Telling the history of Claremore…one story at a time.
By Charlie Allton
The 1970 Introduction To The Gridiron Show
Seems like a bunch of us gather here
About this time most every year.
Father, Mother, Sister, Brother,
Each one bragging on the other,
And trying to picture the transformation,
That’s coming with river navigation.
And if we don’t want to live in a town that’s dead
The best thing to do is to plan ahead.
Now a town is no better than the people in it,
So if its gonna get better, we’ve got to begin it.
So as the horizon broadens and industry hums,
Let’s try and get ready for whatever comes.
I remember when the town was still pretty small,
Didn’t have any modern convenience at all,
But improvements came as a matter of course;
Some tho’t they wuz better, some knew they wuz worse.
We swapped oil lamps for electric lights mighty fast,
And the woodburning cookstove was swapped off for gas.
Gone was the cistern and the old well house,
Where the kids all used to hide,
And the little old houses that stood out back
We moved them all inside.
We worked hard thru the week, but what a delight,
To get to drive down town every Saturday night.
Street wuz full of buggies and surries and hacks,
Making the rounds to one end and back,
Or clear out to Radium Town and then
Drive down to the depot and watch the train come in.
‘Er stop by the drugstore and sit and talk,
And watch the foot couples parade on the old board sidewalk
And to watch that couple parade was sheer joy,
Then the one with short hair and pants was the boy.
And the male of the species sure was proud
In his summer raiment and man was it loud.
A stiff straw hat and silken shirts
With stripes of red and blue,
And a soft detachable collar of another brilliant hue,
And peg topped pants and button shoes,
That always fit to tight,
But he sure looked nice with a pretty girl,
In a frock of fleecy white.
Now the girls of today are just as pretty, I guess,
But looks to me like they’re poured too far down thru their dress,
Now back in my day the girls, God love’em,
Had more skirts below their knees,
Than today’s kids have above ‘em.
Compared with your transportation ours was slow,
But we didn’t have too many places to go.
No hard tops or compacts, or sports cars,
But we didn’t suffer too much loss.
There’s been a lot of woo pitched in a buggy,
Behind a good old trotting hoss.
Expenses wuzent nigh so high; course the hoss might throw
But he furnished the gear shift and transmission,
And steering and headlights too.
And it didn’t take a week’s wages for a thankful of gas every day.
The hoss would charge the battery and fill up the tank,
For a half a bale of hay.
And new models didn’t bother us much,
And we didn’t purchase a tag.
We’d get five or six years from a buggy,
And ten or twelve years from a nag.
They called it the land of romantic west,
But it wasn’t called that by the ones who knew best.
Did you ever feed cattle in winter,
When the ‘temp was 10 below,
And a forty mile wind coming out of the north
Loaded with sleet and snow?
And work all day in the numbing cold,
Trying to get the old thin cows with calves
Under some kind of roof or shelter?
And before you’d finished your supper,
You’d begin to nod your head
And before you could get warmed up clear thru,
You’d be ready to go to bed;
And it seemed like you would be asleep
Fore your head would hit the pillow?
Well, I’ve done it folks and if that Romance,
You can just give me Vanilla.
Did you ever plow with an old heel burner,
In a new ground field of stumps
And the plow handles would bust your legs
Till they were just a mass of lumps.
And you’d be so tired when night come,
That you could hardly lift your hat?
Well I’ve done her folks and I’m telling you,
There’s no Romance in that.
Did you ever ride thru a herd in hot weather,
And have to work for an hour and a half,
Trying to kill the screw worms
In the belly of a half grown calf;
With his mammy looking at you,
And ripping a hole in your pants?
Well I’ve done it and called it a lot of names,
But none of them was Romance.
Did you ever work on the windy side of an
old steam threshing machine,
Pitching the bundles across the belt to feed
The dad gummed thing,
And the dust and chaff and bull nettles,
Would get clear down the back of your neck?
Well I’ve done it folks, but I never could find
Any Romance in that by heck.
Well why didn’t you quit? You ask me.
There was something that made us stay,
And if I had it all to do over
I wouldn’t change a single day.
Roll off your bed in the summer,
Before the break of dawn,
And hear the birds from the meadow,
Tell you daylight is coming on.
And to see the morning’s first red ray
Across a field of virgin sod,
Kinda gives a man the feeling,
That he’s closer to his God.
We start to work fore daybreak,
Then the sun starts his upward way,
And it sure gets hot and dusty,
Before the middle of the day.
We stop to feed our team and eat a bite
And rest awhile at noon,
And sit there in a cooling shade,
And hear a mocker croon.
Back to work in a little while,
Got to get the crops “laid by”
And the sun beats down like a white hot forge,
From a blue and cloudless sky.
Stop to rest our team a time or two
In a shade at one end of the line;
And take a drink of water from a sack wrapped jug,
No other drink could taste that fine.
‘Bout the time you think you’re plumb give out
The shadows start to grow long,
And the homeward flight of a raucous old crow
Tells you night is coming on.
The sun has changed from a white hot orb
To a ball of crimson hue
And sinks a million bayonets of red
In the hills of turquoise blue.
Now I’ve never been around the world,
I know but little of travel’s thrills;
But the Angels envy me from up in Heaven
When the sun sets on my Coo-wee-scoo-wee hills.
The twilight comes as interim, between the day and night
And then the moon seems to cover the tired old earth
With a blanket of silver light.
The breeze has hushed at the twilight,
Not a blade or a leaf aquiver.
You can even hear the water running over the rocks
Below the swimming hole down on the river.
You lie down on a pallet out on the porch
And in a moment it would seem,
That sleep has taken you away on the
Magic wings of a dream,
And you dream that the Maker on the very last day,
Built a home for the fairies, with his last piece of clay.
A land of hills and rivers and prairies and trees,
To stand the blasts of winter and catch the summer’s breeze
Filled with fruits and flowers and everything nice;
And he named it Oklahoma, that’s an earthly paradise,
Where folks might come to rest a day or to live forever more
And he chose the sweetest spot of all and called it Claremore.
Now that’s why we stayed, ‘cause we loved it;
And it’s my hope that each one of you
Will live in this country long enough
To love it the way I do.
Well I know you’re getting tired,
You’ve been mighty nice to listen.
You know it’s hard to stop a durned old fool,
When he starts to REMINISCING.