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Donna's Journal
Respect for Barney Fife-March 2006

      The Murrah Building bombing was heavy on the hearts and minds of Oklahomans when it happened. Personally, I felt it was all a bad dream and that I would soon awaken to realize that tragedy wasn't real. Most of us watched the news religiously as each event unfolded. There were days for telling of each significant occurrence in the newspapers whether it was a live person uncovered, another body,  plight of the workers and anything else involved. Reporters as far away as New York city were covering the on going story.

    Then came the almost accidental capture of one of the culprits who did the dastardly act. A law officer from the small town of Perry apprehended the criminal to give a ticket for an unrelated breaking of the law on Interstate 35,  which is on one side of the town. Well, I could paint a picture of the town of Perry. The place may have a small population but that is the only thing to tie it to small town thinking. The town itself is squeaky clean. The schools are designed to look like they belong, both to the old,  and to some futuristic movement. There is old fashioned class and something akin to mysterious in how the townspeople treat a visitor. One feels much like a guest who has been entertained with genteel hospitality. I reiterate these short descriptions of culture in order to be able to present what happened with the story around the criminal's capture and to show how a bit of humor can be had, even with the worst of situations.

    Bold headlines, “Barney Fife Type Lawman From Perry, Oklahoma, Who Has a Gun and One Bullet Captures Murrah Building Bomber” or something to that effect.

    First there was a giggle, then a guffaw, but then, someone was insulted. “The nerve of some big city reporter making fun of our favorite comedienne, our lawman and our entire state!” 

    Well, to make a long story, short, nothing was ever heard again of the gentleman-reporter from the city. It was as if the earth had opened up and he simply fell into it.

        So,  as we go through the loss of one of our best loved entertainers here in the year of 2006, we of Oklahoma want to remember in a small way how,  unknowingly, his wit gave a small relief to our folks and he didn't even try or know he did it. Just the symbol of his fun loving skits was enough to bring a brief freedom from pain to the saddened hearts of by-standers.

    This poem came to me via the computer and I think this is a good place to save it:

    Humor is not just about telling, listening and laughing at jokes, although they too have their time and place.
 It is about perceiving and chuckling at the absurdities of everyday life.
    These absurdities can range from everyday hassles to real heartaches and even hard times.  Within each experience, there's something to laugh about.
    Next time you find yourself getting uptight, relax for  a minute and look for the lighter side.  There is always humor embedded in life experiences.  When you recognize it, it becomes so much easier to put life's  difficult times in perspective.

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