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Bob Busby and Brent McMurry have helped build Hideaway Pizza into a household name in Oklahoma.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

It was the mid-1970s and Oklahoma State Students Bob Busby and Brent McMurry found themselves in need of a job.
As luck would have it, the geology major and sociology major wound up in the same Stillwater classroom.
Little did they know they would be working side-by-side helping building what would become a cult following in Stillwater and eventually all of Oklahoma in Hideaway Pizza.
“It feels like the guests take ownership in Hideaway, like they’ve worked there before, or like they’ve owned part of it when they’re introducing it to people,” said Busby, now Hideaway senior vice president. “They feel like it’s part of their own experience or their own story.”
Both are former owners (along with Gary Gabrel) of the Hideaway Pizza expansion restaurants that started on Cherry Street in Tulsa. Brett Murphy and Darren Lister are the current owners.
Busby now serves as the senior vice president while McMurry is the district manager for South Tulsa.
Richard Dermer and his wife, Marti, bought the business back in 1957.
In the 60’s and 70’s, with happy customers filling the 12 tables in the tiny restaurant, Richard and Marti had a fleet of VW delivery Bugs racing over the streets of Stillwater.
Originally decorated with the Hideaway pizza man logo (Big Kahuna), they evolved into colorful, eclectic designs with zebra stripes, polka dots, flowers and ladybugs, and became synonymous with Hideaway Pizza.
The way to work at the original Hideaway Pizza early on was word of mouth. You had to be a friend of a friend or know someone who had worked there.
“My first shift was nine in the evening to two in the morning driving a Volkswagen,” Busby said. “I didn’t even know how to drive a standard. First thing I did was ask for someone to show me how to do this because I’ve got a load of pizzas.”
Pizza was delivered on campus through the via one of the largest fleets of Volkswagen Beetles in the U.S. Creatively painted by the employees, the VW bugs became an iconic symbol for the company along with vintage kites (Dermer was President of the American Kitefliers Association), collage art and the board game Pente.
In 1993, Dermer allowed the trio of trusted employees including Busby, McMurry and Gabrel (Pente creator) to form a development company to expand the concept into new markets outside of Stillwater while the Dermer family retains ownership of the flagship location.
The first Hideaway Pizza expansion restaurant opened in downtown Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Cherry Street District.
“It was just from the get-go lines out the door,” McMurry said.
Hideaway Pizza had successfully grown its footprint to include six restaurants in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro areas when Lister and Murphy purchased the company in Feb. 2006.
Under their leadership, the company has grown into one of America’s favorite pizza companies, employing approximately 1,000 in two states.
The newest restaurant location (#17) opened on Oct. 10, 2016 at 5103 Warden Rd. in North Little Rock, Arkansas. It was the first Hideaway Pizza to open outside of Oklahoma.
Hideaway Pizza plans to open its next restaurant in 2017 in Conway, Arkansas.
There are approximately 61,269 pizzerias in the United States and Hideaway Pizza was ranked No. 66 in Pizza Today magazine’s 2016 ranking of the nation’s most successful pizza companies.
That’s a six-spot jump from 2015. Two other Oklahoma-based pizza companies were included in the 2016 report. Tulsa-based Mazzio’s Italian Eatery was ranked No. 29 (No. 27 in 2015) and Simple Simon’s Pizza, headquartered in Glenpool was ranked No. 49 (No. 45 in 2015).
It’s still fun for McMurry and Busby, who admit they still regularly eat the pizza.
Both agree it’s never been about how many stores Hideaway has but the quality of the people and product inside of each.
They enjoy pouring into the staff as much as pouring into customers. The mantra has always been happy employees equal happy customers.
Maybe that’s why Hideaway has become an Oklahoma favorite. It’s not just a place to stop and pick up a pizza – although Busby admits the takeaway business is phenomenal – Hideaway is a place where friends and family come for an evening meal.
“Pizza is such a social food because you share it. You can feed a lot of people from one thing. It’s a unique niche of the restaurant business we’ve got here,” Busby says.
And you’ll still see both of them back in the kitchen making sure Hideaway Pizza stays an Oklahoma tradition.

