shops in downtown Shawnee, be sure to stop by the historic Santa Fe Depot, at 614 East Main Street. In addition to Shawnee-related items such as tree ornaments, mugs, and art prints, the Depot carries turned wood chalices, plates and bowls by Shawnee woodcrafter Doyle Stearman, and jewelry by Shawnee native and Los Angeles resident Janine Jacques. All of these gift shops also carry a selection of toys and games for children, books for the history buff or the coffee table, and unusual little stocking stuffers. No admission fee is required to visit the gift shops, but when you’re ready for a break from shopping and holiday preparations, you can take in the following exhibits for a very small admission fee. • Christmas at the Depot features memorable trees and ornaments donated for display by local residents. Take a nostalgic trip down Christmas Tree Lane, and enjoy a bit of Shawnee and Pottawatomie County history along the way. • Beginning December 17, the MGMoA will present an exhibit of works by Billy Hassell, “Collective Memories and Objects of Inspiration.” Hassell is renowned for his interpretation of the Southwest landscape through paint, sculpture and other media. His artwork is sure to refresh your spirit and warm your soul. • The permanent collection exhibits at the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Cultural Heritage Center features artifacts and interpretive displays that highlight the unique culture of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

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Larkings of an Editor

Three Little Kittens Who Lost Their Mittens… by: Rian Ada Hunter

Gabriel, Joe & Felix First, let me say that I really have no intention of making this column about pets, much as I love them – otherwise, I would have named it something like, “the pet brigade” or “tales of tails.” However, I have to tell you this story…and, yes, it is of the four-legged variety. When I was a little girl of three or four, I can remember the thrill of unwrapping one of my Christmas presents and being delighted to find that beneath the paper a magical adventure was ready to take place. I am a book nut, so, of course, this adventure came in the form of a book. But, not just any book. This was a book I had wanted for a really long time…like at least a month: The Three Little Kittens. Now, I realize that as an adult, one can hardly see the adventure in such a short, trite little story, but to a three-year-old little girl, this was exciting stuff. The only problem was, I had evidently hit that stage through which all children must pass. They call it the terrible two’s and yet, according to my mother, it lasts until approximately three-andone-half-years of age. Thus, when I got my new present, I promptly did something that I was not supposed to do. I honestly do not recall what it was. Really. But, it resulted in my newfound treasure trove of adventure being put on ice for a day or so. One blisteringly hot summer day two years ago, I felt like I was reliving the adventure all over again, sans snow. Not the misbehaving part (at least, that is my opinion), the kitten part. We have always been “dog people” in my family, and had not included feline companions among our ranks. This was due in part to Mom’s allergies to cats, and also because my dad adamantly proclaimed he didn’t like cats despite the old photo I found of him as a boy with kittens all over his lap, which he swears must have been a picture of a

clone. When we moved to the country, however, we decided we needed a barn cat to fight off the rats. Did I mention I was a suburbs girl at heart? It took two cats, and eventually Dad started coming around to the loving (if a bit persnickety) feline matriarchs. (One really cannot refer to a cat as a pet – they are more like advisors, which means you will get along provided you do what they want.) So, imagine my surprise when my animal-nut husband calls me on the phone during a hot spell (in Oklahoma, I have learned that they call this “summer” and sometimes “spring” and “fall”) to tell me that he’d found three tiny kittens at the lumberyard. A craftsman and contractor, my husband Simon spends a great deal of time at lumberyards, but he’s never found a critter he wanted to bring home before. Not at lumberyards, at least. As I recall, the conversation went something like this: “Honey, I found these kittens at the lumberyard. The guys found their mom dead this morning. They’re in bad shape and won’t eat or drink and they’re going to die in this heat unless I do something. So, I’m bringing them home.” Right. Well, they didn’t look like any kittens I’d ever seen. A more accurate description is somewhere along the lines of small rats that stuck their paws into an electrical outlet. And, they smelled. But, beyond my initial impression and reactions, it was evident that these little guys were in trouble. The largest of the three, Gabriel as he was coined later, had crawled some 100 yards in search of his mother. His eyes barely beginning to open, he was determined to sense his mother’s presence. Fortunately, the yard crew found him before a truck’s tires accidentally ended his trek. The middle-sized kitten, Joe, was so dehydrated he barely moved, and Felix, the littlest one, demonstrated that though small in stature he had the most active lungs and spent a good two hours telling us

