Category Archives: Friend, Friendship

Issue 377 – Time Changes Pert Near Everything

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 377          Sept. 29, 2018           An Occasional Blog  

Time Changes Pert Near Everything

The great western crooner, Tommy Duncan, sang a song during the 1940s titled “Time Changes Everything.” It is a ballad about lost love, that he thought she would always love him. But over time, that changed. Then he thought he would never get over, but . . . shazam . . . time changed that. Finally, he wishes her well as he rides off in the sunset with his new love. Change, change, change.

Well, there’s a lot of truth in that ol’ Bob Wills western swing ballad.  But to state it a little more accurately and in the words of my unhousebroken cousin Bubba, “Time changes pert near everything.”

For example, you graduate from high school and your class fractures into minute pieces. Some kids go off to college or off to the military or off elsewhere for a job  . . . and a few just, well, go off. One day you realize not even Humpty Dumpty can’t put those pieces back together. 

Or you reach that mid-life crisis point where you must face up to the fact that you’re never going to be President of the United States. Heck, you’re not even going to be a leader in your Lions Club or your church. Last week you got a letter confirming your rich uncle left you his favorite poodle, but nothing else. And chances are high you aren’t going to see your own children reach any high level of success. And you’ve just about concluded you just ain’t very good lookin’ no mo. 

Shoot-fire, y’all, it gets worse. You become a senior citizen somewhere about 60 or 65. That’s when you notice the wheels starting to fall off your wagon, and you never were very mechanically inclined. You sorta think you’re a cut above most old folks, . . . until you count the number of prescription pills you take each day. And you tally up the aches and pains and dysfunctional parts of your anatomy and realize that if a part of you doesn’t hurt, it is probably not working.

Yep, time changes . . . pert near every aspect of our lives.

That’s what I’m talking about, friends, the changes that will not be ignored. They trip us on our way to the bathroom and slap us up side of the head to get our attention.

Okay, fellow travelers, I freely confess I kinda feel like I have the Elephant-of-Change sitting on my chest. Maybe if I scratch its back that Dumbo will go squat somewhere else, but he is probably like my nutty brother-in-law, Alex. He will be back much more often than I’d like.

CHANGE 1

Well, here is the first of several changes I am making: I will no longer give public performances of my storytelling (i.e., cowboy poetry, stories, songs and guitar playing). That tough decision comes after having had a heap of fun doing those things since about 1991 — about 27 years worth. In that regard, here is a poem I performed on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 during my very last session at the National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration in Lubbock, Texas. I call this poem, my 488th, “On Hitting a Wall at 77.”

Poem 488 - On Hitting a Wall at 77 - by Stan Paregien - July 20, 2018 Page 1 of 2

Poem 488 - On Hitting a Wall at 77 - by Stan Paregien - July 20, 2018 Page 2 of 2

2018--09--06 01 Lubbock, TX - National Cowboy Symposium

 

2018--09--06 05 Lubbock, TX - National Cowboy Symposium2018--09--06 06 Lubbock, TX - National Cowboy Symposium

2018--09--07 05 Lubbock, TX - - National Cowboy Symp - LeRoy & Sandra Jones - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--07 09 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Stan & Peggy Paregien with Sandra & LeRoy Jones

2018--09--07 13 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Janice Deardorff performing - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--08 02--C Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Stan Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

2018--09--08 02--E Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Robert Beene - by Peggy Paregien

2018--09--08 03 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Joel Nelson - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--08 05 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Chris Isaacs - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--08 06 Lubbock, TX - - NCS - Pipp Gillette - by Stan Paregien

2018--09--09 03 Lubbock, TX - - Stan Paregien & Perry Williams - by Peggy Paregien

2018--09--09 08 Lubbock, TX - - National Cowboy Symposium

CHANGE 2

My second change is this: I’m am saying adios and farewell to all my social media.

Yes, Virginia, ’tis true. I shut down — i.e., deleted — my Facebook account just last week. Oh, yeah, I’ll miss seeing some photos of our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids that somehow never get seen to us in any other way. And I’ll miss that good clean joke which crossed my screen every once in a while, but life goes on. And so do I.

Oh, I guess I should mention those somewhere over 300 folks who friended me on Facebook. Some of those folks are really good friends, with a few of them dating back from six or more decades ago. Those I’ll miss a bunch, but . . . I still have a telephone (yes, a smarter-than-me phone and a land-line) and the U.S. Post Office still delivers to my mailbox (though 90 % of which I get is non-personal) . . . so I can be reached. Now I admit to being blissfully unaware of just how 40 or so of my “Friends” on Facebook had any real connection with me. Too much drama. Too much trivia. Just . . . way too much.