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Jim Jinkins is president of a 21st Century Norman Seniors Association trying to hold the City of Norman to its promise of building a new senior center.
Norman’s current 8,000-square-foot Senior Center is housed in the city’s first library built in 1929.
Norman’s current 8,000-square-foot Senior Center is housed in the city’s first library built in 1929.

story and photos by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Norman has and always will be a college town.
Today more than 31,000 students come to Norman each year to further their education.
As a result, Norman’s population has grown more than 50 percent to nearly 120,000 residents since 1990.
For the past 50 years seniors like Jim Jinkins have paid for that growth, supporting and paying for municipal bonds, school bonds and keeping dollars local and paying city sales tax.
And it was senior voters like Jinkins who threw their support behind the Norman Forward initiative that in October 2015 resulted in a half-percent sales tax increase intended to fund a number of quality of life issues.
One of those items listed on the ballot was a new, standalone senior center that would replace Norman’s current facility, housed in the city’s original 8,000-square-foot public library built in 1929.
But now Norman seniors feel they’re the ones standing alone and are accusing some city officials of trying to do an end-around with funds that should be used to build a new facility.
“Seniors worked their butts off to get that initiative passed,” said Jinkins, who spent four hours on election day holding a sign on a street corner campaigning for the measure. “It passes and a couple months later they start talking about the budget again so we start going to the study sessions of the council meetings and they start saying ‘We don’t have any money. It’s going to take the entire $159 million to fund these Norman Forward projects.’”
“We said ‘Wait a minute. We’re a Norman Forward project.’”
City leaders indicated they had been considering using bond funds from a previous bond issue to fund renovating the existing Norman Public Library for use as a senior center.
That would be done after the library moved into a new building paid for through the sales tax increase.
Voters like Jinkins felt they secured a standalone senior center by passing the Norman Forward initiative.
“There’s not an asterisk next to it, there’s not any language that says if there’s money available,” Jinkins said about building a senior center. “Everybody I know that voted on it (thought they were voting) for a senior center.”
In March 2016, an Oklahoma not-for-profit corporation by the name 21st Century Norman Seniors Association was formed and Jinkins was elected president.
He says there are now more than 400 active members.
With seniors encompassing nearly 20 percent of Norman’s total population the group feels a significant segment of Norman residents are supporting the call for a free-standing senior center.
For now, Jinkins says the city is only offering yet another renovated former library to serve seniors’ needs or trying to float yet another bond issue to voters specifically for a new senior center.
Jinkins worries about voter fatigue and the fact voters have already voted twice to fund a new senior center.
The senior group says the plan of moving into the existing library does a disservice to seniors on multiple fronts.
Seniors and City of Norman staff would share the building and end up competing for space and facilities. Neither could expand as their programs grow.
Problems with parking and traffic flow cannot be resolved.
A shared parking lot with City offices plus the Municipal Court would create a bottleneck and there would also not be enough covered parking spaces that a senior center requires.
Senior centers in Edmond, Shawnee, and Midwest City have this.
The existing library lacks space for kitchen facilities. The staff of the kitchen at the present senior center would like to move to the new senior center, and most people agree that the new center should house the kitchen as the center is the only source for many seniors’ meals.
The option Jinkins’ group favors is building a new facility – which would cost in the neighborhood of $8-9 million – at the nearby city-owned Andrews Park.
The site would provide plenty of adequate parking plus be located across the street from the new library – benefitting from library programming and public resources located on site.
Association Associate Vice President Nadine Jewell penned a letter to the editor of The Norman Transcript that read, in part:
“Norman Forward is certainly needed in our community, and seniors do not think they are being greedy asking for a standalone center. While many projects, like Westwood, can only be used for 3 months of the year, a senior center can be used the year around. Surely, Norman cares enough for its seniors to find enough excess Norman Forward funds to build one standalone.”
With already a fair measure of support from existing council members, one thing working in the group’s favor is the fact City Council seats in the odd-numbered wards will be up for election this coming February.
Norman Seniors will host a candidates forum before the election so that you can meet the candidates, ask your questions, and hear their positions.
In the meantime, Jinkins is urging all interested Norman seniors to call their City Council representative and voice their opinions.
You can find out more information online at www.normanseniors.org as well as the group’s Facebook page listed as Friends for a 21st Century Senior Citizen’s Center.
“I think they just really wanted us to go away and they didn’t think we would get this far,” Jinkins said. “It is our hope that the Council will identify a funding source for a standalone center that does not involve yet another vote of the people.”

