Wednesday, April 4, 2018

What's the point?


So now I will give you a little story that occurred today (2018/04/02) on getting to know folks.  I was at the local McDonald's getting my coffee (senior coffee) and breakfast burrito (my normal Tuesday morning breakfast) when I saw a couple and the lady was wearing a Ponca City (Oklahoma for those who are geographically challenged) sweatshirt.  I asked if she was from Ponca and of course she was but she was raised in Blackwell (Greg Clifford has family connections and old memories of Blackwell).  I told them I was raised across the river from Ponca and they asked me where.  I explained Shidler but really Grainola is home.  He stated his uncles lived in Grainola and were Paul and Arnold Jones (Arnold was a highly decorated Marine) at which I replied I hauled hay for Paul (a pilot and my first airplane ride and that is another story) for 3 summers.  Did I mention that Paul was working for E.C. Mullendore who was murdered and there is a book about the murder?  Well back to the subject.  Hugh Allen Jones (Arnold’s son and a Marine as well) was one of five in my first 8 grades of school and of course I knew the rest of the family.  Then they asked if I ever get back up around home and I said I got close this weekend when I went to my sisters’ house in Perry for Easter lunch (lunch is what city folks call dinner).  She asked who my sister was, and I told her Debbie Schaefer and she informed me that my nephew Richard Crow (Debbie’s son) married her first cousin, Nancy (from Blackwell).  And the story goes on and on but here is the point.  If you don’t engage folks, you might miss finding out some interesting facts and you might find someone who is a near relative or a relative that you never met.  Then above all that you might, just might, get an opportunity to tell them about Jesus and what He means to you (remember Easter).

I have never been disappointed when I have shown interest in getting to know a stranger.  Of course my favorite one is when Preston, my son with down syndrome, was at McDonalds and he saw this big burly guy with tattoos and a leather jacket with lots of patches who just looked down right scary.  As it turned out he was not from Hell's Angels but was a pretty nice guy.  As Preston approached him and said, "Hey man" he dropped to one knee and looked Preston in the eye and they became friends.  Of course Preston hugged him and they became instant best friends.  Did I mention he had a beard and mustache and big white teeth which made him look like an arm pit with teeth when he smiled?

Well, what do you learn in the Osage?
  • All folks are the same but different, they want to be friends
  • don't judge a book by its cover or its tattoos
  • Life is a lot more fun when you engage our differences in a positive manor
Thanks for listening,
gary@thepioneerman.com




Tuesday, March 27, 2018

I always wanted to be someone's hero, but who is the real hero in your life?

Some things just never leave your mind like the time I saved Denise Logue's life.  Mom and her buddies were having the Home Demonstration Club meeting at our house and Denise and I were just hanging together while the ladies did whatever ladies do. 

Denise was wearing a pretty dress that day and she had curly blond hair.  Man was she HOT!  Anyway there was this dirt duster or dirt devil or whirley wind coming down the gravel road on Beaver Creek toward us and my manly instincts kicked in and I took her soft delicate hand and took her to safety in the garage just west of our house and west of the well house and cellar.  Some folks call the garage a house for cars and a well house is where the water pump is for getting water for the house and whatever else needs water.  Anyway, as we stood in the opening of the garage which was really just a storage shed big enough for a few cars or a lot of hay or a place for storage of wood and other tools, I held her hand and told her I would keep her safe.  What a hero!  Did I mention she was 5 years old?  So was I. 

Denise was one of the original Grainola 5, sometimes 6 and once 7.  I think I will explain that.  There was the original five of Jon Tanny Olsen, Hugh Allen Jones, Jimmy Heath, myself and one girl, Denise Logue and sometimes Joy Frank (our second girl) would be in Grainola Grade School and sometimes she would go to Shidler and then there was Ralph for one year and Bo Fulsom.  As you can see we had as much as a 40% swing in attendance over 8 years or 7 depending on when you transferred to Shidler.  Maybe I did not make it clear but that was the total number of folks in the 8 grades of school while in Grainola, Oklahoma where I grew up.
 