CHANGES THAT REALLY HURT

Part of the big changes I’m seeing in my life have to do with the passing of close friends and relatives . . . and the demise of so many people who, though not close friends, were folks I knew at one time or have corresponded with for a while or  people for whom I had a long-distance and long-standing admiration.

In this blog I just want to mention some of our friends we always saw at the National Cowboy Symposium and elsewhere, but who have crossed over that Big Divide. Here is just part of that list:

**********  DUSTY & PAT RICHARDS

 

 

The first time I met Ronald Lee (“Dusty”) Richards was in 1984 in Branson, Missouri. A few weeks earlier I had met Jory Sherman at a writers convention in Oklahoma City. It was Jory who told me all about the great folks in the Western Writers of America and about that year’s convention in a short time in Branson. At his urging, I traveled there alone and walked into the host hotel’s lobby. There an elderly man looked at my cowboy hat, walked over to me and introduced himself to me. It was none other than Thomas (“Tommy”) Thompson, the author of numerous Western articles and novels and movie and TV scripts. 

A short time later I met a fledgling writer from Springdale named Dusty Richards, and we hit it off right away. Between the WWA, other writer conventions and the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock,  Peggy and I saw Dusty and Pat many, many times over the years. He was a “late bloomer” who did not have his first book published until 1992, when he was 55 years old. But, golly Bill, he caught on fire there. He wrote some 150 western novels, many under various publishing “house names.” One of those novels, The Mustanger & the Lady, was made into a movie with the title, “Painted Woman.”

2000-011--TX-Lubbock--DustyRichards-PaulPatterson-StanParegien

Paul Patterson was the high school literature teacher who became a mentor out in West Texas to none other than the late, great Western novelist Elmer Kelton. 

2002-051-- Lubbock, TX -- Pat and Dusty Richards - National Cowboy Symposium

Those times are now behind us, wonderful memories we will cherish. Dusty and Pat Richards were in a horrific car accident in December of 2017. They were hospitalized in critical condition. Pat died from her injuries on Jan. 11, 2018 and Dusty left this life one week later on Jan. 18, 2018. He was 80 years old.

Dusty and Pat loved their adopted home state of Arkansas, as well as Arizona and the great Southwest. A writer for the family posted this on Dusty’s Facebook page:

“What can we say about Dusty? The real question is what can’t we say about him? To say that he was larger than life is the grandest of understatements. He was an irresistible force and an unmovable object all rolled into one, a personality wider than the western skies he wrote about. He was an eternal optimist, a man who woke up each and every day renewed and ready for the next job, the next challenge, the next good fight. He was a father, a patriarch, a mentor of the first order.

“He toured the  country teaching and encouraging new and experienced writers alike, challenging them to follow his lead, tell the next inspiring story, pen the next Great American Novel. He was a fighter, a lover, a joker, an entrepreneur, a canny businessman, a television and radio personality, a famous rodeo announcer, a cowboy, and, perhaps above all else, a master storyteller. Dusty was everything that fit under his trademark ten-gallon hat and so much more, and we could keep writing for a year and not do him justice.”

**********  HENRY TORRES

Torres, Henry - died at age 80 in a hospital in Rio Rancho, NM

**  Henry Torres, a rancher and historian and cowboy poet, died on April 6, 2018 at the age of 80. He was born to Hispanic parents on Nov. 7, 1937. He grew up in that farming and ranching family, with most of his time spent on ranches in New Mexico — from Deming to Las Cruces and up to Silver City.  He had two beloved sisters, Beatrice and Elsie, where were some older than he. Henry joined the U.S. Navy right after graduating from high school, but came back in 1960 to again work for and with his father. 

This cowpoke went above his learnin’ and married Carolyn Shores in 1971. Henry spent much of his adult career ranching on the side and working as a Brand Inspector for the New Mexico Livestock Board. He retired as the Supervisor in Silver City in 1996. A few years before his retirement, he got interested in writing and publically performing cowboy poetry. He was of the founders and supporters of the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum in Las Cruces, NM. And he was the primary force behind the creation of their annual “Cowboy Days” celebration.

In 2002, Henry Torres felt very blessed when he received an “American Cowboy Culture” award at the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas. In 2016, he was recognized in a ceremony at the Las Cruces New Mexico Farm & Ranch Museum for his many years of service to the industry and to the museum. In 2011, Carolyn Torres was seriously sick and wanted to move to Nevada to spend her last days close to their children and grandchildren, and they left their beloved New Mexico. She died in 2014, so Henry moved back to Silver City. He lived and died as a man of his word, a cowboy to the bone.

