Friday, June 28, 2013

Bits & Pieces: Snapshots of life in Grove

When I interviewed for the job as managing editor of The Grove Sun, the folks answering questions talked about the "lake lifestyle" that gives Grove a bit of its rhythm.

I'm going to be honest. Either I didn't ask the right questions, or it never fully sunk in.

People in Grove (including Grand Lakers) like to party. A lot.

Frankly, I feel like a newbie when it comes to all of the action taking place around the lake—including all of the stuff centering around Independence Day (you can see a complete listing of the fun inside today's Grand Lake Magazine.)

Life certainly isn't boring, when you live on Grand Lake. Here are a few things I've been up to in the last few days.

The Lobsters are here!

Who knew that people would get excited over a UPS delivery truck (and driver). But excitement abounded last Thursday as more than 400 lobsters and 4,000 clams arrived from Rockport, Maine.

It was all for the annual Rotary Club of Grove's Lobsterfest.

That fundraiser, is unlike any I've attended in the past. Forget fancy duds and party shoes. Most were in casual "lake attire" and ready to party—and raise money for some worthwhile organizations.

It was a fun event to cover and attend. I'll admit it was the first time I've eaten an actual, straight from the shell lobster (because I'm pretty sure lobster at Red Lobster doesn't count). Thanks to my table-mates who a) put up with the girl who "pogos" - aka gets up to take pics throughout an event, and b) helped me figure out how to solve the "how to eat" a lobster dilemma. Y'all were true sports, and I appreciate your patience.

While the grand total of what was raised is still being tabulated, I saw first hand how this community can pull together for a good cause (and have a lot of fun doing it.)

Meeting Clint Walker

Put the word out that you're trying to find a local musician, and the next thing you know, you're invited to a CD release party.

That's how I spent Saturday. Stalking (I mean tracking) Clint Walker down through his Facebook page, and then landing an invite to the CD launch party hosted by Susie and Ray Holden.

I got a preview of Clint's musical style. He's performing both at the City of Grove's Independence Day Celebration on July 3 and at the Grand Lake Festival's Cajun Fest on July 4.

I also had a chance to take some of the firework photos you'll find in today's Grand Lake Magazine. I only had to "text a friend" once (think of it as today's version of "phone a friend" to get some last-minute tips.

The party was still going strong as I left (two nights of events wore me out), but it was certainly a blast.

We'll have a bit more about Clint, his new release, and the other artists taking part in both of those musical events in Tuesday's paper.

All things lake.

I can tell that I live on a lake, because well, I can't remember the last time I wore a real pair of shoes.

My flip flops (albeit the sparkly kind) seem to be a permanent fixture on my feet and I have the shoe version of a "farmer's tan" to prove it.

I'm in search of a great place to get a pedicure (a guilty pleasure at times). Anyone have a good recommendation?

I'm also finding myself wanting to learn more about noodling thanks to Colby Morrow. Frankly though, I'm still trying to figure out why someone would voluntarily stick her hand into a dark hole, hoping a catfish will bite.

That story, my friends, I'm sure will be continued.....

Kaylea M. Hutson is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. She can be reached at or 918-786-2228. This column originally appeared in the June 28, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bits & Pieces: Empowering Moments

I stood in the hallway at the Oklahoma Press Association convention last weekend and listened as a fellow journalist apologized to a group of college students.

They had just come out of a roundtable discussion, designed to give “veteran” journalists a chance to share nuggets of wisdom with the next generation.

My colleague apologized for the tone of the discussion, which he said sounded like “you young whippersnappers, this is how.....”

I shook my head, frustrated at, yet again, how some adults write off today’s youth and young adults with one general statement.

Yes, I know there are a few bad “apples” in every generation; students who make unwise choices, which lead to unfortunate consequences.

But then you hear about a group of students who choose to make a difference. Who chose to be leaders rather than followers.

This week, I was inspired and challenged by the group of senior high youth representing the Central Texas Conference of The United Methodist Church.

The 70+ students and adult sponsors are in Grove this week lending a hand to neighbors in need.

Some are working on roofs, cleaning gutters, while others are digging holes and building wheelchair ramps.

Regardless of the weather, the students (who range in age from rising ninth grade to recent high school graduates) are working together as a team to make a difference.

Instead of staying home, watching hours of TV or hanging out with friends at the mall, these students are instead choosing to work. Remember Monday’s stormy weather? They were out in it, working. Their leaders said they actually finished more than two-thirds of the planned projects on the first day, despite the steady rain.

Personally, I think it’s pretty cool.

On a side note, I also think it’s cool that First UMC-Grove stepped in when asked and became a “living center” site for the work team.

As someone who has taken students on trips like this, sometimes hosting is, well, a wee bit stressful—especially when you have a leader set off the building’s alarm, causing a visit from the town’s finest, to make sure you are really supposed to be there. (For the record, it wasn’t my fault: painters had covered a sensor earlier in the day. But boy, did it make for a great “memory” for the kids on the trip.)

Kudos to the church for stepping up and showing some of the famous “Grove hospitality” I keep witnessing around town.

Think the Texas students are a one-time occurrence? Think again.

On Monday, a group of young adults connected with Bike and Build rolled through town, on their way to Bartlesville. The crew left North Carolina on May 17, stopping at various points along the way working with affordable housing agencies like Habitat for Humanity.

The bikers planned to work Tuesday and Wednesday in Bartlesville, before hitting the road again, angling toward their July 23 arrival in San Diego, Calif.

Forget the expense of biking across country for 10 weeks, each participant also had to raise $4,500 to help fund the work of Bike and Build.