Everyone of these folks are worth a story or two but let me tell you about Ralph.  He was a bit slow and probably impacted me more than anyone could ever know.  Two things about Ralph that impacted me, one was that he was the only other person who had to sit in the extra large chairs brought into the first and second grade class.  You see I was always feeling like a freak because I was exceptionally tall even before I started school so they brought in a big chair for me.  It made me very self conscience and when Ralph joined me it gave me a sense of relief.  The second thing about Ralph that impacted me was that he was exceptionally slow mentally.  I hated to see him treated unfairly and he was exceptionally kind to everyone no matter how they treated him.  That was his strongest trait and he showed me how to treat folks even when they were rude.  You know the Bible tells us to love our enemies so I guess Ralph was just blessed to be on God's side.

Well I still miss Denise and would love to locate her as we lost touch over the years.  I tried to track her down over the years and the last I heard she was living in Cushing or Oklahoma City.  Do you think she still thinks of me as her hero?  It has been only 60 years since that event.

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • stuff rots and memories last a lifetime
  • Even slow Ralph was a teacher and a good buddy
  • Ralph was the real hero in this story
Thanks for listening,
gary@thepioneerman.com



Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Walking the Camino or the Osage

Ya'll are smarter than me so you probably know all about this but it is new to me.  I have some friends in their early 60's who just walked the Camino and said it was a great time.   Just to enlighten you, it is a 500 (one of the options) mile walk across Spain!  Yep!  FIVE HUNDRED MILES.  It took them 30 days and it is known as a spiritual journey.  I think most folks today see it as a wonderful site seeing opportunity, but I may be wrong.  Anyway, I just watched a video which discouraged me more than it sold me on the idea.  If you have walked the Camino please tell me what your experience was by emailing me at gary@thepioneerman.com. 

I still have not walked the Camino but I have walked a lot of the Osage.  I suppose it is not so easy today with folks worrying about strangers walking across their land but the Osage has a lot to offer.  I use to hunt and fish all up and down Beaver Creek and my favorite parts were looking for Indian arrow heads and skipping rocks across the water plus seining for minnows.  I never ran out of things to do on the creek as it was filled with treasures.  In the fall the cotton woods were bright yellow and in the spring bright green and shimmering in the sun.  The animals gave up their locations if you would stay still and listen and not move.  The quiet times on the creek were not just thinking times but discovery of sounds and textures and light and shadows.  Owls to hawks to red birds to quail or just the rustling of the leaves and grass as a critter moved along created a delight in my spirit.  It was not uncommon to see big red squirrels or a raccoon and of course beaver doing their daily chores. 

Add a fishing pole and a nap on the banks of the creek and you could see heaven and at least you knew that it was not created by a BIG BANG.  Laying on the creek in the hot summer was a delight because the gravel and soil you laid on was cool and generally there was a gentle breeze on the creek.  The big winds could not get down to the creek which was protected by high dirt banks or rock ledges.  It is funny how now looking back it seems gross that I drank from the creek and never got sick but that water was cool and fresh and clear from the springs up the creek.  And yes, the cows and other animals shared that same water.

Tall grass for miles and rolling hills to creeks and valleys to the water falls at Shidler and the Salt Creek rock ledges and limestone filled with fossils and a history of cowboys and Indians and settlers and trees 100 feet tall along the waters edge make the Osage ever bit as good as any place in the world. 

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • be quiet and listen and you might hear the voice of God 
  • you can't beat a day in the Osage on Beaver Creek
  • Walking the Camino or walking the Osage builds character
I love talking to you.
Thanks for listening,
gary@thepioneerman.com












Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Home on the Range: Fullamanure #5: Banking and everyone should own a ...

Home on the Range: Fullamanure #5: Banking and everyone should own a ...: I spent most of my career in the finance industry and so it should be no surprise that I know bankers literally in every state of the union...

