Joe’s been working on the railroad…all the live long day


I was at the Yukon Post office picking-up the mail Thursday morning and, just like Elvis Presley, as I left the building, I noticed this man approaching me who immediately began to encourage me to shake his hand.

Now this guy’s voice was a voice from the past and I couldn’t quite place who he was, but I could tell he was not about to ask me for a donation due to his awesome Rolex watch or his $85,000 GMC Denali pick-up! This tanned, relaxed guy wearing flip flops asked, “Do you remember me?” and as he laughed when I told him I thought he was one of my old car-guy-advertisers, he simply said, “Hi Randy, Joe Sewell.”

Now I have a lot of pride in remembering lots of faces and details and am one of those people with a terrific memory but for some reason this Jimmy Buffett-esque individual just didn’t look like the YNB Joe Sewell I had known since the George Herbert Walker Bush administration!

I guess I was suffering just a little bit of brain trauma from all of this facial plastic surgery I have been experimenting with but all of a sudden, the memory of my friendship with Joe Sewell from throughout the years suddenly kicked in.

Joe told me that one of his friends had told him that I mentioned him in a column last year and he really thought it was cool to see his name in the paper. Joe began to explain that he is not in the banking business anymore but has a company that specializes in the railroad industry. He told me how he had retired for a few years but realized that after spending 24 months of hard work at resting that he didn’t have anything to do so he went back to work so he didn’t have to work so hard!

Joe and I spent about 30 minutes in front of the post office reflecting on many of the old stories and old Yukon people we have known for all these years. As we stood there and laughed and reflected, I realized that Joe and I are now some of Yukon’s old people.

I am only 53 and won’t hit 54 until December. Joe told me he is now 60 years old. It just didn’t sound right but after we shook hands and left the parking lot it really sank in.

I told Joe that Randel Grigsby and I always thought a lot of him and Blayne Cole from their many years at YNB. I remember one year when we had the Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours at the newspaper office and we were giving away a TORO lawn mower as our door prize.

Joe somehow fenagled Randel into making him the winner of that lawn mower I had just bought from Doug Gilles over at Gilles Brothers lawn equipment. I was so mad at Randel because I had already fenagled a deal to make someone else the winner of that lawn mower and ultimately ended up making Doug Gilles the big winner when I had to go buy another one to honor my word! Joe just laughed at me like he always did.

Joe Sewell is on my list of longtime Yukon people that will be featured later this year in a special Where Are They Now? section we are publishing. He has a very interesting career in the railroad business and when you combine that with all the people he has helped in the banking business, I think it will be a really good story.

Joe Sewell is good people. I am hoping to get this special section to you before Joe reaches MEDICARE age but if I don’t, I am sure I will be able to find him over in the cafeteria at Spanish Cove eating whipped potatoes, Jell-O salad and baked chicken while he sits next to his across the hall neighbor Blayne Cole!

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When you go to the state fair in the next few days, please stop in and see our Canadian County friends from the Tower Café in Okarche who always sell their incredible cinnamon rolls.

I have advertisers throughout our state that always ask me to send them some cinnamon rolls from Okarche. I still think Yukon could build a small manufacturing plant that would produce and market Kolaches not just in Oklahoma, but throughout the United States. We really have a superior product and there are people from all over the world who only eat Kolaches from the Yukon, Oklahoma Czech Fest!

I will bet you $100 bill that in the next few weeks that Yukon City Council members Donna Yanda, Shelli Selby and Jeff Wootton will be sending a case of Kolaches to Governor Stitt at the State Capitol. Stitt said he loves Yukon and I can see Jeff Wootton shooting video of him sharing them out on the House floor to the state legislators!

Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?