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Betty Hatcher poses next to her cross-stitching of a purple iris, which earned an honorable mention spot in a national art calendar competition hosted by Watermark Retirement Communities.



Betty Hatcher, a resident at The Fountains at Canterbury in Oklahoma City, earned an honorable mention spot in a national art calendar competition hosted by Watermark Retirement Communities.
The national calendar, created by Watermark Retirement Communities which manages The Fountains of Canterbury, is designed to be a source of inspiration for all those who receive it. Pieces of art submitted for the competition included sculpture, needlepoint, oil and watercolor paintings and mixed-media work. The Expressions art calendar is distributed nationwide and celebrates active aging and the arts.
Hatcher’s cross-stitching was selected as one of 24 honorable mentions for the 2017 Watermark Expressions art calendar out of entries from 39 Watermark communities across the United States.
Hatcher began learning needlework from her mother at a young age. She went on to use her skills as a member of the Oklahoma City Embroiderers Guild for more than 20 years. Her favorite thing about cross-stitching is the multitude of colors and watching a piece transform into artwork. Today, Hatcher is 98-years-old and continues her love of cross-stitching by creating knitted caps for adults and babies as well as baby blankets.
“The Fountains at Canterbury is home to many talented individuals who thrive each day through continuing their life’s passions and discovering new ones,” said Becky Strong, director of community life at The Fountains at Canterbury. “Betty is an incredible artist and we are proud to see her receive national recognition for her talent and hard work.”
The piece was first judged as part of a local competition among residents at The Fountains at Canterbury. Three local experts narrowed down the pieces and sent the five best on to the national competition. Final selections to be featured in the calendar were made at the Watermark Retirement Communities’ national resource center in Tucson, Arizona.
The calendar is available to the public at no charge while supplies last. If you would like a calendar, please call (405) 381-8165.
The Fountains at Canterbury is dedicated to being the first choice in senior living, providing a continuum of care including independent living, assisted living, memory care, innovative rehabilitation therapies and skilled care. The Fountains at Canterbury is managed by Watermark Retirement Communities and is committed to creating an extraordinary community where people thrive. To learn more, please call (405) 381-8165 or go online to www.watermarkcommunities.com.

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Susan Abrahamsen was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in February.
Susan Abrahamsen and Dr Pascucci.
Susan Abrahamsen and Dr Pascucci.


story and photos provided

This holiday season, Susan Abrahamsen says she is especially grateful. In addition to having a loving family and a successful 30-year career in health care, Abrahamsen is a breast cancer survivor.
“It was surreal,” said Abrahamsen of her diagnosis. “All of a sudden, everything changes.”
Abrahamsen learned she had stage two breast cancer. in February. By March, she began weekly rounds of chemotherapy.
“In the beginning, it was easy to keep my illness hidden from my patients,” said Abrahamsen. “I just poured myself into my work, but as I started losing more hair, my patients could tell something was going on.”
For nearly the last two years, Abrahamsen has worked as an advanced practice registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner in the telemedicine program at Mercy Hospital El Reno. She takes care of patients in the hospital, while helping to relay important information about her patients to physicians in Oklahoma City using a television screen with two-way audio and video technology. She often works with Dr. Daniel Pascucci.
“I just remember her being very shaken when she told me she had been diagnosed with cancer,” said Dr. Pascucci. Despite the diagnosis, he said it was hard to keep her away from work. “Her first priority has always been our patients, and even as she was going through a health scare of her own, she did whatever she could to continue taking care of them.”
Dr. Pascucci said Abrahamsen’s outlook on her illness and recovery is now inspiring his own practice in medicine.
“It is humbling to be able to see somebody live out the Mercy mission of bringing to life the healing ministry of Jesus in such a selfless way,” he said. “To see her faith in the Lord guide her through that and give her peace while she continued to care for patients has been very eye-opening.”
Following surgery and now daily radiation treatments, Abrahamsen hasn’t been able to work since September, but she still believes that she has been “very blessed” throughout this journey.
“It is a different feeling being on the other side of care, but it’s helped me connect on a much deeper level with my patients, and I understand better what they are feeling,” she said. “When my patient’s started realizing my diagnosis, they would often offer support and encouragement, even when I was the one taking care of them. There are good people in El Reno.”
Abrahamsen will finish her final round of radiation two days after Christmas. She plans to return to work at Mercy Hospital El Reno by New Year’s Day.