**********  GUY W. LOGSDON

Peggy and I first met Guy Logsdon in about 1990 at the National Cowboy Symposium in Lubbock, Texas. He had a both at the convention center where he sold new and used and collectable books. When he went back to Tulsa and started “The Oklahoma Cowboy Poetry Gathering” at the National Western Museum & Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. He was kind enough to invite me to perform there several times. Now he is gone.

 Guy William Logsdon was born on May 31, 1934 in Ada, Okla. He grew up there, played bass fiddle and then the guitar, in the Logsdon family band. Then added singing and storytelling to his skills. He graduated from Ada High School and then attended and graduated from East Central State University there is Ada. While getting educated, he also got married to Phyllis Landers from up the road in Okemah (hometown of the legendary singer and songwriter Woody Guthrie).

1991-014 GuyLogsdon-StanP-closeup

 Later, Guy received M.S. degree in Library Science and his Doctorate of Education from the University of Oklahoma. His first job was as Director of Libraries at prestigious University of Tulsa. Over time he became a recognized expert in three very different fields: (1) the life and music of Woody Guthrie; (2) Western swing music and the lives of Bob & Johnnie Lee Wills; and (3) old-time authentic cowboy music. 

Cover----Guy Logsdon--800 px

Dr. Logsdon wrote the liner notes for both Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger compilation CDs which were produced by Smithsonian Folkways. His books include “The University of Tulsa: A History, 1882-1972;” “The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing and Other Songs Cowboys Sing;” “Ada, Oklahoma, Queen City of the Chickasaw Nation: A Pictorial History;” “Saddle Serenaders;” “The Flip of the Coin; the Story of Tommy Allsup;” and  “Woody’s Road; Woody Guthrie’s Letters Home, Drawings, Photos, and Other Unburied Treasures” co-authored with Mary Jo Guthrie Edgmon (Woody’s youngest sister). Guy Logsdon himself was the subject of Stan Paregien’s eBook, “Guy W. Logsdon: Award-winning Folklorist,” and a main source of first-hand information for Stan’s book, “Woody Guthrie: The Man, His Music & His Myth.”

 Guy Logsdon died Feb. 5, 2018 after a short illness. He and Phyllis had been married for 64 years. One of their daughters, Cindy Logsdon Black, is married to and performs with noted cowboy poet and storyteller Baxter Black.

**********  GAIL T. BURTON

Burton, Gail Travis - 1929 to 2017 - cowboy poet in Benton, ARPeggy and I first met Gail T. Burton (Benton, AR) at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City in about 1991. That was when Dr. Guy W. Logsdon of Tulsa organized the very first “Oklahoma Cowboy Poetry Gathering.” He and I each performed there, and we would perform together at many other events over the years. Burton began writing and performing his own cowboy poetry and before he stopped he had created more than 500 poems.  He also wrote a book titled, “Cow Pies and Candle Lights” (1999).

Gail Travis Burton died on Feb. 22, 2017 at his home in Benton, Arkansas at the age of 88. He had been born Jan. 4, 1929 in Temple, OK. Ten months after his birth the United States and much of the world would be floundering the economic disaster we now call “The Great Depression.” Well, Gail grew up and served Uncle Sam as a soldier in the Army and was stationed in Korean from 1946 to 1948. Later, he took specialized training at Oklahoma State University and spent the rest of his life as a Fire Protection Specialist in California and in Arkansas.

g2000-88

Peggy Paregien took this photo at the 1st Annual Oklahoma Poetry Gathering at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City. LEFT TO RIGHT: Okay, here’s where my memory has slipped a cinch. I cannot remember the fellah at the left, seems maybe he was a professor at Oklahoma Panhandle State University way out at Goodwell, Okla. Anybody know his name? That bare-faced gent 2nd from left is , . . . uh . . . give me a second . . . oh, yeah. Me. Stan Paregien. And the lady is Francine Robison, the pride of Tecumseh, OK. And on the far right is Gail T. Burton.

Burton was a deacon at First Baptist Church of Benton. He was also a Master Mason and a member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. In addition, he was a member of the Missouri Cowboy Poet’s Association, and a charter member of the Academy of Western Artists. He was survived by his wife of 65 years, Barbara Burton and their five  children, 15 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

How Far Is It to Bethlehem?

by Gail T. Burton of Benton, AR

“How far is it to Bethlehem,”
a young cowboy asked his pard’
while riding ‘cross the open range
as the snow was falling hard.
It was coming on to Christmas,
and the two were out alone,
pushing cows to lower pasture
where the blizzard hadn’t blown.

