By Sharon Stevens

As I am writing this tomorrow will celebrate the 4th of July. Amazing that it comes around every year at the same time of the month, year after year. Each cycle falls on a different day, but the meaning is the same regardless whether it occurs during a week day or weekend. Red, white and blue are the same colors through centuries and generations. Uncle Sam never ages.

I read General Colin Powell’s Fourth of July wish, and was caught by something he wrote. “Wishing you all a safe and happy 4th of July as we once again celebrate the MIRACLE of our democracy, and the WISDOM of our founding fathers.

Miracle…Wisdom…Two words that you wouldn’t associate with fireworks and festivities. But then again these expressions are the perfect reminder of why we celebrate our American Flag and our Freedom. I was rereading the Bill of Rights and Constitution and Declaration of Independence, and by jove, these are miracles. When you think of what it took for a group of men to come together for the Common Good, and then to write the first draft, and the second, and the third until they got it right, you can appreciate what a miracle this truly is. These people left the comforts of their home and the love of their families to travel, and then to argue together to find the wisdom shared together. This must have been monumental even for them. I can’t imagine the fireworks of these spirited souls.

Tomorrow I will watch the parade from the vantage point of our local business, the Buffalo Bookstore, surrounded by friends, neighbors, family, tourists, visitors, WTAMU students, and everyone in the community. There is no doubt in my mind that I will cherish the MIRACLE that is my Freedom, and treasure the memory of the WISDOM of the founding fathers.

As a writer, AND as a citizen, they are NEVER just words to me.

I can’t leave this blog post without celebrating the life of Margaret and Ples Harper, and Margaret and William Moore, the founders of the musical drama TEXAS. Both of these families were veterans of World War II and professors at WTSU, now WTAMU. Margaret Harper read an article about Paul Green in the July 1960 edition of Reader’s Digest. She invited the Moore’s over for supper and they discussed if it would be possible to do an outdoor drama in Palo Duro Canyon. They decided to write to Green and ask him to come to see what he could do. The date of the original letter was July 3rd 1960. I can only imagine the pageantry that they were anticipating as Canyon prepared for the next day festivities. They must have agonized over their correspondence until the mail went out after the fourth. I wonder what date Paul Green received this simple note at his mailbox, and if he knew where Canyon Texas was?

Truly a MIRACLE any way you look at it!

Happy July 4th everyone. Celebrate family and community, please be safe!



By Sharon Stevens


“The only hope is at home.”

Matt Laur

Recently on a trek out of town my husband and I stopped at a convenience store in Clayton New Mexico. As always I picked up the local newspaper and came across an article from fifty years ago dated October 3, 1962.

Operators of the local telephone company quickly rushed Mrs. Brown, and Jeanine Brown, sister of Charles G. Brown, to the R.E.A. office. On three extension phones the family had a fine time visiting for 22 minutes with Charles, stationed 450 miles north of Tokyo on the Korean front lines. Charge for the 22-minute (phone) conversation was $88 plus taxes, which made for the total of $105.60. The Browns think it was worth it.  

Without a doubt I know what transpired. When the call came in one of the office workers was sent on a mission to locate Mrs. Brown and Jeanine. They may have been at the dry good store, the soda or the beauty shop or any of the other shopping opportunities. Wherever they roamed in town someone was able to find, and then rush them to the office for the long distance chat with a loved one so far away.

Oh the wonder and beauty of small town life!

Today at the Buffalo Bookstore Connor Woods, a young WTAMU student on staff with The Prairie came in researching information about local authors and writers. Within minutes we had pulled articles and books from the entire panhandle area and shared the rich treasury that surrounds us.

This reminded me of the time when I was working on our heritage project fifteen years ago. I had visited with LaRae Scott at the Canyon Public Library. Within the hour she had pulled over 300 sites so that I could link to the research I was interested in.

As writers we can visit with anyone at any time about some facet of our story. There will be someone, somewhere that can connect us further or lead us in the right direction. Every person at our public, college, or museum libraries will guide us with the information not only at their fingertips, but also within their heart. Many have a passion that just cries for expression.

This week celebrates the release thirty years ago of Steven Spielburg’s, “E.T.” and Elliot’s ride across the moonlit sky so the Extra Terrestrial could PHONE HOME. I wonder if it would have taken E.T. so long to get to his destination if they had visited a local librarian and researched how to call his family. How much would it have been worth if they enlisted the help of someone knowledgeable.

And a reminder that we will be celebrating Homecoming week for WTAMU. The theme for this year is COME HOME and reminds alumni and community alike to return to gather together on behalf of our college and its rich heritage and legacy.

Come enjoy the Homecoming parade, Fair on the Square and all the festivities Canyon has to offer. It will be well worth it. After all, we are already Home.