HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD

August 31, 2021
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM AND DAD

Today would have been my mother and father’s 59th wedding anniversary. Much love going out to them today.


There’s a backstory to their nuptials - one which I’m certain is most interesting but which, after all these years, I am still only partially aware of. Apparently Mom had been engaged to another fellow at some point, but broke it off; whether she broke it off before meeting Dad, or her decision was in fact the result of meeting Dad, is something I’ve never learned. Ultimately it doesn’t matter, but I can’t help but be curious. Mom didn’t talk about it much, other than to acknowledge that it did indeed happen. Dad - ever the jokester - used to carry around a newspaper clipping announcing her previous engagement, and whenever the two of them got into a spat he would pull the clipping out of his wallet and wave it around, saying “Well, you had your chance!” 


And that would usually bring the argument to a screeching halt - sometimes with laughter on both sides, occasionally without.


The only things I know about my parents’ wedding beyond a reasonable doubt is that they were married on Aug. 31, 1962, at Crest Baptist Church in Midwest City, Oklahoma; and that I was born exactly nine months later on June 1, 1962. Now it’s no great secret that I’ve never been much good at math, but even I was able to do the computation on THAT one when I became old enough to understand such things…


Once, when I was a teenager and Melissa and I had been dating for a couple of years, I sort of casually remarked to her once while out someplace with my folks (probably having lunch at the local Bonanza Steak House one Sunday afternoon) that I had figured out that I was a “honeymoon baby.” Upon hearing this, Dad - usually the one who would go out of his way to make ribald and risqué comments, just to see how Mom would react - suddenly seemed all embarrassed and muttered something about how I had arrived earlier than expected.


To which my mom - much to the surprise of all of us, Dad most of all I think - just sort of grinned mischievously and responded, “Wanna bet?”


I can’t really explain why, and to be honest I’ve always been a little reluctant to put too much though into it, but that moment is one of my favorite memories of my parents…

 

LEGENDS AND TALES OF SIPOKNI WEST

August 20, 2021

Sipokni West – the REAL Sipokni West, that is – is located in the small town of Reagan, Oklahoma, approximately two hours south of Oklahoma City and just a few miles north of my hometown of Ravia (the childhood home of Gene Autry). Designed as both tourist attraction and motion picture set, this recreation of an Old West town is the brainchild of a buddy of mine, Reagan resident Johnny Shackleford – sort of a hometown Will Rogers, rarely seen without a twinkle in his eye or a funny stor...


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"LIKE A BAND OF GYPSIES WE GO DOWN THE HIGHWAY..."

August 11, 2021

I love road trips. Always have.


I guess that’s one more thing we can blame on my late parents. Many of my happiest memories from childhood revolve around the road trips my family took - not just the traditional summer vacations, but those unplanned, spur-of-the-moment treks we would make whenever Dad got the itch. 


One such voyage in particular stands out in my memory almost as if it happened yesterday. 


It was in the summer of 1969. Mom was still expecting my youngest brother, who would...


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THE BAND ISN'T STYX WITHOUT DENNIS DEYOUNG

July 7, 2021

A friend and colleague of mine who lives in Texas recently persuaded me to give a listen to the latest studio album by the rock band Styx, entitled Crash Of The Crown.


Now understand that the friend in question is one with whom I have more agreements than disagreements when it comes to such things as music, books, movies, et. al. For the most part our tastes seem to be fairly similar, which for me is always gratifying because my personal tastes in general always seem to run counter to that o...


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EINSTEIN, THE JETSONS AND THE VOICE OF WORLD CONTROL...

July 2, 2021

“Books, young man, books!”


It’s probably not the sort of thing a lifelong science fiction nerd like Yours Truly ought to be admitting publicly. There are fellow nerds out there who will almost certainly demand that I turn in my old Buck Rogers secret decoder ring and surrender myself for interrogation by Darth Vader’s sinister Death Star probe droid once the news gets out.


I’ll just have to take my chances, I suppose. After all, I’m the guy who years ago got chased out of a Star Tre...


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LOOKING FOR DÉTENTE IN THE BATTLE OF THE GENERATIONS...

June 16, 2021

I wish I knew what I thought I knew when I thought I knew everything…


At some point - generally around the time its members hit adolescence - every generation comes to believe that it is smarter, better and/or more “with it” (whatever THAT means) than the generation that preceded it. And all too often, that belief is expressed in a way that leaves members of the previous generation confused, hurt and/or angry.


We’ve all been guilty of it at some time or another, whether or not we want t...


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SOME OF MY FAVORITE DC COMICS STORY ARCS

June 11, 2021

So somebody today on a DC Comics fans page asked fellow members to post their five favorite “DC Events” of all time. And then provided a list of storylines that included Crisis on Infinite Earths and all the post-Crisis usual suspects (Death of Superman, Nightfall, Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night, Final Crisis, et al).


My initial response was to yawn and mutter under my breath, “Not this stuff again.” Then I gave the question some deeper thought and - being the rapidly aging, unapolo...


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DARK DAYS COME, BUT TOMORROW STILL BRINGS HOPE...

June 2, 2021
(My granddaughter, Zoey Romania Small - photo taken by her Uncle Josh, May 8 2021)


All his life he’s heard the stories. 

The stories are all he has, to be honest. They are his only link to those long-ago days. He was there, but he doesn’t remember any of it; he was just a babe, after all. The first of a family’s next generation. A generation which, it was supposed, would have the best of everything this nation - this world - might have to offer.


That was the promise. That was the dream. ...


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SOME WOULD BE SURPRISED I MADE IT THIS FAR...

May 26, 2021


Next Tuesday, June 1, I will observe my 58th birthday.


All right, all together now: “BIIIIIIIIIIIGGG DEAL!”


Well, yeah, for me it actually kind of is a big deal. On a couple of levels.


For one thing, it further puts the lie to a couple of teachers I had back in high school who, for whatever reason, fully expected me to have joined the Choir Invisible long before now. To this day I’m not really sure just why they had me, of all people, pegged for an early demise. But they did.


Maybe it has s...


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ON THE TOPIC OF BROTHERS DAY...

May 24, 2021

I was driving back to work after lunch this afternoon and heard a fellow on the radio say that today is National Brothers Day.

There was a time when I would have happily celebrated my relationship with my siblings but, alas, those days are gone...


I am the oldest of three brothers. We were close growing up, but life happens and things change. The middle brother got himself into some pretty serious legal trouble, but seemed on the way to turning his life around when he died of a sudden illnes...


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About Me


John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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