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Ed Brandt, III, credits the two-in-one surgical approach by surgeons at the Dean McGee Eye Institute with restoring his vision and getting him back more quickly to the things he loves most – like reading to his grandchildren.
Dean McGee Eye Institute surgeon Dr. Ralph Hester performs cataract surgery, the first half of a two-in-one surgery that would address both cataracts and a detached retina.
Dean McGee Eye Institute surgeon Dr. Ralph Hester performs cataract surgery, the first half of a two-in-one surgery that would address both cataracts and a detached retina.


You’ve heard of a two-for-one sale, but what about a two-for-one eye surgery?
It takes critical coordination and two skilled surgeons, but doctors at Dean McGee Eye Institute are combining cataract and retina surgeries into one combined procedure. It’s an approach that is easier on the patient, more cost effective and can improve outcomes, too. In the end, it is helping restore patients’ vision so that they can more quickly get back to the things in life they love most. For Ed Brandt III, that was reading to his grandkids.
“My four-year-old granddaughter was over, and we were sitting in the back. She brought a book over, sat in my lap and said, ‘Grampy, can you read this for me?’ I opened the book and I just couldn’t read it,” Brandt said.
A trip to the Dean McGee Eye Institute revealed why. Brandt had a detached retina.
“If you think of the eye like a camera, your lens is the lens of the camera and the retina is kind of like the film,” said Dr. Vinay Shah, a retina specialist with Dean McGee. “When you have a retinal detachment that means the film of the camera has come loose and we have to put it back in place surgically.”
For Brandt, who had undergone procedures on his eyes before, that might have meant another three surgeries; the first to re-attach the retina and place a tiny oil bubble to hold the retina in place while it heals; a second surgery to remove the oil bubble; and then, since it is common for a cataract to form after retina surgery, he would need a third surgery to address that issue. Brandt was pleased to learn that two of those surgeries could be combined into one. Not only was it more convenient for him, but he also learned that the procedure could enhance his overall outcome.
“A large percentage of patients who have retina surgery will develop a cataract. So six months later, they are looking at surgery again. So if we can go ahead and take out the natural lens, replacing it with an implant lens and do the retina surgery at the same time, it is much easier on the patient and his or her family,” said Dr. Ralph Hester, a cataract surgeon with Dean McGee. “More importantly, though, the retina surgeon wants the clearest possible view to visualize the finer details of the retina.”
“The retina is a less-than-one-millimeter-thin membrane in the back of your eye. So to work on that, you want optimal visibility,” Shah explained.
Accomplishing the combined cataract-retina surgery requires a lot of coordination. Two surgeons and their teams as well as two sets of surgical equipment must all be in place.
“The patient does not move. We move,” Shah said. “So it has to be carefully orchestrated. At the Dean McGee Eye Institute, we have set aside particular times of the week just for these types of combination procedures.”
With one trip to the operating room, patient safety is improved and there also are cost savings with the added bonus of less time away from work.
“It’s not about the money, though. It’s about the patient,” Hester explained. “For the patient, this is a big deal. If you can package this into one operation, they are not scheduling time off work multiple times and getting their loved ones to transport them to and from the surgery center multiple times. It makes a big difference.”
Ultimately, Hester and Shah added, it is about changing somebody’s life, restoring their vision and helping them get back to the things they love doing most, like reading to grandchildren.
“There are Braille books and audio books, but there is no way that I could ever replace having a grandchild sitting in my lap and being able to read to him or her. I can do that now. I can see, and I can read. It makes a world of difference to me,” Brandt said.
To learn more about the combination cataract-retina surgery, visit www.DMEI.org

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Members of the Edmond Senior Center’s “Tap For Fun” classes who performed are (from left) Katherine Schlageter, Debi Churchwell, Jan Fraase, Janet Luce (the group’s teacher and choreographer), Sherry Patterson, Geneva Hancock and Nancy Powell.



