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Rho Lambda & Oklahoma Dekes Newsletter

November 2023

FOR THE LAST 24 MONTHS, OUR MONTHLY NEWSLETTER HAS HELPED TO STRENGTHEN THE CONNECTIONS AMONG THE BROTHERHOOD. OUR WEBSITE (OUDEKES.ORG) HAS BEEN THE FRAMEWORK OF RLLA’S OPERATIONS, AND IT WILL CONTINUE TO EXPLAIN OUR FUTURE PROGRESS AND PLANS FOR THE 2025 RECOLONIZATION EFFORT AT OU.

HEREAFTER, THIS NEWSLETTER WILL BE PUBLISHED QUARTERLY, WITH EMAIL ALERTS AS NEEDED FOR LATE BREAKING NEWS.

The password we emailed to you opens any file. If you don’t have it, contact us. 

FROM THE DKE RL Board:

Congratulations on another successful Rho Lambda Roundup and Terry Miller being named our 2023 Goalpost Award winner. We also honored our RL founders and the Brothers who started the legend of the “Goalpost.”

We’re well on our way to our goal of $25,000 by 2025 and fully funding the Randy Morrison Scholarship Fund managed by the OU Foundation. I thank those who’ve stepped up and donated to date, and I ask our Brother Dekes to donate/pledge to support the remaining $10,000. Whether it’s $50.00, $250.00, or more, you can create a legacy for a lifetime. Thank you!

Kerothen, Bob

THE REUNION

This year’s Reunion/Tailgate was extraordinary. To see the photos, go here, and to read the general meeting minutes go here.

After Brother Miller (l) received his Goalpost Award, Brother Streb, our emcee for the ages, displayed the cedar plaques and framed awards he’d made for Rho Lambda Founders Riley Goldsmith, Cleo Maddux, Howard McMillan, and Bud Parker and Brothers Ward, Kingelin and Matthews, who brought the Goalpost to 700 Elm in ‘56.

Sadly, Brother Goldsmith passed away in 2022, Brother McMillan last May, and Brother Maddux in October, joining other Founders in the Mystic Circle. Brother Rich Burns and Dennis Clowers delivered the plaques to Parker and to the families of Goldsmith, Maddox, and McMillan. If you’d like to make a donation to the Mystic Circle Fund in their memory, you can do that here.

It’s impossible to list Brother Burns’ contributions to the chapter and to the Reunion each year. It comes as no surprise that the “Rock Solid Award” went to Burnsie this year. Well done, Rich!

This photo of Bob Pickup and Dennis Clowers (r) at the Reunion is surreal. I swear I’ve seen an identical photo of them 50 years ago, the same shot, laughing together. It was great to see Joel Ketonen (l) and Dunlap Vanice (r) get awards for coming to their first reunion. It was like they’d been attending for years.

Here, I have to say something about Rho Lambda’s wives. I’ll admit that Rho Lambda Dekes have excelled in marrying up. Bonnie Burns and Suzi Clowers (l) and Anita Streb and Cathy Otey (r) are only a few of the wives in attendance who proved that fact.

More importantly, our recent confab also proved that Deke wives can handle, with aplomb, any efforts by their husbands trying to outdo each other at being jolly good fellows. Here, Anita and Cathy are doing exactly that with Fred. I’m betting that the other ladies in attendance will surely thank me for not including similar photos. 

THE TAILGATE

On Saturday morning, that revelry continued at 700 Elm, open bar included. Tom Vizard shared laughs with Anita Streb (l), while Alan Bauman and Bob Pickup toasted the value of chairs (r).

Then this kid showed up with his dad. The 14-year-old had no idea who we were but announced to the jolly Deke crowd, “I’m AJ Wilson, and I’m gonna be OU’s future quarterback.” We admired the kid’s confidence. When the recent Texas game came up, Fred explained to AJ what 700 Elm meant to the gathering and that there were no more rabid anti-Texas fans than these Dekes.

He told the kid, “Three of our members ripped down a goalpost from the OU-Texas, 45-0 game of 1956. One of our members saw it come down at the age of 8, and that member became a DKE partly because we had that goalpost in the house.” Fred smiled at AJ, saying, “That 8-year-old kid who became a DKE member has attended every Texas-OU game for 67 years. Guess what? He’s the guy standing right next to you.” Stunned, the kid turned and looked at Dennis like he was bathed in light. Burnsie took a terrific photo to celebrate that Horns-Down moment.