But that’s still not the end.

As you read this on Friday, a group of Free Will Baptist students from North Carolina are planning to spend most of the day at the Christian Help Center cleaning, organizing and defrosting freezers.

Just what you wanted to do on a Friday during the summer, right?

Here’s to a new generation of students, willing to roll up their sleeves, git dirty and make a difference. May your inspiration and sweat equity cause ripple effects far beyond your wildest dreams.

Kaylea M. Hutson is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. She can be reached at or 918-786-2228. This column originally appeared in the June 21, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bits & Pieces: Happy Father's Day

Sunday is Father’s Day. Have you bought your card yet?

Thinking about the “all things dad” day has made me stop to ponder how important dads are in a child’s life.

It also got me thinking about “dad-isms” – you know those sayings that your dad says all of the time.

Like: “I brought you into this world, I can take you out of it,” – Bill Cosby to Theo on The Cosby Show, or “Happy, Happy, Happy” – Phil Robertson – Duck Dynasty.

This week, I asked our Facebook followers in a question of the day to share “the best piece of advice their dad gave them.”

Kind of like this other gem from Robertson: “I want my grandkids to grow up in the great outdoors. The last thing I want is for them to grow up to be nerds.”

So does your dad have any favorite sayings? Here’s what our readers told us:

“If you’re running late, never speed or rush to get to where you’re going. Don’t endanger yourself or anyone else. Late is late.”- Sarah Lovelady.

“Trust God,” – Lore Swingle.

“I use to hate it but as I’ve grown older I guess it really does make sense in this world today--”pay as you go and you will never owe.” – Melody Casper.

“If someone has made u mad, they are controlling you! Chances are they do not care that u are mad, so why waste your time being mad at them,” — Jessica Ross Helmer.

“Always do your very best at everything you do,” – Natasha Hartley Arnall.

Pretty good advice, if you ask me.

All of the answers made me think about the things my dad uttered in my ears – especially as we would get up to milk in the morning.

I will also admit, the many of the sayings or phrases now spill out of my mouth – much to the delight of the students I often work with.

Like: “Morning comes awfully early,” – Dad’s favorite saying for when I would want to stay up late (knowing that the chores would be waiting the next morning, even if I wanted to sleep in).

But some of dad’s wisdom didn’t come in the form of “isms” but instead came as I walked alongside him, working on the farm and just being part of his life.

Lessons related to integrity, honesty and trustworthiness; or about working hard and always doing your best.

It makes me want to stop today to just say thank you. So since I’m a lousy card buyer, I guess this will have to do.

Dad, thank you for everything you taught me, shared with me and helped make me who I am today.

Thanks for teaching me about the value of hard work and for being willing to help me move (yes lots of times) since graduate school.

Thanks for putting up with me, for supporting me all of these year, for being a quiet witness with your faith and for loving me even when I do stupid things.

So maybe this weekend, instead of buying a card, tie or tool, take a few minutes to call, text or email your dad. Make sure he knows his importance in your life

Kaylea M. Hutson is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. She can be reached at or 918-786-2228. This column originally appeared in the June 14, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bits & Pieces: An 'F4' Week

So what are you doing next week?

As I tried to describe my new life in Grove, and the things I’d be doing during my “F4” week, my friend just looked at me and said “well, life certainly isn’t boring for you.” Nope. Life is not boring in Grove!


I can safely say, in the last week, I’ve learned more about professional fishing, than I ever imagined.

I’m still not sure the differences between a bass, crappie and trout – but hey, I can appreciate the passion and dedication the guys have for this sport.

Thanks for baring with the newbie. I’m looking forward to learning more about fish – and everything that the sport entails.


You probably have to live under a rock not to know about the American Heritage Music Festival taking place this weekend in Grove.

Obviously, this one is my first. I’ve had a blast talking with Jana Jae about the event, and talking with musicians who will be part of the experience.

I’ll admit I have an eclectic taste in music – and one of my favorite soundtracks is from the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou” – so I’m looking forward to slipping out to the activities at Snider Camp to just listen to some fun music.


This week I had a chance to interview a really sweet guy, Clancy Davis, who is is headlining a benefit concert for CAAIR of Jay.

Davis just happens to have a famous cousin, Blake Shelton, who tweeted support for the concert to all of his fans.

Davis not only impressed me with his faith – and how it’s helping him turn his life around – I got a few fun stories about Shelton and Miranda Lambert. He even laughed when I admitted I only had one of Lambert’s CD’s, didn’t own any of Shelton’s stuff – for the record, I am buying one this week!

Davis has a few more months before he graduates from CAAIR, and he’s looking forward to a new future. I have a feeling that God has a plan for his life – and we’ll probably be hearing more from him.


I’ll have one last first this weekend. I have a chance to cover the Miss Oklahoma pageant in Tulsa.

I can honestly say, I while I never expected to have this opportunity, I am getting a wee bit excited.

I’ve been getting to know Miss Grand Lake, Bailey Chambers, this week as she has been texting updates about her experiences at the pageant.

I’m looking forward to seeing her shine on Saturday night. She’s another young person I’ve meet this week that I suspect we’ll be hearing more about in the future.

Fish, Fiddles, Faith, Flowers – It’s just another week in the life of a small-town editor.

Life is not boring on Grand Lake. In fact, I suspect, this is just the beginning of a “Grand” summer.

Enjoy the bits and pieces of life – until next week!

Kaylea M. Hutson is the managing editor of The Grove Sun. She can be reached at or 918-786-2228. This column originally appeared in the June 7, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun.
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