“I know it’s past Chicago,
crosst’ the ocean anyhow;
I still don’t know just where it’s at,
but a far piece I’d allow.”
His partner rode a while in thought,
like he hadn’t even heard.
“It’s a right far piece from Heaven,
you can take me at my word.”

That’s all he said for ‘most an hour,
while they hazed the cattle slow,
but his thoughts were on the Christ child
as they trudged on through the snow.
On the thought of that first Christmas,
and the gift God sent to earth,
of the truth of Jesus’ coming,
and the blessing of His birth.

While riding on he understood
Where these thoughts of Christmas lead,
And bringing words up from his heart
The old cowboy softly said:
“I’ve no clue to mark the distance,
of the mile, ….. I’m at a loss.
How far is it to Bethlehem?
It’s just half way to the cross.”

© 2004, Gail T. Burton

 

I reckon that’s more’n enough rambling for one session. Thank you, sincerely, for stopping by. Adios for now. 

 

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Issue 375 – Old Friends, Revisited

Logo -- The Paregien Journal -- 2018--01--18 -- 800 X 195 pix X 400 dpi

Issue 375     –     June 17, 2018     –     An Occasional Journal

Old Friends, Revisited

Friends -- it takes a long time to grow an old friend

There just ain’t nothin’ quite like old friends.

Oh, sure, new friends are wonderful, too. That’s one reason we moved from Edmond, Oklahoma here to Bradenton, Florida exactly five years ago. Back there we lived in a larger, comfortable house in a very nice neighborhood. We were involved in church activities, and I often performed my original cowboy poetry and stories at Western venues and events from Arkansas to California and from Texas to Montana. We also hosted many music jams and church groups in our home with as many people as we could crowd into our spacious living room. But, still, we could only name a few of our neighbors on our street. And not one ever reciprocated our hospitality by inviting us into their home even for just a cup of coffee. Maybe we should have changed our deodorant more often. I don’t know.

After we both retired, we were thinking of moving to a “nice beaches and warm water” area. We liked the idea of living in a gated 55+ community with a clubhouse, a pool and lots of scheduled activities from which to choose. Our hopes were high that kind of environment would make it easier to make new friends. And I am delighted to say that is exactly what happened. Now as we take our regular two-mile walk around the inside perimeter of our community of some 270 homes, I am amazed at how I can look at so many houses and recite the owners names. We found the situation here encourages mixing with the current residents and getting to know the new ones. Peggy and I are very pleased with our lives down here. We are thankful for the way our little Florida experiment has worked out over the past five years. 

Having said that, I’ll return to my main point: there is really nothing quite like maintaining old friendships. That is no small or easy thing to do, though, is it? Over our 56 years of marriage, and because of our different memberships and activities, some of our closest friends are those we only get to be with for two or three days each year . . . or two . . . or five years or more. Still, it is a joy each time we get together.

Friends in Council Bluffs, Iowa

2018--05--22 002-B -- Area map of Council Bluffs, Iowa2018--05--24 05 Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian Church - by Stan Paregien

For example, Peggy and I moved with our two small kids from Stroud, Oklahoma to Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1975. That was so I could serve as the preaching minister for the Southside Christian Church at 1919 S. 10th Street. During our relatively brief two-year stay, we made many friends. Lots of ’em. We were in and out of each other’s home, playing cards and games and going to the lake and on picnics and shopping trips to nearby Omaha, Nebraska. They were a great group of folks to be around.

Then in 1977, we moved back to Oklahoma where I became the preacher for our “home congregation,” the Stroud Christian Church in Stroud, Oklahoma. During the next three or four years, at least four families from Council Bluffs went off the beaten path to visit us. Slowly, though, we lost track of most of them. Life moved on. Oh, yes, there were a few we corresponded with for several years by letters and an occasional phone call. But it was more difficult to stay in touch, back then. You see, Virginia, there were no such things as “texts,” “emails,” or Skype back in the Dark Ages.

Time and distance took its toll on those friendships. Fast forward to 2018. We were invited to attend the 75th anniversary of the Kearney Church of Christ in Kearney, Nebraska. That’s where Peggy’s father preached from 1945 to 1954, before accepting a pastorate in Ventura, California. To attend this celebration, we would need to fly into Omaha and rent a car. Hmmmm. That got us to thinking. Council Bluffs is just across the Missouri River from Omaha. We wondered whether we should try to see whomever might be left of our old friends — from 41 years ago. We reasoned that many if not most of the people we had know fairly well in Council Bluffs had died. No doubt others had moved away or for whatever reason might have no interest in seeing us. Hmmmm. But . . . just maybe . . . . 