all about the horrors he and his brothers had gone through that morning. The first few days will stay in my memory forever. The boys were so tiny and fragile, I was afraid I’d kill one of them by accidentally holding him too tightly. And, if that didn’t do it, trying to bottle feed them without getting air into their lungs might result in a premature end. My family was on call 24/7 those first few days, feeding in the wee hours, checking on them every two or three hours during these crucial days. Eventually, we really got into the swing of bottle feeding and attending to their bathroom needs (I refuse to write about that.) But, oh the relief when, a month or so later, the vet managed to get them to take canned food on their own! That summer was one I will never forget. Not only did we adopt three new family members whom we have grown to love and treasure to no end, the experience of watching them transform before our eyes from terrified, sickly tiny rat-looking kittens into strong, funny, healthy cats was an amazing experience. It shows you that a little bit of effort, a whole lot of kindness, and a dash of selflessness goes a long way. Just imagine what the world would be like if we all embraced the opportunities that came our way to show care – I wish I could say I always take advantage of such opportunities. It may look like we saved the lives of Gabriel, Joe, and Felix, but in truth, they gave us the opportunity to value life even if it was inconvenient at the time – so really, they saved ours. If I could have one wish for this holiday season, it would be to see an explosion of kindness and care – the kind of care that is utterly transformational. So, if Santa drops three little kittens in your lap this season, make sure you say “yes.”



Community is made up of many things, but beyond the places to be, there are faces to see. Here, you’ll find a glimpse of the faces around town, from local events snazzy and causal - to people lingering at local businesses, to passersby on Main Street. So, enjoy perusing - maybe you’ll find a few familiar faces among them!



1 1.

Chuck Allen Floyd


Local Band, Zeabra



“A Promise of Home” art exhibit at the MGMoA – courtesy of the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art Satisfied faces on Main Street

6 26




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In Tune

A-Caroling We Go by: Rian Ada Hunter

St. Gregory’s University Chorale

Human beings have a propensity for reinvention. We seem to swing back and forth between a dedication to tradition and the drive to recreate, refurbish, and experience that which we value in a new way. The holiday season exemplifies this tendency, for good or for ill; traditions and nostalgia abound while we push forward with new and different ways to celebrate. What would a Christmas celebration be without holiday cookies? Yet, how many new kinds can Martha Stewart manage to come up with this year? Gift giving and Christmas are synonymous, but twenty years ago who would have guessed that under the tinsel and greeneries lay packages filled with iPods, iPads, and Wii’s? (Who could have even imagined the names?). Reinvention is not a new thing, despite any assumptions that it belongs to twenty-first-century innovations and technological savvy. In fact, one of our hallmark Christmas traditions belongs, at least initially, to another era and culture altogether, and has seen reinvention century upon century. Think “Christmas” and many of us immediately think “Christmas carols,” so intertwined in the celebration of the holiday is the art of singing these melodic, folk-like, message-oriented tunes. Christmas carols, you may be surprised to learn, do not date back to the earliest Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, however (a celebration itself that took a few centuries to catch on). According to historians like Ian Bradley in his The Penguin Book of Carols, carols were remnants of pre-Christian culture, probably largely Greco-Roman (a culture that, to a certain extent, eventually embraced Christianity). The earliest form of carol was likely associated with religious celebration in song, dance, and dramas – but not Christian. It was only during the Middle Ages that the Christian Church began to reformulate the carol for use as celebratory music. Carols have a long history of contention within the Church because of their origins. During the Reformation, when most aspects

