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January 2, 1996

The community owes a debt of thanks to all those citizens who took the time, trouble and expense of putting up elaborate, lighted Christmas decorations for all of us to enjoy. Virtually every neighborhood throughout the residential area had many attractive displays that helped make the holiday even brighter than usual. And the business district had its own collection of seasonal baubles and lights to go with this. Many churches also contributed meaningful Christmas decorations. Special thanks to the folks at the First Christian church for continuing with their traditional living nativity scene despite the best efforts of those unthinking hooligans who tried more than once to destroy the setting. Why do you suppose anyone would try something like that in this proud little city where we care so much about one another? It has to be an aberration.

I did hear some disappointment expressed by local families who drove their visitors around town to show off the decorations this past week, only to discover that most of the displays were not turned on after Christmas day. Don't the contest rules require that they remain lighted until Dec. 31? Oh well, enough of the bah humbug. Our town was beautiful at Christmastime.

Gen. Colin Powell says he doesn't have "the fire in the belly" for a run at the presidency next year. I have a friend with a chili recipe that could light a flame for him, if he would like to give it a try.

OU made a popular choice when it hired John Blake as the Sooners' next football coach. At the televised press conference when the announcement was made official Sunday afternoon, Blake came across as a very likable, appreciative and emotional young man. He'll have a handicap in recruiting because of his commitment as a defensive coach of the Dallas Cowboys in their playoff quest for a Super Bowl berth. Coach Blake has a lot going for him as he starts this new phase of his career, so we wish him luck. Perhaps he will get better treatment from the print and electronic media representatives than did his predecessor, Howard Schnellenberger. As I recall, the old Kentucky Colonel enjoyed a very brief honeymoon after his hiring one year ago, then the sportswriters and broadcasters began fanning the flames of discontent that ultimately helped clear the way for his dismissal, or resignation, whichever came first. Of course, his 5-5-1 record helped in that respect, too. But no one was interested in giving him more time to prove himself.

Glenn Yahn used the letter accompanying his clever Christmas card to make note of the fact that OSU beat the Sooners 12-0 this past season. That was in about the first paragraph. Then he commented that since his recent "early retirement" he keeps hearing that one of the signs of growing older is a tendency to repeat one's self. "And by the way," he adds, repeating himself, "did I mention that OSU beat the Sooners 12-0 this season?"

At the risk of also repeating myself, let me again take this opportunity to wish all of you a bright and peaceful new year in 1996.