I was able to contact one of our dear friends from that era, Robert J. (“Bob”) Anderson. He and his son, Ron Anderson (who was a close friend with our son, Gene), and another Southsider named Larry Buckles (a current elder in the congregation; and a guy from Fletcher, Oklahoma) took the idea and ran with it. They decided to invite some of the old-timers to a reception for us at the church building on Wednesday, May 23rd at 1:00 pm. We wondered whether anyone would show up. After all, it had been . . . 41 years . . . yep, 41 years since we last set foot in Council Bluffs.

Larry and Bob picked us up at our nearby hotel about 9 am on Wednesday morning. We went by the Southside church building and looked at the improvements they had made. Then we went to the upstairs offices and I got to stand inside my old office for the first time in 41 years. It was occupied by the current preacher, Scott Weber, and we visited with him for quite some time. He is a new friend but with an interesting connection. He laughed as he told me he heard me speak a long time ago. In about 1976, I was invited to speak at a Bible lectureship at Nebraska Christian College in Norfolk, Neb. (Johnny Carson’s hometown, by the way). “I was a student in that audience,” Scott said with a smile. Any, another nice memory to add to my collection. I really liked Scott and I pray he will have a long and productive ministry with that congregation. 

Among those at the 1 pm reception were Bob Anderson, Larry Buckles, Gary and Barb Williams, Leo and Roberta Martin, George and Pam Roush, Jack and Carol Swanger and another couple, Craig and Annette Kruse. It was a wonderful time of hugging each other and sharing a lot of “Remember when . . . ?” moments.

2018--05--23 05--B2 Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Roush - Paregien

2018--05--23 06--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Larry Buckles

2018--05--23 07--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Roberta Martin

2018--05--23 07--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Leo Martin

2018--05--23 08--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Jack Swanger & Leo Martin

2018--05--23 09--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Gary Williams

2018--05--23 10--A Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Bob Anderson

2018--05--23 10--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - Craig & Annette Kruse

2018--05--23 11--B Council Bluffs, IA - Southside Christian - group of men

Peggy and I first met George and Pam Rouse in 1975 or so when they were truth seeks, hungering for a closer walk with God. So Peggy and I and possibly some others met with them for prayer and Bible study over a long period of time. One evening Pam said she wanted to accept Christ, so we rejoiced at that and I baptized her. At this reception in 2018, she told me: “You gave me an inscribed copy of your brand new book, The Day Jesus Died. And in your inscription you suggested four things to remember and practice in my walk with the Lord. I have made those ideas part of my spiritual life ever since.” Another new memory for me, a very sweet and precious one.

George, on the other hand, was not ready to follow Pam’s lead. Not at that time. So we kept studying with and praying for him and loving on both of them. At this reception, George reminded us that one night we were all leaving the church building. Peggy was already in our car, but as George walked by she rolled down the window and said, “George, you know you really need to go ahead and accept Jesus as your Lord.” George smiled at her and said, “Peg, you’re kinda pushing me, aren’t you?” To which Peggy replied, “No, it’s not me. It’s the Holy Spirit pushing you, George.” He didn’t know quite what to say to that. But it wasn’t long before he, too, accepted Christ and I baptized him just as the apostles did Believers in the Book of Acts. Pam and George are still serving the Lord, and that is a tremendous encouragement to us.

The next day, on Thursday, May 24th, we spent all of the daylight hours being guided around to beautiful and historic sites in Council Bluffs and Omaha by Bob Anderson and Larry Buckles. The four of us nearly laughed ourselves silly, as we had often done “back in the good ol’ days.” Mid-morning we were joined for coffee by long-time Southsider Jerry Cook and also by Gary and Barb Williams (Gary retired from the CB Police Department some years ago with the rank of Assistant Police Chief).

2018--05--24 38--B Council Bluffs, IA - Gary & Barb Williams - by Stan Paregien

Larry Buckles drove us over to where his son, Travis Buckles, lives with his wife and children. Travis was just a pup when we knew him, a skinny blond-headed pre-teen who played on the church baseball team with our son. Travis has seven children and hasn’t strayed far from Council Bluffs all these years.

2018--05--24 39 Council Bluffs, IA - Stan Paregien, Travis and Larry Buckles - by Peggy Paregien

That evening, Bob Anderson invited us to his home for light refreshments. To our delight, we were joined by his son and daughter-in-law, Ron and Kelli Anderson, and by our mutual friend Aaron Jones. Aaron’s late parents, Harvey and Lilly Jones, were always kind and gracious toward us. And Aaron got the same gene. He actually worked with me as the Associate Minister at Southside for a time. He is a diligent student of the Word and a strong Believer. Aaron now lives at The Center in downtown Council Bluffs, a very nice senior citizen apartment complex built and operated by the city.

