Athens Review, Athens, Texas


October 24, 2012

Leaving Athens, and swimmin’ back across the Red River

Athens — So I go shake up the Okies for a change, give you guys a rest from Art Lawler fatigue.

Seriously, I'm getting sick of the guy. He needs to transfer out of  state. Find somebody new to pick on.

Besides, they raised me in Oklahoma to be a handful. High time they took over the consequences.

It means I'll have to leave the Athens Daily Review, swim back across the Red River where I came from, and go to work for an old buddy, Gene Lehmann, in Ada, Indian Territory.

No, it's not you. We've been friends for nearly a dozen years. Don't you go blamin' yourself now.  OK, so a few times we disagreed. We got over it, right? Well I did, anyway. Stop holding grudges.

You're not seeing who I'm talking to, are you? Don't worry about it. He's just idle thought. Shows up every time I start ramblin'.

Anyway, I'm not leaving this paper because of any ill will. I love these folks. They put up with me. They understand me. I understand them.

I left them once before, and they welcomed me back. It's that kind of newspaper. Seriously. It doesn't hold grudges, even if you do.

There's magic in this newspaper that most of you civilians who don't live in ink barrels, wouldn't understand.

Jayson Larson, who should have been tarred and feathered for leaving and returning to the Review five times — count 'em, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 — still works here.

If he leaves again,  I've given orders for APD Chief Buddy Hill to arrest him on abandonment charges.

Enough is enough, son.

With me, it's different. I'm leaving mostly for some very personal reasons. My friends will clue you in, but this isn't the place.

I also had a generous offer from a close friend that almost seemed divinely inspired in its timing.

Anyway, I'm tired of doing angst. Weary of nuance. Bored with blather. I'm going to offer less unsolicited opinions, and I'm going to refrain from popping off at other people's expense. 

I may just swing at them, instead. They can't swing back at an elderly man can they?

No, just kiddin'. It's like our publisher, Lange Svehlak, says, “Just because you think it, doesn't mean you have to go there. You have a choice not to say anything.” He wasn't talking about me, of course.

In the end, “I guess we're all gonna be what we're gonna be, so what do you do with good ol' boys like me.”

Yes, I just plagiarized a Don Williams'  country song. I just gave him credit, too. Most of  my “deep” philosophical thinking comes from country music, anyway.

Theory: the cornier the country song, the closer it is to the truth.

On the remote chance that some few of you might actually look me up on the Internet, just Google the Ada News.  That's it. A no-frills, three-letter, two vowel, town with a no-nonsense banner for its newspaper.

Actually, I grew up in part, just a few miles from Ada. My mother and my sister, Leta, both graduated from East Central University in Ada on the same day. 

Their current president, Dr. John Hargrave, says ECU has the prettiest college campus in Oklahoma.

You can go to the bank on that one.

It's not unfamiliar territory, but to be honest, I'm pretty much starting over again after an absence of a half hundred years.

I do remember some things:

I was raised by a Methodist preacher, so I learned how to move every three years growing up in Oklahoma. My sister's ex-husband, also a preacher man near Ada, is still around the area, retired I believe.  I'll look him up when I get settled.

As for a boss, Gene and I have the same sick sense of humor, and our ideas about journalism are very close. We'll just do it his way. He's taller.

The guy can pick a fiddle, and cook a fair-to-midland steak. As a 47-percenter in good standing, I feel an entitlement to a T-bone (medium), soon as I get there.

OK, to stop all this ramblin' and be honest with you, I leave much sadder than before. I've got no real hometown, if it's not Athens. And let's face it – I didn't see this place until I was in my mid-to-late 50s.

So, if I get up there, and die for some strange reason like an irate reader strangling me, just bury a third of my ashes in Texas, a third in Oklahoma, and a third with my late daughter, Shari, up in Boise.

No pressure. God bless you. Gotta run.

P.S. All my friends at the paper just gave me a $150 gift certificate, and a card with chicken scratches I can't read to get me to leave town. The money should put enough gas in the U-Haul to get me as far as Ardmore.

I can hitch a ride on the back of a live chicken truck the rest of the way.

Thanks guys. I knew you loved me.

Art Lawler has been a Staff Writer for the Athens Daily Review.

Text Only
  • Wilson mug.JPG Rolling into something new

    She did it.
    My baby girl rolled over for the first time this past week while daddy and mommy were watching closely.
    As other major news broke across the county, watching my baby roll over for the first time was by far the biggest news of the week for me. Odd.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joe new mug.jpg Fanfare is a time to prepare for another season

    I love to see the talent our student athletes have across Henderson County. To know that each player puts in the blood, sweat and tears to play for a district championship and hopefully a state title is something special to see.
    Another great in the world of sports is a player who is retiring this season in New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
    Jeter once said, “There may be people who have more talent than you, but there's no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do — and I believe that.”

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • kathi New  copy.jpeg The greatest country in the world has hungry children

    No child should go hungry. We are the greatest country in the world, yet we have hungry children.
    An article I recently read said that if a child in school can't afford lunch, they will be given a sandwich and water. I was told the sandwich is cheese between two pieces of bread.
    I hope everyone realizes that is what they serve in the county jail. Not that I know this from personal experience. I was told from someone who did know from experience.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Hakuna Matata, what a wonderful phrase

    Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase.
    Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze.
    It means no worries for the rest of your days.
    It's our problem-free philosophy.
    Hakuna Matata!
    Congratulations, if you have watched the Lion King a couple of times you now have this song stuck in your head for the rest of the day.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg It was a week in the depth of heat, then cooler

    Sunday and Monday of this week have been very uncomfortable.  The air conditioner at our house has been down, and the temperature outside and in the house have been way up.
    Thank God for the blessing of the cool temperatures and the rain that fell on Tuesday, then on Wednesday.  It changed things just a little bit.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Time away is necessary for everyone

    I can remember as a kid writing essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.” As the years pass, and we are more in-tune with the workplace, those vacations get shorter and shorter.
    Do you ever have those days  when you just need a vacation? Sometimes you just need to get away.
    Taking time off work should be fun and rejuvenating. We all need a recharge every now and then. But vacations aren't what they use to be. We rarely disconnect ourselves from our jobs.

    July 12, 2014

  • Joe new mug.jpg Student athletes: Time to wake up and get to work

    Hey student athletes, it is about time for you to wake up and get to work.
    Your summer is coming to an end, and the early morning wake up calls for practices are right around the corner.
    I am talking to the football players, volleyball players, cross country kids, band members, drill team members and cheerleaders.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wilson mug.JPG Remember who you are

    Are you running so fast that you have forgotten why you started the race in the first place?
    Life moving at a blistering pace that it is tough to keep up?
    Maybe it is time to stop, take a deep look into the pool of water and remember. Remember who you are.
    On numerous occasions, I have had to do just that. Ironically, various movies have caused me to look inside.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jeff's mug.jpg CSUMC provided a memorable experience

    My wife Jean and I went to a very interesting, and what I consider a very unique event last Saturday night.
    I had heard that the church where we are members, Carroll Springs United Methodist Church, was having an event in which people sitting in the audience would sing their favorite hymns into a microphone.

    July 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rich mug.jpg Independence ultimately won on battlefield

    I always enjoy celebrating Independence Day, and hearing some of the stirring words written in the Declaration of Independence.
    Thomas Jefferson wrote that our Creator has given us certain rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The way I see it, if I have life and liberty, that gives me a pretty good start on the third one.
    But as eloquent as our founding fathers were, and how moving the texts they left behind, one fact can’t be overlooked. Our independence was ultimately won and secured on the battlefield.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

Biz Marquee
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp