Bill Scanlon mug

Bill Scanlon

Before moving here (I left upon graduation from the University of Oklahoma, a long time ago), I lived and worked in the Washington, D.C. area.

For 15 years, my commute to work covered a distance of 14 miles. But distance, to a D.C. commuter, isn’t measured in miles, it’s measured in hours: that 14 mile commute took two hours. That’s two hours each way, with an eight to 10-hour workday sandwiched in between.

D.C. abounds with historical and cultural attractions, but if you live/work there, there’s precious little time to enjoy them. Weekends, if you’re not working, are taken up with the errand running you didn’t have time to do during the work week. Any wonder I moved back to Norman?

In Norman, I have the opportunity to live a “normal” life. I get to volunteer for various committees, enjoy various attractions and actually have the time to enjoy my family. The kids are grown; some live elsewhere, while some live just miles away. What follows is a recap of my adventures over last weekend. Nothing spectacular, but that’s the point. Life is good in Norman, OK.

On Friday, I attended the Chamber of Commerce Annual Aviation Breakfast. I enjoyed the company of friends from the Norman business community, all interested in supporting the aviation industry as a means of growing Norman and expanding our tax base.

At noon, I participated in a meeting of the city’s Emergency Operations Committee, whose current mission is to track the incidence of COVID in our community. My part is small — I track statistics for the fire chief, who chairs the meeting. The mayor and city department heads discuss future plans, with advice from hospital personnel. Current trends are very positive, with recoveries outstripping new infections. Good for us.

Friday evening, one of my sons joined me at an OU Volleyball match. Great fun. Match over, with OU victorious, we headed to the Blazers Ice Centre to watch a neighbor’s son play ice hockey as OU faced Waldorf University. Sooners won — if you like ice hockey, OU has a good team. Price of admission: $10. In DC, if I had the time, cost of attending a hockey game would be 10 times that amount.

My point in mentioning sports events: they abound. Follow your favorite school team; enjoy the spirit.

Saturday morning, I joined Judge Tupper’s Running Club. Judge Michael Tupper presides over Wellness and Treatment Courts. One of the ways participants progress in those programs is to join the judge on Saturday mornings for a run.

Judge Tupper is a marathon runner, and sees positive outcomes through exercise. I joined this group at his invitation — I enjoy the exercise, and am inspired by the positive attitudes of other participants.

After the run, I drove over to East Alameda to join Citizens Police Academy graduates for a regular street pickup project. As I walked along, picking up trash, a lady stopped to tell me how much my (trivial) efforts meant to her, and to thank me for my efforts. Her words were a pick-me-up. I felt I was contributing to the community.

Saturday afternoon, I went to the Aviation Festival at Westheimer. I met my friend Lance Lamkin, the airport manager, and congratulated him on OU’s airport being recognized as “best in the state.” I also stopped by the Moore Norman Technology Center booth and learned more about their new aviation trade program of study. I enjoyed watching families experiencing the expo.

Sunday: a sermon about love (the one thing we can never run short of), followed by my weekly visit to Food and Shelter. I help serve lunch to the clients and clean up afterwards. But I also talk with these clients, and learn their stories. Real people, with real potential, many homeless by circumstances not of their doing. Weekend over.

The worst traffic I run into in Norman is waiting for a train to pass. After Washington, I have the patience to wait, and reflect on things, like being thankful for the quality of life in this city, and for the opportunities Norman provides. Life is good in Norman. I hope you agree.

Bill Scanlon is a former Ward 6 city council member who volunteers in support of the Norman Police Department and Norman Fire Department, and serves multiple city committees. Prior to his work in Norman, Scanlon served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force — where he last worked as chief of mission analyses under the assistant chief of staff for the Air Force, Studies and Analyses at the Pentagon — and worked for Northrop Grumman in Washington, D.C.

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