# 385, November 6, 2005
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma: Back in the home town for a birthday celebration, and I never saw it looking so prosperous. With six highways converging, including old Route 66, and four railroads crisscrossing, it’s no surprise Claremore is a growing metropolis.
With all those roads funneling folks to the center of town, while they’re sitting there in stuck traffic they just naturally look around while waiting for the tracks to clear or the light to turn green, often for the third or fourth time. Pretty soon they see something they like about the town and they never leave, even if the light is green.
The birthday festivity started Nov. 4 at the ranch at Oologah with the local 4th graders singing beautifully and doing a fine western dance. Then some good old boys, and gals, from the Wild West Arts Club showed everybody how rope tricks are supposed to be done, followed by everybody eating birthday cake. They didn’t light any candles; it’s so hot and dry here126 candles would’ve been a major fire hazard.
After noon the whole party moved to Claremore where the ladies of the Pocahontas Club put on a magnificent memorial tribute, just like they have done for nigh on to 70 years.
[ For photos on the official Will Rogers Museum web site, click on: http://willrogers.com/wrdays_2005/wrap_2005/wrap_2005.html ]
Saturday they put on a big parade in Claremore and Roy Clark came over from Tulsa to be the Parade Marshal. Did I mention, the Rotary Club on Friday night gave him the Will Rogers Communicator Award. Even Garth Brooks was there to help honor the co-star of Hee Haw.
Before I forget, I got to tell you the fall colors at the ranch and all around Lake Oologah are glorious. You folks in New England don’t have anything on Oklahoma this year when it comes to foliage. And the weather. It’s been sunny and 80 degrees all week, regular Chamber of Commerce weather. If it stays like this till Christmas the snow birds heading south will stop here for the winter and forget about South Padre Island and Corpus Christi.
I flew into Tulsa Thursday on Southwest and rented a car from National. Now Tulsa is one town that has figured out how to live in luxury without taxing their own populace. They only charge taxes on those that visit, not the ones that live there. See, when you fly into town naturally you have to rent a car to go anywhere, and they sock an extra 40 percent tax on the car. This idea of taxing the out-of-towners, to make ’em feel welcome I guess, is not unique to Tulsa.
But when you’re up in that 40 or 50 or 60 percent range, you’re setting a standard that’s hard for any ordinary metropolis to match. Who knows, by next year they may set up toll gates at every entrance to the city, ask how much you’re carrying, and relieve you of 40% before you have the privilege of spending it.
Just north of here, Kansas decided that since their state is flat the rest of the world must be flat too. It sure can’t be round because no reasonably intelligent designer would create a world where if you walk to the opposite side you would fall off. So, from now on, Kansas kids can learn to read and write, but state law says to study science they have to cross the state line. Well, I bet it takes more than a Board of Education to stop those youngsters from picking up some common sense.
Historical quotes from Will Rogers:
“I was born on Nov. 4, which is [or was] election day… My birthday has made more men and sent more back to honest work than any other day in the year.” DT #296, July 4, 1927
“Back to the old home state… The State never looked better and politics never looked worse, which is as it should be.” DT #982, Sept. 18, 1929