The Old Cowboy has been thinking more about…

The Old Cowboy has been thinking more about our move back to Seminole, Oklahoma. We were back among family and friends. Seminole and Ada, Oklahoma are only thrity-five miles apart so we had stayed in contact with many of our home town friends, so this move was a very easy one. For the next two years this was going to prove to be a very good experience. We too were about to purchase our first house.

Just to the south of our rental house across the drainage ditch was where Mr. Angel lived. I haven’t been able to remember his first name. He was a nice old man who lived alone then and walked just about every place, except when several of us stopped and picked him up. You could tell by talking with him he was lonely, his wife had died several years before and his kids had moved away. Then one day he announced he was moving back East to live with his daughter Jamie. Jamie Angel was a year older then I was and her borther Nigel had been in my class at Seminole High School, years before. When Mr. Angel made it known that the house was for sale Patty and I bought it. We then with a little help from the First National Bank owned our first home.

The house needed quite a bit of work, and it was a pretty good size house as well. To make a long story short Patty’s father Leon Davis and I got to work, and we spent a lot of hours working on that house, In the end it looked very nice and we moved in. This little experience gave me and Leon time to talk about the Bible, being an elder, and about city politics. Our friendship which was already strong grew even more. Years before when I had started hanging around his house and his youngest daughter and wanting to take her out on a date, we would talk. In fact if Patty and I were ever late going any place it was because Leon and I were talking. I also never brought her home on time and strick Leon Davis never said a word to me. Over the years I have come to realize that Leon Davis was the solid, sound and supportive male influence I had never had. It became clear that Leon had done his homework on this Coffman boy that his daughter was dating. From my point of view I had an older male to talk with that wasn’t going to spend his time cussing me. That was a very enjoyable experience.

I am going to save the early story of my involvement as a radio station General Manager and my experience as a Seminole City Council Member for another time.

An Old Cowboy thought to take a little…

An Old Cowboy thought to take a little of your thinking process time today. There are a lot of opportunities out there. The problem is they just don’t come with an “opportunity” sticky note on them. Neighbor, you have to take the time to pay attention to what’s going on around you. First though you have to be interested enough to pay attention.

The Old Cowboy has a quick observation for…

The Old Cowboy has a quick observation for you today. In all of my years in radio and as a business manager and owner I found that one of the hardest things to teach a salesman is to quit talking. A great many times a salesman will talk their way out of a sale. Robert Greenleaf put it this way; “many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.”

The Old Cowboy in June of 1977 moved…

The Old Cowboy in June of 1977 moved his young family to a rental house on Lincoln Street in Seminole, Oklahoma. Patty was still a stay at home mom and the kids were excited to be so close to both sets of grandparents. Much to the displeasure of some of the business owners in Wewoka, Oklahoma I was going to be the first General Manager of KWSH Radio not to live in Wewoka. The house we moved into was a fairly nice three bedroom house right across the street from Patty’s parents and two blocks from mine. Amy was a pretty and fun six year old, and that fall she would attend Woodrow Wilson Grade School where I had attended the first grade back in 1953. Shane was a three and a half year old and that little cowboy was full of energy. Shane had already shown a interest in song leaders and what they did each week. Even back in Ada when Shane was big enough to stand up in the pew he had started waving his arms and hands along with the song leader. Patty had to sit on the back row in the auditorium with the kids and I expect you can figure out why. Idus England was the preacher for the Seminole Church of Christ, and I have already told you a little about my friendship with him. He and Shane were going to be good friends. Idus is some where at or near 90 years old today, and he and I still talk from time to time. This was a very good time in our lives and we were enjoying life together.

KWSH-Radio was in kind of a mess and I had already found that my hands were going to be full for a while. At that point I just didn’t how short the time was going to be. Roy Judge who had given me my first job in radio had been the president of the little broadcasting company that owned KWSH in Wewoka and KADA in Ada. A few years earlier he had quit and they had sent the owners son to manage KWSH and he made a real mess of things, then they hired another character and he wasn’t much better. Jerry Spencer who had been my boss in Ada was now the president of the little company. I found out a few months later that I was to be the stations last chance.

Patty’s dad Leon Davis was the Personnel Manager at the local Blue Bell plant which was owned by the Wrangler Jeans folks. Leon by then had been a long time elder at the Seminole Church of Christ and was serving some where around his forth term on the Seminole City Council. He had never drawn an opponent in an election and was well liked in Seminole. Zelda Davis, Patty’s mom was the perfect elder’s and city councilmen’s wife. She was the bookkeeperfor B&L Electric who was owned by the father of one of the kids I had played high school football with. With a little help from Leon I soon met everyone connected with city government, and the Seminole Chamber of Commerce, and was instantly involved in the activities of the Seminole Church of Christ. I was about to start teaching my next group of high school students..

