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!

Bling

You always hear about the fashion at political conventions and from what I saw this week,  it can be divided into three categories. The good, the bad and the bling…

The good could be a reference to the state delegation gear.

The Texas delegation was all suited up in matching shirts and hats.

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Donated to their delegation by Stetson, they waived the hats continually from their seats on the convention floor.  I think it was their way of showing applause, or maybe it was just hot down there, or maybe they were just thinking big hair needed big hats ha ha!

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But they did stand out in the crowd!

I had to snap this pic of the Hawaii delegation… They had matching shirts and dresses complete with flowers in their hair and lays around their necks.  Adorable!

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If you look closely, you can see my Senator on the left is perplexed and not sure who I am photographing since I am…well, taking this of their back side, probably not the most flattering angle just saying.

And, a Montana delegate….from the back side.

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I think I have an issue with taking people’s pictures….

But, the Senator doesn’t. Best example of bling.

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He really isn’t shy when it comes to photo ops.

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But, Oklahoma really did look sharp in their matching navy blue blazers. On this particular night, the navy blue blazers were worn with red shirts.

Twinning…..note the clear plastic bags.

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A pic of the flag suit dudes..from the back side.

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These guys were talking to the media who could be distinguished not only by their gold colored badges but also with the backpacks they were allowed to bring into the arena. Hence my reference above to the clear plastic bags regular folks were forced to carry for security purposes. Well, not forced. But, you get my drift.

Here’s a pic from my Senator’s camera.  Clearly, he’s not afraid to ask for a photo.

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And this hat…IMG_6949The lady to the left saw me sneaking a pic. She thought the hat was funny too.

One more from the back side haha…but, cute elephant skirts none the less.IMG_9136

Looks like the Senator snagged a better version…go figure.

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Can’t wait to watch the DNC this week to see if all the bling is a universal convention theme or a one-sided phenomena.

Star Struck in Cleveland

Today I met Maureen Dowd. The Maureen Dowd!

Let me just preface this with I have always been a huge fan of her writing style, her keen wit and fresh perspective. She has a gift for the gab and uses words to produce such an interesting  commentary which usually always makes me laugh…or cry, depending.

Evidently, she is staying at our hotel and was in the lobby grabbing coffee this morning while I was visiting with a few Oklahoma delegates about the chaos at the convention!

A nice lady with dark sun glasses sauntered over and complimented my shirt of all things. After exchanging pleasantries, she began to ask my opinion on the convention and the conversation topics she had overheard.

I guess I let her have it (my opinion that is),  but she also knew in her gut the media portrayal over the last few days was not accurately depicting the mood in the arena and she was gathering thoughts on the topic.

So when she asked if she could quote me, I completely and utterly froze up. Mind you, I had no idea who this nice lady was. I mean, she had her hair pulled back and was wearing dark glasses!

Flippantly, I said something like, “oh, you’re a journalist! Who do you work for?”

“The New York Times,” she said.

Of course.  The New York Times!

She was very gracious as I back peddled nervously about a quote.

Knowing that, we continued to chat about the various reporting on the convention and she offered me her email in case I wanted to share thoughts on tonight’s festivities from my seat on the sidelines.

As I typed her email address in my phone, I jumped back and said something like ‘Oh My Gawd – your Maureen Dowd! I love your stuff!’

We continued to chat and knowing she was probably on a deadline, I kindly asked for a quick photo, and boom, there ya go.

Never mind I had lipstick on my teeth throughout the entire course of our conversation!

Note to self, master the closed lip smile.