It's a Wonderful Life

… Here in Cleveland County

This issue carries a story about this magazine’s first major photo shoot,  titled “Celebrating the Holidays in Style.” It entailed a great deal of planning and execution, and no one was more thrilled than I when everything was at last wrapped up, and it was time to fold up the chairs, put away the cameras and say farewell to all the participants and guests, which included at least one member of the Norman Chamber of Commerce and a city councilwoman.

While I know there are areas that could have been improved upon, publisher Jimmy Darden and I were extremely pleased with the participation of several area businesses, including the Montford Inn, and a small but capable team of helpers. Special kudos to event planner Angela Blunck, who coordinated the selection of the models and was present for their clothes selection process at Cayman’s and their hair and makeup appointment at Imagine.

What particularly struck me as wondrous was how friendly, accommodating and helpful everyone was before, during and after the main event. When asked to keep the food and beverage table open longer than expected in order to take more photos, Meatball House owner Andrew Black obliged. The models, all of whom donated their time, happily visited among themselves and others, with no outward show of competition. Montford Inn proprietors William and Phyllis Murray generously allowed a crowd of models, stylists, magazine staff, guests and others to take over their front, side and back yards, and all the common areas inside, for an entire afternoon. Doubtless, it was an imposition, but they never spoke a negative word. In fact, the only sounds I recall hearing all day long were laughter and words of encouragement and praise.

Having lived in this area virtually all of my life, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. Most folk around here are genuine and kind-hearted. We give generously to charitable, educational, civic, arts and other causes.

So, in looking back on both the holiday photo shoot and this place I call home, I declare, “It’s a wonderful life, especially here in Cleveland County!”

Happy holidays, friends and neighbors.