Famous Friends

When your oldest and dearest friend gets inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame, you have no choice but to get all dressed up and go watch!

Such a well deserved accolade for my famous BFF. Despite being a celebrity and constantly in the public eye, she is oh, so humble. I am honestly surprised (but thrilled) she accepted the recognition. All of Oklahoma, but especially the town of Pawhuska, are proud and honored to call you friend!

 

 

Libraries & Magnolias

This week, the Senator and I did a really fun thing.  We got together with my parents and hosted a little get together for a dear friend of ours, Sean Burrage, who is the President of a University in the Southeastern part of our state.

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My parents aren’t in this picture, but I’m sandwiched in between my Senator and Sean!

Sean is a special friend who not only served in the State Senate with my Senator, but he also worked for the current President of the University of Oklahoma, David Boren, way way back when Boren was a United States Senator.  I also happened to be working for Boren in Washington DC , so I claim to have known Sean longer, haha. Small world.

Anyway…Sean and my Senator were not just colleagues at the Capitol, but good friends, and even though they were on opposite sides of the political aisle, they worked together to make positive things happen for the people of our state.  Current elected officials could REALLY take a lesson from those two… just saying.

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My Senator drove to Durant and gave President Burrage a Trump tie for Christmas cause they are fun friends like that! He wore it to our event…see next pic for proof!
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With my mom and favorite Bennett cousins!

But, I digress.  Back to our special event.  We thought it would be cool to host a gathering for the alumni of Southeastern Oklahoma State who happen to live in our neck of the woods and use the opprtunity as a fundraiser for a scholarship in the name of my Great Grandfather, Henry G. Bennett, who just happened to be the President of this same University a very long time ago.  ( Pardon the major run on sentence amidst a post about Higher Education!)

I always knew my Great Grandfather was the President of SEOSU, but his real claim to fame was being President of Oklahoma State University and working with President Harry Truman as an Assistant Secretary of State for his Point Four Program.  So, for me, this was a fun opportunity to see old friends, blend a connection of sorts and learn a little bit more about Southeastern Oklahoma State.

Evidently,  my great grandaddy planted a lot of magnolias on the campus. I have always loved magnolias.  They are so hardy and strong…at least the ones in my yard! But, he planted over 1,000 magnolias there…so, they named the Library after him. I love libraries.

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The Library at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant, Oklahoma.

I think he loved libraries as much as he loved magnolias because his philosophy was that the Library should be at the center of campus and provide a gathering place for students.  Such an educator!  Maybe that is why I have always loved libraries too, who knows!

He continued the library and magnolia tradition when he took over the helm at Oklahoma State University – except that magnolias didn’t really grow in them there parts. Determined to make it work, my great grandaddy reminded them that OSU was an agricultural / mechanical school and they needed to go figure it out. So, they did.  They also re-routed a road which ran thru the middle of campus in order for the Library to be the center of attention. Pretty dang cool.

Back to the event for our good friend Sean.  It was special.  Not only is he a fabulous President of this University bringing his passion for education and kids to the job with him everyday, but I am hopeful that he, like my grandad, will someday take the reigns of another major University in our State…. but, this one would begin with an O and end with a U!

Moments

Monday was a big day in my great state and I am still recovering from all of the inaugural events and activities. You know me, I am secretly a closet recluse and would have been especially content watching all of the festivities at home on television in my lululemons.

Never mind the bitter cold and wet snow, this would be the last time that I would have a front (third) row seat to watch a person being sworn in as governor, or get to walk down the hard, stone steps of the Capitol for a Gubernatorial Inauguration, or attend a Gubernatorial Ball as (with) a V.I.P…..so, I ended up taking (was forced by the Senator to take) advantage of this prime opportunity.

In the process, there were some fun moments… like gathering in the Senate chamber prior to the ceremony.

Judging by his smile, the Senator knew I was soaking in the moment, because the Senate chamber is typically off-limits unless you are a member or there for a specific purpose.

I also got to see so many of the wives that I just adore and only run into on occasions such as this.  I love these women. We have a bond.  Especially when you are standing in line together on marble stairs waiting to walk outside into sub-zero temperatures.

While we were waiting around, I took a photo of the American flag which had been lowered out of respect for the recent tragedy in Arizona.


Seeing the flag lowered and remembering the events of that day caused me to stop and think about this particular ceremony in a somber way.

Here we were, getting ready to walk out onto a public platform to officially swear in the new leadership of our state.  Couldn’t some crazy person just as easily be out there in the crowd about to commit the same crime against humanity?

I also realized, possibly at that very moment, that the Senator and I were both in attendance and if something horrific like that were to occur, it was also possible that our children could be orphaned. I did not enjoy these thoughts, but to have ignored them would have been prudent and dishonest.

So, I focused on the massive amount of security, the bomb sniffing dogs, the servicemen and women right behind me with weapons and what I would do if something like that did happen.  I am always looking for the best possible escape route!   Did I mention the massive amount of security?

Suddenly I became very fond of my third row seat, all nice and snug and crammed in amongst several hundred dignitaries. Well, that and the servicemen and women behind me with guns.

We were fortunate to have the opportunity to meet one of the service women from the Oklahoma Air National Guard while we were waiting inside. She had served a tour in Afghanistan and came to the Capitol with a bracelet she had purchased at a market there.  She wanted to give it to the Senate Pro Temp’s wife for one of her grandchildren.

Now, the Senate Pro Temp’s wife Paula, is a wonderful lady and a friend of mine. We have gotten to know each other as our paths have crossed at these type events and venues. The Senate is one big, happy family like that and as I have mentioned before, Senator’s wives have a special bond.  So, when the Guardsman (woman) offered Paula the bracelet, she walked her over to me suggesting that her grandchildren would probably fight over it, but our daughter might love it.

Paula has met the Senator’s daughter before. And, while she probably doesn’t remember seeing the numerous layers of bracelets that constantly adorn her arms, I assured her she was correct in her thinking. What a special moment.

So, I took a photo… which is not necessarily like me.

And, then it was time to move it on outside……Brrrrrr.

Good thing I had my gloves with me…..even if they were from different sets and for the same hand.

And I really wanted to give them to my new friend in the Guard because she stood outside in full dress uniform, as they all did, for over an hour and a half without a coat or gloves.

Now, that was heroic and did not go unnoticed.

Counting my blessings and downloading photos from the Inaugural Ball. Lots of pictures of dresses………..

SW