Fullamanure #5: Banking and everyone should own a bank

I spent most of my career in the finance industry and so it should be no surprise that I know bankers literally in every state of the union and have traveled to every state except Alaska, but it is on my bucket list.  As it turned out one of my friends or at least was a friend from Eufaula, OK talked me into investing in a new bank which he would start in Elk City, OK.  It was to be American National Bank and we started out in a trailer house.  I never moved there but was on the board and some committees at least for a period of time and that is why this story is a humbling one rather than a source of pride.  One thing I should tell you is that you should read the little blue book about your liabilities for owning and being on a bank board before you invest and get involved.  I read it after the fact and it scared the begizzies out of me.  yes, that is an OKIE word.

Well it started out fine in about 1987 after almost all the banks in Oklahoma had either been closed or were in financial difficulty due to the FALL of the oil industry during the Early 80's.  If you do not know, about every home builder went broke and anyone who served the oil business that had a loan went broke.  In fact Penn Square Bank in Oklahoma City was the beginning of the end when it was closed.  That little 40 million dollar asset bank grew to over 400 million (as I recall)  in just a few years but the worst part was they had originated loans and sold them off to National Bank of Detroit, Continental Bank of Chicago and a large bank in Seattle which I cannot recall the name.  They had originated loans in the billions of dollars and Penn Square just about took down the entire banking system and pretty much these three banks.  Ultimately there were over 100 banks in Oklahoma closed by the FDIC and it was down right ugly.  

Elk City had grown so fast before the bust that folks were living in tents because there was not enough houses or hotels.  The bust had occurred and every bank in that part of the state was in trouble so it made a lot of sense that starting a bank at that time would be easy and a safe bet plus a great way for those who had lost faith to move their accounts.  GREAT PLAN!  Things went well for a few years but then I remember asking some questions at the board meeting that angered the president and a few board members.  In particular I had asked how the president spends over $4,000 per month every month and we add about 4 or 5 checking accounts and a few small loans each month and spend this amount of money.  I remember asking if we would ever make enough money on these few accounts to pay back our investment not including salary expense.  You would have thought I started a fire as the president got really angry with what I was implying.  Then a few months later we had an expense for $26,000 (approximately) for concrete work.  I asked where the concrete work had occurred and again I got a few folks mad.  Just a few months later we got a letter from the Comptroller of the Currency requesting some clarification of the books and specifically how we had accrued some income from the settlement of some loans we had purchased from the closed bank in Hammond, Oklahoma.  A side note is we made the Wall Street Journal for making the first total asset purchase of a failed bank.  It was only about $4 million in loans but we paid the FDIC around $400 (as I remember) for the loans and then we went about re-working the loans to put them on our books.  It seemed like a steal and I would say it was originally.  To make this long story short, basically our president and one of his buddies had a side company where they charged the bank 30% of the loan as it was re-worked.  Sounds pretty smart except the entire thing crashed.  Yes, the bank was closed and we lost a lot of money.

Well this story got a little long so let's just clean it up with:
What do you learn in the Osage?
  • If it looks too good to be true, RUN
  • You cannot outrun a loser, think hard
  • Don't ever regret your mistakes, learn from them
  • Enjoy the victories as they make the losers small in the rear view mirror
Thanks for listening,
gary@thepioneerman.com











Monday, March 5, 2018

Rose colored glasses

Never let success get to your head.  Never let failure to get to your heart.


I love this statement.  According to a study the number one reason for failure is arrogance.   I don't want to get into politics but it seems that Washington D.C.  has got  more than its fair share of arrogance.  My dad, Cliff Olson, use to say that sometimes we just get too big for our pants.  I think that is the same thing.

OK, back to Rose Colored Glasses, which is the thinking that something is better than it is or at least seeing the positive side of things.  I guess that is me as I am a positive kind of guy and that I like to look for the good in things but sometimes that is a problem.  I think wisdom is the beginning of looking at both sides of the coin before drawing a conclusion.  Another way of describing that is through an example.

Have you ever had someone draw a conclusion without knowing or at least examining the other side of the story?  I was examining a business opportunity for a friend of mine and he was very excited about the income opportunity and wanted to move forward on it.  He was exactly correct, he could make a lot of money with the new business.  I asked him how much of his time it would take and he said about 5 minutes each time and he would make more than $100.  I asked who would do the billing and collection and accounting and set up the appointments and run the ancillary operations.  I also asked him how much he would be giving up in income by spending 15 minutes each hour on this as he would perform the 5 minutes evaluation 3 times per hour (maximum).  I also suggested that he might not be able to assume 3 per hour and that some folks will take more than the 5 minutes.  Guess what?  when it was all said and done he would lose about $5 per hour.