One of the men Leon introduced me to was Howard Roberts. I don’t remember what his official title with the City of Seminole was, however he was the head of the Operation Pride Program and the Keep Seminole Beautiful program which had won a national award the year before. My involvement with Howard Roberts will be a part of the next installment in this trip through life.

The Old Cowboy in 1975 through most of…

The Old Cowboy in 1975 through most of 1977 contiunued to do the early morning radio show at KADA-AM along with selling advertsiing. With the help of several very good Bible scholars I continued to sharpen my skills as a Bible class teacher, and looked for any opportunity to preach a little or do a devotional. Along the way I made friends with a couple of men from the Central Church of Christ across town and got to speak a few times at their East Central University Bible Chair. Along with that my friend in the ECU administration Office and I brought a couple more shows into the ECU Fieldhouse.

I continued my rodeo announcing around Ada and South Central and South Eastern Oklahoma and announced a couple of rodeos up around Oklahoma City for Elmer Anderson. I met a lot of other rodeo announcers and personalities along the way. I met people like Clem McSpaden the legendary voice of Pro Rodeo, and the writer of what is known as the Cowboy’s Prayer. Clem was a big voice and one of the officials of the National Finals Rodeo which at that time took place in the old Oklahoma State Fairgrounds Arena in Oklahooma City. Along the same time I took a trip to the International Finals Rodeo in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

I had met Jim Shoulders of Henryetta, Oklahoma several years brefore. Besides his well deserved reputation as a World Champion Cowboy, and rodeo stock contractor Jim was the owner of the legendary dark red bull Tornado. Back in 1967 Jim was furnishing a lot of the rough stock (bulls and horses) that appeared at the National Fiunals Rodeo. Tornado in 14 years had bucked off 200 bull riders and had the reputation as being the unrideable bull. That all ended on my birthday December 1, 1967, the Friday night performance at the N.F.R. Of all things a 46 year old cowboy from Soper Oklahoma by the name of Warren “Freckles” Brown drew Tornado. Eight seconds after Freckles Brown had said “Lets Ride” Tornado’s record of bucking off bull riders ended. In 1975 Freckles Brown was still a rodeo legend and I enjoyed having him on my radio show and announcing his appearance at several rodeos around the state. It was about that time too that I met Hadley Barrwett a PRCA announcer from North Platte, Nebraska. Hadley would a few years later help open the door for me to become a PRCA Rodeo Announcer and he and I would share a microphone at several rodeos.

During all of the years I lived in Ada and Picket, Oklahoma I was involved in the Pontotoc County Fair and became very involved in the activities of the 4-H program. I talked to them about public speaking, radio and rodeo announcing, and announced a bunch of their events. It was one of the most enjoyable things I involved myself in. I became good friends with the kids and their parents, and yes I saw some of them on Sunday’s and Wednesday nights as well. Then on Monday night October 11th, 1976 the kids and their parents and the 4-H leaders told me how much they appreciated what I had been doing. I was presented with an Oklahoma Friend of 4-H Award, and on it it said “In recognition of Outstanding Contributions to Oklahoma 4-H Programs.” Now that took me totally by surprise, and I really appreciated that award. Along about the same time one of the 4-H boys came to the radio station with his mom and gave me a plaster Cowboy holding a sadddle he had taken a lot of care to paint. That cowboy has sat on my desk ever since, as a reminder of some great young 4-H friends.

Near the end of June in 1977 our lives would begin to really change. On Thursday June 30th, 1977 the Wewoka Daily Times published an article on the Front Page under the heading “New Radio Manager Named.” I had been asked to return to KWSH-AM Radio as the General Manager where I had started my radio carrier not many years before. The Coffman family’s move to Seminole, Oklahoma and the next chapter in this journey is the next story.

The Old Cowboy had a little time to…

The Old Cowboy had a little time to think just a bit more about the experiences Patty the kids and I had while living at Picket, Oklahoma. As I have alluded to through all of this we made a lot of friends. We all played together, cired together, and worshiped God and studied the Bible together. Our kids all played together. There were a lot of discussions about Bible lessons too. The elders and my preacher friend Tom Wacaster taught a special series of lessons from time to time. At the moment I don’t remember what the year was, but it wasn’t long after we had moved to Picket that the Southwest congregation played host to the Brecheen/Faulkner Marriage Enrichment Seminar. Now that was a good weekend, and being able to talk with Carl Brecheen and Paul Faulkner in person was a treat. I have many times thought if Patty and I had experienced another round of that seminar about thirty years later, maybe things would have turned out better.