of worship were up for debate, carols were rejected by the Churches of England and Scotland, yet staunchly defended by the famous reformer, Martin Luther, who wrote a number of Christmas carols along with a good many sacred hymns. Puritans regarded the carol with suspicion, and in areas of Scotland the carol was often associated with the accusation of witchcraft. Toward the late 17th century, the carol ban was lifted, but only a select few were permitted in church; among them were “While shepherds watched” and “Hark! the herald angels sing.” Despite the official disapproval of carols, they remained a tradition in many of the smaller, rural churches, demonstrating that the people found carol singing meaningful. By the 18th century, caroling was a popular form of entertainment and social engagement in the home and village streets. Carols came full circle during the Victorian era, which saw a flourishing of newly written Christmas carols during the mid-19th century. The Victorians conceived of a more sentimental celebration of the Christmas holiday; they brought forth the idea of “a white Christmas” and crafted carols that taught moral and civic obligations. American Victorian-era composers contributed greatly to the bulk of songs being crafted. Standards such as “Away in a manger,” “O little town of Bethlehem,” “It came upon a midnight clear,” and “We three kings” are among some of the most famous American contributions. Such contributions continue to grow and the carol is being reinvented once more, influenced by contemporary music. Some delve into social ills, such as Sydney Carter’s “No use knocking on the window,” while others seem little more than frivolous whimsy, like “Little saint Nick” (which, incidentally, made it into a recent well-regarded caroling book). Modern ideas of romance find a voice in songs like “What are you doing New Year’s Eve” (odd that this, too, is found in Christmas caroling books), and the influence of praise music is felt in songs like “Breath of Heaven.” Oh, and don’t forget Elvis’ “Blue Christmas,” though it’s a bit difficult to imagine singing that around

the Christmas tree…so, maybe reinvention went a bit far even if he is the king...of Rock & Roll, that is, not the King of Kings, but that is another theological matter altogether. Keeping with tradition, this holiday season St. Gregory’s University hosts its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. The University Chorale, under the direction of Br. Damian Whalen, will perform a selection of classic Christmas carols in the acoustically wonderful St. Gregory’s Abbey Church. The carols explore traditions past, spanning eras that include Gregorian chant, traditional English carols, and familiar 19th century carols, many of which are performed a cappella. Ordered around the traditional Anglican Lessons in Carols, the program will be presided over by the Abbot and will include selected readings from students and congregational singing in addition to the Chorale pieces. I was fortunate to get a sneak preview of the festivities while sitting in on the University Chorale rehearsal. Despite their evident loyalty to Glee and its fascination with contemporary tunes, the chorale impressively delves into a wide range of traditional pieces that are sure to be audience pleasers, recreating that sense of nostalgia and meaning often missed in contemporary Christmas concerts. Immediately following the concert, the chorale will lead the audience to “the Mound” for the blessing and lighting of St. Gregory’s Christmas lights. Who can resist the incredible atmosphere of St. Gregory’s historic Abbey Church illuminated by voices raised in celebration of the season, thoughtful readings, familiar music, and, of course, the chance to raise one’s own voice? The concert will be held on December 12th, 7:30pm at St. Gregory’s Abbey Church, 1900 W. MacArthur in Shawnee. Admission is free. Join the St. Gregory’s University Chorale for this year’s Festival of Lessons and Carols, and start the season off right: with meaning and reflection. For more information, call (405) 878-5436, or visit



generosity by: Bob Searl

Bob Searl is a pastor, writer, musician, husband, father, grandfather, and caretaker of two over-indulged poodles. Bob holds a Doctor of Ministry. A Wisconsin native who has lived in Oklahoma long enough for his toes to be gently stained dirt-red, Bob remains a diehard Green Bay Packer fan who still gets excited when there is snow in the forecast. Red-stained toes notwithstanding, he hasn’t yet adjusted to Oklahoma summers. When Bob grows up he wants to be a chaplain at Disney World.


