Happy Wednesday, My Friends. Still getting used to being “Ramblin’ Joe.” Truth be told, I don’t ramble as much as I used to ramble. It’s certainly wonderful to be able to hang around up here on Route #66 and do what I do. I am not through rambling, quite yet. I have a few bucket list road trips left to accomplish. The pandemic sorta threw a monkey wrench into the works a couple of years ago and I’m adjusting travel plan time frames to coincide with a time when we can move around in complete safety, as we once did. Remember those days?
This is my one-month anniversary in The Luther Register as “Ramblin’ Joe”, so I thought I might introduce myself. Like many residents in Central Oklahoma, I have a lifelong association with the U.S. Air Force, first as an Air Force brat, then as an employee. My dad was a WWII D-Day combat vet who joined the Army Air Force in 1947 and retired in the 60’s. The folks settled in Midwest City in 1966, where I’ve lived ever since. I left school at Star Spencer to join the Navy. I did a hitch in the U.S. Navy and was fortunate enough to land a job at Tinker AFB in 1978. I worked at Tinker for 35 years, retiring in 2012.
I looked around for something to do after I retired, and ended up volunteering at the Arcadia Round Barn. In addition to helping run the Round Barn gift shop, I’ve always worked to bring live music to the Barn. It’s been great! If you don’t belong to our Facebook Group, please join. The Barn hosts outdoor concerts on the first, third and fourth Sundays in the afternoons from May through September. We have our open jam get-together once a month on 2nd Sundays. The Round Barn Ramblers play Saturday Morning Music Sessions every Saturday from 10:30 am to 1:00 pm. I’ve been wearing out Hiwassee Road for over ten years, now! I love to watch the seasons change.
I hope everyone is set for Christmas. Like Merle Haggard said, “If we make it through December” … I’ve never been much of a winter person. Too cold. As I get older, I sure don’t enjoy the Broiler Months, either. If y’all are like me, you grew up with no air conditioning and some pretty rudimentary heating, but ya know what? Our parents did not have it as good as we did, and it was even tougher for their parents. Can you imagine living in a shack out on the prairie? A woodstove and no insulation; that’s about the size of it. There were still buffalo chips on the prairie when my great grandparents homesteaded. You’ve heard those stories about the pioneers using dried buffalo chips for fuel? It’s true. They did. I count my blessings every day.
I’ve become soft and spoiled. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, I usually won’t either. This year, it looks like a WARM Christmas. We LOVED warm Christmases when we were kids. We could take our new bikes, basketballs and lawn darts outdoors and STAY outside all day. That sure beats being cooped up with the old folks. In these days of “Helicopter Parents,” there are “Helicopter Kids” as well. Kids hang around mom and dad, hoping that the folks will do something to entertain them. (And the folks usually do …) We didn’t have that luxury, and we weren’t brave enough to get underfoot in any case. So take that BB gun out back and set up your target….. but don’t shoot your eye out, kid.
I love y’all. Happy Holidays. Celebrate as you see fit. Relax and have a good time for Christmas. DO NOT drink and drive! Promise?
Like my mom used to say, “Don’t kill yourself trying to have fun.” – Joe
RESIST – Last-minute shopping. It can get pretty grim out there.
EDITOR’S NOTE. Joe Baxter is one of my favorite people. He loves music, the Round Barn, his wife Jean, a club sandwich from Farmstead Cafe, Route 66 and America (not in that order). A songwriter and musician, he has a way with words and can turn a phrase such that you want to listen, or in this case, read for a while. If you are one of his “face friends” on social media, you know he can get you thinking with his posts and musings. He’s letting us post them here on The Luther Register! We’re trying something new. Find Joe at the Arcadia Round Barn where he is the head conversation aficionado catching stories from Route 66 travelers from all over the world, and getting the band together eight days a week! Thanks Ramblin’ Joe! ENJOY! – dawn