To fill in a couple of blanks in what I have written thus far, and to help lay the groundwork for a couple of personal comments, I offer a comment about an uncomfortable subject. While growing up in Seminole, I grew up in a very racially prejudiced home. If you weren’t white, well you were talked about rather harshly by especially my father. He didn’t make any exceptions, simply put it didn’t much mater if you were African American, American Indian or even Jewish or anything else for that matter. I bring that up because the issue is going to rear it’s ugly head through out my life, right up to today. At home I learnd all of the ignorant words that a person could spew out of their mouth. There too was quite a contrast between home life and what I experienced at school. We kids pretty well didn’t care what color your hide happened to be, it was all in how you acted. Unless you got into one of the larger cities at that time, for the most part the white church congregations were white, and the black congregations where black, and for the various folks with an American Indian heritage they stayed in their own tribal groups or attended where they felt welcome. If you are getting the point, all of this included the Church of Christ.

Shortly after I got my announcers card for the International Rodeo Association, I figured out that I wasn’t going to make much money if all I did was announce rodeos for the Burk Rodeo Company. I then started calling all the other rodeo stock contractors around the state. It didn’t take long and I made friends with Elmer Anderson the owner of the Circle A Rodeo Company in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Elmer was a true to life Oklahoma black cowboy, a cowboy right to the bone and a very good businessman. I would learn a great deal about being a rodeo announcer from Elmer, and even more about people. You see, Elmer didn’t have time for and didn’t put up with racial attitudes on either side of the issue. He would give me little hints about how to approach certain cowboys, and I never heard about any problems. I do remember anouncing some great rodeos. Elmer is one of the real cowboys that I really miss sitting down with today.

I think the story about our time in Ada and Picket, Oklahome is about told at this point. I’ll likely drift back from time to time I expect, these were special days in my life. Next is going to be a move back home to Seminole, Oklahoma, then Atoka, Oklahoma and on to Omaha, Nebraska where this story gets real interesting.

The Old Cowboy thought we should take a…

The Old Cowboy thought we should take a moment and look at the Coffman familie’s return to the Southwest Church of Christ in Ada, Oklahoma. On Sunday morning we got in the car and headed back to the Southwest Church of Christ building and pretty well picked up where we left off. The big difference was another member was teaching my high school Bible class. Patty and I had the opportunity to sit together in an adult Bible Class and learn from some great teachers together. Every now and then I had the opportunity to teach that high school Bible class and I taught a couple of adult classes too. I also seemed to spend a little more time down front each Sunday morning learning how to do everyting. My friend Tom, now the preacher still involved me in some of his one-on-one Bible studies with folks, and some were baptized. It wasn’t until a few years later it really struck me what Tom had been teaching me. I was learning how to conduct one-on-one Bible studies with folks, and I learned to answer some of those harder questions people will ask sitting at the kitchen table, and not in Bible class. Along with those lessons Patty and I were spending more time with friends in the church. Many of those friendships we made way back in the 1970’s I still enjoy today. Many are friends on Facebook along with their kids, and even some of their grandkids.

As a radio station time salesman I was meeting all kinds of folks with all kinds of religious backgrounds. One of our young announcers was a Mormon, and a couple of the kids that had “elder” on their name tags would hang around some. They finally got to where they would walk around the building so they didn’t have to walk by my office. They learned I had read all of their books and I asked questions they couldn’t answer.
On Saurday mornings I had a guy who came and took an hour of my show, and I have not been able to find his name. He was the preacher for the Freewill Baptist Church and the lead singer for the Ministers Quartet. I learned a lot from him and he and I had some very interesting conversations. Neither one of us ever backed down. Likely the most interesting pair of folks I met were Ted and Tommy Hudson, the owners of Hudson’s Furniture. Tommy best I remember was a Southern Baptist and Ted was one of the leaders of a very ultra conservative Church of Christ. Ted and I locked horns several times over various things. Mostly because we had been baptized the same way and for the same reasons and he refused to consider me his brother in Christ. He would get to where he would ask me why I didn’t come and worship with them. I went a couple of times, and I didn’t find any of the differences anyting to argue about. I would then invite him to come worship with us and he would get upset and say no. So I quit asking him. In reality we were friends and he played in a Bluegrass Band and would invite me to come hear them play, and they were pretty good. When all of the bluegrass bands would gather in the East Central University auditorium for a show, I would go emcee it.

I was learning a lot about people while I was involved in all of this. There is more to tell about my radio and rodeo experiences, and about our next move that would totally take us away from Ada, Oklahoma and finally to Omaha, Nebraska. Those stories are for another day.