Ronnie Anderson spent a lot of time at our house there in Council Bluffs. He only lived a couple of blocks south of us, and he and our son were about the same age and on the church baseball team together, etc. Likewise, our son spent many hours at Bob and Chris Anderson’s house (she passed away, but he still lives in the same house) playing with Ronnie. Ron and Kelli have been active in youth ministry for several years, while working at other full-time jobs. Their son Noah Anderson is now a youth minister in Omaha.

2018--05--24 81 Council Bluffs, IA - Aaron Jones, Stan Paregien & Bob Anderson - by Peggy Paregien

2018--05--24 83--C Council Bluffs, IA - Ron & Kelli Anderson, S Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

As we hugged Ron and Kelli, I mentioned to her I had heard a lot of good things about her and I was so pleased to meet her. She smiled and then sort of shocked me when she said, “Oh, you have met me before. Both my sister and I were baptized into Christ by you.” Yikes. No covering up my senior moment that time. She reminded me she is a granddaughter of the late Wayne and Esther Rutledge (he was an elder back then and she played the organ in church).

When we left Council Bluffs on Friday morning, it was with both joy and sadness in our hearts. Extreme joy from such an uplifting and inspiring reunion with friends from 41 long years ago. And some sadness from knowing we’ll probably not see most of them again in this life. We praise the Lord, though, that there will be an eternity of reunion time when all of the Redeemed reach heaven.

NOTE:  I have posted a large number of “Albums” on different topics on my FLICKR account. You may view lots of photos of our visit to Council Bluffs in the “Iowa” Album on my FLICKR account, found at:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/114140996@N07/albums/72157695908387504

A High School Friend: John Ford

John Ford and I are right about the same age (I think he turns 77 this summer and I do so in October). His first eight years were spent with his parents in Bakersfield, Calif. Then his parents moved to Fillmore (Ventura County), California. That’s where he started 2nd grade. His father was a certified welder, working mainly in the oilfields. His folks (or maybe his grandparents) had migrated to California from Balko, Oklahoma — a tiny community in sparsely populated Beaver County in the panhandle.

I, on the other hand, was born in tiny Wapanucka, Oklahoma (south central Oklahoma, south of Ada and north of Durant). My parents (Harold and Evelyn Paregien), paternal grandparents (Frank and Mattie Paregien), and several uncles and an aunt and maybe an outlaw or two headed for Ventura County in 1942 to take advantage of all the war-time jobs available in the area. Several went to work for the U.S. Navy at Port Hueneme. My dad did that until the war ended, then he went back to farming. This time it was on the Todd Estate about three miles west of Santa Paula, working in the orange orchards. 

We lived for about three years near the Los Angeles County/Ventura County line on Highway 126, about six miles east of Piru, Calif. My dad worked in the orchards of English walnut trees owned by the large and historic Newhall Land & Farming Company (aka “Newhall Ranch”). The company provided an old, wood-framed house (no insulation) for us, located on the south side of the Highway, about 150 yards inside the Los Angeles County line. That was just enough that my sister Roberta and I could not go to the nearby schools in Ventura County (Piru and Fillmore). Instead, we rode the school bus a long way over to Castaic Elementary and me on to William S. Hart High School in Newhall (now Santa Clarita) for junior high. 

We left the Newhall Ranch in the summer of 1955 and moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not since 1942 had my mom been able to live close to her parents, John and Vada Cauthen, who lived maybe four miles west of us. However, the wages were much lower there, so we loaded up another U-Haul trailer and moved back to Ventura County. My dad went to work farming orange trees on the Edwards Ranch, about a mile west of Piru. My mom soon became the Cafeteria Manager at Piru Elementary School. Later, she would be promoted to Cafeteria Manager at San Cayetano Elementary in Fillmore, then to Supervisor of all the school cafeterias in Fillmore and Piru. After a while that position was eliminated and she gracefully returned to her starting place: Piru Elementary, with Glenda Gregory DeJarnette helping her. Glenda also graduated with the Fillmore Class of 1959 and, when my mom retired, she became the manager.

