Friday, July 26, 2013

Bits & Pieces: Of frogs & men

Remember the 80s video game Frogger? You know, the one where the frog has to cross the road, avoiding traffic and other hazards.

Sometimes I feel like that frog.

Especially on days when I’m trying to cross Third Street to visit a business “on the other side” of the traffic divide.

It’s a bit frustrating to stand in the crosswalks and realize the “yield” signs are often pointless.

In the last three months, I’ve decided it’s best not to step out into the street unless the oncoming traffic begins to slow, as a sign the driver acknowledges your presence.

Frankly, being in the crosswalk doesn’t mean you won’t get hit.

I’ve often been halfway through the intersection, and while one lane of traffic is stopped, the other continues to plow right on through, regardless of the signs.

Tuesday was one of those days.

A Bernice police cruiser almost had a new hood ornament – and the driver a front-page story he might not have liked.

Yes, I was talking on my mobile – to my mom — but I was halfway through the intersection. I didn’t dart out in front of traffic. Fortunately, I realized with enough time to stop.

Honestly, I have better luck getting traffic to stop if I “jaywalk” across the street. Not my first choice, but sometimes it seems, better than the legal method.

I’m not sure what we need to do about the signs, and maybe life is better since ODT placed them on the highway.

But frankly, I’m growing tired of feeling like a frog waiting to be squished.

Giving Spirit

On a happier note, I’m quite impressed with the giving spirit I’ve seen present in Grove and Delaware County. On Tuesday, we told you about a fundraiser organized by a local law office for Auntie Em Henderson. Today, we have a story about one for Letha Fisher taking place on Aug. 8.

I love the way the community pulls together to help people in need. I think it’s one of the things that makes a small town shine.

Miss Oklahoma returns

I had a chance to visit with Miss Oklahoma Kelsey Griswold in advance of her visit to Grove on Saturday. She’s returning to help emcee the Miss Grand Lake Pageant.

You can read more about her in today’s issue. She’s quite impressive and a joy to talk with. One thing is for certain, in my mind at least, she’s going to shine at the Miss America pageant.

A “Save The Date” notice

The challenge has been issued. Saturday, Aug. 24 is the Second Annual “Guns and Hoses” blood drive.

That’s right, once again The Grove Sun, led by our own Samantha Edwards, has issued a challenge to the Grove Police and Fire Departments.

Which group can organize the most successful blood donors? Which department will prove the victor this year?

Will the fire department have a repeat win? Or will the police department rebound from the first year loss?

Keep posted. I’m sure we’ll have more to say as the day draws closer. We’re also cooking up a few things to make the challenge a bit of fun.

Have a suggestion on what the losing department (or chief) must do for the winner? Sam and I are taking suggestions. Fair warning. We plan to hold the loser accountable to the compete the challenge.

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 July 26, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun

Friday, July 19, 2013

Bits & Pieces: Gummy worms and Grove

“Did you really just post a question of the day on Facebook about gummy worms,” asked a co-worker with a mix of laughter and sarcasm in his voice. “Have you lost your mind?”

Nope. It was just another #QofD: on the Grove Sun’s Facebook page. As many will tell you, we try to mix up the topics used to create the #QofD — Question of the Day, for our non-hashtagging readers.

Sometimes we ask about serious topics, like today’s Facebook Feedback — related to the George Zimmerman trial, and other times, we ask about lighter topics, like “What do you do when you are bored” or “What books are in your summer reading pile.”

Ultimately, the #QofD: is simply designed to generate discussion about a variety of things.

And then, sometimes, you have a question about gummy worms, that leads to a bonus discovery about Grove.

Thanks to a few readers, we found out a local business (the Shiver Shack located in the Broadway parking lot) actually mixes gummy worms into its shaved ice treats.

Actually, you might just be surprised to learn what Renae Griffith tosses into some of the shaved ice creations at the shack.

Griffith shared some of her secrets for an upcoming #IAmGroveOk feature. Trust me, these aren’t your average shaved ice drinks!

Speaking of #IAmGroveOk, I hope you’ve been following our summertime series, which features people who make up the fabric of Grove.

This week, I stopped by a rehearsal of “Charlotte’s Web” at The Playmakers in Grove and sat down for a few moments with Charlotte, also known locally as Riley DuBois.

Riley is an interesting 13-year-old, and you can read more about her experiences with The Playmakers and life in this week’s #IAmGroveOk.

I’ll be honest, I’m having a blast finding people to profile. In fact, here’s a word of warning, I’m on the look out for additional victims, I mean, subjects to profile. You might be next on my list to call.

On a semi-serious note. I am looking for people to showcase what makes Grove great. If you have a suggestion, for an #IAmGroveOk feature, please email me at

For now, the series runs through Labor Day, but we as a staff have enjoyed it so much, it might just stay in the paper for the foreseeable future.

A look ahead

So I hear there’s a Bobber Drop, a Pelican Festival and more coming in the next few weeks. After three months, I think I’m starting to get into the swing of the “lake culture.” I still haven’t figured out a lot about bass fishing (I’m working on that), and I haven’t been noodling yet (another possible column), but life is certainly not boring here.

Before You Go

I was given a sneak peak Wednesday at the quilts on display at the “Artisans on Display” show, taking place this weekend at the Grove Community Building. You can get a taste of what’s there by looking at today’s Grand Lake Magazine.

Let me tell you, the pictures only show part of the story. I am amazed at the talent and creativity found within those quilts. If you have a chance to go to the show this weekend, check it out. It’s a beautiful display of fabric art. Truly artisans are on display in Grove.