Several members of the Edmond Senior Center’s “Tap For Fun” class kicked off this year’s holiday season with their 10th Annual Holiday Tap Dance Performance, held at the senior center on December 14, 2016.
The fun-loving senior tappers performed six very lively tap dances and – by popular demand from their delighted audience – an encore tap dance to “Let It Snow”.
Men and women, ages 55+, are welcome to participate in the “Tap For Fun” class. For more information about the class, call the Edmond Senior Center, 216-7600.

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What are you wishing for in 2017? Integris Southwest Medical Center Volunteers

Joy to the world in 2017. Jody Wilkerson

Let there be peace on Earth in 2017. Tomie Webster

Peace around the world. Ellen Lewis

Peace and food for the hungry. There is so much violence throughout the world. Doreen Tiffany

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Santa delights students at F. D. Moon Academy on the last day of school before Christmas break.
Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese poses with Santa and students from F. D. Moon Academy in Oklahoma City during a visit with Prancer the reindeer.
Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese poses with Santa and students from F. D. Moon Academy in Oklahoma City during a visit with Prancer the reindeer.

Students at F. D. Moon Academy in Oklahoma City were already excited about Christmas break when a special surprise came to their elementary school on Tuesday thanks to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (ODAFF).
A cold December morning was filled with joyful squeals of delight as the giant Clydesdale horse from Express Ranches, Blazer, stomped out of his trailer and lifted his huge head to the sky. Doug Sauter talked softly around Blazer and two miniature horses as Sauter told the children about how to approach a horse safely and pet its nose.
Before the outside activities, students and teachers warmed up and enjoyed a breakfast snack donated by ODAFF directors, the State Board of Agriculture and the Oklahoma Wheat Commission. Sticky fingers eagerly grabbed donuts and washed them down with hot chocolate to get fueled for the last day of school.
Oklahoma State Board of Agriculture members assisted ODAFF’s Ag in the Classroom coordinators as they taught agriculture lessons from the award-winning preK-12 curriculum. Students tried their hands at milking Betsie the Cow, a large wooden cow-shaped cutout with a balloon udder. Coordinators also talked about milk and all the good things made from milk.
Best of all was the sound of reindeer hooves on the school playground. Two of Santa’s reindeer found their way to Oklahoma and amazed the children with giant antlers and thick, soft fur. Prancer posed for photos with Santa and students from each class. Although the reindeer didn’t fly around the school they delighted the students as part of the special happy holiday wishes from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.

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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation employee Stephen Apel makes use of the on-site fitness facility. If your goal is to get to the gym, focus on just that goal and add other resolutions later on.

January typically begins with the best of intentions. Shed a few pounds. Hit the gym religiously. Sound familiar?
But while many make resolutions, most fail to follow through, with fewer than one in 10 achieving their goals. The key to being one of those who succeeds, says Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation President Stephen Prescott, M.D., is to make goals that are both reasonable and quantifiable.
“People often say, ‘I want to lose 25 pounds,’ or ‘I want to eat better.’ Those are both laudable aims,” said Prescott. “The problem is, one is awfully ambitious, and the other is almost terminally vague.”
If you overreach with your goals—like trying to drop 25 pounds—an early misstep or bump in the road can derail you quickly. “Then the task will feel impossible, and the natural reaction is to give up,” said Prescott.
For a better shot at a healthy 2017, he suggests mapping out smaller, achievable goals to get the ball rolling.
So instead of pledging to lose 25 pounds, said Prescott, set a goal to lose two pounds in January. “When you succeed, you’ll feel great and have the motivation to keep going with two more pounds in February, then March and so on,” he said. “After 12 months, you could end up dropping those 25 pounds by tackling the goal in increments. Short-term markers can translate to long-term success.”
When it comes to improving your diet, Prescott suggests a similar approach.
Start with a specific, manageable goal, like giving up sugary drinks for a month. If you achieve this, then build on it in February by also pledging to add a green vegetable to your plate every day. Over time, these small adjustments can lead to big changes.
For the best chance of success, Prescott recommends taking on a single resolution at a time. It’s a lesson he learned from personal experience.
“When I resolved to lose weight and improve my fitness level a few years ago, I found it was really difficult to exercise while I was also dieting,” said Prescott. “It worked much better when I shifted my focus to losing weight alone. Then, after I dropped 15 pounds, I got serious about fitness.”
“You only have so much willpower and self-discipline, so don’t stretch yourself too thin,” he said. “Choose the resolution that is most important to you and focus on that one.”