My mother was a Christmas person, generous to the extreme. She bought so many gifts for so many people that she didn’t have time to wrap them all and hired a lady to help her. One of the biggest arguments I remember my parents having came after a visit to a personal finance company to borrow money to buy Christmas presents. Dad was generous as far as it goes, but Mom was in a category all her own. Our Christmas stockings we so laden with gifts that Mom had to use pantyhose cut in half just to hold everything. Only when our family grew so large with in-laws and grandchildren did Mom downsize to knee-highs, which she viewed as a crushing defeat to what she believed was Dad’s tightwadishness. So my bride of six months and I shouldn’t have been surprised when the boxes from Wisconsin started rolling in. We had just settled into a tiny box of a house we bought in northwest Oklahoma; Deb stayed home and taught piano while I worked as the youth minister for a church in town. A few days before Christmas, I came home from work to find a nice stack of gifts under our $8.00 tabletop Christmas tree we picked up at the local TG&Y store. “Your parents sent us a box of presents,” Deb said. “Were there Christmas pantyhose in the box?” I asked, and when Deb said no, I replied, “Then there is another box on its way.” When I came home from work the second day there were more brightly wrapped packages under the tree. Deb smiled happily and said, “More presents from your mother.” By the time we unpacked the third day’s shipment, gifts stretched halfway across our small living room. On the fourth day, Deb called me at work and said, “Jerry

just delivered two more boxes and the stockings were in number 5” (by now she was on a first name basis with the UPS driver). Since Deb and I were supposed to go to her parent’s house for Christmas, she suggested that we start opening Mom’s presents a few days before we were to leave home. As we started sorting through the presents Deb handed me a couple of gifts and said, “You should open these first. I think you’ll enjoy them.” I paused, puzzled by what she said, then asked her, “How do you know I’ll enjoy them.” She stared at me for a moment, then mumbled something vague like, “Oh, your Mom knows you so well, she always sends just the right things.” After opening the first two packages, I started to open a third when Deb stopped me. She pointed at a different package. “Open that one next; you need it.” she said. “Why should I open that one instead of this one?” I asked, but she had no answer. Then the light-bulb came on. “You peeked, didn’t you?” Her confession was immediate and sincere. “Yes, I peeked! I am home alone all day with these presents. These presents! What could be in all these boxes? They seduced me. ‘Unwrap me, they whispered. There are secret delights within.’ I feel so ashamed. And I didn’t mean to open them all.” I stopped her. “You looked in all of them?” My sweet young bride did open each one, carefully pulling back the tape from one end, opening the paper and pulling the gift out. After looking over the gift she meticulously slipped the box back into the wrapping and resealed it. An FBI forensic expert examining the wrapping under a microscope would have struggled to detect her tampering. Mom’s generosity was more about

her love of giving than my need for what she gave. How many gifts are given each Christmas that simply aren’t needed? While this may not seem like a big deal, it is a serious issue for the people who could truly use the money we waste during the holidays. Imagine what might happen if you took a baby-step outside the typical Christmas spending frenzy and decided to buy one less gift this year? You’ve got $25.00 to work with and decide to put it to work to help someone. The money could provide twenty-five meals for Shepherd’s Kids Cafe, Mission Shawnee’s summer lunch program. Or $25.00 could buy four insecticide-treated mosquito nets that will save at least two lives each. What is more needful, a sweater for aunt Eliza that she doesn’t need or the lives eight people? I also understand my wife’s curiosity about the presents under our tree. Her family is very generous, but their Christmas tradition wasn’t the giftgetting bonanza it was at my house. She had never seen so many presents and the mystery of what was hidden inside them was more than she could bear. The real mystery of Christmas, however, isn’t found in gifts hidden beneath colored paper and satin ribbons. The real mystery is the gift of love born in obscurity, wrapped in poverty and the scandal of an unwed teenage mother. The real mystery is that the announcement of this birth, carried on the music of heaven, was not delivered to the powerful but to the powerless, not to the proud but to the poor. We didn’t receive what we expected, but we were given exactly what we needed.

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As the Holiday Season is upon us, we take this time to express our sincere appreciation to those who have allowed us to care for them and to those whose friendship we cherish. We value our relationship with you and look forward to serving you in the year to come. We wish you a very happy and healthy Holiday Season and a New Year filled with peace and prosperity. Sincerely, Shawnee Medical Center Clinic SMCC Family Medicine AM+PM Clinic

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