MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIRMAN
Greetings one and all! This year seems to be in some kind of time warp, slowly dragging along as if we were walking in the mud.
In the spring we had a local pastor ask to film an Easter Service at Olive Hill. In the days of the Internet, this church was producing sermons viewed at home on a computer screen. I met the team on a crisp and cloudy morning that conveniently offered little wind. The weather was just right for the young man working the camera. It seemed peaceful and appropriate to see the pastor sitting on the stone seat at the south end of Olive Hill preaching. Another man later sang and played a guitar and so, when the final video was aired the next week (Easter Sunday), it was complete service, almost like one would expect from the days before our pandemic.
It takes only a walk through Olive Hill to ponder all the people buried there. What kind of lives did they live? What were the challenges and events in their lives? For one, we know. Elizabeth McKeage Bailey had 2 sons that, as grown men, worked outside America. They represented Case, a manufacturer of farming machinery. Their letters back and forth were saved by the family and represent a treasure trove of information about daily life in early Oklahoma.
As we would expect from a farming community, the letters would often recount the weather and how the crops were doing. But in 1918, all of 98 years ago, she added more; about a local man, Karl Trimble, killed in France during The Great War. In the letter Libbie (as she was known) recounts “The flu took more American lives here in the camps than the Germans did in the war. It is still very bad around here. Last Thursday Fay and Eddie Eades were buried. They died within two minutes of each other.”
Life must have been a lot more difficult for this generation. The letters more than imply such things. And yet those living in earlier times did not know, and probably couldn’t imagine, how different things would be today. A visit to Olive Hill Cemetery, always gives one a certain, different, perspective to our current situation. For me, it’s a feeling of respect.
In the meantime the maintenance of Olive Hill continues. This year I’d like to thank my brother David Lay for taking care of the grounds again. He has, over the years, caused much improvement in the appearance of Olive Hill. And my cousin Donna Hocking who has done the impossible, sorting out and tracking all the details of operating and caring for the property and our organization. I look forward to our next meeting there, whenever that may be, and hope everyone stays safe and healthy until then.