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Norman Regional Health System’s Sharon Smith-Davis, RN, is a 35-year nurse, professional barrel racer and now an accomplished children’s author.


by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Growing up with four siblings, Christmas was always a very special time for Sharon Smith-Davis, RN. Lots of fun, lots of games and lots of family always made the season one she would look forward to all year long.
Christmas in the Smith-Davis household meant attending Midnight Mass before coming home to eat and open presents.
It was a night filled with wonderment – and to Smith-Davis – one bursting with magic.
That’s why decades later the Norman Regional Health System nurse decided she needed to capture that magic and pass it on by writing her first book, The Legend of the Reindeer Shoes.
“I tapped into something I had been thinking about,” she said. “I just wanted to leave behind for future generations some good, old-fashioned Christmas magic.”
The Legend of the Reindeer Shoes is a tribute to the tradition of that Christmas magic. This delightful story chronicles the preparation and journey of Santa and his reindeer on Christmas Eve and introduces Jingle, the North Pole’s blacksmith.
According to the legend, the reindeer need shoes on their hooves before they can leave on their famous flight. During the trip their shoes are in frequent need of repair and replacing if lost.
Jingle is there to attend to their needs and assure that the reindeer have a full set of shoes on their hooves for the job ahead.
The story reveals that the reindeer shoe itself is a magical source and if you are lucky enough to find one and hang it from your Christmas tree, you too will experience a little bit of good old fashioned Christmas magic.
Smith-Davis wants everyone to make Christmas Eve a memorable family tradition but it took a devastating accident to settle her down long enough to put what was in her head and her heart down onto paper.
Smith-Davis had long written poetry just for herself but a professional barrel riding accident in 1997 on her sport’s largest stage that unsaddled her from her best friend.
The five-time National Finals Rodeo competitor was separated briefly from riding due to a personal injury and found herself alone with her thoughts.
Looking to occupy her time, she turned her attention to writing a book. Her leg fracture was long healed by the time she completed her labor of love.
It took an entire year from start to finish to complete the book.
They say write what you know and Smith-Davis did.
The reindeer’s eyes are drawn from one of her best quarterhorses.
The reindeer shoes were originally forged by a six-time world champion blacksmith and then sent onto a toy factory to create the molds.
When she’s not working you can find Smith-Davis reading her book at local schools.
“I always ask my kids ‘did my book make you smile,’” said Smith-Davis, who still competes locally. “When I see that smile it’s all good.”
“My big hope for it is to maybe one day be made into a traditional Christmas movie.”
Labors of love can be expensive. She poured $20,000 into the venture through illustration and publishing costs alone.
But it’s all worth it to her.
It was years later Smith-Davis realized how much her mother, a registered nurse herself, put into the whole night before getting up early to work her shift on Christmas Day.
It was just one of the memories that came to her when her mother passed away last week.
That selfless love is part of the season to Smith-Davis, who already has her thoughts swirling around her next book, an Easter theme to go with her love of rabbits.
When she’s not writing she’s working at one of Norman Regional’s campus as a flex nurse, drawing a new assignment, new unit and new campus each shift.
“I love nursing,” Smith-Davis said. “I love the science part of it. I like maintaining healthcare standards and assuring that people get quality care.”
From home health to supervisor of a medical surgical floor Smith-Davis has worked in every setting outside of women’s and children’s services during her nursing career.
After 35 years she can recover a heart or take pretty much any post-op patient that comes her way.
And she still loves it.
“I love my boss,” Smith-Davis said. “I just like – as the work implies – the flexibility. You don’t go to the same place every day. I learn something new every day and I’m amongst the most experienced people that are awesome to work with. And we’re blessed to have the quality of doctors we have.”
“I love it all.”
You can buy the Legend of the Reindeer Shoes book and a magical pair of reindeer shoes online at www.reindeershoes.com. You can also contact her directly through the website.
And her greatest hope is that your family will make its own holiday tradition and the magic returns each and every year.