Frederick has a Place in the World

Last week a group of friends (all from Frederick) and I went on vacation to Orange Beach, Alabama.  The drive took us about fourteen hours and we stayed on the beach for three days before stopping through New Orleans for a final day and night of adventure.

Throughout our travels we were awestricken by beaches, ocean water and the best seafood.  We thoroughly enjoyed tasting, seeing and doing things that were different from what we usually taste, see and do.  Every morning we woke up and sat on our balcony to stare at two sites: to the west was a beautiful beach front and to the east we saw a barge with lots of fishing boats and fishermen.

In New Orleans our time was short so after checking in to our very unique hotel, we explored the French Quarter and all the sites it had to offer.  Again the scenery was different from that which we grew up with.  Cajun food filled the air, bright colors covered the buildings and people of all walks of life gathered in the streets offering all sorts of talents and tricks for tips.

The next morning we woke up early and began our ten hour drive back home.  Throughout our trip we had journeyed through Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas.  We saw (for the first time) large green trees, winding roads and lots of bayous and swamps–though we never fully determined the difference between the two.

All of this site seeing and you would think we fell in love with a new part of the world.  We did.  But what shocked me happened just north of Decatur, Texas.  Outside of that city we finally saw the little bit of heaven that we all are proud to call home.  The entire car seemed to exhale with comfort as we drove into the flatlands, full with only cattle and crop.  All at once it became apparent to us why people raved about how flat our land was.  It was true, you could really see for miles and miles.  Just a few states before and we couldn’t even find a rest stop because of all the trees covering it up!  One girl even pointed out that although the beach had beautiful sunrises and sunsets, they came nowhere near to the beauty of an Oklahoma sky.

All this to say, that maybe all it takes is a fresh perspective to appreciate the beauty around you.  Frederick will never have a beach, we won’t have a superdome or a bayou (well, maybe after all this rain), but what we do have is beautiful.  I suspect that the rest of the world will in time come to appreciate what we have to offer, just as they do beaches, resorts and exotic restaurants.  Our only mission now is to keep the spirit of Southwest Oklahoma alive by caring on the things we are already doing, only with an added sense of peace and excitement.  Keep making us proud, Frederick, Oklahoma!

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We Appreciate Henniges

A few weeks ago I toured the Henniges plant with Ronnie Cross.  Henniges employs 300-350 people in our area.  The fact that this plant exists in Frederick, Oklahoma is a huge honor.  It is amazing to think that each new Chevy pick-up, lots of Cadillac’s and other types of cars are all made possible by a plant in Frederick.

Cross gave me the grand tour, explaining each process and method to me.  I saw the raw rubber that comes in to the plant from Iowa, turn into compressed, long rubber pieces, a process called “excursion.”  These long rubber pieces are formed to a specific part and that part is then taken to a place where they drill holes in it, add clips and color coating if needed.  These parts are then inspected, tested and eventually shipped out across the world.

As we walked throughout the plant I was impressed with the relationship Cross seemed to have with his employees.  He knew everyone by name and they knew him.  The workers all seemed to be happy and content doing their assigned tasks.  No one was over exhorted and the general atmosphere was chipper and relaxed.

Before my tour I had thought of the workers at Henniges as people who either liked working long, hard hours, or as people who weren’t interested in working at all.  After my tour, I see the workers of Henniges as very skilled individuals.  Consistent and detailed in the particular labor.  Their jobs fascinated me and gave me a sense of respect for the commitment these people have to excellence.  Besides that, how cool is it to say you work on projects that are distributed around the world, into thousands of cars daily?

We need to appreciate our Henniges employees more.  They work long hours without much interaction in the community.  As the chamber, we want to make sure these employees feel welcomed, loved and appreciated when they are inside the walls of our town.  What can we do to show respect to our neighbors at Henniges?  Surely everyone has a friend or relative who works at the plant.  Give them an encouraging word today.

Downtown Art, Etc.

There’s always something positive going on in Frederick.  We have so much to brag about.  Lately I think we’ve all prided ourselves in the awesome success of our local artist, Jenny Perry.  Jenny was featured at the State Capitol and has done a fabulous job of representing our community.

On May 5th, which was Jenny Perry Day in Frederick, I joined in the excitement and posted on Facebook that I was grateful for downtown artists like Jenny.  I mentioned that there were buildings full of opportunity for other aspiring artists who would like to have their own studio.

Much to my surprise, I had out of town friends commenting and messaging me within a matter of minutes.  Specifically two artist friends of mine were very interested in looking at our downtown area as a place for an art studio or art gallery.  I was so excited to see other people catching the vision.

Frederick has a funky downtown area.  We are fun and supportive and kooky.  Frederick has its own personality full of stories and history and random facts.  I am so proud of this.  I want everyone to see the potential that I see when I look out my office window.  Artists, musicians, restaurant owners?  Yes.  Let’s welcome them with open arms.

In fact, there may be some of you who have your own crazy idea or vision of what you could do in Frederick.  Maybe it’s a business idea or just a small improvement project.  Do it!  We waste too much time worrying about the details when sometimes we need to just jump in and do something.  Anything that betters our town is a good thing.  We need more brave souls to take ownership and pride in the town that they call home.

As a wise blogger told me last week, stop dreaming and start doing!

Tour Group from Tulsa

Last week we had the pleasure of hosting forty people from the Tulsa Historical Society as they toured our wonderful community.  The tour arrived in the late afternoon and started off by hearing the fascinating story of the Abernathy Boys and viewing their exhibit.  They then toured the rest of the Townsite Museum and bought lots of copies of “Bud & Me.”

After the Museum the tour group walked downtown to the Ramona Theatre where Dana Greer gave an excellent report over the history of the Ramona and how it has transformed over the years.  The group was fascinated with this and took lots of pictures and asked lots of questions.

After the Ramona the group shuffled east to the Grand Hotel where Simply Delectable served them an amazing pasta and soda bar.  They bragged and bragged on the food and left with a happy stomach.

I got the chance to mingle with many of these individuals.  They were amazed with what a town our size had to offer.  Many of them had never heard of Frederick before this trip, but after seeing a small part of what we had to offer, they promised they’d be back for more!  One man even asked about housing options in town.

The great thing about having tour groups in town is that it is a wonderful reminder of how much we have to offer.  Others love hearing our historical stories about the Abernathy Boys, The old Air Base, the Blue Room era, and lots more.  If you haven’t explored all of these local exhibits I encourage you to do so.  We have more to offer than meets the eye.

It’s easy to think that the big cities have it better than us.  Human nature is thinking the grass is always greener on the other side.  Sometimes we need to remember that there is a lot of rich heritage in our own back yard and it never hurts to discover or rediscover the wander of its beauty.