So in September of 1956, I enrolled in the 10th grade at Fillmore. That is when my path crossed that of John Ford. In the spring of 1957, we were both on the Boxing Team under coach Simmons. We were both in the Lettermen Club (the he-man, me Tarzan organization on campus), though John lettered three years in track and I played two years of football, lettering my senior year. We were also in the social . . . and may I dare say, Christian . . . organization called Hi-Y. John played a mean clarinet in the band, while I horsed around in the Choir where the girls far outnumbered the boys and I liked the odds. And, of course, we attended various classes and special events together.

1950G graphic - a blast from our past1957-004--A Fillmore, CA - Boxing Match brochure - March 21, 1957

1957-004--B --Boxers - Stan Paregien

1957-004--C BoxingTourament - FillmoreCA

1957-022--A Boxing Team FillmoreCA - March, 1957

1957-022--B Boxing Team FillmoreCA March, 1957

1957-023--A--BoxingClips1957-023--C--BoxingClips

1957-024zzz-- BoxingCoach EdSimmons

1957-025 Boxing Team Winners

1957-026 FootballTeam-FillmoreCA

1957-001--C Stan Paregien---football - fall of 57

1957-252 Fillmore, CA - Track Team

1958-001--G--Football--FillmoreCA--Fall1958--StanParegien

1958-045--H--1984 article about '58 Football Team by Charles Mozley

1958-109-FUHS-HiY--Stan

1958-128-FUHS-Lettermen

1958-143-FUHS-track

1959-026--K1 Seniors--Large Group - Stan Paregien, John Ford - Fillmore, CA

1959-026--K2--C---Seniors-- John Ford - Fillmore, CA

1959-026--K3--Seniors Fillmore, CA -- Stan Paregien

1959-026--K4--Seniors Fillmore, CA -- John Ford

1959-031 LettermanClub-StanP

1959-031-B Fillmore, CA - Letterman Club - StanParegien, Clint Anderson, John Ford

1959-071 Fillmore, CA -- Officers for the Class of 1959

1959-120--B Hi-Y-Club---FillmoreCA Ferrill Williams, Stan Paregien & John Ford

1959-136--D--TRACK - Fillmore, CA

1959-136--E--TRACK - Fillmore, CA - John Ford

1959-202---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA

1959-203---FUHS-Band--FillmoreCA

However, . . . John and I never did double-date at the drive-in movie theater in Santa Paula or take our respective dates up in the balcony (passion pit) at the Fillmore Theater; we were not beer drinkin’ buddies; we never backed each other in street rumbles; we never did sleepovers at each other’s houses; we never burned any midnight oil together at any late-night study sessions; we never did go fishing together up Sespe Creek; we never got together and went cat hunting at night, driving by the orange orchards and shining lights down the rows; we never did drag racing together; etc., etc., and so forth. There were just a whole lot of thing we never did together. We were certainly acquainted, but we ran in different circles I guess.

Then came graduation night in June of 1959. And afterward, like those tiny fluffy cottonwood seeds, we scattered with the wind to here, there and everywhere. I would never see most of those classmates again. Ever. That fall I drove my 1955 Ford to Amarillo, Texas to study ministry at a small private school. John Ford, meanwhile, put his track shoes on and tried to outrun the military draft. Yes, Virginia, the government did such a thing back then. Ever hear of Viet Nam? It was coming, and eventually John would go there. But before that he enrolled at nearby Ventura College. He told me he lasted about 13 weeks before seeing he was not college material right then. So he decided he would join the U.S. Marines, but . . . their recruiting office was way up in Santa Barbara or such. “Not to fear,” he thought, and turned around and joined the U.S. Navy because their office was in Ventura.

While in the U.S. Navy, he was trained in electronics. Very sophisticated electronics. He worked in that field the rest of his working career. Somewhere in that process, John married a Fillmore girl from the Class of 1962. They moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where he eventually earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He went to work for the Department of Education in their Information Technology department. He and his first wife had a family, then as things sometimes happen, he and his first wife divorced. Later, he married a native of China named Ying, who had a son by a previous relationship. They are all active in hikings, biking, etc. Ying Ford even competes in the “Iron Woman” world events, the next being in Chattanooga, Tenn., in late September.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch in Piru, . . . I married a foreigner myself, a cutie named Peggy Allen (daughter of W.W. “Woody” & Pauline Allen) from way over yonder in Ventura, Calif. That was on May 31, 1962. We moved to Nashville, Tenn., that August and I entered Lipscomb University. I graduated with my B.A. in Speech Communication in 1965. Next we moved to Albuquerque, N.M. Peggy went to work as a new accounts rep at the Bank of New Mexico and I started work on my master’s at the University of New Mexico. Little did we know, there was something suspect about the water supply there . . . because in a few months she was very much pregnant. 

