NORMAN — Bob Barry fell out of his second-story window as a 7-year-old kid living two blocks east of Oklahoma City's Taft Stadium.
Landed on concrete. On his head. Fractured his skull. Never lost consciousness. Bled through all his orifices. Eyes, ears, mouth.
Lived to tell about it. Even made the front page of the Oklahoma City Times a day later, as he began an eight-week bedrest.
Pushed U.S. Rep. Lyle Boren to Page 2 of the June 8, 1938, edition.
Yep, David Boren's father.
That's how deep run Bob Barry's Oklahoma roots. Fifty years ago, Bud Wilkinson hired Barry as the radio voice of OU football, a post from which Barry will retire at the end of the season.
And 23 years before that, Barry was forging bonds with the family of the current OU president.
That's not what made David Boren Bob Barry's No. 1 fan — "I hear his voice, and it says Sooner spirit" — but it shows how immersed in Oklahoma lore is Bob Barry.
He's a living landmark. A relic, a surviving memorial of something past, but not a museum piece. A relic but also a link.
Bob Barry is 79 years old and is the last man standing from the Wilkinson era. Coaches, administrators, support personnel, they're all retired or passed. Except this slow-walking, joke-telling, easy-laughing man who is doing the same task for Bob Stoops' teams that he did for Bud Wilkinson's.
"An Oklahoma treasure," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione called Barry, and it wasn't hollow praise, even if Joe C. wanted Barry to step aside 10 years ago.
Boren saved Barry's job then, and while the radio call might not be as smooth as it was 20, 30, 40 years ago, turns out OU fans are rewarded these last 10 years after all.
Bob Barry going out after 50 years — 12 with OU, then 18 with OSU, now 20 back with the Sooners — seems proper.
Sometimes we need to be reminded of those things that went before, and while we can write them and research them, nothing takes the place of primary sources walking in our midst.
We've taken to calling Bob Barry "Senior," primarily because his boy, Bob Barry Jr., works in the business. But Senior seems a worthy title anyway.
Senior called the Joe Namath Orange Bowl. Called that 105-degree USC game at the LA Coliseum in 1963. Called Jim Mackenzie's and Howard Schnellenberger's only season. Called Steve Owens' Heisman season 41 years ago. Called the stunning birth of the wishbone-T in October 1970. Called the Game of the Century a year later.
And Saturday night, Senior will call Landry Jones throwing to Kenny Stills.
Senior might mess up some calls. Might get some names wrong or some yard-lines off.
But if you slip on an earpiece at the game, or turn down the sound on your Sony at home, Senior's voice might offer soothing comfort. In a world where nothing is as it was the day before, sometimes you can hear the voice that you heard 50 seasons ago.
"I'm an unabashed fan of Bob's," said the son of the Congressman banished inside the newspaper 72 years ago. "The excitement, the true devotion you feel ... there's a special bond between him and the university."
Here's more bonding. I never did tell you why little Bobby Barry fell out of that window on NW 26th Street.
Seems he wanted a nickel to buy a pop. Called his dad at work to ask if he could go next door and borrow five cents from nice Mr. Noftsger.
No, said Jack Barry. You've had enough pop. Little Bobby borrowed the nickel anyway, his dad found out about it and ordered his son to his room.
A bored Bobby sat in the window sill, leaned against the screen and down he went.
By the way, Mr. Noftsger had a daughter, Nancy, who grew up next door to Little Bobby. Several years later, Nancy Noftsger married Claude Arnold, who in 1950 quarterbacked OU to its first national championship.
I'm telling you, Bob Barry is a testament to Oklahoma football, new and old.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.