The Norman Transcript

December 8, 2013

Norman Christmas Day Community Dinner brings people together

By Andy Rieger
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Bob Magarian’s home telephone starts ringing about the time the fall leaves begin to change colors in Norman.

By the third week in October, he’s got all the volunteers and even the back-up workers needed for the annual Norman Christmas Day Community Dinner.

The retired OU professor will still take those calls, hoping to encourage some of them to instead make donations of cash, gloves, toys, caps, scarves and other items to the dinner. It’s the 27th year for the dinner, started on an icy morning in 1987 at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church.

At that first dinner, the volunteers braved the ice and cold to bring about 20 diners to the church. In 2011, the 25th year for the dinner, nearly 2,000 meals were distributed.

The dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Christmas Day at Norman High School is open to everyone, including those who need a place to eat or just someone to share Christmas with. Meals will be delivered to shut-ins. Arrangements can be made by calling 364-3273.

The dinner is a community project coordinated by St. Michael’s and underwritten by Norman banks, businesses and individuals.

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Dan Reynolds grew up in Norman but spent much of his adult life in prison.

Technically, he was on the management side of the bars. He was warden at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester and the Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown.

Now retired and living near Lake Eufaula, Reynolds has shared his experiences in two new books. “On The Other Side of the Bars” and “Caged Wisdom.”

He’s asking $20 donation per book with proceeds funding a foundation for families of correctional employees who have lost loved ones in the line of duty. Reynolds will sign copies at Mardel’s Christian Book Store, 2421 W. Main Street from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 14.

In “On the Other Side of the Bars: Lessons Learned as a Prison Warden/Administrator,” Reynolds writes about his experiences as a warden at the penitentiary in McAlester, as well as his time spent as a case manager working with prison inmates, as a deputy warden and at other posts with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

His first experience with prisons was as a 16-year-old who drove up to the prison walls after hearing about the outbreak of the 1973 riot at the maximum-security prison in McAlester.

The second book, “Caged Wisdom: Learning to See Through the Bars,” Reynolds said it is a spiritual book based upon scriptures from the Living Bible. If Jesus were sitting in a prison cell with an inmate, what would Jesus want that offender to know?

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Mention of the famous escalator or “motorstair” inside Norman C.R. Anthony’s Main Street store brought lots of comments from readers. One man said he still had the Scout pocket knife bought there in the 1960s.

The air tubes that carried a customer’s payment and returned with their change were standard in many Anthony stores. It had to do with security. It’s hard to rob what you can’t see.

Bob Anthony, president of the company, said that by 1951 there were six motorstairs in company stores. Norman’s store was No. 47 for the retail chain. The manager at the time of a 1951 booklet shared by Anthony was E.C. Beeson. The company’s first store, the Dixie Store, was opened in Cushing by C.R. Anthony.

Andy Rieger

editor@normantranscript.com

366-3543

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