What a story I discovered yesterday, right here in Oklahoma, in far northwest Oklahoma to be exact, in the Alfalfa County seat town of Cherokee...
The world's most fantastic cake...and therefore, cake baker.
I drove 151 .7 miles from the house to attend the retirement reception for old friend Steve Booher, editor and publisher of the Cherokee Messenger and Republican.
Steve and I first met years ago, on the sidelines at Ringling, Oklahoma, covering the Waurika Eagles playing the Ringling Blue Devils. He was working for the Duncan Banner and I'd just started as part owner of the Waurika News-Democrat.
It was cold, perhaps with a hint of rain and sleet, I think I remember, and from those years, we've developed a warm friendship.
Steve has gone on to develop one of the best newspapers in Oklahoma, covering Cherokee and environs, population 1,500 in a county of less than 6,000.
People who think newspapers are dying, don't know much about the newspaper industry, especially community papers. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication and more to make a small town weekly survive, a special breed of people. Steve's one of those who has poured his talent and heart into it. He's also served as president of the Oklahoma Press Association, supported by the patience and tolerance of his wife Sonya.
So I had to go to this reception. When I walked in, he said something typical among friends: "I thought I told the police chief not to let you in town."
As I gravitated toward the refreshments in the rear, I saw this most fantastic cake in the world. Steve told me the cake is a specialty of a Cherokee homemaker, June McGee, who makes cakes that are as delicious as they look--usually the store bought ones look good and don't taste that way, we agreed. Then there is high school student Maci Starks who transfers an image to the top of the cake.
If you don't know, it's the image of Steve on a replica of the Cherokee newspaper's front page.
There was a come and go crowd, including friends and members of the press who drove in from Sallisaw, Enid, Clinton, Hennessey and Oklahoma City. I left before I got to taste the world's most fantastic cake (though it would have been a sin to slice it).
Then I found out Steve's diabetic and can't have the cake, so it was taken to the nursing home. Cakeless, I came away with a refreshed taste of friends, rural Oklahoma and her great people, that I just had to tell you about.
"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.