It was late evening. The sun was setting on the small town of Alva Oklahoma, a virtual wide spot in the road and seat of Woods county Oklahoma. As I hung around at the grain elevator where my dad worked I hooked up with a truck driver who was brooming out his trailer. I had never had close company with a black man.  In the mid-1960’s Alva the “Norman Rockwell” painting of a small American town, had one family of blacks. I had seen them about town but never had the nerve to approach.

The older black man was more than cordial when I volunteered to grab another push broom and help out. I was stricken with how comfortable I was with his gentle, quiet manner. A good first meeting. There is a comforting feeling that comes with a good man, it permeates the air about them, and lays to rest any fears you might have. A fellow who is at rest with his conscience brings little conflict into relationships. We broomed out his truck and I got my first look at the cab of a high dollar semi tractor. It was like a space ship! All smooth and lit up. Quite the deal for a kid from the sticks. I envied Ike.

Sheriff Clark has the same “center of granite”  feel of an individual who has a simple set of beliefs, a clear vision of right and wrong, with a  mixture of compassion and strength, all in proper proportion.  Ike, long since dead, shared a place with sheriff Dave Clark, he was a good man.




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