Bringing Home the Bacon

Saturday, November 09, 2013 Road Junkies 0 Comments

Oklahoma City, OK to Dodge City, KS

Though we enjoyed a brief visit with our cousins Ann and Eddie after Friday night services last night, today we were looking forward to spending a bit more time with them and also catching up with their younger son Fred, so we all met (photo above) for lunch at the local P.F. Chang's.  A high school junior, Fred has a passion for life and eagerly pursues a wide variety of interests and activities.  He competes on his high school's academic team, serves as a state officer in an organization for Jewish teens, teaches Hebrew at his synagogue, and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout last year.  (And he maintains that fierce Afro, which his friends call the Fred-dress.)  He is actually involved in more—much more—but today he was enthusing about a project at his high school known as Swine Week.

It seems that in 1986 a small group of Edmond Memorial High School students decided they would try to raise money for a local 11-year-old girl who needed a kidney transplant.  Since they wanted to conduct fundraising activities at school, the students approached their principal and asked for his permission.  The principal gave his consent and took his support a step further by offering to kiss a pig in front of the student body if the students could raise $3,000.  They did, he did, and the school had a new tradition—Swine Week.

What started as a minor project has grown to be an event which genuinely makes a difference in the lives of Oklahomans.  In the succeeding 27 years, students at Edmond Memorial High have raised in excess of $3.5 million for a variety of charities.  In their most successful year to date they donated $527,000 to an Oklahoma cancer center for children in 2010.

Last year, their chosen charity was Limbs for Life, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to providing fully-functional prosthetic care for individuals who cannot otherwise afford it and raising awareness of the challenges facing amputees.  With the students' donation of $353,000, the agency was able to completely clear their waiting list of 127 clients.

Two other high schools in the city of Edmond have joined the charitable bandwagon and the three schools raise more than $1 million annually.  Though they're a bit competitive in seeing which school can do the most good, there is also a collaboration project.  Five percent of each school's fundraising total goes to a charity they designate as their Common Thread.  This year's Common Thread recipient is A New Leash on Life, an organization which trains assistance dogs and provides them to Oklahomans with a variety of disabilities.  What a delight to hear about teens making such a remarkable difference in their world!  Check out the Swine Week web site to learn more about this impressive tradition.

After our wonderful visit with Ann, Eddie and Fred, we headed out toward Dodge City, Kansas, following the back roads and passing through one small town after another that seemed to close up shop on Saturday.  Maybe everyone was home watching their favorite college team play football—or shopping at the nearest Walmart.

Laverne, OK, all but deserted on Saturday afternoon
We drove and drove, mostly through farmland, stopping in the tiny all but ghost town of Gate, OK, to locate a lonely letterbox that had never been found before.  We rolled into Dodge City a little after 6, picked up some groceries and headed to our hotel, where we made a hearty salad for dinner.  Since we spent some time in Dodge last year, we're just passing through this time and will continue west to Colorado tomorrow on our old friend, US-50, known in Nevada as the Loneliest Road in America.

Daily Stats
  • Miles:  304
  • Gas price in Oklahoma:  $2.909 for premium (first sub-$3 gas since we bought this car in 2011)
  • Letterboxes:  1
  • Tolls paid on OKC turnpike:  too many