Claremore Daily Progress

May 1, 2011

The Phone Call

Larry Larkin
Special to the Progress

CLAREMORE — Hello. Is that you, Clem? Sure glad you called. I heard you had moved back and I’ve been aiming to look you up.

Sure, we are still in the same place. All the kids have moved out and have their own families now.  It’s just Ma and me, but it seems the house is always full on the weekends. None of them can get far away from their mother’s cooking.

How have you and the Mrs. getting along?

That’s good. This getting old is no simple matter is it?

Say, I guess by now you have heard they are going to tear the old courthouse down and build a new one.

Yes I know that too, but the commissioners think we need a bigger and more modern building.  Reckon most of the younger folks around here believe the same.  

Sure. There was a vote last spring and it passed by a good margin, almost four to one.

You know, Clem, that courthouse holds a lot of memories for me. It is just a little older than I am.  

The first time I can remember coming to town we went to the courthouse. I guess I was around four or five. Later I remember coming every Saturday. The womenfolk would do their shopping and the men would gather there on the north side of the building. All the kids played tag around those oak trees.

The Fourth of July was always the best. You were there. You know what I mean. They would bring in hay bales and have a trailer or some type of stage for the politicians. We would eat watermelon all day and shoot off firecrackers.

Looking back, that courthouse has played an important role in my life. I went there countless times with Dad, but the first time for my personal business was when Mary and I got our marriage licenses.  We were both scared to death, but there was no stopping us.

Paid my first taxes there, too. They didn’t amount to much, but still it made me proud to do it.

Later we obtained the birth licenses for each of the kids as they came along. That’s right, we had five total. Bobby was the oldest, but we lost him in the War when he was only 19.  

It was at the courthouse parking lot where a memorial service was held for him and the others who didn’t come back.

Clem, I don’t really know. The newspaper said workers would probably start tearing it down some time next month. It must be leveled and removed before the next one goes up.

Yeah, the sheriff and county clerk and all the rest are going to room to different locations. It is going to be a mess during the switch, but someone said in the name of progress it will be worth it.

I don’t know about the trees. In the pictures I saw it looks like the building will come all the way out to the street. You would think room would need to be left for sidewalks, though. The only thing we can do is wait and see.

You coming to town this Saturday? A few of us old-timers still get together at times to play checkers and spin tales. I guess we will continue to meet at the courthouse for as long as we can.  After that, we need to find another location. Surely there will be some place for us.

Thanks for calling, Clem. It’s sure good talking to you again. You take care now and I’ll see you Saturday.

Okay, Clem. You too. Good bye.

(Years ago popular country performer Faron Young released a single recording of a phone call on the same subject. While the words here are different, the main theme remains. Our current courthouse will also be replaced. In honor of its countless memories, and giving full credit to Mr. Young, I hope readers enjoy today’s column…LL)