It wasn’t lost on us what a similar profound effect that story will have on 2025 candidates considering pledging DKE.

Here’s a later photo of Dennis and me, him wearing a DKE jersey identical to the one I have at home. Hearing that Dennis’ jersey had long ago been ripped to shreds in intermural sports, Joel went to his car, got his own jersey, and gave it to Dennis. Kerothen Philoi Aei.

THE GOALPOST AWARD

What follows may sound off the wall, but I made a vow to the lady to whom we’ve all appealed as initiates. Why? Herewith:

Before getting it back to the first Rho Lambda Reunion in 2013, I’d safeguarded that 4-foot piece of sacred cedar post for forty years after the chapter closed, keeping it unharmed as we migrated around the country.

Once, in a tiny town in Colorado, a new neighbor showed up in a Caddy with Texas plates and a bumper sticker saying, “Proud UT Mom!” I won’t say how, but the whole town helped this neighbor come to chagrin her celebrated annual view of the goalpost. It was sweet, trust me.

Last year, during the Reunion’s raffle, Fred called my number, and I won a nice red OU bag. Then, as the Goalpost Award was about to be announced, I was happy to hear that my name had been removed from the Award itself and then gobsmacked when it was awarded to me. Seeing how perfectly it fit inside that red OU bag should have been a clue.

I slept with it on the bedside table. I constantly assured myself I had it as I checked out, looking proudly at the empty red carpet at the bottom of the valet cart as I returned it. Thank heavens, I had everything in the car.

Four hours later, in Eureka Springs, my pals and I spent the afternoon shooting the lights out and then finally unloaded the car. Luggage, check. Briefcase, check. GPA…wait, where is it? 

Panic.

We ripped the car apart. No GPA. I called the Moore hotel, who said they had nothing in their lost and found. Imagine you’ve faithfully protected the Goalpost for four decades, and then, after having the GPA for only 12 hours, you can’t find it.

I couldn’t see straight. How would I explain this to the Brotherhood? I had it at the hotel. I’d driven straight through. How in the hell…?

A few hours later, I decided to own up, picked up my phone, and saw a text from Tierno: a photo with the words: “Missing anything?”

I couldn’t focus my eyes for a minute. I eventually made my way back to OKC via Tulsa, where I met George Otey at the Casa Tequila bar next to his office. He arrived with the red bag under his arm and told me I’d left it in the hotel lobby, the hotel staff got it to him, and a very slight delay in informing me of that was regrettable.

We agreed I’d need to get it right with a certain HG. George informed me that, like most Oklahoma attorneys, he already had two #10 cans of tomato sauce in his trunk, and the bar had a great basement (I’m not sure how he knew that) where I and the HG might chat.  

Well, my year of spiritual penance to her is finally complete. I’ve returned the GPA to more responsible members with a new attachment for ten more names (l), and at last, I can breathe easy.

And the Goalpost itself? After it was wrenched from the feculent mud of Texas like something out of the Iliad, it roamed from Texas to Oklahoma, to Colorado, California, Colorado, California, Colorado, Washington, and finally, back to Oklahoma in an epic Odyssey. Well, look at that. Two citations of Homeric epics in one sentence? Big-time scholar points!

Let’s close this ridiculous rant by thanking the HG that the Goalpost now hangs in Dennis’ house, and there’s no more perfect place for it.

Watch for the

FEBRUARY 2024 NEWSLETTER

Interviewing 24 brothers about their lives for previous newsletters has been such an honor. Not everything they told me could make it into every newsletter. Their stories were unique, but we agreed that our adult lives started at 700 Elm among our brothers.

Except for Brothers Ward and Matthews, I knew them all when we were young, just as they were being poured from the still of the Deke house into their oak casks of adulthood. Now they’re all Glenlivets who’ve aged 50 years. They’re mellow and smooth, all of them great, and a few spectacular. I don’t know who will be in the February newsletter, but I look forward to finding out. 

One last Hats Off to Brothers Streb and Burns, who’ve outdone themselves in engineering our annual DKE party. Leave a comment if you wish, or contact us. Keep an eye out for February’s newsletter!       

RON SORTER

If you’d like information about making a tax-deductible donation to Randy’s Scholarship fund, here are some FAQs to help you.

Please get in touch with Rich Burns if you know of any Brothers who’ve passed away or aren’t receiving our Newsletter.

RIP, Randy

Kerothen, The ΡΛ Commo Crew

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