BYNG — Most people may not have been aware that Saturday, April 22, was the anniversary of Oklahoma’s’ 89  Land Run.  Ruth Ann Taylor, a retired elementary teacher who had always made a “big thing” of it in school, used the historical event as a theme for decorating for two occasions.

The first occasion was for Retired Teachers.  I was on the decorating committee with her and if I had been running things, I’d have stuck a few anemic flowers in vases on each table and called it good.  (Any kind of decorating is not my strong suit.)   Ruth Ann and her cousin, Ann Klepper, who is her cohort in many projects, were discussing possibilities and the Land Run came to mind.  The women share a fondness for history and a love for old things.  Between them, they probably own a small truckload of what I call “portable antiques,” artifacts of a bygone era.

The two gathered an assortment of items, and other friends remembered items they wanted to share.   Ruth Ann found a bolt of blue checked gingham and cut squares that were the foundation for decorations on each of the 15 tables used for the Retired Teachers.   Again, had I been doing it, I would have picked out two or three items and planted them squarely in the middle of the gingham.  Watching Ruth Ann and Ann work, though, was a revelation.  Each table held a vignette of life around the turn of the century.

One table dealt with school days and held a slate, an eraser, chalk, and well-worn books.  Another was “shaving time.”  It featured a straight edge razor, a shaving mug, and a leather strap used to keep the razor sharp.

Other tables showed activities such as canning, apple pie baking, dressing up for a party, churning time, and letter writing.  Each table was different and gave the teachers a glimpse into a distant time.

Ruth Ann was also responsible for planning and decorating for a banquet at New Bethel Church on Saturday night, and she cleverly determined to use the same decorations for the long dining tables there. Down Home with Rob Gandy and the Heartland Boys was the theme, and since we had packed the individual table decorations together, it was a simple matter to re-create the turn-of-the-century impression. Guests were encouraged to wear “country” or “old timey” clothes, and several obliged with farmer type hats, overalls and corn cob pipes.

The church banquet was outstanding: good food, great entertainment, and good fellowship. It probably wasn’t too different from the church social back in Land Run days.

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Our best wishes go to Charles Barrick who stepped down from the position of mayor last week.   We all owe him a debt of gratitude for the 27 years of service he gave us.   He will continue as chairman of the Byng Water District as it goes through the complexities of dissolution, and he told the Council that he is willing to work with the builders of the proposed Senior Citizen Center.  We appreciate his willingness to do these jobs.

John Burchett is vice mayor, so we know Byng is in capable hands.  John recently retired as director of Civil Defense for Pontotoc County. Brad Fortner will take Barrick’s spot on the city council. Brad is a Byng alumnus, and he and his family live in the house near the city hall that was formerly owned by Byng teachers, Virgil and Patsy Romine.

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Margaret Painter gave her family and friends quite a scare this week when she became ill.  She was admitted to intensive care at the hospital and diagnosed to be suffering from congestive heart failure

Now, medical authorities believe her problem is a reaction to a pacemaker which was installed several weeks ago.   She is doing much better but will probably stay a few more days in the hospital.  Their daughter, Debra Painter Abels, Cromwell, is a registered nurse who has been here for a few days helping Bill and Margaret through this difficult time of illness,

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Just when we were getting accustomed to having David and Jodi Jackson back in New Bethel, they are gone again.   They assure us that this absence will be only during the summer and they will come home every other weekend.  They have gone to again be a part of the pageant at Eureka Springs, Ark.   The Jacksons first went to Eureka Springs about 11 years ago.  They played various roles in the pageant which chronicles events of Christ’s last week.  They were winter Texans for several years at Rockport, Texas. The past few years they were year-round residents of South Texas, but when Dave developed some health problems, they decided to move back to Ada where two of their children live.  Dave’s health has improved greatly with successful surgery for an aneurysm last November followed by back surgery this spring. When the director of the pageant called last week encouraging them to return, the Jacksons readily agreed.  Dave has already started growing his beard for the part of the Apostle John.    Jodi will again be a part of the Bethlehem tour and will be playing the part she created of the innkeeper’s wife. 

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Margaret Whitwell is wearing a cast on her arm but seems to be feeling fairly well.  A recent fall in her home resulted in a broken bone.

Melvin was at work, but neighbor Marilyn Price took care of getting Margaret to the emergency room.