We received a bouncing baby boy in Las Cruces, New Mexico in September of 1966. And I received my M.A. in Speech Communication from UNM. Upward and onward, as I worked toward my goal of one day teaching speech in some college. In the summer of 1968, we moved to Oklahoma City. I enrolled at the University of Oklahoma. Sixty class hours and one language later, I received . . . nothing. I had run out of both energy and money without completing two more things: (1) one more language requirement; and (2) writing my dissertation. 

So I dropped out of graduate school and took a sales job. Later, I would return to preaching full-time, and then back to sales of one kind or another, mainly. We spent twenty years (1993-2013) living in Edmond, Okla. Peggy spent most of that time working at the Southwest Airlines reservation center in Oklahoma City. After we both retired, we moved here to Florida. We had two children: Stanley Jr. (aka Gene through high school and Stan, afterwards) and Stacy.

We have been married for 56 years and are now grandparents and great-grandparents, thank you very much. When Peggy slipped up and accepted my marriage proposal, some folks said it would be a “slip knot” and it wouldn’t last. Most of those folks are dead, now, and we are still in love. Those doubters just didn’t know what a loving and forgiving person Peggy was and is. That is the plain secret of our longevity. 

Well, neighbors, let’s return to our mini-reunion with John Ford. Somehow, a point lost in my foggy memory, John and I began touching base once in awhile via emails and/or Facebook. Recently he told me he and Ying would be vacationing at Treasure Island Resort on Gulf Avenue in Treasure Island, Florida. That is a small beach community due west of St. Petersburg and about 40 miles north of us. So we exchanged more emails and a couple of phone calls and made a meeting happen. Together, again, after only 59 years. It was really nice meeting Ying and John, as well as John’s son Jeff and his family.

1950B Treasure Island, FL - Ying & John Ford with Stan & Peggy Paregien - by Peggy Paregien

1950A Treasure Island, FL - John Ford and Stan Paregien, classmates in Fillmore, CA in 1959 - by Peggy Paregien

Well, John Ford and I are card-carrying members of that big group of “Fillmore Flashes” (our school’s dorky mascot), only our cards have “Emeritus” on them. And the “Flash” in our “Fillmore Flashes” has dimmed considerably with the passing years. Still, our’s was a very enjoyable reunion and I found out more about John than I ever knew before. John, old buddy, we’ll have to get together just a wee bit more often than every 59 years.

In June of 2018, John and I and the remaining folks of our original 125 classmates in 1959, will celebrate the 60th anniversary of our graduation. John has already told me he cannot make it out to Fillmore for that Alumni Association meeting. I’m still debating the pros and cons of such an event. 

Cartoon-ClassReunion-Shoe

Anyway, here is a copy of the lyrics and guitar chords for Roger Miller’s song, “Old Friends.” I like it a lot, and so I share it with both old friends and new . . . like you.

Old Friends -- song by Roger Miller

True friendship brings sunshine to the shade, and shade to the sunshine.  — Thomas Burke

If a man does not make new acquaintances as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man . . . should keep his friendship in constant repair.  — Samuel Johnson, quoted in Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson (1775)

friend-like-a-bra

A friend is always a friend, and relatives are born to share our troubles. — Proverbs 17:17, Contemporary English Version

A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him I may think aloud. I am arrived at least in the presence of a man so real and equal that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness with which one chemical atom meets another. — Ralph Waldo Emerson (American philosopher) in Friendship

Friends -- Peanuts -- 02 -- Snoopy

The sweet smell of incense can make you feel good, but true friendship is better still. — Proverbs 27:9, Contemporary English Version

My grandfather Wood advised his large family of seven daughters and one son, “When you move to a new place and want to make friends, go to the church, for there you will find the best people.” I agree with him. They may not be perfect people (indeed, who is?), but most of them know that. That’s why they go to church—for help to become better people and to grow in the knowledge and love of God.  – Dale Evans Rogers (1912 to 2001; singer, actress, movie star and author; wife to cowboy movie star Roy Rogers), Time Out, Ladies! (1966), p. 81.

Friends -- make new friends, but keep the old

Don’t desert an old friend of your family or visit your relatives when you are in trouble. A friend nearby is better than relatives far away. — Proverbs 27:10, CEV

 

Friends - until we are old and senile, then we'll be new friends

You are better off to have a friend than to be all alone, because then you will get more enjoyment out of what you earn. If you fall, your friend can help you up. But if you fall without having a friend nearby, you are really in trouble. — Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, CEV

friends -- forever

 

Logo---The End---Zia--with-blue---- 500w x 400dpi--- 2018--01--17

 

 

 

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