Oh, and before I forget, Clint Walker is headed to St. Louis in the next few days to try out for NBC’s The Voice. His plan is to send me text updates about his adventures, so we can have a running blog on We’re still working out a few bugs, but hopefully fans back here in Oklahoma can experience his adventure one “tweet” at a time.

Well, that’s the bits and pieces for this week. Have a great weekend!

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 July 19, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bits & Pieces: Things We Say

The discussion started yesterday, when a Facebook friend posted the following statement “The mom sitting next to us just told her 4-year-old to ‘back that ass up’ so she could sunscreen him... I think we have a different approach to parenting.”

What followed was a flurry of posts, discussing the things we say, and teach children today.

I’ll admit, the conversation stuck with me.... and yes, the former children’s pastor’s soap box came out of storage.

Students listen to what adults say. Our message matters.

Think I’m being silly? Maybe not.

One Wednesday night, not so long ago, I had the following conversation with a group of “tweens” in my life.

I walked in to a room to the group of lovely fourth and fifth graders creating a list of “things Miss Kaylea says a lot.”

Yes, I even took a picture of the dry erase board — It was a great memory.

I confess. It’s true.

These sayings have crossed my lips multiple times. Let me translate the list for you.

In the room: please don’t run up and down the hallways (the choir is practicing down the hall).

Focus: let’s get back on task....your attention please.

Cop-A-Squat: (Blame this line on Pretty Woman) — come on, have a seat.

Where are Lucy and Delaney?: (insert other names) — sometimes girls go to the bathroom in pairs, or trios or more.....and disappear.

5 minutes till your mine: Ok, free time is over in five minutes — and then it’s time to get serious.

Be quiet: Um... have you ever tried to talk over a room of tween girls?

Circle up: Sometimes the only way to get them to focus is to have everyone sit in a circle.... which usually leads to the “focus and/or the “cop-a-squat” comment....

I can probably add to my list:

It’s all good.

Cool beans (and weenies).

No worries., but always feel free to ask. Thanks Cydni for this one.

Um do you want to live long and die of old age. Blame my mom for this one...a.k.a. are you sure you’re making the right choice right now?

It takes three nice things to make up for one mean/bad thing. Seriously, think about it. It’s true.

Hi, how are you?

Anything new and exciting happening in your world? (Anything you want to tell me, that I haven’t asked about?)

Let’s face it. I have a few “standard lines” in my arsenal.

While I say these things, I really hope the students within my sphere of influence really hear the following messages:

I love you.

I think you are amazing.

I know you can do great things.

God has an amazing plan for your life.

I have high expectations for you.

I care for you.

I will do anything for you.

You can always call me. If it involves bail, we’ll talk.

I’ll always be there for you — which also means I’ll go with you if you need to tell your folks something.

I hope they hear what I mean, along with what I say.

I would rather they hear those messages, filled with love, hope and respect, rather than “back that ass up.”

Somehow, I think that matters the most.

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 July 12, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun

Friday, July 5, 2013

Bits & Pieces: Living life thru music

I have a confession to make. I have an extremely eclectic taste in music.

Really. I do. Don’t believe me? Just pick up my iPod, and take a look.

In the last two months, I’ve purchased music from Katy Perry, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Audra Mae, Amy Grant, The Museum, Madonna and even the full soundtracks to Les Mis (the movie), Sister Act and Pitch Perfect.

Oh and this week, I bought my first Pistol Annies disc — much to the surprise and laughter of a few friends — and as I type this I have the Newsboys’ worship album playing in my ears.

I know, I know, random, crazy stuff fills the tracks on my iPod.

I listen to music as I write as a way to “tune out” the rest of the world. I also listen to it, to simply immerse myself into the sheer creativity it can spark in my life.

The right song can cause me to stop and worship, or help me work out frustrations. The music weaves through the ear buds and simply becomes a piece of what makes me, well, me.

There was a time, when I let other things fill my “brain.” I’ll admit right now, I’m a recovering NPR news and “Criminal Minds”/”Law and Order” junkie.

But now, instead of plugging into a visual escape, I plug in and escape into the melodies of my favorite musicians.

Does music inspire you? Make you think? Even challenge you?

I’m always looking for new artists to check out. That’s how I found Audra Mae, an Oklahoma singer, who happens to be the great-niece of Judy Garland. If you haven’t checked her out before, visit:, or at I love her “Little Red Wagon” track.

So what do you listen to? What’s your favorite tune? Have a suggestion for something I need to check out? Let me know at


In the last few weeks, we’ve been highlighting a few “regular” folks who work or live in Grove in our #iamgroveok feature. We’re always looking for victims (I mean suggestions) to interview for this fun project. Have a suggestion? Feel free to let me know by phone or email. We’re looking for regular people that help make the fabric of this community strong!

Celebrating life

Because of our early print schedule (due to the holiday) I’m actually typing this well before the City of Grove’s Independence Day celebration and all of the fun things that await on the fourth — Cajun Fest, Har-Ber Village’s activities and, of course, fireworks at Duck Creek.

It’s kind of nice to be back in a place where attending a “community-wide” event is the norm. I’m looking forward to snapping lots of pictures of fireworks, eating some (from what I hear) will be great Cajun food, and just experiencing a holiday weekend on Grand Lake. Remember, you can share your photos with us by tagging them #iamgroveok on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

I hope, it will also include a wee bit of down time, a good book and maybe a spot on the shoreline.

All in all though, I’m looking forward to simply celebrating, life, liberty and the pursuit of relaxation this weekend.

Hope you are having a fantastic Independence Day celebration. Be safe (I really don’t want to have to write about your exploits on Monday) and have fun!

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 July 5, 2013 issue of The Grove Sun.
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