Friday, March 14, 2014

Bits & Pieces: Road trip with the GLA

Pvt. Edwards with the Oklahoma State Capital in the background.
Wednesday I had the opportunity to travel to the state capitol with members of the Grand Lake Association.

Organized by Tad Jones, executive director of the GLA, and members of its boards, the trip was designed to provide legislators with the new Grand Lake Visitor's guide and invite them to attend this summer's legislative event hosted by Grand Lake Area legislators.

Because life happens, by the time our group left Grove on Wednesday we had dwindled down to four: Jones, myself, Ray Claggett (from Bank of Grove) and Dave Claggett (local businessman). Mike Williams (from Shangri-La) and Greg Mitchell (with NE Career Tech) met us in OKC.
With the Grand Lake Association members (from left) Greg Mitchell, 
Ray Claggett, Tad Jones, Sen. Wayne Shaw and Dave Claggett. 
Not pictured: Mike Williams.
Before I go any further, I must confess. I'm slightly a political junkie. Blame the minor in political science or a long-ago goal to become the next Woodward and Bernstein (which just officially aged myself to readers). There's something about political journalism that gets your heart going.

So, I knew going in, the trip would be interesting at least from a political standpoint. It was also intriguing to see "the other side" or the "lobbying" side of politics.

Jones is a great asset to have for the GLA. You can tell as he walks the halls that his former colleagues on both sides of the capitol hold him in high regards. If anything, his presence provides Grand Lake (and Grove) with a positive voice amid the chaos of the political climate.

The trip gave me a chance to meet several people I've been in contact with by phone or email. It also gave me a crash course in Oklahoma politics.

The other part of the trip, well, was spent having a bit of fun for the kindergarteners at the Grove Early Childhood Center.

We took along "Pvt. Edwards" created by Jaden Edwards, a member of the Grove Sun family. The little soldier is part of the Flat Stanley project now taking place at the Grove Early Childhood Center.
Pvt. Edwards hanging out in the Oklahoma Senate Chamber. 
Pvt. Edwards visiting the Oklahoma House Chamber.
Throughout the day, "Pvt. Edwards" kept popping up, taking photos with legislators and appearing in both the house and senate chambers. A few photos ended up on the Grove Sun's Facebook page during the trip and were shared in real time with students thanks to ECC Principal Julie Bloss.

Others will appear in a collage that will be given to Jaden's class, documenting the little soldier's adventures.
Pvt. Edwards with (from left) Sen. Charles Wyrick, Sen. Wayne Shaw, 
Rep. Doug Cox and Secretary of State Chris Benge.

Hanging out with Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb under the rotunda.

One of the highlights of the trip turned into a slight "bucket list" moment for me. On the way home from OKC, Jones took us to Pops in Arcadia, Okla.

Checking out Pops in Arcadia, Okla. (From left, clockwise) In front of the landmark pop bottle in front of the building, Pvt. Edwards with an assortment of soda bottles and Ray Claggett posing with Edwards.
(A true "bucket list trip" for me would include traveling on Route 66, taking in stops off the beaten track worth discovering.)

Pops - a soda ranch on Route 66 - is an experience all in itself. With more than 600 kinds of soda in glass bottles, it was so much fun to scan the shelves to see what random soda we could find.

We each ended up filling a "souvenir" six-pack with bottles: I found a key lime pie soda, Cheerwine (a cherry drink), ginger beer, a huckleberry soda, white peach drink and a Grape Nehi (think Radar from MASH).

It was a sweet treat and a fun addition to the "Flat Stanley" project. Thanks to everyone who made it possible.

Have a happy Spring Break next week. As you capture memories next week, check out - we plan to launch a "Spring Break" photo contest - to give readers a chance to share "tasteful" (lol) photos of their spring break adventures. Stay tuned!

Editor's Note: This was originally published in the March 14, 2014 issue of The Grove Sun.

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