Then there is the story of a person who is getting a divorce because the other person cannot handle money and they are always broke.  But after talking to the other person there were at least 3 sides to the story.  His, Hers and the correct story.  She was not handling the money well because she thought making over $200,000 per year allowed her to be free spending.  She did not take into account that the house was about $400,000 and the monthly payment was over $3000 per month and the two cars were over $1700 per month and after taxes they were making about $14,000 per month and they needed to be saving 15% for retirement or more and that they had 3 children and two were teenagers with cars and they needed to be saving for college.  Of course they were going to private college and a private high school.  They were BROKE!  Not because of how much he made but because of the decisions they were making TOGETHER!  She had Rose Colored glasses on and he was focused on his image by the cars they drove, the schools their kids were in and the  house he said they needed to live in.  There is a lot right and a lot wrong with all of this.

Don't we all look at life differently and some with Rose Colored glasses and some with a negative orientation and some with just plain naivety or lack of understanding.

So what do you learn in the Osage?
  • Always ask a few questions before giving our opinion
  • Opinions are just that, OPINIONS
  • Pause every time before making a decision except when driving, it might save you a lot of money and headache
  • Put on your Rose Colored glasses and look at life, it will make you feel better
Thanks for listening,
gary@thepioneerman.com











Monday, February 26, 2018

My get up and go has gone up and went

It may not be a perfect quote but Janie Shumate performed a skit at the Osage county talent show and I honestly thought it was the most memorable skit ever.  Even more than the "Long tall Texan" skit which I was the front half of the horse and we were funny.  Does anyone remember that song, "A Long Tall Texas"?  Anyway, I will never forget that, but of course I have forgotten some of the details.  But here is the point, I am now 65 years young and most of my closest friends are just ahead or just behind and we find ourselves talking about how the world keeps moving and we seem to be slowing down.  Basically "My get up and go has gone up and slowed down".  Or,  has things just gotten faster and more demanding?  What changed?

Now we talk about who died, what hurts, what parents are doing or ailing from and where they should be living, when should I start taking social security and how I get the best deal on Medicare supplement policies (call Linda at my office if you need help, I love my policies), what kind of toys we want (like lake houses or retirement homes in Arizona or fishing boats), how much time we can spend with grandchildren (a wonderful blessing), how the new electronics work (iphone or android and especially our Alexa from Amazon), and food.

Now I have to admit I am not a foodie but Larry Travis makes the best Gumbo I ever tasted.  Larry is a foodie and I might as well mention Greg Jehlik and Jim Wicker are foodies as well.  For a small fee I will get that recipe for you but don't tell Larry I made money on his recipe.  Shari Cook makes a great corn bread and now Shouna makes it as well.  You have never tasted scallops until Greg Jehlik cooks them up for you.  I guess from all this you see why I have to cut back on food.  Speaking of weight gain, I don't know what happened because when I left high school I was full grown and weighed 205 pounds.  I know that is right because Coach Cotham put that in the football program and he would not tell a lie.  But today, well a few months ago, I was up to 270.  Now I am down to 250, Praise the Lord.

If you have not tried it, do what I did and lose 20 pounds.  My knees and hips don't hurt hardly ever and I feel 100% better and I get more done and have to sleep less.  Why did it take me so many years to figure out losing 20 pounds would make such a difference?  My pants even fit better, who would have guessed?

Well, I better get, I hear the garage door coming up and that means Shouna is home and I better get to work.

So what do you learn in the Osage?

  • Your get up and go does not have to get up and be gone as soon as you think
  • Focus on living and not on dying, lose some weight and feel better
  • If you want to live a long life, don't speak evil, especially about other folks
Thanks for listening,
gary@thepioneerman.com

What's the point?

So now I will give you a little story that occurred today (2018/04/02) on getting to know folks.    I was at the local McDonald's get...