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Articles written by Randy Kilbourne

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The Coffee House Philosopher

The women gamblers discussed in this series were initially discovered when Patti and I made a day trip from Angel Fire, New Mexico, to Trinidad, Colorado, and surrounding towns. Being somewhat frugal and opportunistic, I happened to spot a free...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    April 7, 2019

The Coffee House Philosopher

In the late 1950s, my family particularly enjoyed watching the TV show “Maverick,” starring James Garner (a native Oklahoman) on Sunday evenings. In the show, Garner played a light-hearted professional poker player who had several antagonists,...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

Two powder puff poker players of the late 1800s were anything but delicate in both countenance and deed. The women were not particularly attractive, but were strong physically, they liked to win at cards, and they did not like to be cheated. One of...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

Perhaps now would be a good time to paint a general picture of the Powder Puff Poker Players with a broad brush. Scores of women in the mid-1800s chose to try gambling at cards as a way of making a living other than becoming a traditional “school...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    March 3, 2019

The Coffee House Philosopher

After the American Civil War, John Shirley sold his war ravaged business in Carthage, Missouri, and purchased an 800-acre ranch southeast of Dallas, Texas. In Missouri before the war, he had been a true southern gentleman, refined and well educated....

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

Myra Maybelle Shirley Reed Starr, more familiarly known as Belle Starr, was born into the John Shirley family on Feb. 5, 1848. By the time Belle was in her early teens, the American Civil War (1861–1865) had begun, and she had to deal with some of...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

After falsely implicating Doc Holliday in the Benson stagecoach robbery in 1881, Big Nose Kate Elder and Doc separated for good. She later claimed she was with Doc when he died in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, but there is scant evidence that her...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

In Doc Holliday’s day, most women chose to live out their lives as wife and homemaker, with a spouse and children. In the west after the Civil War, this type of life was generally regarded as rewarding, but highly labor intensive. In such times, a...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

Lottie Deno was an extremely cool customer at the poker or faro tables in the American West during the 1870s and 1880s. Even if things were getting out of hand around her, she concentrated solely on winning a pot. One time in a saloon in Fort...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

In December of 1878, Doc Holliday and “Big Nose” Kate Elder managed to complete their winter trip over Raton Pass in northern New Mexico, and headed further south to the luxurious quarters of the St. James Hotel in Cimarron. The St. James Hotel...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

In the fall of 1878, Doc Holliday and “Big Nose” Kate Elder decided to leave Dodge City, and take the train to New Mexico. Doc and Kate had previously been in Dodge for several months, plying their trade of gambling during the peak times when...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

Since Dub Garnett and Steve Waldshmidt are no longer available to spin their tales at McDonalds, some of the relatively new blood among veteran storytellers have been trying to fill the void. (And believe me, the newest blood is still pretty seasoned...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

After our group at the remote Shady Brook Cafe had waited on our food orders for more than an hour, we were becoming more than a little tired of the delay. The small talk among our members had dried up, and we didn’t particularly enjoy the...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

Some people enjoy the somewhat harmless activity known as “the art of storytelling.” It’s also sometimes known as “getting creative with the facts.” Other persons become suspicious at hearing a differing account, and object strongly to any...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

One of the activities that Patti and I enjoy at our two modest homes is feeding “critters.” If you’ve ever read the story of Johnny Appleseed (actual name John Chapman), he was an easterner who traveled throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

One of Alva’s most colorful personalities from the past century is the one and only Robert R. Brown. In the past, when mentioning his name, everyone that knew him always said all three components of his cognomen (i,e, “Robert” “R” “Brown...

 

The Coffee House Philosopher

Though the ancient philosopher and teacher Socrates is long gone, variations of the pedagogical technique known as the “Socratic Method of Teaching” might still be encountered in institutions of higher education today, most notably in law...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    July 29, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

Ah, to be back in the old classroom again, listening to old Professor Droning Onanon explaining some of the finer points of western civilization – occasionally referencing an ancient Greek teacher and philosopher named “Socrates” [470 BC - 399...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    July 8, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

Oh to be able to say precisely the right thing at just the right time. That is to say, one would be able to reply to an insult with a real zinger that puts the resident smart aleck in his place. And at the same time, the zinger would not be so...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    June 17, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

My next contact with former inmates from the Alva German POW camp occurred when their 50-year reunion was held in Alva in 1995 at the Sirloin Stockade (now a closed Mexican restaurant.) Stan Almgren was the owner/manager at the time. Roughly...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    June 10, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

In the fall semester of 1944 at Northwestern State College in Alva, Oklahoma, an 18-year-old coed named Phyllis Stout was surprised to see long lines of German prisoners of war marching past Shockley Hall (now Vinson Hall) on the east side of the NWO...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    June 3, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

My sister used to be an avid collector of autographs from musical performers. In her teenage years, Sandy (a/k/a “Sis”) used to be very good at being first in line for signatures after a thrilling (to her) operatic performance. (I never did make...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    May 27, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

Some celebrities are very personable and approachable. One of the best at accommodating autograph hounds was “the King” of golf, Arnold Palmer. Unfortunately, he passed from this life a short while ago in 2016. During his playing days, Palmer was...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    May 20, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

Perhaps ten years before his Pinehurst victory, I “met” Payne Stewart while attending one of the Colonial golf tournaments in Fort Worth, Texas. I was in a crowd of several hundred people, watching a foursome of golfers play the ninth hole, when...

 
 By Randy Kilbourne    Local    May 13, 2018

The Coffee House Philosopher

It is human nature to harbor a desire to be around great people, and to keep lasting mementos of the experience. One way of accomplishing that goal is to collect a notable person’s “John Henry” on paper. But the difficulty of doing so tends to...

 

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